Estimating the cost of renovating your home.

When you are buying a house or upgrading your current one, estimating the costs of the renovation by yourself is one of the hardest things. Information out there is vague, different sources will give you different numbers, and you can never be sure you have budgeted all items needed. Before starting the renovation, you need to know what you are getting yourself into and most importantly, if you can afford it until full completion. So, creating a budget is one of the primary tasks, once you have decided to renovate your home. An accurate estimate of the project would help you keep your finances in check and ensure you have enough for all the required work, as well as prevent last-minute surprises, especially if you have a tight budget.

To help you get started with a rough estimation, here are a few things that need to be considered. They are mostly based on the size and scope of your project.

Creating a budget is one of the primary tasks, once you have decided to renovate your home.

Estimating the cost of renovating your home
1. What do you want to remodel?

First, you need to decide what areas to remodel. A priority list could even be created based on what is absolutely needed, what would be good to have and what would be nice to have. This includes what space particularly, or whether it is a certain aspect of the space that needs to be remodeled. Keep in mind that the larger the area to be renovated, the more expensive it would get. Examples of a ‘must do’ task are a foundation check, fixing a leak in the roof, or replacing the windows with double glazed well-insulated ones. Examples of a ‘good to have’ would be new floors or new furniture. And an example of a ‘nice to have’ would be a fireplace. This of course depends on your own needs, priorities, and taste!

2. The more protected the building, the more expensive the renovation could get.

The ease or levels of complexity of the renovation would depend on the monumental status of the building and any protected status it has. Older buildings, especially ones that are of historic value, could be more expensive to renovate. This could be because of the need to apply for a permit but also because of the structural quality, including foundations, roofs, doors, windows, materials, and other fittings that may be old and need more work. The requirements and specifications of the remodeling could also differ based on the location. These specifications could vary based on the city too.

3. Do you need a contractor and/or an Architect?

Does your project require smaller surface work that you would be able to do yourself, such as removing the wallpaper, installing new floors, a fresh layer of paint…etc.? If you are handy and confident, doing these tasks might not require you hiring any external professional help.  However, if your project involves structural changes or more complicated tasks, these will need to be designed, planned, and executed by professionals, not to mention, some may need a permit application to the local municipality. Don’t be tempted to save here, you may end up spending a lot more money, wasting time and efforts. Make sure you are not “penny wise and pound foolish” as they say!

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Older buildings, especially ones that are of historic value, could be more expensive to renovate.

Estimating the cost of renovating your home
4. Be informed about permits and other legal local requirements.

In case of structural changes or even lighter changes in case your house is a monument, you will have to obtain permits from the different local authorities. It is always better to be aware of any permits required. There are known cases in The Netherlands where the local authorities have imposed a fine and the demolition of works that were done without the required permit. Follow the rules and apply for the correct permit, this would ensure there are no complications or extra costs during the renovation process or afterwards.

5. Always budget for unforeseen costs.

After you create your base budget, make sure you include a buffer. In other words, expect the unexpected! Essentially, keep the following in mind:

  • Most renovation costs start from a minimum of 1000 €/m up. Generally, 1200 €/m2 can be considered as a good average, excluding the architect’s fee.
  • Depending on the scope, the process of renovation could be anywhere from weeks to months, excluding the design process period and the waiting time if permits are required.
  • Construction materials generally would amount to 6-8% of the whole price of the renovation. Therefore choosing to buy materials and finishes that are simple yet effective, and opting for ready-made furniture (instead of going for custom made for example) would help in keeping the estimate in check.
  • Very roughly, average percentages for a basic renovation project of a residence could be around the following:

In the case of a full house renovation, construction takes up 42% of the whole cost, while demolition would take about 6%.  The renovation of the kitchen and redoing the flooring of the residence could count for around 13% each while redoing the finishes could be up to 12% of the whole cost. Utilities count for the remaining 14%.

Estimating the cost of renovating your home

When it comes to costs of different items, the following is a rough starting point:

An average floor material could start from 50 €/m2 depending on the material, quality, and design. Demolishing light interior partitions (not structural walls) could be 40-80€/m2. Paintwork could cost 18-20 €/m2. Installing new doors and windows could cost 1800-3200€ per item. Demolishing the kitchen equipment could cost 900-1000€ while renovating a kitchen of about 10m2 (including demolition of walls and disassembling the previous kitchen, getting new connections for water, electricity, and gas, installation of new walls and floor, tile work and paintwork, and new equipment) could cost between 25,000€ to 38,000€. Purchasing kitchen equipment for a good kitchen alone could cost between 15,000€ to 20,000€. A bathroom renovation (including assembly and materials) could cost somewhere in between 6,000€ to 10,000€, including installing new bathroom fixtures, which could vary between 1000€ to 3000€. Keep in mind those costs are indications only and not an accurate estimate.

