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Planning, the key to success 

By Brett Hawkins [email protected]

Brett Hawkins is the Managing Director of GMT 24:7, the first Home Emergency Response Service in the Algarve, delivering a rapid response to any household emergency, 24:7.

The success, or otherwise, of the majority of things we as individuals set out to achieve can often be measured by the extent of our planning.

When buying a car, for example, we begin the planning by first thinking about what we want.  In broad terms, this can be broken down into three key areas: specification, age and price.   

Specification might include power/speed, safety, size, technology and style.  Whereas, when we are thinking about age, we are considering the reliability and the risk of breakdown, together with other factors like a guarantee which might cancel out this risk.  Finally, we get to price – can the desired specification and age characteristics be achieved within budget?  If not, then a compromise of the three key areas needs to be reached.   

The same three key areas can be applied to most purchasing decisions, for example, buying a computer.  When establishing the specification requirements this would again include power/speed, safety, size, technology and style.  Consideration will also be given to the age of the computer, its reliability and what guarantees are offered.  Finally, can this be achieved for the desired price?   

So, what decision making process do you go through when setting about your home improvements? Whether it’s simple painting and decorating, a new kitchen/bathroom, an extension to your existing property or the construction of a new pool, adopting a similar planned approach will pay dividends in the future.   

When meeting your potential building contractor for the first time, make sure you discuss the specification of what they are offering, drilling down into the detail:   

• Power/speed – do they have the capacity and capability to carry out the works as described and within the timeframe stated? 

• Safety – does the building contractor take the necessary due care and attention to do the job properly and safely? 

• Size – dimensions can be critical, are they clearly stated? 

• Technology – for example, a new kitchen, has the building contractor specified what make/model of appliances will be fitted?  Or, how have the appliances been accounted for in the quotation? 

• Style – for example, a new bathroom, have you been given the option of choosing your own tiles?  How has this been reflected in the quotation? 

Then, similarly to buying a computer or a car, consideration should be given to age, reliability, guarantees and, of course, price. 

Make yourself comfortable with your building contractor’s reliability, check out their references/testimonials and be sure that all workmanship is guaranteed.  Most reputable building contractors will have a website where you’ll be able to find out more about them, and the way they operate.  If not, ask your potential building contractor to supply you with testimonials/references. Chances are, if they cannot be supplied, the building contractor may have something to hide.   

A common-sense approach is also important. If one builder has submitted a quotation on one side of A4, it’s unlikely that they will deliver the same quality and specification as another builder who provides four pages of detail, containing a full specification, together with assurances of reliability and guarantees. 

Therefore, make sure your builder provides you with an adequately detailed specification, something that can be referred to in cases of dispute.   

The key to success with any home improvement project is in the planning stage.  Typically, the cheapest quotation will not deliver the required result.  Be thorough in your planning to ensure you do get the desired outcome.   

GMT 24:7 offers free in-home consultations and their expert advice on the project in hand. With over 15 years experience operating in the Algarve, GMT 24:7 have their own team of experienced tradesmen, providing a comprehensive range of general building services, with all workmanship guaranteed.

To contact Brett Hawkins from GMT 24:7, please telephone 282 098 600, email [email protected] or visit