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Building & Renovating

These 5 Things Can Suddenly Increase Your Renovation Budget

Here's what can suddenly make your renovation budget skyrocket, and how to keep it in check

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Original Article: Chinggay Labrador Photography: Unsplash (Main Photo)

Giving any space an overhaul can seem easy enough. Renovations can look as stress-free and quick as that one-hour DIY TV show. But don’t be fooled—while renovations can give you a shiny new home, reconstruction can be harrowing, especially on your budget. So before you peel off your wallpaper and trash your carpet, read up on these budget busters that can balloon your finances without you even knowing it.


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1. Arawan vs. pakyaw

Most renovation projects require skilled workers to get the job done. But before hiring labor, consider their payment scheme. Arawan means payment on a daily basis, while pakyaw allows you to hire labor for a specific sum, depending on the work done over a specified period of time.

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Architect Patrick Apacible says that this decision depends mainly on the scope and size of your renovation project. “You save money on the arawan basis when you act as your own project manager. This entails knowing what needs to be done and how,” he says. Hiring on a daily basis keeps workers on their toes. However, if you or your project manager don’t keep a close watch on your arawan workers, a one-week job can easily turn into a one-month stint at your expense if the workers slow down for a higher pay check or to stay longer on the job.

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On the other hand, if you know you won’t be around all the time and wish to avoid this, stick with the pakyaw method. “The pakyaw method works well when projects require a larger workforce, constant supervision, and a lot of leg work (permits),” Apacible advises. Before starting any work, assess the breadth of your project and tailor the type of payment scheme for your labor accordingly.


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2. Cost of materials

It pays to be sensitive to the rise and fall of prices when you’re embarking on a renovation project. Sometimes, seasons do affect how much everything costs—for example, suppliers jack up the prices of air conditioner units during the summer. On the other hand, the rise of numerous hardware stores and home depots these days has made the playing field much better for the consumer.

“If you’re acting as your own project manager during the renovation, purchasing your own materials (owner supplied) and canvassing for the cheapest materials allow you to save a great deal,” says Patrick. While canvassing can have you in and around places you are not familiar with—like, for example, visiting the more affordable hardware and lighting stores of Binondo—the thrill of a good buy at a good price usually trumps the “hassle” of shopping in familiar places.

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3. Hidden damages to the structure

If you’re confident enough to supervise your own renovation, be sure you don’t overlook the technical aspects of construction. Worrisome factors like weak footings or rotten wood trusses and joists may be lurking beneath your home, invisible to the untrained eye.

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“When it comes to structure, a professional should always be consulted before any work is to be done,” says Patrick. “With regard to renovations, rusted pipelines and electrical raceways often embedded into walls and floors are the worst things one can come across.” Structural, plumbing and electrical problems don’t often manifest themselves physically, which is why professionals should be consulted, especially during major renovation projects.


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4. Project supervision

Whether you have hired a professional designer or are undertaking your renovation on your own, you still have to keep track of the work that’s done. “When the client is unaware,” says Patrick, “he can easily be duped into buying materials he doesn’t need.”

Interior designer Lisa Salvador Bringas says that homeowners should be wary, especially when hiring contractors to oversee their construction projects. “Be specific about what you want because contractors can add unnecessary costs.”

“Always stand by your decisions,” Patrick adds. “If you purchase a material, decide on a design or sign a contract and make a commitment.” The more you change your mind about what you want done, the more money you’ll have to spend. “You can’t return or exchange building materials or labor,” Patrick says. “Decide on a look and commit to it.”


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5. Workers’ experience

“Good labor is not easy to find,” says Lisa. “Always ask to see your contractors’ portfolio before starting a project. Know their past works, where their office is, and if they really are legit.” Good workers are inextricably linked to good contractors, and the only way to ensure the quality of work is by doing a thorough inspection. Word of mouth helps, but it’s good to look into everything yourself.

“Cheap doesn’t always mean you save money,” adds Patrick. “Often enough, poor workmanship leads to redoing everything!”

This article originally appeared as “5 Renovation Budget Busters” in the July 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine.

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