The excessive time some remodeling projects last give the industry a bad rap. Stories of projects that drag on are told in an effort to gain bragging rights. Neighbors try to one up each other. “My kitchen was supposed to take a month and it took three!” someone will brag. Someone else will chime in with, “My master bath addition was under construction for six months after our contractor told us it would take two!” Another will counter with, “My basement took four times as long as we were told!”
Frankly, I’d keep it to myself because what these people are really doing is bragging about how they hired:
a) Someone who flat our lied about how long a project takes
b) Someone who was completely inexperienced in that type of project
c) Someone who is completely inadequate at scheduling and/or managing a project
The truth is, an experienced remodeler will be able to tell you, fairly accurately, how long your project will take. Barring a natural disaster.
I found an excellent article, from designbuildpros.com, that outlines six things every homeowner should discuss before a remodeling project, but rarely do. Much to my surprise, “ongoing schedule” was on the list. What? If I’m laying down tens of thousands of dollars – or any amount for that matter – I’m going to need a schedule. A daily schedule. And I’m going to need my remodeler to stick to that schedule. Here’s what designbuildpros.com had to say:
Just about every homeowner will ask their remodeler, “How long will this project take?” However, this question usually occurs at the initial meeting, and is never discussed again. Your project could have changed significantly since that first meeting, changing the project duration. It is imperative that your remodeler put the anticipated start and completion dates in writing. In addition, the status of the schedule should be discussed at several pre-determined points in the project. Knowing when a delay occurs, and how it will affect the completion, will allow you to plan accordingly, and make for a more pleasant experience. Some companies offer a guaranteed on-time completion on remodeling projects, and update their clients weekly via email with progress reports.
Whether you are planning a large or small remodel, you’re going to be paying a lot. Demand more for your money! I’m not suggesting you squeeze your contractor on materials or labor, or that you try to negotiate some bargain basement deal. What I am suggesting is that you ensure that you’re given a project schedule with, at the least, dates of milestones like cabinet install, tile install, flooring completion, countertop install, etc.
It’s your home. You have the right to know who’s coming and going each day, and you have the right to know what will have taken place. If a remodeler isn’t willing to provide you with a schedule, then maybe he’s not the right remodeler for your job.
Keep in mind that sometimes things happen and the schedule will change. If a manufacturer delays a cabinet shipment for a week, or an installer drops a slab of granite, the schedule will change and a good remodeler will communicate with you and give you an updated schedule.
The benefits of a schedule are that you’ll be in the know about your project and you’ll be able to tell if reasonable progress is being made. Then you’ll be able to say, “My remodeling project was done exactly when my remodeler said it would be done.” Now that’s a bragging right worth having!