Christmas renovation

Why you won't be in by Christmas

No matter what time of year you start your project, a major goal is pretty much always “we want to be in by Christmas”, or words to that effect. We hear you! Everyone wants to be in their own home for Christmas Day – especially if it’s a home that’s got a shiny kitchen and a new ensuite or some new doors and windows and a nice deck.


As I’ve said before (and no doubt you’ll hear it again), building is all about scheduling and logistics – getting the right people and products to the right place at the right time while coordinating with a number of other people who are trying to do the same thing at other people’s houses at the same time.


Builders are not the fire brigade – they do not have tradesmen sitting around at Builder HQ waiting for the phone to ring and someone to ask if they can come over and install a new floor. Most builders have a number of jobs in their pipeline and there’s generally a 4-6 week wait from when you say yes, let’s go ahead to when the first tradie turns up at your place at 7am with a hammer in hand.


JD once had a customer that he’d been talking to for four months about their renovation – they’d already been dealing with the council on approvals for over a year. They were getting on famously and finally he went over to sign the contract and schedule the job in. While he chatted with the husband, the lady of the house brought him a cappuccino and an almond croissant. Just as they were about to sign, they asked when JD could start. JD told them the team would be there in five weeks. At this, the lady of the house came bursting out of the kitchen screaming that they should start straight away. Sorry, not going to happen – the team were already working on other people’s jobs. JD left a half-eaten croissant on the plate and removed himself from a situation that was going downhill rapidly.


Every aspect of building takes longer than you think it’s going to and when you’re planning a renovation or building project you need to be aware of lead times not only of people, but also of products, especially if you’re using custom items.


Timber windows and doors have a lead time of about 6 weeks and custom joinery for a kitchen is at least that. Even something like custom-made curtains take about 6 weeks (and ours took longer as they had to wait for the fabric to arrive from overseas).


If you’re hoping for a new kitchen for Christmas, you need to have it designed and ordered it by no later than mid October. This gives it 6 weeks to be made and ready for installation by the start of December and allows the builders 3 weeks to install it. Yes, the builders could start before the joinery’s ready but we figure you don’t want to be without a kitchen for any longer than you have to.


Have you spent Christmas in the renovation zone/building site?
What would you like to change about your place before next Christmas?
Almond croissant or plain?

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