How to Plan a Residential Building Renovation

How to Plan a Residential Building Renovation

Renovating a residential building is a big project that requires careful planning. Some projects are do-it-yourself while others, such as installing ductwork or electrical systems, require professional contractors.

Some renovations may even require board approval if you live in a co-op or condo. You also need to consider costs for labor and materials.

Decide on Your Wants and Needs

Before starting any renovation work, determine what your needs and wants residential building renovation are. A remodel project can be expensive, so it’s essential to stick to a budget and eliminate any unnecessary features.

You should get estimates from multiple contractors before hiring someone. Compare the quotes and look for any hidden costs or unexpected expenses. It’s also a good idea to set aside 10-20 percent of your total remodeling budget as a contingency, says property developer and TV presenter Sarah Beeny.

It’s important to decide on the final look of your building before beginning work, as this will help your contractor create a bid and estimate for the project. You should also decide whether you want to splurge on high-end materials or save by using standard options in key areas. If you have a limited budget, it is often best to splurge on key areas like flooring or countertops and save on lesser-used items. This will give you a better quality finish while staying within your budget. Moreover, choosing higher-end materials will usually increase the resale value of your home.

Make a List of Projects

Having a concrete list of projects to get done during your renovation is a great way to keep your project on target and reduce costs. This also gives contractors an idea of the amount of work that needs to be completed in each phase of the construction.

The first step is to create a project scope, which outlines the extent of the renovation. This includes a description of the projects that need to be completed along with a timeline and budget. The scope of the renovation can change throughout the course of the project as you and your contractor discuss things further.

It’s a good idea to include all project expenses in your scope, including labor, material + fixtures, permits, financing and removal/disposal fees. In addition, it’s wise to include a contingency fund, which will help cover any unexpected expenses. This should be at least 10% of the total project cost. This is especially important for large renovations, such as a whole-home remodel. This way, if you run into unforeseen costs that are higher than expected, you won’t have to delay the entire project or increase your loan.

Hire a Reputable Contractor

The contractor you hire will be a big part of your renovation team for at least a few months, so it’s important to find a good fit. Start by asking friends for referrals or looking on websites geared towards home improvement. Once you have a shortlist, ask contractors for references and check whether they’re licensed in your area.

When you meet with contractors, ask to conduct a walk-through of your home and explain all changes you want to make. This will help you receive an accurate cost estimate. If you get a bid that’s too low, it may be a sign that the contractor doesn’t have enough experience or is trying to take shortcuts.

Also, ask how they handle change orders and what the process looks like for invoicing. It’s important to have these conversations upfront so that you can avoid confusion when the project gets underway. It’s also a good idea to have a clear contract that specifies the scope of work, payment schedules, proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation payments, start and completion dates, specific materials and products, and lien waivers from suppliers.

Get Building Permits

Whether you plan to perform renovations yourself or hire a contractor, you will probably need a permit. In addition to ensuring that you follow code, home design remodeling contractors this step helps protect the investment you have made in your property. Getting a permit can take time, as the city reviews your plans and schedules inspections throughout construction. The exact process varies by municipality, so it’s important to check your local rules and regulations before beginning work.

A permit is required for any structural changes, major electrical upgrades, plumbing alterations, and HVAC installations. If you jump into a project without a permit, you could be fined or forced to stop construction until the work is approved by the inspector. You might also be in violation of your homeowner’s insurance, which may void your coverage.

Unless you’re a registered architect or professional engineer (PE), it is usually best to have someone else prepare your plans and file them for you. This is the most cost-effective way to expedite the process and avoid delays due to errors or insufficient information.

Research Your Area

Once you’ve decided which renovations you want to focus on, it’s important to get a clear idea of the cost. This is best done by doing some research, though it may take time. Start by comparing prices on various projects and talking to local contractors. This will give you a good idea of what to expect and any potential curveballs that may come up.

Once the research is complete, you can begin to put together a realistic renovation budget. Be sure to include pricing for materials, labor and city permits. It is also important to establish a timeline with your contractor to ensure that the project doesn’t run into any scheduling conflicts, like family vacations or holidays.

It’s helpful to prioritize the most urgent projects first, such as a leaking roof or a room that is too hot or cold. On average, homeowners renovate three rooms at a time. You can also ask for bids from multiple contractors and select the one that offers the most value for your money. Then you can start to work out the details and set a schedule.

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