As I have already pointed out in my earlier post about my studio build there are a number of things you need to settle first. The first one is arriving at a vision of the studio that you want, that suits the work you do. The second thing is to make sure you've dealt with the necessary planning and building regulations. Once these two matters are settled then you can move on to the job of making the thing happen.
DIY or Builder?
A question that is going to cross your mind is do you undertake the studio build yourself or do you get in a builder to do the work for you? Well that depends on a number of things;
- The skills you have.
- The tools and plant required.
- Your understanding of plans and building code.
- Your budget. Saving money but losing it at the same time.
Do You Have The Skills?
The first thing to consider is the skills you have, hanging a door and wiring a plug is a lot different that a build or conversion project. If you do have the skills and a mate who will work for beer/gear/both and it's a relatively simple project then this may be an option.
Do You Have The Tools?
During my build the team who worked on it used a variety of tools - around £50,000 worth of various bits of equipment. Do you have these? If not, is it worth paying for these for just for this one job? Are you trained and skilled enough to use these tools? Would hiring them be possible and if so you need to budget for the hire costs. What became apparent during my build was that it was as much the team having the right tools as it was them having the right skills - sometimes we can forget this.
Do You Know How To Read Plans And Apply Regulations?
Third, if the job has plans and more than likely also has building codes to apply then you need to be certain that you know how to read plans and how to build to the relevant building codes. This is not a Google moment, you may think you can 'manage' to do some of the stuff you've seen other builders do but if you are not careful you may need to get a builder in to put your bodge job right - then it will cost even more money.
Your installation needs to be safe and fit for purpose, especially with things like electrics. One example I have is that when the electricians came to spec the job they found the supply to the garage we were converting was simply running off a spur on the back of a kitchen outlet. It had no direct connection to the main supply, it was only 10 amps and ran 40 metres, which when you add all those things up it spells trouble. This meant running a new 74 amp supply underground to the main box - but had I been thinking about doing it myself I may well have not realised this. They say if you think a professional is expensive then you should try using an amateur - I think in this case it was true.
How Much Will It Cost?
The final part of this equation is the budget you have to spend, will using professional help work with your budget? Only you can do those sums for your job but as a self employed person I always do an equation when making this decision. If I am going to do the work myself then that means I can't be making money doing my day job so any calculation needs to include the cost to my business in that.
So if you usually charge £350 per day for your time and will spend 20 days on this project then that is £7000 of lost time you could be making the money to pay someone to do it for you. If of course you are sure you have some down time when your business is not going to make any money then it may be the way to do this - but make sure that you don't rob yourself by trying to save money.
I know a lot of people are reading this series waiting for the sexy room and gear shots and perhaps thinking the early parts of the series are not necessary.
On the contrary, it took 4 months to plan my studio build and 4 weeks to build it. Planning and preparation are essential if you don't want to end up wasting time and money and in some cases ending up with a white elephant.
In the next instalment you will get to see some sexy pictures...