Of course your home is special – everyone’s is! The question when you are planning a renovation project is what makes your home special from a contractor’s perspective?
At first glance, you may not see anything particularly special that your contractor might want to know. Trust me, every project is different, and the more information you can provide on the front end, the better for everyone.
For instance, are you planning to replace the windows in your high rise lakefront condo? There are at least two special circumstances on that project. First, if your unit is in a higher level (anything above the 3rd floor), there are installation issues to be taken into consideration. Obviously, these windows can’t be reached on the outside by a ladder (and windows are installed from the outside, for the most part), so the installation contract will have to include allowances for a lift, scaffold, or other method to reach this height. Secondly, lakefront or oceanfront properties require products with precise engineering ratings to qualify for building permits. Your contractor will need to know this in order to quote you the appropriate materials. There is one other issue that may come into play in this situation as well – what are your condo association’s rules on access to the building and elevators? Does the work have to be done during specified time periods, or do the products have to be approved by the association prior to installation? All of these questions should be answered before your project begins to avoid problems during and after completion.
Ok, so you don’t have a lakefront condo – you have a basic 2 story in the suburbs. What could possibly be special about that? First, every municipality has specific permit requirements, and they vary from city to city, or county to county. Then, there are situations exclusive to your property. Do you have extensive landscaping that needs to be protected? Are there trees or other obstructions close by that could either limit access to the property or make replacing a roof, siding, or windows difficult for installers? They need to know about these issues up front to prepare for them prior to installation.
Finally, are there considerations within your home that need to be addressed? Do you have pets or children? Many contractors, particularly when moving materials into a home, will prop the door open for ease of access. That means the kids or animals could slip out if they are not kept out of the work zone. Of course, there are also the safety issues to consider. Some pets will become aggressive when a stranger enters their territory (small dogs seem to have a particular aversion to large men in their space), so, for the contractor’s and pets protection, they should be isolated during the project. And, of course, children should never be allowed to play around the work area – there are too many sharp or heavy objects around that could cause injury.
You may think that your contractor should notice most of the above situations when they come to give you your quote, but not all of them are obvious, particularly if they are there in the evening when obstructions may not be visible or during hours when children are at school or daycare. And, let’s face it, we’re only human. We can’t think of everything. We need your help to make your project as painless as possible. So, consider your special circumstances before you get a quote, and point them out to your contractor so they can address them. Make sure any special considerations are addressed in the quote and contract to be sure they will be properly dealt with throughout your project.
Here’s to a smooth and successful remodel!
Rae the Renovator