Five Steps to a Successful Remodeling Project, Part Five

Five Steps to a Successful Remodeling Project, Part Five

Step Five: The Build Process

After you’ve reviewed final specifications with the designer and before construction begins, you should sign a construction agreement with a firm contract price. Know what your contract includes; for example, is the cabinet pricing for custom or off-the-shelf units? Subsequently, you should meet with the contractor, designer and carpenters in a pre-start conference to discuss the process in detail. Make sure you get a formal schedule, showing the start and completion dates for the various construction phases, as well as payment due dates. Typically, contractors will bill you for each construction phase as it starts.


As construction is gearing up, you’ll want to make sure your contractor has gotten the proper permits. Also, get to know the people on your job, especially the jobsite supervisor. This is typically the go-to person for any questions you might have. Know the production manager, to whom you might need to turn if you’re in any way dissatisfied with the on-site supervisor. For your part, make sure you communicate clearly any special concerns, from items you want salvaged to pets you fear might escape.



The construction phase is necessarily disruptive to varying degrees, and the contractor should minimize that by ensuring good communication, daily clean up, proper enclosure of the work space, and adherence to the schedule. As the project nears completion, you and the contractor should create a “punch list” of final tasks and touch-ups. The project should be considered complete only when you and the contractor have done a final inspection of the job, ensuring the list has been completely addressed.


Finally, make sure to note the warranty expiration date, and ask how warranty issues are handled. Now that the dust has settled, enjoy your project. Doesn’t that smile on your face make you glad you took that first step?


Five Steps to a Successful Remodeling Project, Part Two

Five Steps to a Successful Remodeling Project, Part Two

Step Two:  Decide on the Process

Besides a beautiful, functional home, you want a remodeling process that you’re comfortable with.  In this second step to a successful remodel, the big decision is whether you want to hire two entities, a designer and builder, or if you’d prefer to go with a design-build company, which provides both services under one roof.

McCulloch kitchen window wall

Let’s say you’re remodeling your kitchen, with the traditional design-bid-build route, you hire a designer or architect, then get multiple bids from general contractors and hire a contractor independently.   In my experience, people who choose this direction typically have a particular architect in mind.  The client then needs to find a contractor to execute the architect’s design.   The biggest drawback here is that the designer/architect and contractor likely won’t have the close working relationship found within a design-build firm, so if the cabinet design, say, is off there could be some wrangling when the builder begins the installation.

McCulloch kitchen

With the design-build process, you select and hire one company working as a team, and the only bidding involved is if you choose to get bids from more than one design-build firm.  Design is less expensive than when contracted independent of a builder.   Furthermore, because the design-build team works together from concept to completion, they can collaborate on workable design solutions that are within your budget.



Other pros of the design-build method?  Since the designer works as a team member, you not only know your builder long before construction starts, but also have continuing design support throughout.  Most importantly, since the design-build team has an established relationship and process, the transition and ongoing communication between design and construction should be virtually seamless and any surprises along the way more easily resolved.