Renovation projects, how long do they take?

The duration of a large renovation project will depend on a number of factors, the first of which is the scope, is it an extension, conversion or a remodel or refresh? Also environmental factors such as the weather and the supply of materials required can affect how long it takes to complete a project and cause delays along the way. These factors will be beyond yours and your builder’s control. 

Excellent project management is a major factor in managing the complications and delays to keep your project on track. Most homeowners fall short due to them not fully understanding the building process. Proper planning is needed to get all the contractors on site at the correct times, your renovation project will experience delays and increased costs. Therefore, it will be worth hiring a project manager if you don’t have experience or fully understand the processes and trades involved. Alternatively your builder may be able to manage the project and hire sub contractors to complete specific jobs on your behalf. 
Many homeowners think they will save money by managing a renovation project themselves. By do it yourself the project will often costs them more due to them simply not having the expertise and time to dedicate to the project. Managing a renovation project takes commit and time, so you will need to be on site every day for a few hours a day. See our article here about managing your renovation project yourself if you think you are up to it. Here is our advice on the different types of projects:


The time to complete a project will depending on the size and complexity, though this is often the most complex renovation short of building a new house!. Once your builder is on site, the typically time to complete can be between 6 and 12 weeks for an average sized single storey extension. You will need to remember that all renovation projects are unique and you should consult your architect and builder for an accurate estimate on time. Even the best planned renovation projects can run into complications so it’s recommended that you include a buffer.

Employing an architect to plan your extension is well worth it. See our advice on selecting an architect here.  By doing this there’s is also less chance of going over budget because all aspects of the project are pre-determined. The architect can take around 8 weeks from the initial meeting to and being able to get a contractor started on site. 

Remember this is providing there aren't any complications. Having an architect complete plans for the renovation project makes it much easier for your contractor to give you a fixed price for the project. An architect will be able to advise you what permissions you need. Getting planning permission can take several months. Even if your project doesn't require planning permission, you will need to ensure it’s in line with building regulations. 

2. Loft Conversion:

A loft conversions can usually take between 5-8 weeks from start, to completion. The completion time is dependent on a few factors, such as the structure, layout and plumbing or whether you need to install steel RSJs. A basic loft conversion with Velux windows is often very quick and straightforward. If you decide on Dormer windows, this is more complex and involves more structural work which will extend the duration of the project. Often loft conversions  don’t require planning permission, but work is easily held up by bad weather. Like extensions, it’s always best to hire an architect to complete plans in advance of work beginning.

3. Renovating a room:                                                                                                     

Kitchen: Once the contractor starts the renovation project, this should take between  1 to 4 weeks depending on hacking and how large your kitchen is. If your designer has guided you well, you should have ordered cabinets and appliances well in advance. Poor planning and failure to order custom items in a timely fashion can delay a job unnecessarily.

Existing conditions in your home can affect the length of time needed to perform the job. For example:

  • Needing to move ductwork for extractors.
  • Having to update old plumbing or moving to new location.
  • Updating the electrical wiring or moving plug sockets to accommodate new appliances.

Bathrooms: Bathrooms are usually small and do not need extensive electrical and vent work, therefore usually take a shorter amount of time to compete between 1 to 3 weeks. Bathrooms mainly revolve around plumbing, so spend time researching and hiring good contractors who understand plumbing. Planning well is important in order to maximise usage of a small space.

Unintended delays can be created by problems in the floor, and any room below the floor. Because waste plumbing is located in the floor, there is a risk of damage to the room beneath the bathroom. Repairing damage can take extra time.

Remember that these time scales are only guides and you should always consult the contractor, project manager, designer or architect before taking on a renovation project. If you are planning to manage the project yourself always communicate with the your contractors, make sure everyone is on the same page with the time scale to finish the project. Do this and things will run smoother 9 out of 10 times.

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