All remodels are different, but there are some consistencies you can hang your hat on. Here is an attempt to describe the typical remodeling process from start to finish so a homeowner can better understand what to expect.
Project team and their responsibilities
- Homeowner – responsible for articulating the desired project outcome
- Architect (if needed) – responsible for developing the scope of work, drawings and specifications and filing permits
- General Contractor – responsible for hiring sub contractors and building the project while following local building regulations
- Consultants – responsible for providing specialized design input: HVAC, engineering etc.
IMPORTANT TIP Remodeling is like falling in love - only fools rush in. Focus on defining your project as accurately as possible before hiring a contractor. Your pocket and sanity will thank you later.
The Design Process
This stage assumes you have a designer or architect on board. If you do not then start at step 3 (pre-design) with a general contractor.
- Initial meeting – interviewing, and brainstorming with, designers and / or architects
- Design contracts – agreeing who is going to do what
- Pre-design - getting inspired, defining existing conditions, agreeing the scope of work, project goals etc.
- Schematic design – exploring design options, discussing feasibility, pros and cons
- Design development – producing drawings and retaining any consultants
- Construction document phase – thoroughly documenting the scope of work, finalizing finishes through drawings and schedules
- Permits (if required) – submitting documents to your city agency
- Contract procurement phase – sourcing general contractors (you’d have started this at step 3 if your project doesn’t have an architect), walking through the project with them, distributing project documents, analyzing bids, choosing a contractor and signing a contract with them (architect not a party to this agreement).
The Construction Phase
- Kick off meeting with project team, agreeing project meetings
- Advance payment to the contractor (30% PLUS Materials)
- Breaking ground, building out the project
- Paying the team (especially the contractor) in full and on time (for progress!)
- Approving (or reject) any change orders
- Providing information when needed
- Final walk through / inspection with building or city agency
- Doing punch list
- Requesting project manual and warranties from contractor
- Releasing final payments to team