What To Expect From The Planning Phase Through Completion Of Your Project
Remodeling your home can feel like an exciting and completely overwhelming prospect all at the same time. We've outlined our remodeling process below so that you know what to expect from the beginning of the planning phase through the completion of construction. Being prepared is the best way to ensure that your remodeling project will meet your needs and your expectations.
Planning and Research Phase
1. Establish The Goals You Have For Your Project
The first step in the home remodeling process is to determine clear objectives for your project in terms of functionality and aesthetics. Here are some questions to consider so you can get started:
- What is the purpose of the remodeling project? In other words, do you need more space for your growing family or does the existing square footage in your home simply need to be reconfigured or updated?
- How do you want the areas you are remodeling to function for you? For example, do you want your small kitchen to be expanded to include more storage space and an island with seating? Would you prefer to have a separate soaking tub and spa-like shower instead of the outdated tub/shower combination you currently have? Do you need an addition to your home to accommodate a new family room or primary bedroom?
- Is your personal style ultra-modern, very traditional, or somewhere in-between? Often, a picture is worth a thousand words. Instead of trying to define your style in writing, find some inspirational photos that speak to you and that you can share with the remodeling firm that you ultimately select.
- How will the newly remodeled areas blend with the style and flow of the rest of your home?
2. Determine Your Budget
Whether you’ll be renovating a room or two or you are considering a whole-home remodel, you will need to establish some financial clarity by developing a budget. Be proactive by researching your options with financial institutions if you will need to take out a loan. Then, create a prioritized wish-list for your project in case your budget will not allow you to do everything at once.
3. Consider The Impact
Don’t forget to look at your calendar and think about how the timing of your remodeling project will impact your plans. If you’d rather not have construction going on while your kids are at home all day during the summer break, then have the design phase complete by the end of August and be prepared to start construction once school begins again in September. Planning well in advance is essential so that your remodeling firm can meet your desired timeline. Remember that unanticipated snags can sometimes occur during the construction phase, so assume that your project may take a little more time than originally expected and build some flexibility into your schedule.
4. Identify Remodeling Firms
Begin by exploring remodeling firms’ websites in depth. Look over photos of their past work and see if they’ve won any awards or have earned other accolades. If they offer client resources like informational blogs and eBooks, be sure to read them. Check out their social media pages; read their reviews and focus on comments about client service, construction quality, and timeliness.
Often, the best way to find a trusted remodeling firm is by referral. If you have friends or colleagues who have remodeled their homes, ask them some specific questions:
- Were their projects completed on time and on budget?
- Did the finished projects meet their goals?
- What did not go as planned, and how were any issues addressed?
- Was there regular, ongoing communication throughout the process?
- Were they satisfied with the quality of the construction?
- Did the homebuilder provide top-notch client service?
5. Interview Prospective Remodeling Firms
Once you’ve identified a few reputable remodeling firms, set up some interviews. Ask each company about their overall business philosophy and inquire about their design and construction processes. Make sure you fully understand their communication protocols and how they staff their projects. Learn about their fee and cost structures. Request references and reach out to hear about their past clients' experiences. Don’t forget to check out each company’s licensing and insurance to ensure that it is all current and comprehensive.
When you meet with a reputable remodeler, you should expect him/her to ask you some questions. This interaction will inform you about what to expect in terms of client service in the future. The remodeler should want to fully understand:
- What are your reasons for remodeling?
- How does your family live in your home now and how do you want that to change?
- What are your functional and aesthetic goals for the remodeling project?
- What is your budget?
- What is your overall time frame for your project from start to finish?
6. Choose A Remodeling Firm
Once you’ve identified and hired the right remodeling firm for you, it’s time to determine together if the goals that you have established for your project are achievable.
1. Enter Into A Detailed Design and Specifications Agreement
Meet with the remodeler that you have selected and discuss every aspect of your project. Clearly convey your priorities, goals, and your budget. The remodeler should document and formalize the scope of your project and give you a detailed Design and Specifications Agreement. This agreement should include the agreed upon scope of work, timeline, and budget range. Once that agreement is signed, you will provide a deposit and the design phase will proceed.
