Anyone who’s been through a major renovation project knows that the process can be equal parts exciting and unnerving. As the homeowner or primary resident, there are a few steps you can take to help ensure your reno goes as smoothly as possible.
As with anything, communication is key. Once you’ve chosen your contractor, discuss the logistics of how the job will be undertaken: what time will the crew arrive and depart from your home every day, will they be renting a porta-potty or are they planning on using your facilities, will they lay down runners to protect the floors, and so on. If you plan these things out there will be no surprises on day one.
On your end, do you have pets or young children in the home that can’t be around a jobsite? Does anyone work or study from home? If so, you might need to make alternative arrangements for particularly disruptive portions of the project, like during demolition.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
Prepare the space
Whatever the scope of your project you should make sure the area(s) where the crew will be working is cleared of obstacles, valuables, and breakables before they arrive to start the job. If, for example, you’re having windows replaced, take down the curtains and blinds the day before. If you’re renovating a kitchen or bathroom, clear out the pantry, cutlery drawers, medicine cabinet, and so on.
A contractor’s truck or van is their office, workshop, and rolling warehouse all rolled into one. Throughout the day they’ll need to go back and forth for tools and materials, and the farther they have to go the longer the job will take. This can be particularly challenging in dense urban areas. Ideally, they’ll be able to use your driveway and you can park somewhere offsite if necessary. If you have a mutual driveway, get your neighbour’s consent for the contractor to use it ahead of time. And if they’ll need to park on the street, secure a permit for them in areas where they’re required. (Any parking tickets they get will be rolled into your final bill.)
Don’t underestimate the value of a gesture like offering a cup of coffee or a cold drink on a hot day. They may decline (“Thanks, but we grabbed coffee on the way here.”) but that simple act of kindness goes a long way towards showing the workers that they’re respected.
While it’s natural to be curious – and ask questions – about the work going on at your house, don’t designate yourself as a site supervisor. It’s okay to ask a couple of questions now and then – healthy communication between you and your renovator is encouraged! But it’s quite another thing to park yourself in a lawn chair to oversee operations from dawn to dust. (Don’t laugh, it happens.) Imagine how you’d feel with someone sitting over your shoulder asking you questions all day long while you were at work?
If you have concerns about the quality of the workmanship then speak up sooner rather than later, but keep in mind that you vetted and hired your contractor because you trust that they are a professional.
Getting renovations done on your home should be an exciting experience. Before you hire a professional, make sure you check their references and get a written contract for peace of mind. Clearly communicating with your contractor ahead of time about the timing and process will help alleviate stress down the road, and extending some basic courtesies to the workers on site will help ensure that they have your confidence and trust.
Looking for a renovator? RenoMark Renovators are members of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and always provide a written contract.