Why The Last Week on Site Can be so Painful

The last week on any project is usually the busiest, most stressful and most rewarding. Because there is a logical order to the last few days on site, any interference can topple your carefully orchestrated schedule like dominos. However well prepared you are, there are always things beyond your control and you need to be prepared to do some very instant and creative problem solving.

  1. Suppliers

It’s always best to keep on top of suppliers. You might feel it unnecessary to phone or email them once a week for updates, but lead times can be so long, that it can be 8 months between when you pay and when you receive the goods. You wouldn’t believe the number of times (reputable) companies present your order late, or worse, wrong.  If you have had a company say they are going to be late and deliver to the site on the last week, be prepare for lots of nervous anticipation and stress – if they turn up in the wrong fabric or with chrome legs when you wanted wood, there is no time to change it.

2. Snagging lists

Builders usually always need to return for minor touch ups – that bit of wallpaper that got torn, that light which is flickering, that tap which doesn’t run hot. Sometimes these take a few minutes to fix, and sometimes that need a day of drilling. If you are working in a flat this can be a problem, as you can only operate noisy machinery at certain times and it might disturb your schedule.

3. Furniture deliveries

last week

Unpacking a sofa

Make sure you have measured all the entrance and doorways in your building. Bed headboards and sofas are notoriously difficult to get into flats. Some companies send them in pieces to be constructed on site (make sure cleaners are ALWAYS booked after furniture deliveries – even if they aren’t drilling,  bits of cardboard and polystyrene get everywhere), but some companies will send them fully formed. The delivery men might well accidentally scrape the wallpaper, or bang a chandelier, or scratch the floor, so make sure items arrive with days to spare to put things right.

4. Foreign fittings

Even though you have bought a piece of furniture in the UK, that is no guarantee that it will come set up as such. Italian, French and German items usually come with European 3 pin plugs. American lights can require rewiring. A good example is a dilemma we faced on a recent project. A TV unit, purchased from British company Camerich, arrived with an Asian pin plug. You can’t change the plug, as that will void the warranty. You can’t not plug it in, as then your TV etc won’t have any access to electricity. If you use an adapter the unit won’t sit flush to the wall, which is very much the aesthetic it was selected for in the first place.

5. Delicate objects

After all the tradesmen have left, there will be bits you’ll have to complete, like stringing a chandelier, attaching lampshade or training curtains. These can be time consuming (large chandeliers can take around 4 hours – and they are very tiring on the arms so you can’t really do more than one in a day). These are often fiddly tasks that take twice as long when you are tired and stressed.

last week stress

Stringing glass balls for a light

final week jobs

attaching the glass balls

6. Cleaners and Finishing touches

Once everything thing else is sorted, the floor and carpet guards can come off and the cleaners can come in. No matter how clean the builders say they are going to be, you always need the cleaners to come in after. They can get booked up long in advance, so if other trades overrun it can be tricky to reschedule them. Now the fun part – standing back and admiring the design and adding finishing touches. This usually involves a quick dash to the shops for extra vases, fruit bowls, dishes etc, to make the place homely. Less fun if you haven’t left anything in the budget for it and then there are the things you’ve accidentally forgotten, and finishing touches like soaps and toilet paper. How ever well you have planned, seeing your design in the flesh will usually result in you wanting to tweak a few things.

last minute jobs

Final touches



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