In this livestream video, I share insider tips on HOW TO PLAN YOUR HOME RENOVATION TO AVOID UNNECESSARY DELAYS AND DRAMA. If you don’t want to be THAT Renovation nightmare story that everyone talks about, you know the one where your project is delayed for weeks, months or years. That is one viral story you do not want to star in. Watch the video below where I show you how to plan out your home renovation projects so they are completed as QUICKLY as possible WITHOUT all the drama and potential delays.
Renovation purgatory has nothing warm and fuzzy about it. It’s a horrible place to be…that zone where things are at a stand still…nothings happening, nobody knows what’s going on, we’re just waiting…waiting…waiting. Worst feeling ever.
1. KNOW WHAT YOU PLAN TO DO
- What do you want to do?
- Are you keeping the existing floor plans? Or changing them?
- Are you planning to do the work with permits?
I won’t get into detail about permits, but almost anywhere you live has a building department – the one local to me refers to it as the Building & Safety Department. The great thing about it being 2018 is we have the internet and most information you need is available online. You can find out what you need permits for and what’s not. I will say that most bigger home improvements require a permit such as a bathroom or kitchen renovation. If you are just doing a cosmetic makeover it won’t be needed, but if you are touching plumbing and electrical, you are technically required to get a permit. Not everybody does. I’m not condoning one or the other. You can make that decision for yourself, but just know that if you choose to do work with a building permit, you will need to follow protocol (it’s going to be different with every city, county, state, country). They have their own way of scheduling, most are online now, and requires a lot of planning. Don’t expect to get an appointment immediately. I’m here in the SF Bay Area and everybody is renovating so expect for it to take several days before you can get on the calendar so plan accordingly. If your contractor says they can get an appointment right away, do not believe them. Gone are the days you had inspectors in your back pocket. It’s all automated. It’s all computer scheduled. Plan for it or you’ll waste valuable time waiting for an inspection and hope that you pass right away before you can move onto the next phase of the project.
You’ll also need to have existing and proposed plans drawn. If your project is simple like a bathroom where everything is staying in the same exact place, you can draw the floor plans yourself. If it’s a more complicated project like a whole home remodel, especially if there are walls being moved or taken down, which also require structural engineer specs and stamps, new plumbing and electrical configurations, etc., hire a Drafter, Designer or Architect to create the plans for you.
If you are not good at making decisions, my biggest advice for you is to hire a professional to help get you through certain phases of the project. If you and your spouse or partner cannot come to a decision, hire someone to be the neutral 3rd party, to be the voice of reason, to be the person with experience to be able to advise on cohesiveness of your plan, viability of your plan, make sure your design plan is “eclectic” if that’s what you’re going for and not schizophrenic.
Professionals can assist with:
- Design Plans and Materials Sourcing
- Full Project Management
2. MAKE SURE YOUR CONTRACTORS / TRADES KNOW WHAT THESE PLANS ARE
- DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING
- SPELL IT OUT
- PICTURES, DRAWINGS, WALK THROUGHS, TALK THROUGHS, OUTLINE, CONFIRM, RE-CONFIRM, CHECK-IN, QUESTION
Am I making myself clear? It doesn’t matter how often I go through the plans, it’s not enough. I’ve pinned up photos on-site, plans on-site, punch lists on-site, and still there are questions, so just know that it’s part of the process. Most Contractors are not the most detail oriented people and they’re working on multiple projects at the same time so you have to be available and on top of things, it’ll only be to your benefit in the long run.
Example: a bathroom renovation
Demo leads right into Rough Plumbing and Electrical. The Contractor needs to know what kind of fancy things you have planned.
Plumbing – rain shower head? Tub/shower or just shower? dual shower head? Walk-in shower with a linear drain?
Electrical – heated toilet seat? towel bar? under cabinet lights? type of lighting – bath bar? sconces? recessed lights? How tall are the lights? Do you need clearance for the mirror?
Rough carpentry work ex: recessed medicine cabinet – need to know the dimensions so they can make modifications to the framing and the list goes on.
3. HAVE ALL YOUR MATERIALS ON-SITE ASAP
2 main reasons projects are stalled: Not having materials on site and Trades not showing up.
You must have all your materials on site for install when the Trades are ready. Otherwise, they’ll move to another project.
There is preliminary work that needs to be done in the rough-in stage that requires materials specs and having materials on site is important.
- Not having materials available will slow down the project
- Not having materials available specs / dry fits, design checks, etc. will slow down the project or cause errors which will delay the project
- Ordering early triggers earlier shipping and delivery, you’ll know if back ordered sooner, if delayed, damaged, wrong product / color with time to fix as needed
- Construction is a series of events that happen one right after another and having the specs and materials is integral to the success of the project.
4. HAVE ENOUGH MATERIAL ON SITE
I personally hate overage but you need it. The recommended amount is to order 15-20% more than you need.
- Not having enough stalls project so if you choose not to order “extra” – is the product readily available? No long lead time? No long delivery / shipping time?
- Make sure same dye lot / color run
- Make sure not discontinued
Other reasons to have materials on site:
- Need specs to do rough work, i.e. medicine cabinet recessed into wall. Need to know the recessed dimensions to do rough framing
- Need instructions on how to install to ensure there’s sufficient bracing – ex: wall hung toilet – need plumbing specs and will need it for inspections; wall hung sink – what is the weight and how does it need to be installed – what will hold the weight behind the scenes? What do you want it to look like after it’s installed?
5. CREATE A CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE
Timeline – how long will it take? what’s going to happen and when? This is a collaboration between you as the homeowner and the Trades that you hire to work on your project.
It’s important to calendar all the activities involved with your project, such as
- rough plumbing and electrical
- drywall / waterproofing
- tile shower area
- tile floor area
You get the idea…Once you have it calendared, you will need to oversee the entire project timeline to ensure project runs smoothly.
It’s important to having someone who knows what the intended plans are, what the materials are, what the end vision is and to make sure that the crew is executing your vision as outlined is imperative.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking the GC is the Project Manager.
I encourage you to put the construction schedule on a google calendar that is shared between yourself and all the trades and review that calendar on a daily and weekly basis. Delays are a domino effect. As much notice as you can give to each trade, you’ll be able to reduce the downtime significantly
Now you know how to plan your home renovation to avoid unnecessary delays and drama .
- KNOW WHAT YOU PLAN TO DO
- MAKE SURE YOUR CONTRACTORS / TRADES KNOW WHAT THESE PLANS ARE
- HAVE ALL YOUR MATERIALS ON-SITE ASAP
- HAVE ENOUGH MATERIAL ON SITE
- CREATE A SCHEDULE WITH YOUR CONSTRUCTION TEAM
I know this is a lot so I created a Home Renovation Planning checklist to help you stay on track. You can download the checklist for free here.
I hope these tips opened your eyes to what to expect when planning your home renovation. This is not exactly the fun part , but it is important not to wing it and pray for the best. Leave me a comment below and let me know which tip you found most valuable.
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