In addition to all costs above, try and allocate 20% as a buffer for contingencies, last-minute changes, and unforeseen circumstances.

6. Get professional help.

If you are feeling overwhelmed just reading this article, then keep calm and get professional advice. Getting professional advice upfront remains the best way to help you create a good rough estimate of the costs and to manage your budget. Even if you have to pay for a professional to create a cost estimate for you, this will help you save money down the line.

A good architect or a good contractor would help you get a realistic idea of the costs you are getting yourself into before you commit to the project. A good architect will also help you manage priorities and create savings during the project by creating smarter design solutions, and doing more with less. Make sure your architect does not calculate their own fees as a percentage of the construction costs. If they do, then you must ask yourself, where does their interest lie? If they are paid in the function of how expensive the project is, will they really help you preserve your budget, spend it in the most optimal way, and give you advice regarding necessary and unnecessary changes? When looking for an architect, make sure you ask all the questions you need before hiring them.

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Whether you ultimately decide to approach an architect and/ or a contractor for help, or decide to create your own budget, estimating the costs of a renovation is not an instantaneous or an easy process.  It varies on a lot of factors such as protected status, size, location, desired finish level, quality of work, local labor costs, and others. Make sure to get multiple opinions from experts, and keep a margin of extra time and budget, in order to be prepared for any unexpected items. This will ultimately help you remodel your home within a good budget and on time, and ensure you get the best possible result for your newly renovated home.

If you are considering a renovation and need help estimating a budget, or a second opinion on a budget you already have, get in touch with us, we would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

2021 Color trends for your home

Choosing the right color scheme for your home interior can make a world of difference during these unusual times where we spend most of our time at home. The colors can have a positive impact on your mood as well as motivate you to become more productive. In order for you to elevate your living standards, we have looked into the color trends of 2021 and prepared a short informative selection of colors trending for this year. Hopefully, we can inspire you to learn which colors speak to your personal taste the most and be inspired to upgrade your home in 2021.

Research shows that in 2021, people are turning to nature-inspired colors to create a sense of comfort and stability.1 During these uncertain times, it is normal to feel disrupted due to the ongoing changes in our lifestyles. We are searching for serenity and calmness through certain colors and want to feel more grounded and zen in our homes. There are certain colors such as green, blue, or neutral beige which intrinsically convey these characteristics, and can allow for a positive change in your home atmosphere.

The colors can have a positive impact on your mood as well as motivate you to become more productive.

AKKA Architects Slachtofferhulp Netherlands Workplace Design

Shutterstock has released color trend predictions for 2021, which includes an organic palette with soft whites, rich golds and deep blue-greens. The creative director of shutterstock, Flo Lau said that people are leaving behind the bright, saturated hues that defined 2020 and moving towards a rich and natural palette that invites new opportunities and represents a desire to be outside,2 or a longing to being outside and reconnecting with Nature. The nature-inspired colors have been also advocated to increase mindfulness and optimism.

The paint brand Dulux has chosen the color Brave Ground, a warm, neutral color that is stabilizing and enabling, as the color of the year 2021.3 It communicates an elemental color, reflecting the strength that can be drawn from nature. It provides an opportunity to change and bring creativity into your home. Dulux has also used words such as ‘nourish, reset and retreat’ in order to express their color forecast for 2021.4 The earth-based hues allow for a balance between working from home and living at home, as these two aspects of our lives continue to blend together in the upcoming year as well. As different companies have expressed the recurring theme of back to nature, we can expect that it will be an ongoing trend in 2021.

Pantone has chosen the neutral Ultimate Grey and Illuminating, a yellow shade as the two main colors of 2021.5 The combination of these two colors convey a strong and hopeful outlook on the new year. The contrast of these two colors can uplift and bring warmth to your home interior. Here are some examples showing how they can be incorporated in your interior design.

Backed with years of research, the power of colors has become self-evident. If you want to upgrade your interior and use your space to support your mood, performance, and daily interactions, think of adapting to the new year’s colors. It is still not too late. Be empowered, inspired and nurished by the colors of 2021 all in your own home!

If you are interested in upgrading your interior, by integrating a new color scheme, or by doing other renovations, get in touch! We would love to share our ideas about adapting your interior design to sustain your creativity at home and support your daily interactions. Whatever your question, we would love to hear from you. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

Post-Covid-19 Workplace: What awaits us?

Before the covid-19 pandemic, the workplace was a well-defined entity with certain borders between work and home. Nowadays, our workplaces and homes have been intertwined as the majority of the world is still working from home. Whether you enjoy working from home or not, this new way of working has definitely made a significant impact on the workplace dynamics as well as our needs and expectations as employees. In this article, we will explore some workplace models that are currently in place but also some that may be awaiting us post-corona.

