Curse of the Neverending Project
It’s a dark and dreary morning in the middle of October, your home is gutted and laid bare from an ambitious home renovation in progress. You grow anxious, worrisome thoughts about your project start to creep up. And then… It happens. A phone call rings out, you check the screen to see it’s your trusty contractor who you hired to handle this project. But he’s running late. You answer with a cold sweat and hear the horrifying words, “I’m going to need to re-schedule your project. I’ll be back in a week.” Cue thunder and lighting.
It happens, projects getting rescheduled, but it doesn’t always have to happen. And when it doesn’t it certainly doesn’t mean you and your home aren’t going through a waking nightmare. Nobody likes getting their project delayed but there are always factors for your home improvement project where the schedule keeps getting longer and longer. The key to success is establishing expectations. In order to prepare yourself just in case, this nightmare house scenario happens try thinking about these tips and tricks to treat yourself during your remodel, renovation, and more.
Builders, Contractors, and Subs oh my
One of the most important decisions you as a homeowner make is selecting who will be the one in charge of doing the work. Choosing a contractor or builder or subcontractor can be a bit scary but even more so if you don’t know the outright differences between them:
A General Contractor – is someone who manages a team of subcontractors to complete a project involving numerous trades.
A Builder – is an all-in-one company who has in-house workers completing the construction from start to finish.
A Subcontractor – is someone who is hired by a company or organization to handle a singular project involving a specialized trade (ie. electricians, plumbers).
Now that you know the difference between them they don’t seem so scary anymore, right?
Selecting the right person for the right job
Depending on the size and scope of your project, you will need to figure which worker/workers are best for you. If you are doing a simple change of countertops or flooring – a subcontractor would suffice. They specialize in a single trade or to get a specific job done and this should also be more affordable to you as the homeowner by choosing this option for a small-scale project. However, if you are doing something larger like a whole kitchen remodel, bathroom renovation, or basement finishing; you are going to need a general contractor. These people will act as the project manager of your home improvement and take care of looking over all the trades involved agreed on that contract. But what if I just manage all the subcontractors myself? You certainly can, but just make sure you understand that’s a lot of extra work and planning involved to cycle a bunch of different people in and out of your house. On schedule. In an organized fashion. That is why general contractors are a benefit to you, you save time and hassle. Also, some general contractors have great business relationships with these subs, so there might be some actual savings having the GC hire a company rather than you as a new customer hiring them.
Uncovering the Dark Secrets of Your Home
Starting a new project is supposed to be all about the bright shining future but not every home has a clean slate to leave the past behind with. There are times when there are unforeseen conditions. These things, more common for older homes, need to be addressed so your home will be up to code and meet the requirements to last as a worthy investment.
A common nightmare situation we find ourselves in is when remodeling an older basement. Typical with older homes, the crawlspace and unfinished basement area might have some misplaced or even missing structural foundations. As a result, you might have just started demolition to getting your project on its way only to find out the city will require you to install a new support beam or foundation setting. These things are necessary for a safe home but they do create an unwanted expense and commitment in time to complete.
Some homes have their own hidden features they have been keeping from you. There might be a random piece of construction lurking within your walls. Or there could be a rouge vent line or electrical fixture. Whatever the secret might be, most homeowners and contractors won’t know about it until the project is underway. Demolition has a funny way of bringing out everything there is to know about your home to light. Just know as a homeowner, when you embark on a remodeling project you should be prepared for just about anything.
Toxic Ghosts of the Past
When we mean toxic, we mean things like asbestos or lead paint. This again is usually reserved for older homes that have passed through time with various updates. There can be asbestos tile laid underneath hardwood floors or other updates that simply covered up the original home. These items were used all over the place back in the day. In order to create a safe home, these items (if found) need to be abated and removed properly. Depending on the size of the toxic treasure that was uncovered in your home, just expect a couple of extra day’s time to get things cleaned up.
Tips to help move your project along
Now that we covered some examples of the unforeseen that can keep your project timeline held back, let’s go ahead and take a look at some things that might help you be proactive. There is not a whole lot within your power once a project starts but there are some things that matter a great deal and your as a homeowner are responsible for.
During projects, some material finishes might go out of stock. That may leave you stranded with some issues like not being able to finish a tile backsplash the way you wanted. This leaves your contractor waiting for you to choose and order something else. Chances are there is shipping involved and it just may not be the right fit for your home. A good way to avoid this nightmare is to get a couple of pre-approved selections (with your contractor) established as a backup before the project starts. Check-in with your contractor to see if some other options you have selected for tile finishes or paint colors are ok for them to work with. This takes care of any setbacks with dragging out the construction schedule.
Give Access to Your Home
Letting some strange people into your home is a scary concept. But contracting companies can operate better when you give them unfettered access to your home (during normal business hours) even while you are away. It doesn’t always mean you have to give them the key to the mansion but it helps when you don’t hang out at home to babysit the workers. Make sure there is access to your home when the remodeling company needs and you can ensure that your project will stick to its schedule. Most companies have insurance policies involved with client security as their liability, so if anything were to happen, you as a homeowner should be covered.
Keep communication Open
90 percent of workplace mishaps are because someone didn’t get the memo. Your home remodel project is no exception, if lines of communication are down the project can quickly devolve into a nightmare scenario. A good contractor or remodeling company should always be able to answer any of your questions… If you know who to ask. Now, a disclaimer, the workers, and subcontractors can be decent sources for diving insight on your project’s current standing. But, always remember to defer to the person in charge, whether that be a project manager or general contractor. Those authorities will be able to give you the right answers, whereas a subcontractor might not have the full scope beyond their trade.