A lot of people don’t understand the sheer complexity of the remodeling contractor’s job, and the systems required to make a big project go smoothly.
Many analogies have been used to describe the professional remodeler: the conductor of an orchestra, the captain of a ship, even a general executing a military campaign. The point is that the remodeler is the one who must coordinate the innumerable players and products needed to transform the homeowners’ wishes and vision into a real-life addition, kitchen, or bath.
The remodeler has to make sure that everything happens just when it’s supposed to, and that the end result is exactly what the clients expected.
This process should begin before the plans have been drawn. Ideally, the remodeler will work with the architect or designer to detail the project so that it can be completed in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, and with the least disruption to the homeowners’ lives. Such collaboration can yield significant cost savings, as well as reducing headaches for everyone.
Once the plans are complete, the remodeler works with local zoning and code authorities to secure the proper permits. Professional remodelers have a thorough understanding of building codes, as well as good working relationships with local authorities. This is another big plus to hiring a pro: the building department will scrutinize more closely a permit application submitted by a homeowner, or even by a small contractor, than one submitted by an established company with a reputation for solid management and quality work.
Professional remodelers also have close relationships with quality subcontractors. And because the remodeler is a source of ongoing work for those contractors, prices offered will likely be less than prices offered to anyone else.
Once the project is under way, the professional remodeler’s management skills really make a difference.
These skills include:
• Keeping the job on schedule by ensuring that all workers and materials show up at exactly the right time. Timetables often change, with causes that range from bad weather, to late deliveries, to unexpected structural problems uncovered during demolition. The time and organization required to constantly adjust everyone’s schedules is something homeowners seldom see.
• Overseeing the job to guarantee that all trades deliver quality work and to ensure that the homeowners’ assets are protected. For example, if the weather forecast makes it risky to tear off the roof, the remodeler will have the authority to put it on hold even if the roofer wants to move ahead.
• Solving and preventing problems. A major renovation is an extremely complex undertaking with a million things that can go wrong—and that will go wrong without a skilled and experienced person in the lead. Having a pro in charge of solving problems takes a lot of stress off the homeowners.
• Completing the punch list at the end of the project. Everyone has heard horror stories of unprofessional contractors who left a job with a list of small things undone. The pro will make sure that everything is complete before the last worker leaves the job.
Finally, from start to finish the professional remodeler protects the homeowner by carrying the needed licenses and insurance policies and confirming that everyone else on the job is similarly covered.
A major remodel is not a seat-of-the pants endeavor: a successful project is the result of well-honed management systems. These systems are an important part of the professional remodeler’s value.
This is an excerpt from a newsletter that is distributed to all former, current and future clients of Village Builders Inc. If you would like to receive this newsletter feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Village Builders Inc