Home Renovation Timelines

Cash Deal Contractor

After ‘how much will it cost’ and ‘do you do free estimates’ (which we will address in future articles), the next biggest questions I am asked are ‘how long will it take’ and ‘when can you start?’ While the first question is much harder to answer and usually goes along the line of ‘well, how much does a car cost,’ meaning, the range is very wide and it really depends on what you want to do. It’s impossible to answer with nothing more than a budget range. Schedules can however be a little more predictable, at least at the outset.

As a case study, let’s take what we find to be one of the most popular and common renovations which consists of the removal of a couple of walls, new kitchen, new flooring, lighting and a few special features in the family room. To do this project right, from the day you give the nod to your designer or chosen professional design-build contractor you should expect the process to be at least 5-7 months. Most clients are shocked by that revelation but are even more shocked by the contractor that claimed that it could be done much faster for the purpose of getting them to sign but then goes way over schedule once the project gets underway.

First off, you need a good set of plans and specifications. For a project like this, allow enough time to go back and forth a few times to the point where you are confident that the decisions made are exactly what you want. Depending on your schedule and ability to make decisions in a timely manner, you should allow 6-8 weeks for this process, which would also include time for the design to go to the engineers who need to do their work. Keep in mind that there is the possibility that one of the walls you want to take out is load bearing.

At this point, you now have a set of plans for the final detailed budget to be completed and to proceed with the building permit application. Once submitted to the city with all proper documentation you will see your permit in about another 4-6 weeks. So now we’ve gone through almost four months in diligent project planning and it’s time to get started. Likely your contractor hasn’t been sitting with his crew waiting for this to start and now has to schedule in the start date with all their other work but should be able to start soon as they should have been anticipating it to some degree. If you are going the tendering route for your project, you should insert at least another three weeks for this process to be completed. Once underway, your first critical path item will be the site measure for the cabinets. This has to wait until the rough in and drywall is complete for proper accuracy. After site measure, your cabinets should arrive around six weeks from that point, a day or two for installations and now you’re ready to template for the solid surface countertops, which will now be on site and installed in roughly 2-3 weeks which will allow you to install that spectacular tiles backsplash you were so excited about and can’t wait to see. This is the critical path timeline that rarely has any flexibility to it.

So now we are into 20 something weeks and we’ve counted on every truck showing up on time, no changes along the way, no one calling in sick or the host of other intangibles contactors deal with on a daily basis that in the end affects your first dinner in that beautiful new gourmet kitchen and living space. So please plan early and give yourself enough time. I often suggest working it backwards, meaning, decide when you want your project completed and then start the process 6-8 months prior.

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