Top Tips for Surviving Building Work

Living on site while your building work is taking place has its ups and downs. If you're planning on staying put, follow our survival guide to make it as stress free as possible.

We know having building work done can be a stressful time. There will be a certain amount of upheaval and your home may look and feel completely different. However, living on site can have certain advantages if you plan correctly. Here are our top tips for surviving building work.

Stay organised

Being organised is probably one of the most important tips we can give you when it comes to surviving building work. There is often a lot to remember. Asking your builder for a detailed work schedule will help you understand what to expect. It will also give you the heads up for when things are happening (for example when water or power will be cut off and when other trades such as plumbers and electricians will be required on site).  

Be nice to your builders

Be nice to your builders. Seriously, your builders will be around all day every day, so it’s always good to be friendly and professional. Especially if you are going to see them on a daily basis. As the saying goes, be nice to those who are handling your food. Builders are there to make you happy and transform your home, so it doesn’t hurt to offer them a cuppa.

Invest in a portable heater

You may experience some cold nights, especially if you’re without a full roof or your boiler has been disconnected. You might want to avoid doing a big renovation during the Winter months, but if this isn’t possible investing in a portable heater can help take the edge off instead of wearing multiple layers and still shivering.

Save the hosting for another time

It’s a good idea to close your doors to visitors while the building work is being carried out. Your house will likely feel like an obstacle course, not to mention all the dust that will get everywhere. If the work involves disrupting your kitchen, you may have to set up a temporary cooking area and space will be severely restricted so it’s probably best to leave the hosting to someone else. There will be plenty of time to show off your home once work has been completed.

Be prepared for anything

Although you might have been told it’s safe to live at home while the work is being carried out, things can always change. You never know when your power might need to be cut off or your builders reach a crucial stage in the build that requires you to be off-site. Be prepared to pack a bag and stay with a friend or family member at short notice. It’s a good idea to keep a bag packed so it’s ready to grab and you don’t need to rummage through everything to find something.

Create a safe space

It’s likely that your home will not function as it usually does. Things might need to move around to make it liveable and you will probably need somewhere to escape the chaos. Try creating an area in your home that is away from the building work if possible. Keep all internal doors shut and ask your builders to use plastic sheeting to close off the space to avoid dust reaching your living or sleeping area. Fill your safe space with everything you might need, including a temporary cooking space and mini fridge if you are without a kitchen. This is also useful if you have kids or pets and you need somewhere to let them play.

Be on the lookout

With any building work taking place there will be potential hazards everywhere. Always be on the lookout for anything that might be dangerous and ensure your builders tidy up and don’t leave any wires exposed or sharp tools or objects in the way when they leave. Never leave your little ones or pets unattended. If you can, it’s best to keep them away from working areas at all times.

Be Flexible

Although it will be challenging staying on site during the build, you must be prepared to be flexible. There is a good chance the project could be delayed outside of your builder’s control and you will have to live through the chaos a bit longer. It’s also inevitable that there will be a lot of cleaning to do as you go and at the end. Being flexible is key to making it as stress free as possible – always remember it is only temporary!


Living on site does have some perks. You will be able to monitor progress more easily, be on hand to make any quick decisions or address any issues that arise. Not to mention the cost benefit of not moving into temporary accommodation.

If you go into it with an open mind and follow our tips for surviving building work, you will find the process a lot easier to manage.

At the Association of Master Tradesmen we have finely selected builders nationwide. To find a vetted builder, post your job on our website.


More Posts

Do I Need Planning Permission?

If you’re wondering if you need planning permission for your extension or any other type of building work, our helpful guide explains the different requirements.

Your Guide to a Single-Storey Extension

Adding an extension to your home has many benefits. If you’re considering adding extra space, we’ve got you covered with our complete guide to a single-storey extension.

How To Add Space and Value to Your Home

Whether you’re looking to add extra living space or simply change its internal look and feel, there are plenty of ways you can add space and value to your home to suit all budgets.

7 Top Tips for Working with Your Builder

Employing a builder is a big decision to make. When you’re letting someone into your home and spending large sums of money, it’s important that you and your builder get on.

The Association of Master Tradesmen provides Local, Vetted Builders all over the UK.

© 2023 Association of Master Tradesmen.