Planning a renovation is a major decision with plenty of meticulous details to attend to. Although it is a personal decision, it does affect your surroundings negatively. Even in the best-case scenario, a renovation is going to be disruptive. People do not often like change, but if you are lucky, you will have an understanding neighbor.
This is why construction and building professionals have recommended the following tips to keep your neighbor happy during the tedious process of renovation.
1. Tell Your Neighbors in Advance
If you are planning a major renovation, it is important to communicate your plans with your neighbors in advance. This is especially crucial if you are new to the neighborhood. You don’t want to start that relationship off on the wrong foot especially, since you’re living right next to each other. Be sure to do your homework to be prepared with any upcoming questions and concerns. The information you should share with your neighbor should include, but is not limited to:
- What date will the construction work begin?
- What is the length of the construction period?
- What is the work schedule?
- Will there be any special equipment, vehicles, or road blockages that they should be aware of?
- Do you have legal assurances?
Be prepared for the clustered range of emotions and reactions that may be expressed. It is not unusual for them to feel that way. It is important to consider your neighbors’ point of view. Listen empathetically to their concerns, objections, etc. Do what you can to be flexible and considerate. You may need to accommodate if there are young children or people who work from home. It is advisable to leave your contact information in case of potential unnecessary issues. Lastly, you might want to apologize in advance for the inconvenience. While it is not legally required, it is important for the livelihood of your relationship. You may also want to bring some form of peace offering to sweeten the agreement. This could be a bottle of wine, baked goods, or earplugs. A little gesture always goes a long way. It would also encourage your neighbor to be patient during the process of renovation.
2. Consider Health and Safety Hazards
The renovation that you are planning will affect your neighbors negatively. Therefore, it is your moral responsibility to make an effort to ensure minimal disruption. The health hazards pertained to here are the lead, dust, and paint chips in construction sites that are harmful to children and pregnant women. This communal stressor is easily avoidable when you take responsibility and embed a dust screen on the fence.
3. Get a Permit
Give your neighbors peace of mind by obtaining a legal permit for your specific type of renovation. Do not start construction without the necessary documentation.
4. Hire a Considerate Contractor
When looking to hire a contractor, look for someone with positive reviews. This means that they respect their clients as well as their neighbors. A reputable contractor could maintain a sense of peace during the renovation process. Remind the contractor that they need to attempt to do their work with a minimal degree of disruption possible, and to maintain cleanliness as much as possible.
5. Schedule the Work Appropriately
Avoid any form of disruption in the early morning or late night. Instead, create a schedule that will not be excessively disruptive for your neighbors.
6. Be Proactive
The most common issues that neighbors have during the renovation period are related to noise and parking. Since noise is inevitable, it is important to set boundaries for your construction team. These should include the following:
- Do not, under any circumstance, block the neighbors’ driveways.
- Be clear about where they may park (and where they absolutely cannot).
- Ask the construction team to clean up, regularly.
- Be discreet about the times of work. It is best if it aligns with working hours. For instance, do not start any form of construction before 8 AM or after 5 PM.
7. Provide Regular Updates
Apologetically prompt your neighbours if:
- There will be a roadblock on unexpected days.
- There will be a large delivery that may potentially affect parking.
- There is an excessively loud workday scheduled.
- You are aware of the end date.
In addition to that, check in with your neighbors from time to time. Ensure that they are not going through any unnecessary challenges because of you or the construction team.
8. Be Solution-Oriented
In the inevitable situation that could easily occur due to excessive changes and disturbances, listen attentively and ask clarifying questions. Bring those concerns to your contractor, and proactively aim to smooth over issues. During stressful circumstances, it is pivotal to communicate effectively, while taking into account the other person’s feelings and safety. You could also gift your neighbors (as needed) something that will help them release the tension, such as a white noise machine, noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs, or gift certificates to therapeutic locations. While you are lending an ear and trying to be empathetic, if you believe that the complaints are unreasonable, it is best to refer them to the appropriate personnel in the department of city planning.
9. Give Thanks
After the renovation period is over and done with, it’s essential to ensure that the construction workers have holistically cleaned up the site. The final step is to prompt your neighbors that, finally, the work is complete. Thank your neighbors, in person, for their patience and understanding during this overbearing period. Offer a simple gift, such as flowers, baked goods, a bottle of wine, etc. Your neighbors will be just as happy as you are that the work is (finally) over. Trust us.
10. Celebrate and Tour
Host an open house, invite your neighbors over for a drink, socialise, and take the grand tour to witness the wonderful aftermath of the renovation. Your neighbors are probably feeling very curious about the work you have done there. You might even inspire someone else. You’ll never know who might be up for the next renovation. Your relationship with your neighbors can be damaged during high-stress situations such as a home renovation. The best way to keep them happy is to communicate effectively. If you are ready to take care of their feelings as well as safety, for sure, they will be ready to cooperate with you.
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