It’s an adage that carpenters – and successful DIYers – know well: Measure twice, cut once.
Now expand that sentiment to a major renovation, whether a bathroom, a kitchen or a whole home: “When you plan thoroughly, you set yourself up for success,” says Margaret Cormode, a project manager for MAC Renovation.
From site assessment to design to the final finishing details, a comprehensive plan will ensure a finished project you’re proud of.
So, how do you plan for success?
“It all starts with doing your homework, and finding a reputable company,” Cormode says.
Look at how long they’ve been in business, their reputation, and their professional affiliations, for example. Once you’ve narrowed down a few options, review previous work and testimonials, and ask for – and check! – references.
“You’re investing in something that’s very personal to you so it’s important to build trust with your team,” she says.
1. Understand the value of pre-planning. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
A thorough pre-construction process with an experienced, qualified renovation professional is critical to identifying issues that could affect the plans – and budget.Identifying your project’s unique conditions will help to minimize unwanted surprises.
That includes reviewing if a project is feasible under the relevant municipality’s regulations, for example, and identifying potential issues such as rot or mould, outdated plumbing or electrical,or foundation problems.
2. Do allow for a realistic budget. While a budget needn’t be extravagant – unless, of course, your goals are – it should be healthy enough to accomplish what you want, with a little extra set aside for those unknowns.
“With any renovation, you’re trying to solve a problem and determine the value of the investment to fix it,” Cormode notes.It is important to discuss the budget early in your process.Your professional should be able to affirm that your budget is realistic based on similar passed projects.
3. Consider the impact on your living space. For larger renovations, you may find it worthwhile to budget for a short-term rental. Renovations, especially whole house remodels, house lifts or major additions, could mean the majority of the home is an active job site and can present safety challenges.Smaller projects like a kitchen or a bathroom can be worked around.”An active job site is just that, so unless the work is confined to a small area, it’s really better for families to plan on moving outonce work gets underway.”
4. Seek some design guidance. Working with a design-build team provides invaluable guidance in choosing products and finishes to serve your goals and your aesthetic, within your budget. Furthermore, the designer is considering all the details of how surfaces are coming together.Their input is necessary – it is not just colours and textures. In any significant renovation, the choices that must be made are many, and homeowners trying to do it all themselves can quickly become overwhelmed.
5. Decide how involved you want to be during the renovation. Some homeowners prefer regular site visits and updates, others are happy with a virtual weekly check-in. However you prefer the process to unfold, communicate that with your builder up front, and be committed to it. “If you’re going to be engaged in the process, stay engaged,” Cormode says.The project’s success is directly influenced by the strength of the team – which includes you!