Updated: Feb 18, 2020
Every remodeling project is different, but I'm not referring to the design. I'm referring to the strategy.
An occupied home is much different than an addition or a whole-house renovation. Working among the occupants or in an established community, creates a long list of considerations:
work hours; access; security; children; pets; deliveries; storage, and; parking, are just the beginning.
A remodeling builder should have a checklist to make sure all the variables are discussed with the owners and a strategy is developed to minimize the disruption to their lives.
The budget also requires a strategic approach. Consider, how do you create a reliable budget for a project with numerous uncertainties? We start by breaking it down into categories:
Quantifiable Costs - A front door, new windows, appliances and lighting fixtures, are all easy enough to estimate or obtain bids to cover. These are costs we know we're going to have and should be able to calculate reasonably accurately to cover their expense.
Un-quantifiable Costs - These are costs we know we're going to have but their final cost is uncertain. Demolition is the most common of these. We built a 500 square foot concrete block addition onto a home recently. The masons spent as much time and labor modifying 4 window opening in the existing structure as they did erecting the entire addition. We knew we were going to have these costs but it was difficult determine exactly what they would be.
Unknown Costs - These are surprise costs but that doesn't mean we should be completely unprepared. Set aside a budget to cover surprises. It may be a wild "guestimate" but at least the owner won't be blindsided. They need to be prepared for the unexpected. A rusted out sewer main; an electric circuit panel that's inadequate or uncovered by their homeowners insurance, and; rotten roof decking, are not uncommon. As a builder, this is probably one of the more important things to prepare the owner for. If they don't have the funds to pay for necessary extra work, the entire project could come to a screeching halt.
While You're At It Costs - I need help with a more professional name for this category. It's nice to prepare the owner for this even though you don't know what it's going to be. Here's an example of the typical conversation, "Well since the walls are already opened up, it sure would make sense to add the additional stuff we kinda like to do" or "Well everything is already a mess and we're living out of suitcases, so we might as well go ahead with the extra stuff we were thinking about". Trust me, if you prepare your customer for this, they will thank you later.