From the ground up: stages of a renovation project
Last modified: 2019/08/30 | Approximate reading time 5 mins
Regardless if it’s large or small, almost every renovation project is going to involve careful planning, close attention to detail, patience and perseverance. For the novice builder among us, you may not understand what each stage of a building project entails. If you’re hoping to take on a frame alteration, a renovation or a completely new build, there are some aspects you’ll need to consider.
Regardless of the size or scope of your renovation project, there are certain stages that will almost always be necessary to follow. We’re going to lay those out for you below, as well as offering some tips that will make things run as smoothly as possible.
Here are the stages of the building process
1- Planning out the renovation project
The planning stage of a building project is one where careful and considerate targets and goals need to be drawn up. Getting your ideas in order before diving headfirst into a renovation will make your end result much more achievable. If you’re taking away anything from this article, it’s that it is crucial for you to be realistic. Consider all aspects of your project and these include priorities, budget and time.
One major factor often overlooked in a renovation project is the position of your building as well as the location of your land. Think about these factors in relation to the trajectory of your renovation:
- Weather: the direction of the sun & wind;
- Water, electricity, and plumbing;
- Property boundaries;
- Site access;
- Hills, slopes or uneven land;
- Existing features you’ll be retaining such as trees.
Another consideration will depend on how rural the area where you’re building is. Will it be necessary for you to install a septic tank? What about an emergency water supply? If you’re unable to determine these things on your own, then look into speaking with the building or property council in your municipality. They should be able to provide site-specific reports that will help the planning and design stages play out in the smoothest possible fashion. These are only the initial planning elements in a building project.
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2- Designing elements and hiring a team of contractors
In some cases, renovating a building that is already in place will actually be more complicated than starting a completely new project. If you happen to be starting from scratch and you’re not a trained builder, designer or architect; you’re going to need to hire one of the three and potentially as many as two of them. When it comes to the design of your renovation project, you’ll need to brief anyone you’ve hired about the design elements, the overall budget, and additional details. Be clear about how much you’re able to spend and survey these aspects carefully:
- How will you use the space?
- What do you want it to look like when complete?
- What materials do you plan on using?
- Will there be enough natural light?
These questions will need to be determined before any building or permit plans are submitted to your municipal council. Although it’s natural for some things to change over the course of a renovation project or building development, large-scale changes could mean additional costs from your municipality.
As mentioned, it’s likely you’re going to be hiring someone or a team of people to help you complete your renovation. Confirm a project manager, if you haven’t already appointed yourself. You’ll need this information for the building and permit plans, which we’ll get into in our next section. Working out how active of a role you have will be necessary, and delegate all other tasks to the project manager or main contractor you’ve chosen to hire.
Be sure to ask for detailed quotes from the contractor or company you intend on employing as well as addressing the specific timeframe the project will take. Before setting your sites on one person to work with, we’d suggest comparing quotes from a few companies or contractors. Ensure that these quotes include building elements, materials, fixtures, and finishes.
Be certain that the person or team you end up hiring sign a contract which indicates the work and completion deadlines they’ve agreed to as well as payment schedule. Not only this, make sure that you actually have the budget you’ve allotted to this project before any work begins. Your contractor, architect and everyone else working on this project deserve to be paid on time.
3- Getting all the building permits
Permits are essential for any building or renovation project. In most cities, permits will need to be applied for at the municipal level. Permit applications will often require detailed drawings which lay out exactly where and how the building project will happen. If you’re working with an architect, it’s likely they’ll take the initiative on building permit drawings. Do careful research when it comes to applying for permits, as any missteps could completely halt your project until you have access to the right paperwork.
4- Carrying out the work
Once you’ve hired a team and all permits are in your possession, then you can move forward with building. As soon as you know the date you’ll be starting, you need to inform your building council or municipality. This date will be important, as the project you take on will have to be finished in a designated time period.
Keep in constant dialogue with your project manager, contractor or architect so that you can monitor progress, this may include organizing inspections of the building site. If you find the work is not progressing as quickly as you thought it might, discuss this with the contracting team and determine new dates and deadlines. This information will need to find its way back to your municipality, especially missed deadlines.
Collect any certificates for energy and gas work, and remember that installing gas lines, plumbing or new wiring will require the assistance of an expert in their respective field. Be on top of all payments that were previously agreed upon. Budgeting for a large renovation project can be one of the most difficult tasks, especially because in most cases unseen expenses will come into play. Here’s an article that carefully lays out a realistic way to plan a renovation project budget.
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