9 Condo Renovation Tips for a Stress-free Makeover Project
Have you noticed the sorry condition of your kitchen cabinets? What about the obvious cracks on your bathroom tiles? It may be time for a condo renovation.
Many households put off necessary overhauls, sometimes risking their safety, because of cost. However, you should know that condo renovation costs in the Philippines don't need to be overwhelming. There are alternatives to expensive marble, mahogany, and timber. As for labor, some fixtures can be done with basic carpentry skills. Plumbing, installation of electric wirings, and other tasks that require expert work can be availed at affordable rates.
Start revamping your DMCI condo home with this guide for a stress-free renovation:
1. Refer to the Homeowner’s Manual for the guidelines in renovating DMCI Homes properties.
Before anything else, you should know what can and can’t be done in a condominium renovation project. Remember that owners of DMCI Homes properties are mandated to abide by the provisions in the Homeowner’s Manual. For instance, you may only seek the services of contractors accredited or authorized by the Property Management Office (PMO) to handle the upgrade and renovation of units.
The manual also provides that the PMO must approve renovation plans, scope of work, and specifications before any job can be done. You must also follow the condo safety requirements, as well as the rules in the delivery and pull-out of materials. Refer to the manual as you create a renovation plan.
If you have questions during the pre-construction and construction proper phases, contact the PMO for guidance.
2. List down what you want to be done in every room in your condo home.
First of all, you need to identify what it is you want. Do you want to install new cabinets in the kitchen for more storage? Do you like to redesign your bedroom with a minimalist theme?
List down your renovation ideas so you can plan properly. You may create categories (or use each room or area as a category), then enumerate the specific task to be done. Here’s an example:
- Replace the backsplash with matte tiles of darker shade
- Repair the overhead cabinets and repaint with the same shade
- Install wall-mounted pegboard for pans and pots
You may revise your list with greater specificity as you progress through, particularly when you start with the budgeting.
3. Know the do’s and don'ts in condo renovations
Renovating a condo unit is different from remodeling a house or apartment. Since you’re living in a shared building, you have to follow condo renovation rules that ensure the integrity of the structure and the safety of all occupants. When conceptualizing your condo design, keep in mind these dos and don’ts:
- Use drop ceiling material that is non-toxic, sound absorbent, non-asbestos, lightweight, and noncombustible.
- Build a ceiling system that is adequately supported to eliminate sagging.
- Seek permission from the Condominium Corporation when altering partition walls and the electrical system.
- Ensure that the electrical system conform to the load restrictions of the building.
- Make sure all works are in accordance with the latest government regulations and applicable codes.
- Don’t use wood or any combustible material for the drop ceiling.
- Don’t use concrete nails on walls.
- Don’t alter doors, frames, and hardware.
- Don’t relocate toilet and kitchen facilities.
Under the Homeowner’s Manual, all plans shall be submitted to the PMO for approval. Release of approved plans will be after approximately twelve (12) working days from the date of submission of complete documents. You should also fill out the Renovation/Upgrade Permit available at the PMO to be submitted together with the plans.
4. Decide on whether you’re hiring an interior designer or working on your own.
Are you planning on getting the services of an interior designer? It’s advisable that you decide on this at the start of your planning process so you could better assess the renovation cost well. Also, if you’re hiring a designer, you may not need to go into detail about your condo interior design theme - the designer will help you out.
You may ask for referrals from family and friends, or even from your DMCI Homes neighborhood.
Set a meeting with potential designers so you can explain your design ideas and budget.
5. Set a budget but allow adjustments.
When preparing your renovation budget, keep in mind that the cost of materials is higher during this time of high inflation. The cost of labor is also a bit higher these days.
As earlier mentioned, only accredited or authorized contractors by the PMO are allowed to work on upgrades and renovations in DMCI Homes units. Ask for a list of contractors from the PMO and choose a few from whom you can request a quote.
Find out which of them can provide the best service for your money the fastest. In the construction business, the longer a project takes, the more money you will have to shell out. And that’s why knowing who can renovate your condo the fastest or within your timeline is important.
Provide the contractors with the list of your renovation plans, and of course, your budget. While you may have a ballpark figure on how much you’ll be spending, set aside around 10% to 20% of the budget in case of price adjustments. You should also be flexible with your timeline. If the interior design you want for your condo living room would extend the renovation schedule, you have the option of waiting or changing parts of the plan.
6. Secure all necessary permits before starting the renovations
Prior to the renovation job, you must secure a Permit to Carry Out Renovation/Materation from the PMO. Depending on the tasks to be done, you also need to get separate clearances at least three (3) days in advance from the PMO for proper coordination and witnessing:
- Permanent Closure of Ceiling
- Flood Testing (waterproofing, plumbing/sanitary)
- Flow Test (plumbing/sanitary)
- Hydro-testing (fire protection)
- Smoke Alarm Test (fire alarm system)
- Insulation Test (electrical system)
- Load Test (A/C, LPG, exhaust system, etc.)
- Welding Jobs
Even after you’ve secured the necessary permits, you and the contractor should be advised that PMO officers or their representatives may inspect the renovation work at any time to make sure that the work conforms to approved plans. In case of violation of the prescribed rules and regulations, the PMO may suspend the construction and oblige the contractor to conform to the rules.
7. File a construction bond
Aside from the approved plans, workers’/contractors’ IDs, and applicable fees, you also need to file a construction bond to secure a Renovation Permit. The monetary cash bond, depending on the scope of renovation work, shall be assessed from residential units. This serves as security against damages that may occur during the renovation period. This will be refundable (interest-free) two (2) months after the completion of the renovation fewer deductions due to the damages and other charges.
8. Read the fine print in all contracts relevant to the renovation
No one likes to read contracts. It’s either we have a presumption of regularity or we’re just plain lazy. A contract protects two parties: in this case, you and your contractor/interior designer. Take note of change orders, payment, additional charges, timeline, and scope of the work. If you don’t understand an item, feel free to ask. Don’t assume first, then complain later.
9. Ensure that your chosen contractor abides by the condo renovation rules
A compelling reason why the PMO only allows accredited contractors to handle construction or renovation work on DMCI Homes properties is to prevent any possible damage and inconvenience on other condo tenants during the renovation period.
But just because you’re working with authorized contractors doesn't mean you need not do any preventive measures. Remember that you filed a monetary cash bond that may be used to pay for damage or other charges in case of violation of rules.
Remind the contractor of the rules on delivery and pull-out of materials, sanitation, and prohibited activities within the building premises while the project is ongoing. You may refer to the Homeowners’ Manual for details.
The construction may be suspended due to violations of the prescribed rules and regulations. The contractor will likewise assume full responsibility for any damage that may be caused to any person or property by any reason for such violation.
As the work-from-home (WFH) arrangement is becoming the norm, it’s no surprise that people are encouraged to make their homes more functional and comfortable. Many are buying multi-functional furniture and appliances, setting up home offices and getting into renovation projects.
Ensure your condo home makeover project runs smoothly by planning well. Here are top things you should keep in mind:
- The cost of labor and materials have risen on the back of global inflation so do extensive research before creating your budget. You may browse online for prices of materials (just rough estimates of prices will do).
- Consult the Homeowner’s Manual for important information on permits, rules and regulations, and other matters concerning renovation work on condo units. If you have queries, feel free to contact the PMO.
- Be open to adjustments whether in terms of project budget, design elements and timeline. Flexibility is key in a stress-free renovation project.
If you find these renovation tips useful, you may read more helpful articles on condo living on the DMCI Communities blog.