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>> Pre-construction planning >> Why hire a pro?


Why hire a pro?

Author: Marv Shidler
Last updated: June 3, 2009

For most of people, a cruise is the ultimate vacation because you can relax and let someone else take care of the details of life, like cleaning up after you or bringing your drinks. Remodeling your home can be a little like taking a cruise, if you hire a professional contractor.

Consider the many details that a contractor has to coordinate before the job ever begins. Taking care of the human element involved in renovating someone's home raises a whole host of issues. A professional contractor will:  

  • Take time to communicate with his clients to learn exactly what they want. He needs to be a good communicator to help the client visualize the finished project. Spending this kind of time coming together on the physical details of the project will save countless hours and conflict later on.
  • Psychologically prepare the customers for the renovation of their home. During remodeling, it is inevitable that their normal way of life will be disrupted, but giving them realistic expectations beforehand, of the noise or the restricted use of their home, makes it easier for everyone to adapt. 
  • Keep life as normal as possible for the client. For example, he should have a pre-construction conference with clients that settles issues such as:   when the work day should begin, what bathroom workers have access to, how to best protect children and pets on the jobsite, etc.

 The professional contractor will also spend time preparing the physical property for the project. He/She should: 

  • Have a plan for gaining access to the property without destroying trees and landscaping.  
  • Maintain a procedure that all employees follow to minimize the mess. You should find protective coverings over furniture and floors, and a system for containing construction dust inside the work area, such as plastic curtains over doorways and vents. After every work day, everyone on the crew will spend time organizing and broom cleaning the job site as much as possible.

When construction begins, it is the job of the contractor to maintain and control the flow of the project. He/She will: 

  •  Schedule the entire course of the project before it ever begins and then keep on top of it at all times. If subcontractors are involved, it is vital that the contractor schedule them to be on the job at the right time. If the electrician is too busy with other jobs to finish the rough wiring, the entire project will be put on hold. A pro contractor will have a list of reliable subs that he can count on to keep things moving.
  • Keep a tight rein on the job schedule yet keep the schedule flexible enough to handle surprises,... and there will be surprises. Renovation planning always involves unknowns. Excavation can uncover underground springs or unstable soil. Demolition can expose rotted wood or electrical wires that are difficult to relocate. Such complications out of the contractor's control need to be dealt with effectively and economically.