Our workplaces and homes have been intertwined as the majority of the world is still working from home.

Post-Covid-19 Workplace: What awaits us?
1.Working from home

At this very moment, most of us are working from home, as the pandemic continues to unfold. In most cases, we have gotten the hang of working from home even though it means we are confined in small spaces for longer periods of time and by ourselves instead of with colleagues. Another challenge many business leaders are facing is training staff who are new to the company.1 It is more difficult for a team leader to train a new employee online than in real person. It is also more difficult for the mployee to get a sense of the company culture from their own kitchen table. There are many downsides to working from home but it has also its benefits. The Boston Consultancy Group has conducted internal research on the future of the workplace, recording responses from 12,000 employees worldwide, and surprisingly found out that a large number of employees have been able to maintain or even improve their productivity during the pandemic.2 Whether they have saved time on their morning commute and spent that extra hour on self-development or they have adopted a flexible working schedule and improved their organizational skills. As the pandemic subsides, we can see a trend emerging where employers will allow their employees more flexibility in choosing where they work, and when they work where.

2. Working from the office

While some companies have already allowed a portion of their workforce to come back to the office, adopting a hybrid model, many people are still looking forward to the day they can go back to the office. However, it would be wrong to assume that we can pick up where we left off and return to the same office we left and use it as we did before. If you are interested in diving into the specifics of a possible phased recovery, you might enjoy one of our earlier articles here. Employees’ expectations towards what an office space means have evolved tremendously during the last year. Employers need to acknowledge these changes, maybe even discover what they are first (since they are not always obvious or apparent) and adapt to this new era of working from the office. For instance, Alan Jobe, the chief executive of Unilever, has said that his office workers will never return to their desks five days a week and that way of working seems very old-fashioned now.3 It is fair to say that the era of working from the office full time has officially ended. Now, after experiencing that a lot of the work can actually be done from home effectively, managers are starting to realise how they can change the office dynamics and allow for a more productive environment, which will add value to people’s lives and become something more than just a ‘workplace’. The increasing need for social connectivity has boosted different technological adaptations and allowed for collaborative work to take place, regardless of the spatial confinement. Post-covid-19, companies will primarily focus on creating sustainable competitive advantage by having a workspace that will allow both collaboration and focused work to take place. The office as a place of work is not a default anymore. It needs to prove itself now, and convince us what its added value is and why it should have a place in the future of work.

Employees’ expectations towards what an office space means have evolved tremendously during the last year.

Post-Covid-19 Workplace: What awaits us?
3.The Hybrid Model

The Hybrid working model is simply a combination of working at the office and from home and maybe even from a cafe or a co-working space, when those are open again. At the moment, it seems that the Hybrid model is by far the most popular amongst what we have discussed so far because of the mere fact that it provides options that can combine the best of both worlds. By adopting a Hybrid working model, companies can provide a sustainable solution to their employees by giving them flexibility and the option to choose upon their personal preferences. Not all hybrid models are created equal though, and every organisation will have to find the hybrid solution that suits its company culture best. While employees should be able to choose what works for them best, a new role emerges for the team leaders, whose responsibility it becomes to make sure that individual choices do not undermine the collective interest of the team, department and entire company. Employers will need to find the balance that supports individual choices as well asn enrich the collective dynamic. As mentioned earlier, Unilever is looking into investing in this Hybrid model after seeing how fast they have adopted working from home and they are planning on exploring different working patterns in the post-covid-19 era.4 Another insightful market research sheds light on this topic from a managerial perspective. The Fortune/Deloitte CEO Survey5, conducted over the first two weeks of January 2021 with more than 100 CEO participants, found out that 75% of the CEOs think there will be less office space required than before the pandemic. Only 21% think there will be no change in regards to an office space requirement and 4% believe there will be more office space requirement afterwards. Overall, CEOs anticipate a reduction in office space in comparison to 2019 and will permanently adopt the working from home model into their businesses. In the year 2022, CEOs are still expecting more than one-third of their employees to continue working from home. This shows that virtual workplaces and digital meetings are here to stay.

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to which model is the most efficient or valuable for your organisation. One can prefer to work from home, from the office or from a 3rd place or even combine them all according to the type of task or the dynamic of the day. Different companies will adopt different models according to their own business models and company cultures.

Coming out of lockdown is likely to be a gradual process, heavily restricted by a number of measures. What kind of workplace can we go back to? What would it take to make going back to the office work? How do we adapt our workplaces to the 1.5 meters economy? What about the social, psychological and emotional dimensions of employees’ well-being? If you are looking for help in how to understand your employees’ new needs and expectations and how to create the perfect Hybrid model that suits your organisation, get in touch! We have been helping our clients create a new way of working transform their workplaces we would be happy to assist you too.

Get in touch by filling the form below, or explore how we could help here.

