If you’re about to undergo your first, and perhaps only, home addition or remodeling project, don’t be overwhelmed. Yes, there are some challenges ahead. From making product choices to having to adapt to a new schedule, there will be a number of hurdles to jump, however there is no need to go into the process blindly.
Now that you’ve chosen your general contractor or remodeler, here’s a list of six things to expect to help guide you along throughout your home project.
1. Day to Day Arrangements
You’ve chosen your contractor. Great! From day one of the project, expect your life to become a little busier. Although you will not be responsible for ordering materials and scheduling (your general contractor will handle this), you should still keep in mind there will be a number of deliveries and trucks coming and going. This may include a dumpster, a portable bathroom for the onsite workers, and materials throughout the job. Be aware when it comes to parking your car, needing to mow your lawn, arrangements with any pets and all other daily activities at your home. Plan ahead, so that your home project doesn’t affect your family’s day to day life too much.
2. Minor Yard Wear & Tear
As mentioned, there will be deliveries throughout your remodeling project. Expect some minor wear and tear on your yard, as trucks may from time to time need to drive over your lawn. There will also be a lot more foot traffic back and forth on your property. If you have any concerns regarding your yard, discuss them with your general contractor and the onsite crew beforehand to avoid any mishaps. For the most part, the crew should be used to taking care when it comes to the customer’s lawn. If there is a new foundation being put in, expect a lot of dirt to be displaced and moved around. This is unavoidable and a part of the project. This also means heavy machinery and tractors. Here, communication is key to ensure your property is not completely trampled. At the end of the project, expect to do some maintenance to get the yard back into tip-top shape.
3. Dust and Drafts
Should you be building an addition, at some point this will require cutting into your existing house. This means some slight drafts from time to time. With any remodeling project, there will also be the inevitable dust. Any crew involved with the demolition stages should take precautionary steps to avoid letting an abundance of dust into your home, particularly the hanging of plastic or cloth sheets upon your floors and walls to isolate the dust. This also means avoiding unwanted scratches or blemishes to existing floors and walls. The workers will also do their best to seal up any openings, which may be causing drafts.
However, be prepared for some dust and the occasional draft throughout the project. At the end of each day, the crew should make sure your home is buttoned up and cleaned as much as possible. You shouldn’t be finding a pile of sawdust in the middle of your hallway, even if the carpet has been ripped up. Additionally, during the final stages of the project there will be a final pick-up and cleaning to address all remaining concerns or messes.
4. Project Delays
Before the project begins, there should be an outlined plan for the entire schedule provided by the general contractor. Look it over thoroughly to ensure there are no conflicts with your own schedule. Keep in mind that there will always be the chance of delays or changes in the schedule, for various reasons. These could be change orders made by you the homeowner or poor weather conditions, both of which are out of the general contractor’s control. If such cases present themselves, expect some minor delays. It’s recommended you keep an open dialogue with the crew and the general contractor throughout the project to make sure everybody is on the same page. A day or two behind schedule is acceptable and common.
5. Change Orders: Price and Delays
What is a change order? Throughout the project, you may gain inspiration from another home you saw, decide to go with a different window location, or make other various changes. A change order is when you bring some alterations or changes to the initial contract. Keep in mind, any changes made along the way may affect the overall price and schedule of the project. Each change order should be clearly documented and approved by both the homeowner and the general contractor before being processed and completed. Changes are not uncommon, and at the end of the day, you want your home to reflect the vision you had. All changes and communication should be clear so you don’t receive an unexpected bill somewhere along the line. Make sure to request copies of all paperwork to stay organized.
6. Wiring Options and Future Planning
If you’re considering installing specific wiring for speakers or alarm systems, make sure the onsite electrician and crew are aware. Such systems will most likely be installed by separate companies hired by yourself, or by subcontractors, so you’ll need to ensure there are no conflicts of scheduling. Announcing plans for your surround sound system after the walls have already had sheet-rock or drywall installed would not go over well. This would result in delays and additional, unwanted costs.
In line with future planning, if you’re considering an in-law moving in with you, or intend on living in your home long-term, you may consider adding some age-in-place concepts. This could be adding wider door frames and hallways, additional blocking within bathroom walls for future grab bars, or other similar ideas. Plan ahead and be prepared. Your general contractor will be happy to accommodate your requests.
Perhaps you noticed the common factor with each of these steps is communication.
Keep an open channel of communication with your general contractor, the job foreman, and even the crew. It never hurts to double check on items if there appears to be any confusion. Should you want to make any changes to the schedule or the project, make sure you do so in a timely fashion. Lastly, stay excited about your home project and enjoy your new space. It’s your home and you should love it!