Anticipating a home renovation project is exciting for most homeowners. Once they decide to make the leap from dreaming to doing, a range of emotions can kick in as they contemplate how their life will change for the better in an improved home that better suits their needs. The urge to get started can be overwhelming, and this is where a homeowner can get into trouble.
For anyone not familiar with the construction industry, it's easy to overlook all the steps involved in getting from planning to completion. When you consider all of the elements involved in a home renovation, it is an excellent time to remember the famous "5 P's": Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Home renovation planning
Proper home renovation planning is more than just getting a design down on paper and providing an estimate based on that. That's just the first step and a relatively short one. What comes after that makes the difference between possible failure and a project that succeeds beyond the homeowner's expectations. Here at Mitchell Construction Group, we designed our planning process to produce accurate plans upfront to minimize the risk of cost and schedule overruns. Proper planning is all in the details.
It starts with taking the time to look at different design options and the opportunities they present to achieve different goals. For example, one design might give you, say, the additional space you’re looking for, but a variation of it suddenly makes that space much more flexible to accommodate a variety of uses.
It’s not just completing the design that triggers the start of construction. Proper planning includes considering the production side of things and what needs to happen to complete your project on time and on budget successfully. That's why we prefer to introduce the production team while our clients meet the design team. That's how we set the stage for construction by understanding what your design will need for labor, materials, and permitting. Many municipalities have adopted new energy codes on top of whatever permits or regulatory compliance might be required by their zoning, planning, conservation, health boards, or historical societies, depending on your specific renovation project.
Another reason why it's so important to have the production team engaged during the design phase is so they can provide a "checks-and-balances" function, ensuring that all design considerations are, in fact, possible at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable timeframe. The last thing you want is to be weeks into your project, only to be disappointed when you discover that part of the renovation you thought could be accomplished cannot be.
Once you have the design and requirements determined, it's time to develop an accurate pricing strategy and a detailed production schedule. This level of planning enables vendors and subcontractors to be lined up and ready to go, avoiding unnecessary, unexpected, and potentially expensive delays once work gets underway.
The home renovation process
At Mitchell Construction Group, we have a proven five-phase home renovation process to complete our projects as planned. As shown in the following process graphic, we define detailed planning for a home renovation as the first three elements of an overall renovation.
The three detailed planning steps are described here.
The first phase of your renovation project includes:
Answering a client questionnaire to convey your needs, wants, and preferences
Our design team taking initial measurements and photos to help us develop an accurate, appropriate design
Setting up a Houzz or Pinterest account for you, enabling you to collaborate directly with your design team
Reviewing all zoning and permitting requirements
Once this phase is completed, you receive detailed preliminary plans, a detailed scope of work, and a rough time frame for project completion.
2) Design Development
The second phase of your renovation project includes:
Consolidating design options into a single updated, detailed plan
A refined scope of work that takes into account every task and item to minimize errors, delays, and overruns
Approval and purchase of all products and materials before scheduling to create an accurate and achievable project timeframe
Final, detailed project schedule, including daily activities as well as start and end dates
You’ll now receive a complete set of detailed plans along with an accurate, reliable schedule to implement them.
3) Construction Documents
The complete set of construction documents includes:
A fixed-price construction contract that consists of a detailed scope of work and pricing schedule
A detailed daily schedule of activities
A set of town permits which are submitted for approval
Insurance documents submitted to the town, and you, the homeowner
A duplicate set of construction documents for the project manager to use in the day-to-day project management
Signed selection sheets for the material finishes
Timeframes for renovation projects
The home renovation industry is currently booming. After being confined to their homes during the pandemic and coping with issues and inadequacies daily, many homeowners decided to make improvements by renovating.
However, home prices are at all-time highs. The demand for home remodeling and construction outweighs the availability of construction materials and the skilled labor to implement them. Currently, higher-quality design/build construction firms are in high demand, and homeowners should plan accordingly because it most likely will take longer than typical to complete a renovation project. It’s important to engage the contractor of your choice as soon as you decide to renovate to minimize delays and begin the planning process as quickly as possible.
Keep in mind that supply chain problems will still be an issue for months to come, so it's beneficial to engage with a contractor who fully understands this challenge and has a process in place that takes it into account. The goal should be to work with a construction firm with a production strategy that enables planning, purchasing, and construction to happen in a seamless, uninterrupted timeline.
Material and labor costs are increasing
Like every aspect of the current economy, the building industry is still unpredictable. Material shortages continue to occur, and price swings that used to be year-to-year are now changing month-to-month. At Mitchell Construction Group, we purchase finished materials for construction as soon as possible to control costs and know we have the materials on hand to install. Purchasing materials for renovation is a full-time job for multiple employees who have their fingers on the pulse of the industry. They’re constantly updating prices from numerous suppliers and know how to buy the best materials at the best price without sacrificing quality. This process takes time to provide the best results for clients and minimize price increases. The reality today is that any renovation project that is not planned correctly by a contractor will experience significant price increases and delays in material delivery.
Time is money
Any home renovation project must be properly planned to reduce risk and avoid unnecessary expenses. And proper planning takes time. While optimism is a healthy attitude to have, a dose of realism helps these days when planning anything. So don’t be afraid to plan a renovation project, be aware that you’ll need to invest a little time to save money and achieve the home of your dreams.