Four tips to elevate your employees' well-being.

Last week the famous Canadian activewear company Lululemon released a very detailed global wellbeing report, illustrating that only 29 percent of global respondents indicate strong wellbeing.1 The study reveals that there is a huge opportunity for employers to support their employees through these unprecedented times. Only 15 percent of those employed strongly agree that their employer offers sufficient resources that support their overall wellbeing.2By adopting a holistic approach and a proactive mindset, stronger wellbeing can be catalyzed. Thus, we have come up with 4 easy to implement tips to help you elevate your employee’s wellbeing.

1. An Online Fitness/Wellness Subscription

These days, there is an online workout subscription available for every budget. By having a subscription to an online fitness company, employees can attend virtual classes and be more active during the day specially when working from home. Offering this to your employees will not only help with increasing their physical wellbeing but can also have a positive impact on their work motivation. Having a lunch break yoga session or an after work HIIT workout session will allow your colleagues to build stronger physical wellbeing and tap into a more positive mental and emotional wellbeing too. If a workout is not preferred, then an app that encourages walking outside would be a great idea! The Ommetje App for example allows you to share walks with people and track your steps during the day. It is not only a great way to motivate people to walk and be outdoors but it also contributes to building stronger social connections which affects wellbeing.

2. Provide Support for Mental Health

These can be tough times, whether on a personal level or work-related, so it is important to get support when needed and ensure we don’t feel lonely or isolated. Like everyone else, employees might feel lost or lonely and in need of some guidance during these unprecedented times. Having a workplace coach can be very beneficial during these times in order to increase the mental well-being of your employees. If you do not have a budget for it, you can utilize technology to your own benefit and create a support system where people can support each other on various subjects. For instance, consider an office buddy program where employees can sign up to support one another. There are endless creative ways to create a support network that suits your own needs as an organisation.

Only 15 percent of those employed strongly agree that their employer offers sufficient resources that support their overall wellbeing.

3. Weekly Check-in’s

For companies that are just starting off, it might be hard to create a budget to invest in employees’ wellbeing. But there are things, like weekly check-in sessions, that can be done without any financial commitment. Weekly check-in sessions can take place as one-to-one meetings where you can exchange thoughts or ideas with your colleagues, whether work related or not. This could be very rewarding for both the employee and the employer because by creating a time dedicated for ‘checking-in’, a free flow of ideas, insights as well as feedback can be shared. This helps evaluate and assess problems as or before they arise, whether they are problems with customers, suppliers or internal teams. By creating a safe space where employees can share what is on their mind, their mental wellbeing will surely be supported.

4. Creating a Zen Space

If and when your employees are in the office, this could be a highly effective idea. By investing in a space where employees can relax, read a book or perhaps watch a movie, they can enjoy higher quality breaks and be more effective when working. A simple re-do of a room in the office to turn it into a space of relaxation and fun, this will increase their productivity as well as overall mental wellbeing. Consider both the relaxing as well as the entertainment dynamics, in the same space or preferably in different spaces. The right interior design will help the atmosphere to be zen and relaxing in a quiet space and vibrant and engaging in an entertainment space. But in times like right now, where working from home is the norm, it could also be a nice incentive to allow your employees to invest in creating their own fun and/or relaxing spaces in their own homes. Depending on your budget, there are many options from specific items. From a soothing candle to a natural lighting light fixture (we love Philips’ Hue product line) to gift cards. Whether they need a complete re-do of a room to turn it into a home office or they simply need a comfortable ergonomic chair to work, it will be highly beneficial for working from home days.

Whether your teams are working from the office or from home, these tips will come in handy when trying to find a way to elevate your employees’ wellbeing. It is more important than ever now to invest time and effort into the overall wellbeing of your colleagues and it will be rewarded with motivation and dedication! If you are interested in the full lululemon report, mentioned in the article please click here

Coming out of lockdown is likely to be a gradual process, heavily restricted by a number of measures. What kind of workplace can we go back to? What would it take to make going back to the office work? How do we adapt our workplaces to the 1.5 meters economy? What about the social, psychological and emotional dimensions of employees’ well-being? If you are looking for help in how to understand your employees’ new needs and expectations and how to create the perfect Hybrid model that suits your organisation, get in touch! We have been helping our clients create a new way of working transform their workplaces we would be happy to assist you too.

Get in touch by filling the form below, or explore how we could help here.

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“We would like to express our gratitude for the time you invested in helping us get to a clear picture.  Anna and I really appreciated the call we had with you, your responsiveness, and the great empathy that you exhibited throughout – we certainly felt very “well taken care of” when engaging with you.  On the practical side, we especially appreciated that there was the option to obtain robust bottom-up cost estimates for the construction itself (not every design architect offers this).”

-Private Client of AKKA

 

 

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