Going through a renovation on any part of your home or business can be a trying experience. It is a slow, intrusive process which can interfere with your day to day operations. To complete a renovation, it usually means hiring a contractor with whom you have little previous experience. The renovation can be emotionally draining, for both the client and the contractor. And even in the best of working conditions, you must be ready for possible delays and overages from unexpected problems located during the renovation process (e.g., exposed mould, asbestos in flooring, insufficient structural support, foundation cracking, non-code compliant electrical or plumbing systems).
If you are considering undertaking a renovation and are thinking of hiring someone to do some or all of the work, there are a few things which you can do to make the process progress more smoothly:
Have a Plan in Place Before Calling a Contractor
A contractor’s job is not to help you design your space. They don’t know what colours you like, or what tile your significant other may want. They may not know the best way to layout a kitchen space, or to light your media room. While their input should be valued, most contractors have hands on skills with building the space you will occupy, not designing said space. For most renovations, a good contractor will either have a designer they can refer you to, or have a designer among their own staff.
Having a good design in hand allows a contractor to bid more effectively, and will let both of you rest more easily during the construction process. Fewer communication mistakes will be made during the process if a set design can be referred to and followed without needing input at all stages of the project.
Be Prepared for Overages
Overages happen. I recommend to all of my clients that from their total budget, they set aside 10% for possible overages and problems. Events like discovering mould or damage from a previous renovation are common enough that being prepared for when they happen will save your sanity in the long run. And on the chance that your renovation goes well, and that 10% isn’t totally used up, it can be easy then to upgrade some of your finishing products before they are installed.
Avoid Changing Your Mind Repeatedly
As a contractor, this causes almost half of the frustration I experience during a renovation. Constantly adjusting the plan means constantly readjusting the already accepted bid, and slowing down production, and causing constant readjustment of the layout. There may also be change order charges involved, so read your contract closely, so you are not unnecessarily penalizing yourself during construction.
Follow any safety requirements your contractor relates to you. A renovation site, though within your home or office, is still an active construction site. That means that there may be dangers which you may not be aware of. Listen to your contractor, and respect the safety requirements they insist upon.
Be Aware of the Pay Structure
Keep the pay structure and pay schedule in mind when you are proceeding through the process. Make sure all milestones are clearly laid out in the contract, and that prices are specified. The contract should note how any changes will be dealt with. If you are uncomfortable with any of these portions of the contract, don’t hesitate to talk with the contractor, and even renegotiate the terms if necessary before work begins.
Also, note that the final payment of at least 10% should occur 45 days after the day of completion of the project. This is required by the Builder’s Lien Act, and should be followed for large renovations. This is particularly important if your contractor used subcontractors during the construction process.
At HGB Construction, we take pride in our work. We have been helping residents and businesses with their construction needs in the Edmonton area since 2013. If you are looking to get work done on your home or business space, give us a call. We can help you look after the little things.