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Timing Is Everything: A Realistic Renovation Timeline

As much as you may be thrilled by the idea of a remodel, you may also be intimidated by how long the process can last. While renovation shows on TV finish everything in the blink of an eye (giving you a skewed perception of a realistic renovation timeline), your friends may have complained about how long their remodels have taken.

So what can you expect in the way of a remodeling timeline?

We’ve identified six steps below to help solve the mystery. Of course, project timeframes naturally vary depending on a project’s scope, location and the existing home’s condition (check out HomeAdvisor’s construction timeline survey results), but leading up to construction the pace of work remains largely the same. Therefore, we thought we’d share a realistic version of our own planning calendar, so you can start forecasting a realistic timeline for your own remodel.

Step No. 1:  Any Time You’re Ready (Time As Needed)

Make sure that your remodeling contractor is right for you.

At Progressive Design Build we’re thrilled when homeowners are excited about a new project. However, we realize that a home remodel is a big decision—one you’ll have to live with, literally.

As such, before signing with any remodeling contractor, have an idea of what you want in your new space. Make a list of your “must haves” and the items that are  “nice-to-have”. Evaluate your budget, the functional use of your space and how the remodel may potentially affect the long-term value of your home. Share these discussion items openly with your remodeling contractor—this should be a comfortable, welcoming exchange.

You can certainly move faster through this process, especially with reliable references and proper due diligence, but be patient and take your time choosing a contractor that you will feel comfortable working with.

For additional advice to help you feel more prepared as you begin the process of starting a remodel, read Home Remodeling Essentials: 10 Do’s and Don’ts (Part 1) and Home Remodeling Essentials: 10 Do’s and Don’ts (Part II).

Step No. 2: Plan Your Project (4-8 Weeks)

It is not uncommon to take our clients through a four- to eight-week project planning period. To help you get exactly what you want, our design/build team works with you, asking you series of detailed questions, to help you flush out the challenges you have with your existing space and maximize the value of your newly remodeled space.

And we encourage you to take your time. Be absolutely sure that you’re going to love the result. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or work with a professional designer who can help you identify alternative solutions that not only satisfy your functional needs and design style but work with your budget. It’s much easier (and cheaper) to move a wall on a blueprint than move a wall once it’s built, or opt for an alternative flooring option that fits the look you’re going for without the high-priced installation costs.

That said, aim to make as many decisions as possible, at this point. If you make piecemeal decisions as you go, that’s an easy way to go over budget. It’s better to know in advance everything that you’ll need.

And with the more information we have, we’re able to foresee any challenges that might delay completion—so we can let you know and adjust the schedule accordingly.

Step No. 3: Waiting Time (Permits / 2-4 Weeks)

Rome wasn’t built in a day—probably because they couldn’t get the permits. The same goes for your remodel.

People often think that permitting should be a quick process, as simple as filling out a web form. But it can take anywhere from two weeks to a month.

The exact turnaround will depend on your location and remodel plans: Your proposal may require a substantive review by a planning board. You may provide blueprints to be reviewed for compliance with local building codes, even historic designations. And you also need to wait in line, behind others requesting permits.

When we file, we recommend not just getting the overall approval, but filing notices for necessary inspections. Occasionally, inspectors will show up unannounced, but many inspections are tied to specific stages of construction, and we can save time with early filing and scheduling of those inspections.

SPECIAL NOTE: Working with a design/build firm like Progressive Design Build minimizes delays as we purposely schedule other remodeling work around anticipation of wait times for inspections, supplies, or anything else that may cause delays.

Step No. 4: No Time Like the Present (Ordering Materials / 2-16 Weeks)

While there are a few ready-made options, customized items require a long-lead-time prior to delivery. Semi-custom cabinetry can take a two to three months before it’s ready, while more customized cabinetry can take three or four months to arrive. Many tile, stone products, and even flooring can have long-lead requirements. (Read our blog for ideas on how to make material design selections.)

You don’t want to shut down construction—for months—until your cabinets finally arrive. As a design/build firm, we help you plan for these custom-orders (with special relationships with many of them) and plan them accordingly so as to keep your project running smoothly, with limited delays.

Step No. 5: Crunch Time (Demolition / 1 Week)

Demolition can mean tearing down walls, but it also includes removing electrical wiring, plumbing, flooring, cabinets, countertops, window treatment or anything else that must go before the new construction begins.

While the process doesn’t last long, it’s more than just wielding a sledgehammer. It’s important to make sure that the de-construction hasn’t revealed any hidden issues with the house (e.g., a crack in the foundation, water damage, faulty wiring, etc.) that could affect the re-construction.    

Step No. 6: Show Time (Construction / Ranges by Project)

You’ve finally reached that step in the remodeling process where you love the design and are ready to get started. Construction itself is a fluid process with specific stages, depending on the size and scope of the project. While we do our best to stick to a schedule, varying factors can impact the timeline. A thunderstorm cuts short our workday. A plumber needs an extra day before starting your project. Paint needs to dry. And so on. However, as much as possible, at Progressive Design Build, we have the experience to adjust the construction schedule and minimize delays.

Timing is everything, and planning shouldn’t be a mystery. And when you call the right design/build team, it won’t be.

If you are contemplating a home remodel, start planning now by calling Progressive Design Build. Make sure to schedule a no pressure, hassle-free design consultation with our remodeling experts and see what we can do to deliver your dream home on time, and on budget.

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