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Home Renovation Timelines

A Successful Project Begins With Proper Planning

Someone Recently asked me how long I had been a builder and doing home renovations and when the answer came out at forty years, I think it shocked me more than anyone else. Along that road I have seen and learned so much that I want to share from both the builder and customer perspective. I won't say I've seen it all as I still learn every day and am often surprised, but somehow never shocked. So, the purpose of this column will be to pass on some of that wisdom gained, a few anecdotes and to answer any of your questions before venturing on the renovation journey.

As in all good books it starts with, "In the beginning," which is where most people make their first mistake. The first telephone call usually goes something like this ...

Customer: I have an upcoming basement project and I'd like you to give me a free estimate.

Contractor: I'd be happy to. Do you have plans drawn up that I can quote on?

Customer: No, but we think we know what we want and the other guy had no problem quoting on it based on what I told him.

Contractor: Well, we don't quite work that way, but just out of curiosity, what is he providing you with and what is included in his quote?

Customer: What we asked for I guess.

Contractor: What kind of doors are you getting?

Customer: Hmmm… not sure. Regular ones I guess.

Contractor: What kind of ceiling is it, how many lights will there be and what kind of switching are you getting?

Customer: Um ... not sure on that either.

Contractor: What is on the floor? Does it need a subfloor? What kind of bathroom would you like? What types of fixtures do you prefer? How many bedrooms are there? Is proper code egress available?

Customer: I never thought of those things.

Contractor: So, you have a quote but you have no idea what you're getting?

Customer: Guess not ... can you please come over?

This scenario plays itself out time and time again on every type of project and I offer the following advice. Spend the time and money on getting proper plans done. It will save you so much time and money in the end. There is an abundance of very qualified and creative interior designers in Winnipeg if you want to go the tender route or you can use a design build firm for one stop shopping. The important thing is to invest the money up front for proper plans and specifications if you want a smoother on budget project. Otherwise, you won't know what you're getting until it's too late and will have to spend way more time and money on extras and change orders and delays as you figure it out after the fact. Anyone who quotes you without this information is just guessing and there is no possible way you can compare apples to apples between contractor proposals.

Remember the five Ps – proper planning prevents poor performance.

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