Planning and preparation

Successful projects require planning and preparation

There is no secret to a successful project. You must take time to plan it carefully and consult with the right people. As in everything else, you must rigorously prepare all the steps to be taken.

We covered earlier the topic of house inspection. This will help decide what needs to be done and an order of priority. You should do necessary work before aesthetic work and the envelopeProtective covering elements of a building. and the structure should take precedence because they have a direct impact on the other elements of the building. It would be unwise to redesign and redecorate a room when the roof over it is about to cause damage. There must be a logical order in your repairs and replacements; for instance, there is no point in replastering if the electrical wiring is outdated and needs to be replaced.

Once you have decided on the work that needs to be done, contact your municipality office to check if it is authorized or if there are particular requirements. Must you supply drawings? Is the type of windows you have chosen in keeping with the neighbourhood’s character? Better check first, rather than having to redo the work.

Should you hire a contractor?

If your project is simple, you can find the specialized trade(s) needed on your own. But if it is a more involved project, it would be better to hire a general contractor who will ensure that tradespeople are at the right place at the right time and who will arbitrate potential disagreements between the plumber and the carpenter. The general contractor may also negotiate better prices than you would.

Choose your contractor based on references from friends and after finding out about work that has been done in the past. In the case of a sizeable project, you should ask for detailed bids and have a contract drafted. Keep in mind that when it comes to renovations, there are a lot of unforeseen developments. To demand a fixed price bid may only lead to inflated prices. It is better to ask a fixed price for the work that has been clearly defined and use another formula (an hourly rate for instance) for the work that has yet to be determined.

Should you hire a professional?

Depending on the scale of your project, it might be worthwhile to call in a professional in the renovation/construction field. This way, a third party will look objectively at your project and will advise you by proposing various solutions. He/she may also help you find a contractor and ensure that the work on the exterior is in keeping with the neighbourhood’s character. It is actually strongly recommended to call in such a professional if the building’s structure is to be worked on or if it is a large-scale project. The professional can also act as your agent and deal with the contractor on your behalf…

What are your obligations?

You have to contact your municipality office to have your project approved, check your finances with your bank, make a daily assessment of the work progress and foresee problems rather than dealing with their consequences. Let your neighbours know about your project and its expected duration and make your family aware of the upcoming inconveniences. A sizeable renovation and its inevitable hitches can create havoc in family relations; from the very beginning, even before starting the planning process, all family members must accept the disruption knowing that, in the end, it will improve everybody’s comfort.

Managing the job site

Make sure that the job site is kept clean and organized. Do not let conflicts fester and be available to make choices or take the inevitable daily decisions on a construction site.