It's not easy to see the finished product when nothing is there. Drawings, sketches, crayon-on-cardboard, can all help, but until all finished items are installed/painted/grouted/caulked etc, there's really no way to have the full visual impact. The last thing I ever want to hear from a client is: "I thought it would different, more like this",(then picture the client holding a picture taken from a magazine). This is why communication with your renovator, and vice-versa, is important right from the start (I will discuss Designers next post). A great renovator should be, from the very first visit, asking what overall "look" you'd like, an example of materials you'd enjoy, as well as how you'd like the space to function. This goes for bathrooms, kitchens, basements, decks, fences, etc. At the same end, you should have an idea of these same issues before you have quotes done. Take pictures, check out websites, rip out magazine pages, etc. Not only will this help to design the space/functionality, it will help in putting together an estimate, ie different materials can require different installation practices and materials, and all can have various costs associated. For example: ceramic 12x12 wall tiles for a shower is easier and cheaper to install than 12x24 granite brick-pattern tiles. A great renovator should also know current styles, general colours, and materials being used. I am not saying that they are designers, but a renovator that does more than one bathroom a year will be seeing trends and noting them for the next client.
The time to inquire, email, text, and meet with your renovator, is more important PRIOR to any work beginning, rather than during, or after. Samples of materials, colours, finishes, etc, should be discussed, on site, and decided. What will go where, at what height, what pattern, how will things tie together, how to merge existing with the new, are all examples of things you should consider, and discuss, during the selection process.
Now, in saying all that, it's very difficult to have all the i's dotted and t's crossed when you are considering which renovator you will be hiring, or even during the project itself. So keeping in mind that materials and designs all impact the overall cost, makes it easier to drink that bottle wine if your renovator comes to you with an additional charge, because you decided on granite tiles vs ceramic, for example. Ask why there would be an additional charge, so you can know what it is about that material/design that impacts the budget, so you can be prepared for the next renovation, or a change to the current one.
Changes are common, don't be afraid to inquire, but try and do so in opportune times, for example, before tiles have been grouted, or before drywall has been installed. You should be taking a walk-through everyday on your project to make sure it is what you want, and what you are paying for. Ask questions when you have them, learn about why processes go in which order, and know what the next phases are.
A renovators job is to be 5 steps ahead, and it is good practice for the client to be on the same page. You don't have to know every little detail, but you should have a general idea. For example, you should know that after the framing is the rough-in plumbing, so where the toilet and vanity will be situated should already be planned. You, however, should not have to worry about things like how far from the frame should the 4" sewer line be, or how high the supply lines for the vanity should be. That's for the renovator to worry about. If you are curious though, ask away. It's our job to keep you informed, much as it is for you to keep us informed. If everyone is on the same page, the work environment is a very calm and manageable one for everyone :)
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Post the 9nth- What to Expect When You're Expecting : How Communication (or lack thereof) can impact the project at the beginning stages
Posted by Sheldon Stanleigh, Renovator/Contractor, Certified Home Inspector at 7:10 AM