Remodeling 101

Anyone here looking at Remodeling? What are you thinking about doing? It gets overwhelming right, where do I start, do I look at tile? cabinets ? do I call an architect? Do I need an architect? What do I need?

How to you get from your seed of an idea to a completed project that works for you and your lifestyle.

Pull pictures out of magazines or on-line-Houzz, pinterest and put it in a file. Create a wish list of the items you need, the items you want and the items you would love to have. If you are inclined sketch out some idea's of your thoughts, go to design centers, cabinet shops, tile stores-don't buy just look at their displays. Now have these ideas but have no idea of what is a reasonable cost or who to contact to move forward.

There are a few different ways to move forward:

Remodeling 101The first process we will call the team approach, which frankly is our preferred method. This is a collaborative process with the owners, the design team and the build team all working together to get you the most of what you want for the budget you have. The team approach is to put together a team that work together to design, build and budget your project all through the process. In our forty years we have discovered this approach allows the owner (and team) better control over the budget and your end result. So this is how it might look: blah blah contact a contractor and /or a design professional through a professional affliation: such as, AIA, ASID , NKBA or referrals from friends and family. Interview them to ensure they are licensed, bonded, insured and understand your vision. See their work, call their references. Make sure they are experienced and you feel you can communicate with them and that ALL will work well together. Once you have a good team then you bring out your wish list, your pictures and the works begins from design to final drawings, with budgetting during the process to allow for cost control.

The second process is probably the approach you are most familiar with...this is the Bid approach. In this model there is less control on the building costs. Here is how this might look: You contact a designer or architect and bring out the pictures and the wish list. You work with them to get the design you want. Then you interview contractors (generally 3 as described above) and have them give you pricing for your project. You have already paid for the design and are hoping the bids come in at budget.

The third model is to go to a home improvement store or a cabinet shop. They may have a designer to assist you and you begin a conversation about your dreams. They are specialists generally in one thing so in this case having a vetted contractor is a necessity so they can review the drawings, meet with you and the shop and ensure that all measurements are correct. They should be able to assist you in adding electrical, plumbing and whatever else is needed for permits to the drawings. They may recommend an architect, designer or engineer if more is required. This process will allow for some budgeting at the point you bring in the contractor.

Here is an important tip for all these approaches and all projects in general. You need a plan. It can be a simple one page drawing or as complicated as many pages (show plans). It depends on your project.

With the team approach you will end up with a plan and a budget. The project will be reviewed several times during the design process and adjusted if needed to stay on budget-thus helping to control costs and you end up with a plan that you can afford to build.Remodeling 101

The bid model you will have a plan and will send out to contractors to see what the costs are and hoping it meets your budget. If not you may be starting over, which is additional design costs to me this is not an effective use of your money which is why I prefer the team approach. In the bid model you must meticulously go over and compare proposals to ensure t hat everything you thought was included actually is.

The shop approach, if you are working with a contractor they should be able to budget as you go, if you design without a builder on board you will not:

Budget as you design; Know if there are any building issues or features that need to be accounted for during design for construction.

I'd like to share a story with you to close out this conversation and to explain why I like the team approach and more people are using it.

So you have a plan, how long has the process taken? Depending on the complexity of the project it can be anywhere from a few weeks to a full year, sometimes longer. What on HGTV everything happens in 30 or 60 minutes? So let's take a look at some of the myths and misconceptions. What have some of you heard about remodeling or building?

Takes longer, painful, costs more than expected, contractors don't show up-disappear, don't need a permit? It's messy,

One of the myths I hear is... we are going to have to fix something in another part of the house for code? So let's talk about code now and some of the things you might want to be aware of...

No they cannot require you to fix things in other parts of the house where you are not working EXCEPT smoke detectors....some cities are requiring smoke detectors be hardwired, all cities require for final inspection smoke detectors in all bedrooms and a CO detector on each level of the home.

If remodeling, all bathrooms, whether they have a window or not, now need a fan with a occupancy sensor and a humidistat. This is due to the issues coming out with mold You must test for lead and abate properly. You should be aware there may be asbestos especially for older homes (1969) and it needs to be abated properly or you risk someone coming back to you with a problem. Yvonne has a story about this do you want to share?

Asbestos removal requires a special permit? Speaking of permits, Do not take any permit in your name. This makes you the responsible party and if someone is at the house and does not have proper licensing or insurance it makes you the employer. The contractor should give you certificates for his workers compensation insurance and his liability insurance. Also state law requires a 10% deposit or $1000.00 for a project deposit. Do not give more for the deposit and for payments, I like a landmark based schedule meaning....blah blah blah however some contractors like every two weeks, just make sure you have the schedule at the beginning of the project and there is something left at the end for a final walk thru. You will have a contract and a project scope which should identify the work to be done and work that is excluded, depending on the extent of the remodel determines the requirements for code this is where your team will help, but ask what you will need for your situation. A lot of code now is for energy efficiency as California is supposed to reduce our energy usage 50% by 2020; so you have insulation required under crawl spaces, light fixtures with fixed lights so LED's in the kitchen ( you can still use fluorescent in the bathroom) and rebates for other energy saving measures like building sealing, hvac work, water heaters, windows and more. When we come back I would like to test your energy IQ so go re-fuel your brain and we will talk more about energy savings and rebates available to you whether you are remodeling or not.