Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What To Expect When You're Renovating

home reno
If you've never lived through a remodel before and are planning on taking on a big project, you'll be understandably nervous. What will it cost?? How long will it take?? Apart from the large expense and the excitement of seeing your space completed, you won't help but feel a little apprehension. If you know what to expect, you might be better prepared for the renovation. 

Reality TV shows have given most homeowners an unrealistic view of what a renovation will be like. Extreme Home Makeovers do not happen within a few weeks and beer budgets seldom mate well with champagne tastes. Most home shows do not ever explain the true realities of the time and expense to properly plan, design and build a quality remodel. The realities are that few clients have the big picture in mind at the start of the discussions. It is our professional duty to assist in getting them as close to their vision by bringing all the factors together.

This one is up there. There will be dust and it will migrate everywhere. Smaller or dedicated spaces can be sealed off by doors or plastic sheets. But don't kid yourself. The dust will migrate everywhere. As long as renovators and trades have to trek through your house to get to the space being renovated, the dust will travel. If not needed, shut off your HVAC system completely. In colder weather this is easier said than done. Closing off intake and supply vents in the area being renovated will help, but will not solve the problem completely. Other solutions exist such as Air handlers, Compression fit walls and Zip walls. This will however add to the cost of the renovations. Budget for a complete duct cleaning and a Maid Service to do a whole house clean up after the renovation is done.
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The noise will be incessant. Screaming saws, loud compressors and nailers will see an end to your peace and quiet. Don't count on working from home unless there is a fair distance between your Home office and the construction zone. That's just the machinery. Most construction crews are nice guys (and an occasional girl), but they tend to talk over the tools, sing loudly and quite often out of tune and often relate jokes and anecdotes that would make a sailor blush.
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If there is one thing that you should expect, it will be this. Asbestos, uneven flooring, previous poor workmanship, bad wiring and funny plumbing. Unfortunately you will not be laughing and neither will your renovator. Count on finding something that no one could have anticipated in your budget and time frame and you will be well prepared when that time comes.
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The hated relative of 'the unexpected' is the 'change order'. This is where any new or changed work is documented along with added cost. Change orders can sometimes put a final figure to an allowance that was set aside for a certain part of the renovation that could not be quantified at the start of the project. Quite often, a change order arises from items that clients decide to add or change. When you most absolutely positively have to have the Italian tile or the special order perspex sheet for the front of the bar, you can be sure a change order is on the way. Always consider that the project will run over budget and estimate a bare minimum of 10% over the contract price as a contingency. 20% if you want to be realistic. Be prepared to do some 'value' engineering if the need arises.

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It rains, snow falls, people get sick, cars break down and sometimes that custom shower door that was on a two week delivery schedule is now at 6 weeks due to high volume and production issues. You and your renovator are working from a schedule that assumes that the world is a perfect place. It's not. The resilience brought about by this knowledge will help when your schedule shifts.
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Where do we put this outlet? How high should my shower head be? What about the shower controls? What about the hardware? Satin Nickel, Oil Rubbed Bronze, or Polished Brass???? Head spinning yet??? Count on making hundreds of decision as the project proceeds. Your designer and renovator will have knowledge of the standards for placement of fixtures etc., but there are times you may want some customization. Just remember, the most important decision you will be making is in the choice of who you choose to renovate your place.
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You and your spouse (or partner) may think you're on the same page financially and aesthetically until a major renovation. All the dust, noise and decision making can test your relationship in ways you did not think possible.

As in the Cherry on your Sundae or in your Black Russian....... At the end of the project, expect a couple of high impact items that will take a little longer to resolve than anything else. It may be a chandelier that arrived broken or a statement piece for the bar that has not yet arrived. The important thing is to get all the details just right, even if it takes a little longer.
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Expect that you'll want to show off your newly renovated space. We've been fortunate to have been invited to our client's 'reveal' parties. It is truly gratifying to see a well finished space filled with beautiful people enjoying themselves.

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