Keeping up with the Joneses. Nobody tells you when you’re young that once you leave home and attempt to become a masterful and independent adult capable of all things, you’ll mainly be spending your weekends in garden centers and DIY stores. That’s because life is all about keeping up with the Joneses. It means trimming your lawn, painting the fence with a double coat of this year’s fashionable shade of brown, and replacing just about every item in your home with a slightly different version of that same item at least once per year. Because you can’t expect guests to put up with the same carpet or chair or lampshade forever. Inevitably, bigger jobs loom. Garage extensions. Driveways. Patios. Conservatories. A new roof. Probably best we learn how to keep the neighbors on the side while the building work takes place…
This is a great way to show your neighbors that you mean business – but only between certain dates. Give people an expected end to the noise, and they’re much more likely to take the knocking and the banging (and the poor choice of radio stations blurting from the builder’s van) in their stride. Check out some great customizable construction signs and add the details of the expected start and finish date for all to see. Also, let’s not forget that people are nosey. They love to know what’s going on. A sign indicating a new driveway is being laid, for example, will help to cut down on answering the repeat questions you’ll face with each and every neighbor that you bump into.
Post a Letter
A sign is a great start. Big and bold and there for everyone to see. But It’s brief. It’s a few words. And maybe a picture. But that is seldom the whole story. By writing and posting letters to your neighbors informing them of the building work taking place over the coming days or weeks, you can take the opportunity to address some wider issues head-on. For example, if you are replacing failing pipework, you may wish to inform your neighbors that they too could soon face the same problem. If you the work is being split between two dates, or if you know that the work on one of the nights is to extend into the evening, a personalized letter to put your neighbors in the picture will go a long way towards maintaining a positive relationship.
This is a cheap tactic. But if it’s dumb and it works, it isn’t dumb. You don’t need to spend a fortune on this idea. A simple zip-lock plastic bag with cookies and a note to say “Thanks for putting up with the building work, we’ll be done soon!” can help your neighbors to understand that you know while nobody likes to live near a building site. You’re doing your best to minimize the disruption and keep everybody up to date and fed with cookies while the necessary work takes place.