Kitchen Remodeling Construction Process

From on February 07, 2007 in Kitchen Remodel

Construction Process
Overview
The Remodeling process
Common Problems
Handling Changes

The Remodeling process

Why do some remodeling projects stall and how can you prevent it from happening to you?

Here are the main reasons:

  • Problems with the contractor—who juggles too many jobs, is not a good manager, has trouble supervising workers, spends money from one project to start another (a vicious cycle), is unethical
  • Surprises in the construction process
  • Scheduling or financial issues
  • Zoning or building code issues
  • Your own actions—making changes after the work begins, not communicating your need to the contractor, adding to the “to do” list

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Here’s how to avoid:
Problems with the contractor
Carefully screen contractors before you hire one. (Click here for more.) Ask each contractor how many jobs he handles at a time and if he builds in extra time in a schedule for surprises or delays. Ask for examples of surprises on other projects and how he handled them. (Then call his references to check!)

And,

DON’T

pay ahead of the work being completed. If the contractor doesn’t have enough credit to buy your building materials, ask why!Return to top

How to Avoid these Problems:

Construction surprises
Ensure that the contractor has factored in time for unexpected problems, and is prepared for potential problem spots. On a kitchen project, he should examine the electrical and plumbing systems. How old are they? Can they handle the added load from new appliances and lighting? If they have to be upgraded, what is the best way to do so? How long will it take to get permits?

Don’t rush the planning. Make sure the contractor takes the time to learn how your house works. He might, for example, discover later that the main plumbing stack is behind the wall he wants to tear down. If the kitchen is in shambles, it leaves you with few choices other than an expensive rerouting of the plumbing or a reconfigured kitchen design.

Scheduling issues:

  • Set a solid timeline before work starts
  • Build in a few days here and there for surprises
  • Meet with the contractor regularly (at least weekly) for a progress check
  • Make sure all products are ordered before work starts, and scheduled to be delivered before you need them.
  • Try not to add to the “to do” list as you go along or make changes to the products, fixtures etc. once construction starts

Zoning/code issues:
Make sure the contractor is familiar with codes in your town. He should:

  • Get building permits/variances before work starts
  • Talk with inspectors instead of trying to work around them
  • Have all paperwork in place before work begins!

Contractors’ Actions
Carefully screen contractors before you hire one. (Click here for more.) Ask each contractor how many jobs he handles at a time and if he builds in extra time in a schedule for surprises or delays. Ask for examples of surprises on other projects and how he handled them. (Then call his references to check!)

Important Tip: DO NOT pay ahead of the work being completed. If the contractor doesn’t have enough credit to buy your building materials, ask why!

And, lastly, pay attention to your instincts and any warning signs. If the work is not progressing as expected, or if the crew appears disorganized, it could be a sign of bigger problems. Get to the contractor right away to work it out.

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What to watch out for?

If a problem arises what should they do?

Change Orders are routine on most remodeling jobs. In fact, it is rare that a project will proceed without any changes to the original contract. A “change order” is a written document detailing any requests to alter, change, or remove any items found in the contract or project. Most change orders come with an added cost to the project total.
There are three origins of change orders: 1) you initiate one because you have changed your mind about the design or a specific product, 2) the contractor recommends changing some aspect of the design, or 3) a change is required because unexpected damage was found (termites, for example), or there is a code violation affecting the project.
Here are some tips to making changes:

  • Make sure all changes to the project are made in writing and signed by all parties before the new work begins.
  • Change orders should be priced prior to acceptance-many will change the overall budget.
  • You should ask about the added time the change will take in the overall timetable for the project.
  • Both you and the contractor should retain signed copies of the change order in your files.

A written change order protects both you and the contractor from misunderstandings

Avoiding Difficulties with the Remodeling Process

Historically, remodeling projects can get unexpectedly delayed, sometimes for long periods. Why does this happen, and how can you prevent it from happening to you?

Common Reasons for Delay:

  • Surprises in the construction process (e.g. delays in getting materials, unforeseen problems in the structure that need repair, etc.)
  • Scheduling or financial issues
  • Zoning or building code issues
  • The contractors’ actions— problems can arise with a contractor who juggles too many jobs, is not a good manager, has trouble supervising workers, spends money from one project to start another (a vicious cycle), or is unethical
  • The homeowners’ actions— it can be problematic to make changes after the work begins, not communicate your need to the contractor, or add to the “to do” list

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If Change is Necessary in the Middle of the Project…

Change Orders are routine on most remodeling jobs. In fact, it is rare that a project will proceed without any changes to the original contract. A “change order” is a written document detailing any requests to alter, change, or remove any items found in the contract or project. Most change orders come with an added cost to the project total.
There are three origins of change orders: 1) the homeowner initiates a change because of needing to change the design or a specific product, 2) the contractor recommends changing some aspect of the design, or 3) a change is required because unexpected damage was found (termites, for example), or there is a code violation affecting the project.
Here are some tips to making changes:

  • Make sure all changes to the project are made in writing and signed by all parties before the new work begins.
  • Change orders should be priced prior to acceptance-many will change the overall budget.
  • You should ask about the added time the change will take in the overall timetable for the project.
  • Both you and the contractor should retain signed copies of the change order in your files.

A written change order protects both you and the contractor from misunderstandings