The general contractors primary responcibility in any construction project is to facilitate the project from start to finish and orchestrate all the players. Through collaboration and mediation, general contractors work through conceptual design ideas with the design team and any issues of the homes constructability. From the design phase to project delivery, the general contractor should be conducting business in the best interest of their client and project goals. Each project has its special needs and challenges that are attributed to the emotional aspects of having personal property constructed. This article will look at the unique challenges and needs of the different types of home construction and renovation.
New Home Construction
Bid to Build – This is a traditional process of the owners directly hiring architects or home designers and having custom builders bid the plans when complete. This home delivery model has proven to not always represent the owners best interest. This method of home construction can lead to change orders resulting from design errors and omissions. This method can often lead to friction between designers and custom builders over issues resulting from the owners unfavorable or disappointment in the finished product outcome.
Design Build – The design build method of project delivery has gained a greater amount of acceptance due to the benefits for the owners. This process involves the owner hiring the general contractor as sole responsible party to the owner for the project. The general contractor develops a design team through directly hiring the architect and engineers for the home’s design.
The advantages of this process for the owner are numerous. They include that the owner maintains greater control of the design process, the owners have one person responsible for the entire process and the process allows the owner to manage the home construction budget more time effectively. This method also allows the owner to benefit from the design value engineering efforts that results from positive design collaboration.
Project Management – The project management method of home construction provides the owner a higher level of direct control over the entire project. It allowing them to make the decisions over the process, materials and contractors that they would like to work with. The general contractors represent the owner as project manager responsible for the day to day construction affairs, the administrative responsibilities and cost management of the project. The owner acts as the project executive making the strategic and important project decisions.
The owner accepts the majority of the total construction cost risk in this method. This process is attractive for owners that want to remain in control of the entire process of the home construction but do not have the time or staff to execute the required on site and off site task necessary to execute the project.
Major Home Renovation
Whole Home Remodeling – There are many things to consider prior to undertaking a whole home renovation. The design process starts with a well documented as built drawing of the existing home. This includes mapping critical underground plumbing and essential mechanical requirements.
Whole home remodeling projects present some serious challenges for owners and remodeling contractors identifying and reserving for unseen problems that can materialize during construction. If the proper expectations are not developed before these types of issues are discovered, they can erode the trust between remodeling contractors and owner.
Kitchen Remodeling – Kitchen remodeling present an unique problem for owner and remodeling contractors because there are so many choices and decisions to be made, that it can be overwhelming to the owner if the selection process is not well managed and organized. Kitchen renovations are one of the most popular remodeling projects and one of the most expensive home projects.
After the construction budget has been agreed upon, it pays to start the selection process with the most expensive components and work yourself down in the order of expense. This priority allows you to discover a number of things early in the process of design. First that the allowance created for each component will be sufficient. Secondly if you fall in love with a particular product that significantly changes the kitchen design theme, it is best to discover this earlier than later.
Bathroom Remodeling – Major bathroom renovations can be challenging because they are like an iceberg. So much of the cost associated with a total redesign is unseen by the untrained eye. When the owner elects to relocate the position of toilets, tubs and showers, this usually means that much of the bathroom floor will require demolition and replacement for the underground waste lines.
When relocation can be redesigned to accommodate the new floor plan, the results will have less impact on the length of time and the size of the budget. Care must also be taken when not replacing plumbing fixture values and attempting to match plumbing trims to old values. This will usually end up being more expensive then if the owner would have completely replaced them.
Garage Conversation – Garage conversions is a large category in the home remodeling industry. They can span the DIY paneling the garage and furnishing it with a pool table and big screen TV to adding a second floor living quarters above the garage. We will discuss the later scope.
Care should always be taken when considering modifying or expanding the envelope of the existing structure. It is always worth the effort to inspect your deed restrictions, the property survey and local building enforcement department for restrictive covenants that could sink your project before you even begins.
Room Addition – Room additions are also a cottage industry and come in many project shapes and forms. We will discuss major home additions that require a higher level of design skill to blend with the homes architectural continuity. The blending of existing space with the newly appointed space requires many variables and a much greater skill level then designing from scratch.
There are structural concerns to evaluate like matching roof lines and foundation jointing, to carefully evaluate. Existing infrastructure HVAC capacity and plumbing underground are also factors that require to be assessed. In major home additions, care should be taken to calculate the electrical loads to determine if the current service can meet the homes new demands.
Repurposing Space – Repurposing space may be the most challenging of all the home renovations. It requires a deep understanding of structural framing and redistributing of loads. The architectural demands are for opening up room areas by removing walls and raising ceilings. These demands can test the best of home designers and remodeling contractors expertise.
Repurposing space can overcome an owners largest complaints of an existing home. It is often difficult to see the potential in an space when there are walls and windows that restrict your imagination. Contracting with competent design build remodeling contractors is well worth their fee for the contribution that they can make in revitalizing your space.
Historical Restoration is a very specialized art form of home renovation. There can be various degrees of historical restoration required in a project. The strictest form requires varies product components to be specifically fabricated to match existing pieces. This process is time consuming and expensive.
More common is a demand for a hybrid model of historical restoration. This is a process of restoring specific features and completely replacing severely damaged component systems and replacing them with a like kind cost effective substitute. If properly planned and executed the hybrid method can enhance the authenticity of a historical restoration.
These are the home construction industry sectors that justify and requires general contractors, custom builders and remodeling contractors to be hired if you want the best outcome. The more complex the project, the more the need for a accredited professional.