2. Select All Finishes and Materials
The best way to avoid exceeding your budget and delaying completion of your project is to pre-select all finishes and materials during the design phase, prior to any construction beginning. Request detailed pricing on all your selections so that you can choose materials that are within your budgetary parameters.
3. Remodeler Provides Client With Plans, Specifications, Estimated Price, and Timeline
After your selections are finalized, your remodeler will provide you with architectural plans, a comprehensive set of specifications, an estimated price, and a construction timeline. Carefully review and then approve all Design and Specifications phase details that were provided to ensure that it all meets your expectations.
The agreements that you sign should be very detailed and exacting. Understand that the cost and timing of your overall project will be affected if you make changes after construction begins. Any changes that you do ask for should always be documented and agreed upon before work proceeds.
1. Enter Into A Construction Agreement
Once the design phase is complete, you will enter into a Construction Agreement that incorporates:
- Approved architectural plans
- Detailed specifications including all selected finishes and materials
- Agreed-upon timeline
- Finalized pricing
2. Remodeler Obtains All Required Permits
Your remodeler will obtain all required permits, based on local regulations. Be aware that every jurisdiction has its own rules and regulations that could greatly impact your project. Know that the time it takes for the permitting process also varies by jurisdiction and this could affect your overall timeline. Be sure to research your homeowner association regulations regarding remodeling, if applicable, and review them with your remodeler so that there are no unpleasant surprises once construction is complete.
3. Establish Communication Channels
Establish communication channels with your remodeler (email, text, phone). Your assigned Project Manager should be updating you regularly as construction progresses and you should receive timely responses to your questions and comments. Your remodeler should encourage a collaborative process so that your expectations are fully realized.
4. Remodeler Orders All Materials
Before construction begins, your remodeler will start to order your selected materials so that the agreed upon timeline can be met. Occasionally, items may be backordered or unavailable and you may need to choose substitutions.
5. Move Out Of Home Or Construction Area In Home
In the case of a whole-home remodel, you will need to move out and remove all your personal belongings. If only certain rooms in your home will be remodeled, then you will need to remove all personal items from those spaces.
6. Remodeler Implements Dust Control
Your remodeler should implement dust control measures to protect areas that are adjacent to the construction zone.
7. Remodeler Begins Deconstruction and Material Donation Process
The deconstruction or demolition process begins at this point. Some materials may qualify for donation to certain charities, so be sure to discuss this potential opportunity with your remodeler and your accountant.
8. Remodeler Begins Construction
Once the deconstruction process is complete, construction will start.
9. Hold Regular On-Site Progress Meetings
Your remodeler should invite you to regular, scheduled, on-site progress meetings to:
- Review and analyze project status
- Discuss outstanding action items
- Preview upcoming construction activities
10. Remodeler Completes Project On-Time and On-Budget
Your project should be completed on time and on budget.
11. Perform Remodeler's Quality Control Walk-Through
Your remodeler should perform a quality control walk-through during the end phases of construction.
12. Schedule Client Walk-Through
A walk-through should be scheduled with you, the client, to identify any tasks that still need to be addressed.
13. Complete Identified Tasks
All outstanding tasks should be completed by the remodeler and verified with you.
14. Obtain Final Inspections
Final inspections will be done by local officials and coordinated by your remodeler. All ‘Use and Occupancy’ documentation should be obtained, if required.
15. Move-In To Remodeled Home or Renovated Areas Of Home
It’s now time to move back into your newly remodeled home or the renovated areas of your home. Enjoy!
16. Engage Remodeling Firm For Optional After-Care Services
Find out if your remodeling firm offers optional After- Care Maintenance Services on an as-needed basis so that you will know whom to call when you need work done in the future.
At Meridian Homes, we specialize in luxury remodeling and custom home building in the Washington, DC area. Our mission is to create exceptional residences that exceed expectations. Our highly personalized design process and careful management of every project have earned us a reputation over many years for outstanding client service and solid, beautiful craftsmanship. Contact us today to begin your custom home or remodeling project.