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The Realities of Remodeling

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

There’s a fine line between lack of intelligence and blatant honesty.  I prefer to think that I’m blatantly honest but you can decide which you think of me after you’ve read this blog.  …How could you not keep reading after a set up like that?

Companies in our field (construction, remodeling, etc.) will not advertise all the “what ifs” or all the possible scenarios that can lead to aggravation and delays during any given project.  It would be a terrible ad – Our “Platinum Process” would turn into something like the “Aluminum Process”.  We could talk about all the potential issues, aggravations and delays that COULD arise during the project. – Not sexy.

I should say something positive before I shoot myself in the foot…  Where my industry can be problematic, it’s often not the problems themselves but how issues get resolved that defines a company.

Given all the “opportunities” (problems) that can arise, let’s discuss a few of the major ones:

Lead times and back orders The waiting game.  This can happen with almost any product.  And it happens often enough.  From back-splash tile and counter-top material to light fixtures and appliances, it’s an issue that may arise that no one can do much about barring reselecting the delayed item.

For example, if an appliance manufacturer chooses to push a release date back for a new model of range, refrigerator, etc., there is no amount of grease that will get that wheel oiled.  Even your largest appliance distributors will be at the mercy of the manufacturer.  Yelling and screaming will not speed anything up, only add to the already stressful situation for you and the appliance dealer.  It’s better to work together to possibly reselect.

SelectionsThis part ain’t for everyone.  Holy cow the tears!  We have we seen people fall apart here.  Some people make decisions very well and others don’t.  You probably already know which category you fall into here.  Don’t lose your mind and especially don’t second guess yourself right into Crazytown. – It exists, I’ve been there, it’s not fun.

Analysis paralysis is when you can’t make a decision so you’re simply stuck.  We do our best to help people realize their vision.  What we can’t help is when people spend hours and hours on the internet and listening to every opinion from every friend, their friends, their kids, spouse, Dr’s and elementary school teachers.  This is not life or death and it doesn’t need to be torture.

Communication breakdownHe said, she said.  I consider myself a good communicator.  I spend time with people and enjoy exploring the possibilities of what could be in their kitchen.  However, between our first few meetings there is so much information being thrown out that it’s nearly impossible to absorb all of it.  Whether it’s the homeowner or the designer everyone’s trying their best to keep up and stay on task.  Phones ringing, kids screaming, brain wandering.  All you can do is your best to stay focused and ask questions!

Pre-existing conditionsYou think your house is the weird one – You’re right – They all are!  There is not a level ceiling or floor out there.  Your walls are bowed.  Their might even be plumbing or electrical wiring that was not done correctly.  Yes, there were inspectors when your house was built but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do a “drive by”.  Remember the time when builders couldn’t get houses up fast enough?  MANY mistakes were made.  In my home as well.

What that means is that there will be no perfection this time around either.  Remodel projects must deal with what they were given unless correcting that issue is part of the scope of work.  If it’s an electrical issue that shows itself, given it’s importance, you should be given the opportunity to correct it.  Repairing any pre-existing condition of the house can add more time to any project.

LaborThey don’t make ’em like they used to.  Our industry is struggling with a lack of workers.  The current generation is not that excited about getting dirty or working with their hands.  Good advice for any young adult entering the work force would be to become a plumber or electrician.  Not glamorous but you can do VERY well.

These days it’s getting harder to find good workers.  The goal in this industry is to build relationships.  However, everyone gets sick, their vehicles break down and (here comes the harsh truth) EVERYONE has a personal life outside of your project (OMG!  Did he say that?  Sure did).  What we don’t want to do is find a new, random person we’ve never worked with before and try them out on your project.  That could be, and has been disastrous.

Change ordersWhile you’re here… – There are two types of change orders.  Let’s discuss the ugly category first.  These are the ones that are due to the “surprises”.  They’re less fun and sometimes painful.  Sometimes in order to get where we want to go with a design we must change or correct the home’s existing conditions.  Perhaps the change order is due to something we didn’t have a chance of seeing while at the house.  Support walls where they shouldn’t be, water damage where we couldn’t see it or any other issue that ties into the pre-existing conditions discussed above.  The “whats” and “whys” can be abundant.

The other category refers to the add-ons that homeowners ask us to do while we’re working on the project.  It can be anything from additional paint, hanging a light fixture or refinishing flooring.  These typically don’t incite anger (except possibly from your spouse) but they can absolutely add time to the project.

Expect reality because you can’t stop it.  There will be some bumps in the road and possible hiccups.  There will be dirt and mess.  There may be some mis-understandings.  We,  like you and everyone else, may make a mistake here and there (if you don’t make mistakes we would much rather you use someone else for your kitchen remodel).  The best remodels are a team effort between the homeowner and remodeler where problems are solved together.  Don’t lose sight of why you chose to remodel and don’t forget to breathe.