February 27, 2013

Quick over view of the home renovation process

Here is a summarized version of what the home renovation project cycle typically looks like from conception to actually getting started:

1. You, the homeowner, figure it’s time to update one or more rooms and/or the exterior of the home.  This may be in part forced upon you due to a number of reasons such as flood damage or a growing family or becoming ’empty nesters’ or needing the home to function better due to mobility issue or simply having had enough of that 1980’s vibe.  There are many many reasons for wanting to renovate or remodel … too many to list, but you get the idea.

2. So you start figuring out whether you can tackle some or all of it yourself.  Perhaps you get a little over whelmed with the choices available.  You have probably started talking to friends, family and neighbours about renovations they did to get ideas.  These days most people are also looking online for inspiration to some extent at least … if that were not the case you would not be reading this right now and I would be happily ‘talking’ to myself.  Any way, where were we … oh yes, inspiration.  My personal favourite right now is Houzz.com … they have a ridiculous number of images of all sorts of home related products and renovations / construction projects.  You may find a complete room that you fall in love with and want it replicated for your own home, or more likely you will find aspects of various photos which inspire you in different ways.  Perhaps the tone & colours from one, a material selection from another, the layout of a particular room, the lighting in something else … all these ideas together create a story board for your design inspiration.

3. OK so you have thought long and hard about the sort of look and given some thought to the level of finish and perhaps you have a rough idea of what you can afford to spend and would be comfortable spending on your project.  Hopefully you now have a very rough budget range in mind.

4. Now is a good time to think more seriously about who is going to do the work.  If you have the skill set, tools, knowledge, and the time to do it yourself then buckle up and get to work.  If however this is not your strength then that is where a professional contracting company such as ours comes in.  Make that initial call or send that email to your chosen contractor or a few if you do not have someone specific in mind.

5. Assuming we receive that call or email, we will ask you a few basic questions over the phone just to make sure that we can provide the sort of level of service you are looking for.  We will then set up an initial in-home consultation to review the scope of work, discuss the fundamentals (layout, key features, rough timeline, etc).

6. Once we have what we need from that initial meeting, we can then prepare a written proposal.  This will include details of the scope of your specific project, what is included within the total project cost, and allowances for elements of the design which you basically need to make choices over.  At this stage these are purely budget numbers … the actual specific selection of products/materials comes later in the cycle.  For example; for a bathroom renovation the allowances will include all the plumbing fixtures, tile per square foot, lighting, perhaps in-floor heat, trim, the vanity cabinets and countertop, mirrors and towel bars, shower glass, etc.  When it comes to bathrooms and kitchens especially, the possibilities in terms of what you can spend on these allowances covers a vast range … so it is key that you express during that initial meeting realistic expectations of the level of finish you are aiming for.

7. Jump forward to you having received and reviewed the proposal.  You may have some questions about some of the terms / language used.  If there is anything significant you wish to add or remove from the scope having had a chance to think things over and see how it relates to your overall budget then we can do that.

8. Jump forward again to the home owner having decided to proceed, then a formal contract is signed.  This protects all parties concerned and ensure that there is a clear understanding of the scope of work, the project timelines, and responsibilities of both the contractor and the home owner.

9. Now we get in to the real fun part (no not demo, that’s a bit later) … shopping!  Now is when we focus in on all those allowance items, deciding on fixtures, appliances, colours, materials, etc … everything needed to formulate an agreed design.  We can provide the assistance of interior designers and architects depending on the size/nature of a project.

10. Only once we have formulated a design and know where all the necessary ‘stuff’ is to come from, have the necessary building permits (where applicable) and how long it will take to get everything can we develop the project schedule & determine the actual start date.  This is to mitigate against starting too soon only to find we are short of a permit or a critical component and having to stop a job in progress.  Most home owners dread a contractor getting started then disappearing for days or weeks while they wait on that one special order part to arrive.  By planning ahead we can minimize the chance of this happening and reduce the overall disruption for you and your family.

In a later post we will talk about what happens once a project is under way.  Meanwhile stay inspired  😉