Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
#1 Find Inspiration What would you like to see included? Photographs, images online or from magazines, and written notes are all parts of the inspiration process. Can you Focus on the big picture (the looks and the function) leaving out the minor details at this point? For example, picture the new living room attaching to the kitchen. We are determining a general size , location, and functionality at this point. We are waiting until later to worry about the style of the door handles or the exact size of fireplace. Can you imagine yourself in the addition or remodeled room? Do this—and think about the activities you will perform.
#2 Work with a Design Professional Eventually the Inspiration process must give way to specific ideas and plans. This is a good time to bring in a design professional. An architect, or a specialist such as a certified kitchen or bath designer could be your design professional. Good design professionals can expand your options and offer expertise so you get results. Design build firms (Brands Construction) design and offer construction services. This is an increasingly popular option. Why? They can streamline the process, often saving time and money. Your designer can create plans that you can then review and revise. At this point you are still considering possibilities, and as decisions are made, what you will do on your project and perhaps engineering or legal issues come into view. Now is a good time to check with local building requirements and regulations or city ordinances. It doesn’t make sense to pay for design work on features not allowed. Contact us for more information on drawing your plans. We will also check with your local inspection office free of charge to see if a project is possible for you.
#3 Hiring a Builder or Contractor At his point a budget should be set. The decision of a contractor should be based on more than the $ amount. Do background checks for licensing and insurance, and check for customer complaints (the state contractor’s license board often tracks these). Other considerations - Are phone calls returned? Are meeting times honored? What are the dress habits? What is the vehicle condition? Does the company have professional literature? A web site? Is a contract given? A contract protects both parties. Things included: What work gets done and the $, a payment schedule, procedures for handling change orders, site issues such as parking and bathroom use, and how legal disputes are handled. Often, experienced contractors will have their own personalized contract template. This is fine as long as they include protection for their clients. (Example: they are to carry all insurances and proper licensing)
Top Service Contractors may be able to make sure you are in on schedule—no problem. However to some paying $50,000 for a remodel when another medium sized quality building firm with good references can do the same work for $35,000 would have them lean toward the smaller company. However— on May 31 you have a graduation celebration. All of the work must be completed! It may be a good idea if there is an exact date that the work needs to be done by—to pay for a service that will have it done. Even with a top service company—It may be good to add a few weeks. Plan ahead and state you would like the work to be completed the first week of May. If a reason needs to be given for the date—one reason could be that family will be in town that week. Most of us have family in town making this statement the truth. Having a little extra motivation for the builder doesn’t hurt… and having a little extra time just in case scheduling flexes can be good. This may be true even more if you chose to work with a good smaller to mid range building company such as Brands Construction who has to work even harder to make up for delays caused by the plumbing or electrical inspection, surprises etc.
#4 Demolition & Construction
At last the planning and preparation is wrapping up. You are ready to see actual work done! A checklist helps to ensure the project progresses quickly. First, make sure all the plans are complete and exactly how you would like them. Then verify all permits are obtained (Usually done by the contractor). Be sure any special order items are available, paid for, and on the way. This includes: Cabinetry, windows, and any other custom goods. They should be ordered and scheduled for delivery. Also—discuss with your contractor where to store the building materials, the dumpster, where trucks can drive, trailer and other vehicle equipment parking places, and any ways to minimize landscaping and property damage. Then - the project starts! Demolition happens quickly, especially if the job is small-scale. An exception is if a projects requires structural supports, such critical work can seem slow. It may help to remember the saying “An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of cure!” Then the pace picks up - Progress is happening—this is great! However—demolition and rough construction also introduce a lot of noise and mess. Be sure to have all personal items moved. Covering electronics with plastic or an old bed sheet is a good idea for household items not in the work zone. There is an uneven pace of events—the demolition and carpentry work will likely bring big changes quickly. Other tasks such as plumbing, mechanical, & electrical work can consume days without much apparent progress. There may also be delays in the Inspection process. The good news— soon the walls will be covered and the end will be in sight!
#5 Wrapping it up—Final Details Finish work is an exciting and frustrating portion of remodeling. You see glimpses of the final result, but progress seems slow. A drywall crew running behind can upset the tile installer or plumber. Good communication with your general contractor is needed.
Final Details. Write down items that need attention when the job is almost complete. Builders call this a
punch list, and it ensures that small details don’t get overlooked. The terms of many construction contracts allow you to hold up to 10 percent of payment until everything is complete—this is recommended.
This article reflects the reality of common residential remodeling projects. Your timeline may vary depending on the project type, the size, and the details included. Extensive whole-house remodels can easily surpass the 1-year mark—still most projects can be measured in a matter of weeks or months.
The key is good planning , good preparation, and understanding your goals before the demolition hammer takes that first swing.
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