Building & Renovating

Your Pre-Renovation Checklist

Ready to take the plunge toward a home improvement project? Read this first!

Photography: Rene Mejia and Vincent Coscolluela (Main Photos)

Whether you’re moving into a new house or upgrading your present home, surely it has crossed your mind to undertake some minor renovations to make your space suit your taste. Before you embark on any home project, big or small, start by planning well and finalizing the list of things that you need to do before you begin.

The most important task after you’ve made your to-do list is to check with your condo, townhouse or village association for their set of guidelines and regulations. Minor tweaks such as replacing doorknobs or adding décor may not require prior approval, but renovation work, which requires carpentry or painting, may need clearance. Don't feel overwhelmed! Start by requesting for the condominium administration’s covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R) for a more thorough list of what is allowed to avoid any hassle while you’re in the middle of your home project. Townhouses and subdivisions may be more lenient and less detailed, but it would still be prudent to check before you begin.

Take note that restrictions and conditions may vary depending on the property you have. However, most guidelines would cover the following:

STRUCTURAL CHANGES that require carpentry work such as knocking down walls and partitions or those that involve altering windows and doors.

ELECTRICAL, PLUMBING, AND VENTILATION SYSTEMS. For such improvements or upgrades, it is best to consult with your condo’s or townhouse’s resident electrical or plumbing expert. It is recommended that you present to them your plans and discuss what you want to do as they would be able to give you feedback on whether or not this is allowed and if your unit will be able to accommodate the changes you are considering.

MATERIALS TO BE USED. Double check if your village or condo has strict environmental guidelines that may include the restrictions regarding the types or kinds of materials, chemicals, and finishes that may or may not be used.

WORK SCHEDULES AND HIRING LABORERS. Review if your home renovation project requires hiring laborers to do the work for you. Most homeowners associations will have a set of rules regarding work schedules, specifically on the time when construction or renovations may be done. This may also include the number of workers allowed on the premises, as well as the time when they will be allowed to enter the building or village.

A REFUNDABLE CONSTRUCTION BOND may also be required prior to any renovation to your condo or townhouse. This would cover any damage that may be incurred to common areas and structures, if any, during the renovation of your home.

After you’ve reviewed the guidelines you are allowed or not allowed to take on, make sure you provide the building or village association with this list and complete all the paperwork and permits needed for the renovation. If you’re working with an architect or interior designer, you may have them take care of these details, as they would be best equipped to provide all the information needed for the renovations.

A snippet originally appeared in Real Living's My First Home Book. Download your digital copy of Real Living and its specials on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

PHOTOS: Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions (2 and 3) | Pexels

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