Anyone that has experienced a major home remodeling project understands that it can be an extremely stressful process. Even the most experienced remodeling veteran can get caught up in the emotional roller coaster ride known as home remodeling. Although there are no guarantees that that a general contractor can promise you to completely eliminate stress from the home remodeling process, there are some things you can do to mitigate your remodeling project stress.
Understanding Your Needs
There are many details to preparing and planning your home remodeling project. It all begins with having a clear understanding of your lifestyle and personal needs. Armed with these defined needs you set out to explore possible design alternatives and their magnitude of cost. By developing the design ideas and understanding their associated conceptual cost the owner can create a priority list to match their defined needs with their finances.
By carefully defining these lifestyle needs the owner also can explore the alternate options such as expanding the homes envelope. This can be achieved through building a home addition for a growing family or repurposing space for a changing family. The value of developing conceptual budgets for these options can also assist in evaluating the buy or remodel dilemma most owners face during the feasibility stage.
Surround Yourself with Trusted Professionals
The most effective method to reduce stress throughout the home remodeling process is to hire competent professionals to lead, facilitate and serve you through both the design and building of your project. Selecting the appropriate professionals depends on the depth of your personal skills, the complexity of the project and your financial budget. Hiring the best talent available will indeed pay for itself in results and efficiency.
Every major home remodeling project will typically require preparing a home plan design, making product selections and color coordinating during the design phase. As the owner, if you can manage the time demands and have the ability to develop a project color board, you are a good candidate to self perform many of these tasks. If you do not have the time and would prefer professional assistance with design selections and decor, we advise you to consider the assistance of a professional decorator or color coordinator.
The home plan design will require the skills of a home designer or architect to prepare the plans and documents. In the event you add or modify the home’s structure you will need to add an engineer to the design team. Your design team will develop cabinet details, interior elevations and create a 3D plan that allows you to virtually walk through your proposed home. This model will also allow you to change colors of the various products and features to develop a higher confidence level in the finished product appearance.
Communication and Expectations
Remodeling Magazine has recently published an article reporting the results of a customer survey. The number one complaint that leads to stress and conflict between the general contractor and the owner is misunderstandings and unfulfilled expectations. These are the result of poor communications between both parties. The survey went on to suggest that this was due to a number of factors from each parties perspective.
From the owners perspective, this begins early in the design process when they do not always understand the relationship between design and cost. The owner might expand the amount of cabinets in the kitchen and introduce a beamed ceiling that was never discussed during the initial budget development. So as the preliminary design moves forward more such items are introduced resulting in the owners surprise when the budget has increases substantially. One of the most common misunderstandings is the conduct and behavior of the subcontractors during construction. Load noise, poor housekeeping and an inconsistent schedule will set off any owner.
From the general contractors perspective, last minute plan changes, slow payment habits and owner’s subcontractors builds up frustration for the remodeler. An effective working relationship between general contractor and owner begins with mutual trust and respect. The general contractor must realize that the owner needs to understand how to work within the general contractors work environment. It pays for the general contractor to realize that the owners experience of watching their home torn apart is an emotional event. This can only happen through open communication and setting expectations throughout the process.
The owner should realize that there will be mistakes and some disappointments in any project. Getting a clear understanding early in the hiring process on how the general contractor will resolve unexpected issues will go a long way at giving the owner some insight to the future.
Planning & Organization
The owners level of stress is the result of the amount of proper planning and project organization. There are many decisions to be made in a relatively short period of time during a remodeling project. Product selections are required to be made early enough to incorporate into the plans and to place the order with sufficient lead time to have long lead time items on site when needed.
The design stage can be very stressful for owners due to the amount of decisions that are required to be made in a short time. This can even gets worse for couples who are not on the same page during design. If a couple cannot agree on design ideas or product selections, this result can cause a project to turn bad quickly. The impasses created by indecision, resulting in from couples disagreements, can paralyze a projects path to progress . Part of preparing for a project is an open communication between both owners about such matters before they begin a home remodeling project.
In many cases the owner is required to find temporary housing during a major remodeling project. This requires a great deal of planning and coordination on the owners part. Storage of home furnishings, coordinating progress visits during working hours and maintaining a marriage can be very challenging requirements to organize during a long project. Developing an action plan on site visits, shop drawing approvals and onsite sample approvals is a necessary function that requires the owners involvement and time commitment.
The Design & Cost Relationship
There is a direct relationship between design and cost. The more elaborate the design and products selected, the greater the price. This an universal rule that can easily get lost when a designer introduces some interesting ideas. When planning a major home remodeling project the general contractor should assist the owner early in the design stage to identifying high priority design features. The general contractor then becomes the caretaker in preserving the budget throughout design.
It is common for owners to put off selecting products items that have an impact on the budget because they are so busy concentrating on the remodeling design process. This can often lead to the budget quickly expanding at a later stage of the design stage or after the plans are complete. When this happens it makes it difficult for the owner find another area to cut budget cost and usually results in a change order for the allowance overrun.
Living in the Home During Construction
The owner choosing to live in their home during a remodeling project can create a great deal of stress and invite conflict with the general contractor. The dynamics of the family living in the home during remodeling increases the likelihood of an incident amongst the family and the subcontractors attempting to share the same space with different agendas. A professional home remodeling expert attempts to isolate the area being remodeled from the dust and foot traffic of a construction project. When the project incorporates much of the vital living space like a kitchen and bathrooms it creates a logistic nightmare rebuilding the same space that the family requires access to.
When the owner decides to find temporary lodging instead of living with a remodeling project it certainly reduces the chances of stress or conflict but does not eliminate it. Although the remodeling crews can work at a quicker pace the owners anxiety of being displaced still remains at a heighten level. So if there are delays or significant schedule adjustments during construction there is a good chance that the owner will react in a very emotional manner.
In conclusion, there are many factors that need to be carefully managed between owner and general contractor during a major Home Remodeling project to preserve their trust and working relationship between them. Communicating and managing this stress will result in a much more pleasant home remodeling experience for all parties concerned.