Remodeling Contractor in Houston – Marwood Construction

06:11 Dec 2023
Remodeling Contractor

If disrupting your life and tearing your home apart is not hard enough, a remodeling contractor typically has a reputation for notoriously not being overly empathetic to your inconveniences.

This is not necessarily the case but results in this perception principally due to homeowners heighten emotional state during a home renovation and their remodeling contractor dismissive attitude toward their emotional state as just part of the remodeling business.

A professional remodeling contractor understands that there is a better way to do business and that the secret to a successful home renovation is the remodel contractor earnestly focusing on the clients remodeling experience.

This article will consist of two sections; first how a professional remodeling contractor orchestrate a rewarding home renovation experience and secondly; the most effective renovation delivery method process for executing design and construction improvements.

Remodeling Contractor

Professional Practices of a Houston Remodeling Contractor

  • Communication
  • Set Expectations
  • Get it Right the First Time

Communication – Listen Carefully & Repeat Often

The key to most misunderstandings between Houston remodel contractors and their clients can be traced back to poor communications.

The problems manifest themselves when owners get frustrated because their remodeling contractor did not listen to them and do not communicate changes in the project schedule.

After several of these mishaps the owner’s frustration will typically boil over and ultimately lead to a total loss of confidence in the working relationship.

This adverse condition can be avoided by remodel contractors taking some carefully measured practices throughout the entire remodeling project.

First and foremost, building contractors must listen to what their clients are saying and then repeat for clarification.

Owners often understand what they want but lack the terminology or technical ability to articulate a specific design idea.

It is the remodel contractor’s duty to ask sufficient number of questions to decrease the likelihood of a misunderstanding.

The second common breakdown in communication is when project changes occur and they do not get communicated to the owner or visa versa.  

Most owners understand that subcontractors are not the direct employees of general contractors and that the scheduled work crew will not always arrive or leave at a set time.

They will need to collect materials or run service calls at various points throughout the duration of the renovation.

The key to these kinds of friction points is open daily communication between the remodeling contractor and owners.

Expectations – Set Real Expectations

The second most common conflict that exist between general contractors and owners are performance expectations.

These are often associated with job tasks such as project housekeeping, job site dust and early morning noise levels.

The most effective method to avoid many of these misunderstandings is by developing defined expectations during the initial onsite kick off meeting.

There are also product quality expectations that can get lost in translation. An owner will have a specific photo image of a particular product that is important to them.

During the budget finalization process the remodeling contractor might recommend a finishing product change to maintain a targeted budget amount.

The owner will commonly acknowledge that the adjustment was discussed but expected a different result.

It is a best practice that if there is a change to product profiles or finishes that the remodel contractors provide a sample to establish a mutual expectation.

Do It Right the First Time

Nothing stresses a working relationship more than an owner demanding that a specific finished product be reconstructed due to poor workmanship.

This only gets more intense if the owner notices it before the general contractor or worse when the owner and general contractor disagree about the quality acceptability or the workmanship.

These situations can rapidly lead to a loss of confidence and worse. The general contractor’s principal responsibility in any renovation is to maintain quality workmanship and facilitate project continuity.

An essential aspect of closely supervising craftsmen is reviewing specific steps in the construction of home product components.

These critical steps include the preparation of detailed shop drawings before fabrication and reviewing the chalk line layout of the permanent placement of building components as a few examples.

Additional examples of closely supervised building practices are checking dimensions, squaring layouts and inspecting for level and plum construction.

The successful habits of remodeling contractors that we have discussed are best practices in the industry.

When general contractors commit themselves to the quality practices of the industry and to providing their clients a thoughtful and pleasant experience, the renovation process will be rewarding for all concerned.

Houston Remodeling Contractor

Remodel Contracting Delivery Methods

There are three general approaches toward planning design and preparing construction documents for a major remodel or renovation project.

The traditional approach is often referred to as the “Design to Bid” approach. This is when an owner hires an architect to prepare construction plans for home remodeling contractors to competitively bid. 

The second method is commonly called the “Design Build” approach. This is when the owner hires the remodeling contractor to prepare the construction documents.

In design build, the remodeling contractor will often directly hire the architect to collaborate with him to prepare the plans and specifications.

This is done by the architect and general contractor working together to create a remodel plan design that meets a targeted dollar amount goal.

The third approach is the “Construction Management” approach. This delivery method is used when the owner would prefer to manage the full design and building process personally.

The owner hires an architect for design and then hires a general contracting firm as construction manager to oversee the project.

