Getting Ready for Your Big Project
Along with the excitement of getting your large renovation project started there will be a lot of stress. Unforeseen difficulties and delays are the norm rather than the exception and the larger the project the more inevitable these are.
Preparing for these makes them much easier to deal with when they occur and allows calmer more logical decision making in working out the problems.
There are some basic steps needed to prepare for any serious renovation project.
Prepare for No Electricity and Water
It is almost certain that there will be times (and depending on the project possibly extended times) without electricity and/or running water. Even things like replacement windows they often turn off power for periods of time for worker safety when removing old windows due to not knowing where the electric lines in the walls run.
Make sure you have an idea of how you will deal with refrigeration and freezer during these times. It may be presumed an hour or two without power will not be much harm but if an accident occurs and the power is cut it may turn into a day or two. Better to have an idea of what you will do if that were to occur.
If the water is to be out for more than a couple hours it is fine to have drinking water set aside but do not forget to consider for bathroom needs. Children are less cooperative in this area than adults and it is often best to make arrangements for them to be elsewhere.
You may be able to leave your home for the day if need be when the power or electric are out – but have you made an arrangements for pets? Even if your dog is “friendly” not all the workers there may want him to be saying hello. If windows and doors are being replaced it is not the workers responsibility to keep your dog or cat confined in another area of the house.
When doing large renovation projects it is common to combine several different projects at once. Running new electric wiring while walls are being redone is practical but does the finish carpenter know that the Electrical contractor intends to turn off the power for the whole day? You could easily end up paying workers for a day of waiting if this is not coordinated in advance. If you are using a general contractor they should be coordinating this.
It is common for people to simply leave their home for a week or two during major renovations so the workers can work freely and so as to not be inconvenienced as much themselves. While this makes sense some possibilities need to be considered.
Make sure your contractor can easily get hold of you if a problem arises. A laptop is very helpful so they can forward pictures in explanation. Ask if they are willing to teleconference on Skype or similar service so they can show you exactly what is being done and you can talk directly to them and see what is going on. If possible arrange for a relative or neighbour to stop in and see what is going on. As well as giving you peace of mind it can keep the contractors task focused on your project instead of another job where the person is there monitoring.
Even if it is your plan to have work completed while you are away be prepared for the possibility it will not be done when you get back. Weather delays sometimes cannot be helped. If supplies do not show up they cannot complete work, and it is very common for things simply not to be completed (or even started) on schedule. Presuming that all will be completed while you are enjoying vacation elsewhere without a back-up plan may be a mistake.
In your contract read carefully the time and schedule considerations. If it is nothing but an estimated start and estimated end date ask what guarantees are provided on timeliness and how much past the estimated dates before these guarantees apply. Make sure those are understood and added to your contract.