Before the renovation gets under way talk to your contractor or project manager about the hours the workers will be keeping and when you can expect them to come and go. Renovation crews tend to start early in the morning so it’s a good idea to specify a “don’t come in before this hour” rule. Same for end of day.
Before you start the renovation discuss the ins and out of who will have access to your house and how they’ll get it. Agreeing to be home whenever the trades have to come and go isn’t usually feasible, and it can cause delays and frustrations. While you can provide your general contractor with a key, a much easier way to deal with this issue is to use a lock box. Simply put the key inside and provide your contractor with the code. If he or she isn’t available when a sub trade comes to the house, they can simply use the code to access the key. You never have to worry about being there to let anyone in.
What type of access will your contractor and trades have to the rest of your home? Not wanting people traipsing through your home is understandable, but workers need access to a bathroom and usually a sink. If people will need to come into parts of your living space that isn’t under renovation make sure to put down some floor protectors so that you don’t have to worry about things like drywall dust making their way through your house, and discuss ahead of time where they can go in the house to access the things they need.
Good communication between you and your contractor/project manager is vital to the success of your renovation. Chances are good that you won’t both be there all day every day to ask and answer questions, so set up a message board where you can leave questions or comments.
Along with a message board, a binder full of information can be incredibly helpful to you and your renovation team. Use it to hold a signed copy of the contract, blueprints, design plans, permit information, specs, and anything else related to the build. It’s also a good idea to keep some blank change of work forms and an empty section for your contractor to insert all manuals and papers that come with the products being installed.
Renovations are inherently dangerous. There are a lot of tools involved, oftentimes there are electrical issues, and structural issues certainly come into play. Speak to your contractor ahead of time about where they will be storing their tools and materials at the end of the day. Behind a locked door is preferable if possible. It’s also up to you as the homeowner to make sure kids and pets are kept safely away from the area at all times.
Renovations are dirty. There’s no getting around it. However there are steps you can take to minimize the mess reaching other parts of your home. The biggest problem is dust so make sure you seal off work areas with plastic and don’t forget to also seal vents so the dust doesn’t get into the ductwork.
Don’t put too much stock in trades who give free estimates over the phone. A plumber or electrician can’t properly diagnose an issue unless it’s in person. A free estimate given over the phone is likely to go up significantly once he or she is on-site.