The CM manages the construction day to day matters and the project administrative duties.

The construction management system is primarily utilized to allow the owner full control of the construction process.

The selection of the best home remodeling delivery method for the owner is based upon the value an owner expects to receive from the selected approach.

If the owner is convinced that the traditional method will provide them services and results that they find important, they will gravitate to that method.

An owner’s perception of the value of an approach is based upon their priorities and their understanding of what they can expect in each of these construction delivery methods.

We will discuss some of the benefits and disadvantages of each method for the owner when preparing for a major home remodeling project.

Design Build Remodeling Advantages & Disadvantages

The design build approach has been around about 20 years and has proven to be a creditable strategy for any construction project.

There are many benefits for an owner to employ the design build remodeling approach.

The design build method provides the owner with their remodeling contractor as a sole responsible member for the project.

This method also creates an accountable and collaborating effort for everyone on the design team.

It also keeps the owner in control of both the design and construction phases throughout the project.

One of the main differences between the two designs for construction approaches is that the owner hires a general contractor instead of hiring the architect.

After the owner hires the general contractor, the GC hires the architect directly. This makes the general contractor fully responsible to the owner for any design errors or omissions and designing to the home to the target budget.

In contrast when an owner directly hires the architect the target budget is often unidentifiable until the home plans are completed and issue for bid.

Another benefit of the design to build process is that everyone on the design team is on the same team working in the best interest of the owner.

The difference being that when an owner hires an architect directly and then hires a remodeling contractor to work with the architect, the relationship can be combative since both professionals have different project agendas and interest.

Another major benefit of the design build approach is that the owner remains in control through the entire process.

They are in control of both the value engineering process and can obtain much earlier cost information than the traditional method of design to bid.

These two advantages save time and money over the design to bid method. Remodel contractors have a much better handle on how much it cost to build something and the current cost associated with materials.

They are also wired better then architects for visualizing more efficient methods on how to build something.

Design to Bid Remodeling Advantages & Disadvantages

The design to bid approach is normally used by owners to achieve the lowest bid from a short list of general contractors.

This is after the owner hires an architect to prepare the home plans and construction documents to solicit competitive bids.

The advantage is that the owner will receive the cheapest bid, provided the scope of work is clearly defined.

The disadvantage is that if the remodel contractors bid is outside the range of the owner’s budget, the owner is required to redesign the plans to comply with their budget or build the project at a higher price.

The second advantage is that the owner hires the exact architect of their choosing.

The disadvantage is that the owner is financially responsible for plan errors and omissions.

The owner can always request the architect to reimburse these types of issues, but the issues are not always clearly definable as architect errors.

Owners can also hire the architect to inspect the quality and design compliance of the general contracting during construction.

This will often lead to an adversarial relationship between architect and general contractor.

An adversarial relationship can spread to a complete melt down between the two professionals, which will result poorly for the owner’s home.

construction managment

Construction Management Advantages & Disadvantages

The most attractive advantage of the construction management approach is that the owner hires a professional adviser to guide them through the design and construction process.

The owner hires the construction manager early in the design process to confirm projected construction cost and provide value engineering if required.

The construction manager remains the responsible party for the schedule and budget throughout construction.

The actual services contracted can vary from project to project and from owner to owner.

Frequently the project managers will also represent the owner in all administrative roles of a project such as insurance, contracts and managing payable receipts.

The CM will also select and recommend material vendors and labor contractors for various project scope of works.

Their services role is negotiated for each project according to the needs of the owner.

A disadvantage of the construction manager approach is that the owner remains financially responsible and at risk for the total project in most cases.

Other disadvantages of the construction management approach are that the CM is not responsible for delays, defects or design issues.

This includes construction material and construction labor problems that may arise during remodeling services.  

The owner has full responsibility of hiring subcontractors and material vendors. If the quality of the work or materials does not meet the standards of the project, the construction manager is only responsible to make the owner aware of these discrepancies.

The differences between the 3 delivery methods are significant and should be carefully evaluated by an owner.

As discussed, each delivery method has its advantages and disadvantages. The best approach is dependent upon the owners personal and project needs.

Making the right decision can make the difference in a successful and enjoyable project experience and not so much.


The best remodeling contractor to hire is a professional that will communicate, set realistic expectations of the project and will get it right the first time when executing the project.

But the ultimate success of the remodel project will depend heavily on selecting the right construction delivery method for the project.

Putting the right team on the field makes all the difference in the performance and results for the owner.

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