August 2020

A new build is an exciting project to take on. You get to build your dream home and for many, its a once in a lifetime project. You will encounter lots of important milestones throughout the building and design process. One of the most important is the installation of the windows.

The installation of the new windows and external doors marks the point in the project where the house can be sealed up to allow the finishing to start. Once the finishing begins, you will start to see your dream home come to life. This is also the turning point in the project where lots of trades like tilers, painters and joiners amongst others will be able to start work. Nothing must jeopardise this critical stage of the project as a hold up will mean delays and could incur a cost for you. Here are 4 points to consider to ensure the window installation goes smoothly.

Lead times

All new windows and doors are on a lead time typically between 4-12 weeks. The lead time will depend on the windows that you choose and where the windows and doors are manufactured. The earlier you ask about the lead times, the better. Some systems may be on a long lead time which will rule them out for your project. The more informed you are, the more you will be able to make decisions that will help you to avoid any delays which can be stressful and costly.

Discuss the lead times with your contractor and find out when they need the windows and doors to be on-site. By having a clear understanding of the building program, you will be able to make the best choices and ensure there is no hold up to the project. Things like bespoke windows will need to be specially made so will have a longer lead time than the standard versions. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to explore your options well before the contractor starts on site.

Image courtesy of west limerick selfbuild

Be organised

The build is an unstoppable process, and this feeling that once you start, there is no turning back is probably the most unsettling of all. Be as organised as you can be; your contractor will have a program of works which can guide you to when critical decisions need to be made.

My advice, however, is to have all of your decisions made before the work starts on site. This is something I’ve always told my clients. But my experience of going through the process myself has confirmed it’s probably the best single piece of advice I could give anyone taking on a home improvement project.

Once the build starts, you’ll feel under pressure, there will be distractions and emotions to deal with, so you won’t be at your best when it comes to making decisions. Having the decisions made before anyone asks you to make them will significantly lessen the stress and make the process much more bearable. You might even enjoy it.


Make sure there are no hidden surprises when it comes to the cost. Discuss payment terms with your window company so that you are clear about when deposits and final payments will be due. Chat with your proposed window company representative about ways to get the best value for your budget. Often minor changes to the size of the individual glazing panels and tweaks to the design can lead to significant savings, especially where large areas of glass are required.

Image courtesy of west limerick selfbuild

Set realistic timelines

Coming to the latter stages of a home renovation is a time of mixed emotions, excitement, frustration, worry and most of all impatience to move back in. But don’t let impatience get the better of you. Rushing the process is not a good idea. The wIndow installation is something that needs to be done correctly, so allowing the contractor the appropriate amount of time to see that the work is carried out properly is essential.

There are a lot of moving parts and many people involved in getting your home ready. So, things don’t always go according to plan.

If delays do occur, it’s much better to adjust your move-in date. Sticking to an unrealistic date won’t speed things up but will actually prolong the process and risk ruining your relationship with all involved. Setting a finish date that everyone can work to is essential as it’s the best way to get everybody focused on finishing the job on schedule.


Denise O’Connor

Managing Director Optimise Design, B.Arch. RIAI RIBA
& Senator’s Expert Design Consultant
This blog post is sponsored, but the views expressed by the author are her own.

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