Imagine walking into your newly built or remodeled home and seeing it exactly as you had imagined it at the start of construction: the windows are all in the right places, the flooring is the right color, and the kitchen cabinets are a perfect fit.
Now allow me to pinch you on the arm, because for most people, reality is often different from that idyllic scenario. You might see missing trim around the bedroom doors or wonder why that small change in the kitchen cost so much. Looking back, you might ask, “And why did we have to hire another subcontractor to finish the bathroom?”
Of course, there are things you just can’t plan for, but there’s plenty that you can. Costly changes and additional time-consuming work can be kept to a minimum if you fully understand what you are building before you start. By understanding the construction process, being part of the team and keeping a firm grip on the budget, your construction project can result in the home of your dreams.
Don’t Skimp on Design Help
Given the busy lives most of us lead, we don’t have the time to research every type of technology and material that might be used on a construction project. Use professionals to save some of the time that would otherwise be spent learning and perfecting the process.
Become Part of the Team
Most people spend more time planning their next vacation than they do planning their house project. Not that planning a house project has to be a full-time job. An architect or a designer can help you understand your role in the project as well as the contributions of other team members.
Establish Your Goals and Refer Back to Them Frequently
Be ready to suggest ways to get what you want while avoiding potential problems down the road. If you can create a list of priorities, then when you are faced with challenging decisions during construction, which is pretty much guaranteed, you and your team will be able to look back at your prioritized list to really focus on what will get you closer to your goal instead of what may be a costly distraction.
Establish Your Budget and Add at Least 10 Percent
Be sure to set aside a construction contingency for critical items and don’t be tempted to use it just to put in an upgraded cooktop! Due to the complexity of the construction process, unforeseen issues will come up.
Don’t Get Attached to an Optimistic Timeline
Ideally, your team members will take the time to carefully plan and build your dream house most efficiently. Even if they are not putting in hours specifically on your project, the designer and others will likely be thinking about your project in the back of their mind.
Communicate Frequently With Your Team
A weekly or biweekly status report can help identify areas of concern. This should be done at the onset of the project and continue through construction. The construction phase is where there are likely to be changes due to site conditions, availability of products or other factors. Be sure to get all changes documented in writing, along with the dollar amount promised; sign off on both the changes and the cost to stay in control and to ensure that all team members are up-to-date at every stage of the building process.
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