This article was written by Wayne Ball President of Lone Star Building and Construction Services, Inc. It was printed in the November 13, 2022 edition of the Houston Chronicle and online.
Remodeling can be fun and rewarding if you have chosen the right remodeler to complete your project. It also can be an emotional nightmare if your remodeler does not perform.
From my experience, communication is the first and most important part of your remodeling project. If you do not communicate well with your remodeler, then your project is more than likely going to fail or be a never-ending conundrum that takes over your life.
Second is a good agreement or contract. A contract allows both the homeowner and remodeler to be on the same page when it comes to re-building your home. Contracts should include all work and detail the responsibility of the remodeler and the homeowner. If the contract is vague or does not include all work to be completed there will be problems down the road.
Next, would be matching the remodeling project to the remodeler that you will hire. Not all remodeling companies are the same. Some are design-build companies that provide all design work as well as remodeling. Others may only bid work from other design professionals. Some excel in large difficult projects while others are only good at smaller projects. If you hire a remodeler that is not qualified to do your project, things can go south quickly.
So, you have found a remodeler that you think is qualified, you communicate well with them, and you hire him because your neighbor said he was good however that may not be enough. You have to go deeper than one recommendation. Are they insured, do they carry workers compensation, do they belong to the GHBA, BBB or other professional organizations, do they use subcontractors, or do they have their own tradesmen? Have your remodeler provide you a list of past customers and suppliers and contact those suppliers to see if the remodeler pays their bills. Contact past customers and ask about their experiences. Most people are more than happy to share their projects with you.
If you have chosen a remodeler who does not provide design work, you will have to hire a designer to provide the plans and details. If the company you decided on is a Design-Build remodeler, they will provide all plans and details as well as a cost of the construction project. Note that if you hire a Design-Build company, the plans they provide are intellectual property, are owned by the remodeling company and cannot be used by other companies without the permission of the designer.
It is best to have a preliminary estimate done at an early stage of the design. Preliminary estimates should only be used as a gauge to move forward with the project, not the actual cost. At this stage of the design, shifting gears to complement your budgets is easy. if you wait until the plans are completed to get pricing, you could end up having to re-design the project because of cost constraints.
When it comes to remodeling your home, there are some important factors to consider and choices to make before the first nail is hammered. Taking the time upfront to do some research will alleviate most issues that might arise later on.