Renovating is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. There seems to be an infinite number of decisions to make and details to consider. Because remodeling is a big investment of your time and finances, you want to make sure that the final result meets expectations. Of course, you also want to the project to go as smoothly as possible.
As the owner, it’s important that you feel the project is organized well before the building remodel project even begins. Just like a building, your project needs a solid foundation. To help you build this, and hopefully save you a few headaches along the way, we have prepared a 28-point checklist.
Define Goals & Limits for the Remodeling Project
It can be helpful to actually sit down, take out pen and paper, and list the objectives for this renovation. Be sure to include others – family or coworkers – who share the building in order to get their input as well. The other main factors to define are the limits of the project, namely the budget.
- Identify the main reasons for remodeling.
- Make a prioritized list of the desired improvements.
- Formulate an estimated budget.
Choose a Contractor
Consider your options thoroughly when selecting a contractor for a remodeling project. Think about which contractor you will be able to communicate well with throughout the entire process. Remember also that the lowest bid isn’t always the best; you will want to factor in the project details, construction work included and quality of the design.
- Get proposals from a few different building contractors so that you can compare project details and ask questions.
- Check the contractors’ licenses to make sure they are valid and up to date.
- Review examples of their work.
- Request references for the contractors under consideration; ask if the final result met their expectations, if the project was completed on time, and if it stayed within the budget.
- Ask what types of warranties the contractors provide for their work.
- Discuss payment schedule options.
Find Out More About the Property
Before moving forward with the renovation project, you must know if there are any hidden or underlying problems with the property. If there are zoning problems, building code violations, or structural issues, they could cause delays when it’s time to request a permit for this round of renovations.
- Look up the building’s Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from your state Department of Labor & Industry. This document reports how the building can be used – for residential or commercial purposes.
- Have a reliable contractor walk through the building to check for any building code violations or structural problems that need to be addressed.
- Assess the project expectations and design against the actual structure. Verify that the building can support the needed renovations in terms of space, weight, height and any required changes to the roof or load-bearing walls.
- Get informed about accessibility features and consider a universal design concept. If the building has not been renovated recently, it will likely be required to meet new accessibility codes (Universal Accessibility Standards in Pennsylvania).
- Check the details of your insurance policy and contact your insurance agent to ensure that the property is covered during the renovation period.
Outline the Roles & Responsibilities for the Renovation
Everyone involved should know what is expected of them before embarking on this new project. Take the time to discuss how the various responsibilities will be divided. The following items might also be factors in choosing which contractor to hire.
- Applying for the necessary permits;
- Finalizing the design and making subsequent modifications;
- Selecting suppliers and sourcing materials;
- Handling discrepancies in the construction plans and on site;
- Managing the budgeting, building expenses, and material costs;
- Enforcing deadlines and reducing delays;
- Controlling the quality of work and materials.
Draft a Building Contract
The roles and responsibilities listed above should transfer directly into the itemized roles in the building contract. Work with the contractor you have selected to to formulate a fair contract for the remodel project.
- Include the payment terms and schedule. Don’t agree to pay in full before completion.
- Address project changes; change requests should be signed off by the contractor and the property owner. Each request should include the date, description of the modification, related expenses, and who is responsible for additional costs.
- Request copies of workmanship warranties and description of coverage.
- Define the start date and deadline for completion of the remodeling work.
Secure the Building Permits
An experienced contractor will be able to guide you through the permit application process or handle it for you entirely. Any remodeling that includes structural changes to the building, will require a permit.
- The application must include the finalized plans, specifications, and building materials that are to be used.
- Clarification or modifications may be requested before the project is approved.
- Request a copy of the building permit before work on the renovations begins.
As the property owner, it’s important that you understand the main steps in the renovating process and are able to help keep the project on track. This building remodel checklist will help get the project started right.
Reliable Contracting Services for Any Remodeling Project
Before beginning any type of renovation project, request a consultation with ACA Remodeling. We provide seamless contracting services for both residential and commercial work. Contact ACA Remodeling by calling (610) 692-7188 or contact us online any time.