Dan Robinson Construction Management

Renovation Tips for a Successful Project

Love your home again — Renovation Tips for a Successful Project

Let’s face it, home renovations can be unnerving. You are essentially asking someone to tear apart your biggest investment, and trust they know how to put it back together as you’ve imagined it! The process can be a little scary and is almost always stressful. Sometimes without warning, the project may seem like it’s gone off the rails and it will never get finished, but hiccups are short-lived with the light at the end of the tunnel re-emerging usually in quick succession. Despite the natural tendency for construction to be challenging, we believe that with the right team, you can renovate your beloved home and come out on top, unscathed. When it comes to renovating your home, we suggest keeping the following renovation tips in mind to help ease some of the pressure, so you can enjoy the journey to love your home again.

Be Thoughtful — Regarding Operation, Maintenance and Appearance 

Think about what you want to achieve with your renovation in terms of operation (what you want from the space), maintenance (the effort to keep it all working), and appearance (how you want it to look). Operation and maintenance are by far the biggest factors that contribute to the long term success of every project, as your home needs to perform specific functions to work well. While operation and maintenance are the pillars of practicality in a project, they aren’t the only significant factors that contribute to its success, we also want our homes to be beautiful. When we’re in spaces that we find aesthetically pleasing we tend to feel more inspired and energized. 

With that said, this is one of the areas where thoughtfulness is key. We all have preferences we can’t wait to have in our space, current trends that we see popping up on our social feeds, magazines or Pinterest. As a builder, we don’t always recommend the latest trends for our clients. Trends can start to look dated very quickly, so we suggest your main, non-removable fixtures have a timeless, classic design that will always look good, and add trends to removable or easily changeable items such as; paint, artwork or a counter top faucet. Making choices in your renovation that cater to a large audience is usually a good plan for the long run. 

Be Realistic About Your Reno Budget

Arguably, one of the most sensitive subjects we discuss is budget. As builders, we know that some people don’t want to reveal their budget because they assume we will price the renovation project to their maximum budget. We understand that trust takes time to develop but in the end, budget drives the entire process and determines what you can realistically accomplish with the funds you have available. Sharing what you are prepared to spend allows us to tell you what is possible to achieve with what you have so that you’re not stretching beyond your comfort level or unable to finish all of the work that was started. 

To be happy with the process, you need someone to work with who understands all the direct and associated costs related to renovations, and together you can establish a realistic budget that gets you to the finish line. Don’t be afraid to speak up, so that you and your builder can develop a budget that works for the project and your pocketbook.

Plan, Plan, Plan 

We can’t stress this enough. Staying ahead of the scheduled “shopping list” items that you need to decide on and procure, will help the project run smoothly without delays. If you don’t know what kind of fixtures you want in your ensuite bathroom, go see them, inquire about lead times and even order them after discussing with your builder. 

The process may seem slow at first but, the schedule can creep up on you quickly and you don’t want to rush on a decision you may not be happy about in the long run. Hiring a designer,  while sometimes feels like a big expense, is well worth it as they tend to know many of the best vendors, understand ordering lead times and how all the moving parts work together. In our experience, designers tend to save time and money for our clients because they can narrow your focus while making sure all finishes coordinate seamlessly. We can’t tell you how many times a client needed to make multiple decisions that would have been much easier with the help of a designer. 

Hire The Builder Who’s The Right Fit

While a low price tag may seem appealing, working with people you connect with on a personal level is so important when inviting them to work in your home. For larger projects, you could be working with the same people for months so, having the right team in place will allow you to communicate more effectively.

When a personal connection is formed, that rapport helps you feel comfortable that your builder will act on your behalf, making decisions that are in the best interest of the project. As they pass information down from you to the people doing the work, you can rest assured that nothing will be lost in translation and the outcomes will deliver the best work possible.

Get A Detailed Scope Of Work

If the person you’re speaking with about your renovation quickly jots down a scope of work on a napkin, run! You need to work with someone who takes your project seriously enough that they will provide a detailed, written document that describes what work will be performed, where, and how much it will cost. The document should include information about materials, labour, fixtures and finishes. Allowances, inclusions and exclusions must be clear so that an accurate, complete budget is apparent. Documenting what goes into building each area also allows you to understand the renovation project process and budget in more detail so you can see how funds are specifically allocated. 

In our business, we use our scope of work as a tool for cost planning all of the required work, items that would be nice to have, and contingency costs for work we feel could become necessary. Forecasting what the project could cost is our end goal because, with renovations, there is always the potential for scope creep and in many cases, some of the costs can be anticipated.

If It’s A Larger Renovation Project, Live Out

Renovations while exciting are also very disruptive. There isn’t a stage of construction that would be comfortable to live through. On any given day, you will have multiple people coming through your house: sub-trades, carpenters, vendors, engineers and inspectors, either all in the same place at the same time or coming in and out at different times of the day. While you may love the team you hired, the disruption they bring makes them difficult to live with every day. Think how tiring it is to have house guests come to stay for the weekend…now imagine a construction crew for three months! With larger projects, we generally suggest that people vacate the property until all of the work is complete. This allows the project to move more quickly as the team doesn’t need to take your schedule, safety and comfort into account. It also helps to ease some of the stress if you have a separate place to decompress and sleep. 

Be A Little Flexible With Timing

These challenging times have had an unprecedented effect on the supply chain and the way people can physically work. Accurately predicting a schedule with renovations is difficult under ideal conditions, adding unexpected material and labour shortages into the mix and timing becomes more of a moving target than a fixed point on the calendar. This is our reality at the moment. Materials, inspections and even appliances that were once readily available can be delayed due to pandemic closures and restrictions. Flexibility and patience are the latest additions to our construction management process. As much as we want the project to move quickly, a quality-driven approach that prevents and addresses issues along the way, is a more effective long term strategy for getting you back into your space.

While renovating your home can be a stressful process, it is worth the effort to have a space built specifically for your lifestyle. Finding ways to ease some of the pressure during the process will not only help you get through but, will also help you to stay focused on the goal rather than the process. We hope that you found these tips to be helpful.

Reach out to us today about your renovation plans and start working toward loving your home again!





Christine Lantain
General Manager
Dan Robinson Construction Management

Love your home again

Considering a home renovation or addition?

Whether you want more space for your growing family, or crave a space that reflects your vision better, Dan Robinson Construction Management is here to help transform your dream into a reality.

Regardless of where you are in the process, contact us, and we’ll call to arrange a no-obligation consultation at your convenience. We will come to your home, discuss your vision and begin the process of helping you love your home again.

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