Understanding the construction process will help owners manage their expectations.
Here’s a quick quiz...
It’s two months into a major kitchen and great-room remodel. Bearing walls have been removed and new structural beams installed. Old plaster has been stripped. New wiring and plumbing has been roughed-in, insulation blown between the studs, and sheets of drywall screwed in place. The drywallers are sanding the seams in preparation for that first, shiny coat of paint. How do most homeowners feel?
The question illustrates a crucial issue. There are two things happening at each stage of a project: the actual construction and the homeowners’ perceptions and evolving feelings about it. Fortunately, most people react in predictable ways at predictable times, so an experienced remodeler will understand how to help owners through the inevitable ups and downs. If the homeowners know what to expect, the ride becomes easier and more enjoyable.
As the project begins, homeowners are typically very excited—and why shouldn’t they be? Pre-construction ups and downs involving plans, specs, and product choices are behind them. The space they’ve been imagining for years is about to take shape.
Emotions tend to remain high as workers start removing the old frame and finish. Yes, it’s a hassle not to have a working kitchen, but it’s only temporary and will be worth the final reward.
The final result will more than offset any short-term inconvenience, but the project may take longer than the homeowners are emotionally prepared for. Shows like “Extreme Home Makeover,” where a home gets renovated in a week, give a false impression. This kind of television magic may add stress to real-life schedules.
Once the interior framing is complete and the electricians, plumbers, and heating technicians begin roughing in their systems, emotions may take a dip. Progress seems to slow and excitement can wane.
At this point, it helps for homeowners to remember the importance of good lighting, plumbing, and heating to their long-term satisfaction. Investing the time to do things right will pay off big later on.
As professional remodelers, we understand how challenging this phase of the project is for homeowners, and we step up our communication about the progress that is being made. We find that providing an understanding of what is going on, along with realistic time estimates, helps to even out the emotional bumps for homeowners.
After the rough-ins are done, the contractor insulates the walls and hangs and finishes the drywall.
We are now entering the home stretch. The last phase includes installation of trim, flooring, cabinets, and fixtures. Here, excitement begins to rise again as the finish line pulls into sight. By final cleanup, emotions will be at a point nearly equal to where they were at the beginning.
How best to navigate this emotional journey? How does one enjoy the highs and take the dips in stride? Awareness about the process goes a long way. Study the schedule and know what is going to happen and when. Think of the project as a story, and the schedule as the plot outline. A good remodeler will work with the homeowners to fill that outline with details that minimize the impact of the tough times with an eye on delivering a quality project that meets the owner’s vision, on time and on budget.
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