“The Process” for our Remodeling Customers
O.K. Where do we go from here?
1. This is a mutual Interview. We want to assure that
we’re right for you and your project is right for us. Look for a comfortable fit.
1 Your ideas and desires
2 The project budget
3 Possible designs
4 Basic material desires
5 Potential scheduling
1 We obtain a fee for the SCA. - a Specification and Cost Analysis
2 We take exact measurements of the area(s) to be renovated, location of walls, outlets, switches, etc. This may include the entire home, and we transfer these into new CAD generated floor plan on our office computer. One set of existing and another including the changes. These take anywhere from a few hours to well over a day.
1 We firm up the final design, material selections, colors and the remaining details.
2 Possibly invite specialty sub-contractors (SC) to view the site for their comment.
3 Discuss and change any other minor items.
1 Prior to this meeting we create the contract and modify the plans and specifications.
2 We’ll go over the final plans, materials, colors, etc., in detail.
3 Set a schedule - start and completion dates.
4 Sign and initiate the contract and we receive a “Commencement” payment.
So what is a SCA ?
A Specification & Cost Analysis is a definitive comprehensive document stating the final costs, allowances, material selections with brand names, and all particulars of the project as agreed upon by us all. All SCAs include a complete set of CAD drawings and plans.
Preparation for a SCA includes evaluation of existing construction and current building codes and possibly engineering. If a room addition is involved, site planning as well, and again engineering.
The SCA can be compared to a “brief” in the legal profession, which is defined as “A document containing all facts and points of law pertinent to a specific case.” In our “case”, containing all facts of the home and the anticipated remodeling project’s details, and by phase.
Creating a SCA takes anywhere from several hours to several days, when taking into consideration: designs, meetings with specialty contractors (SCs), material suppliers, estimating calculations, the time mandated by permitting requirements, and even more.
The “estimating” process of the SCA involves many hours of line item costing of every single operation of each phase to reach the final total cost. It is also based on each SC’s own bids as well as those bids from the suppliers. No ambiguities or guesses are allowed.
Depending on the project and it particulars, the fee for a SCA can be $250 or more for a major bathroom remodel, $500 or more for a complete kitchen remodel to well over $2000 for a major projects or those costing well into six figures. As the cost and square footage of a project increases, so does the time needed to create an accurate SCA, and accuracy is critical.
In addition, the SCA eliminates nearly all surprises, ambiguity, assures an agreed upon contract that is realistic and viable, and has everything discussed - on paper - where everything should be.
Upon acceptance of our SCA, we credit you for that fee toward the final payment.
What do you have in mind?
Ideas, desires & the budgeted amount?
Concept Stage, the first of four stages. At our first meeting, we discuss various aspects and ideas you have about your project. If we agree upon enough items, we might even be able to determine a rough ball park cost. At this initial point, far too many variables prevent determining anything more than a ball park cost.
For example, your bathroom remodel might be between $18,000 and $23,000, or your new kitchen might be between $45,000 between $55,000. This is also when we discuss your budget. We assure that the project scope is within the realm of your desired budget. Time is saved for both of us.
We also determine when you would like to start and assure the start and finish dates don’t conflict with our own existing commitments
Now we need to determine if everything can be done.
Feasibility is the 2nd stage. Does that new receptacle need to be on a separate circuit? Will the cabinets you selected fit on the wall? Can that wall come down easily, or is it a structural wall? In construction, anything is possible if you have enough money. A “feasibility” determines if what you want is financially affordable and the trade offs of desires vs. costs.
A feasibility “team” should consist of you as the owner, the general contractor, and a member of each of the specialty contractors to be used. That “team” should meet in your home so the feasibility of everything is determined early on - before plans are drawn up. This eliminates potential costly surprises and delays during remodeling.
Putting concept and feasibilities on paper, and to scale,so we can visualize the completed project.
The Design is when what is feasible and desired has been determined - is put on paper to scale.
These plans and any sketches are from what the project will be produced. They are the “boss” telling everyone exactly where that receptacle will go, which cabinet will go where, what lighting and where they are installed.
Designing and subsequent plans are usually generated on our computer using what’s called a CAD program. Computer Assisted Design software.
The designing and generation of the plans phase takes the longest and the most amount of expertise. Planning and just plain thinking about the entire project. Now is when we do a virtual walk through to assure everything has been addressed. For example you’ll virtually use that new kitchen, family room or bathroom. Is everything placed where you want?
Although some people are able to visualize a finished project, most cannot. For that reason, as you view the new plans, you may decide to make some changes.
As any remodeling project materializes and walls are being built, electrical wiring being run, etc., there are always things the owners want to change which is important to assure you get exactly what you want. In addition, when the time arrives for an inspection by the permitting department, the inspector may mandate a couple of minor changes because each inspector has his own “druthers.” Consequently, plan your budget to include 5% to 10% more for changes. It’s all part of
Designing - The fun part!
This part is trial and error. Like trying on new suits or dresses. We should think in terms of textures, colors, patterns, spatial effects, longs and shorts, heights and their relationships to other things - form and function.
Think in terms of traffic patterns, sound transmission, lighting effects (natural and artificial). Again, visually walk through each area effected. Don’t forget ventilation.
Look for at least one area, if not the entire project, as offering a dramatic effect, while still being one of utilization - it must be practical as well since you live in it.
Actually, the designing part is fun for you. For us it means back to the computer and CAD program, but it’s worth it. We like to see the smiling faces of our clients.
Materials & Products
Boy! there’s so much to chose from.
We know. But, we’ll help you along the way.
Again, keep in mind the colors, textures, maintenance, individual design, coordination and ease of use. Just like selecting a contractor - it feel like a good fit? Touch it. Try it. Not the contractor - the products.
Think in terms of drama, or a little “pizzazz”.
Let’s coordinate those colors and textures. What trim and the use of accessories? A little at a time, it will all come together.
Try to visualize the finished area(s).
The Role of Subcontractors
Subcontractors are those contractors that provide their own specialty services to your project. In addition, we must also consider the various material suppliers involved. They are all part of the “production team.”
Collier County issues the largest number of building permits in the entire U.S.A. Yep, not just Florida, but the entire USA. To that fact, add two more: Kids are no longer entering into the trades, and, the average age of the person getting out of the trades is at the lowest ever - 33 years old. Consequently, the construction industry has had a skilled labor shortage for several years, and getting worse.
So add to the above, the local booming economy, and you can understand why all contractors are literally swamped with business. That means we must allow for what we call “lead” times, just how long it will be before they can get started on your particular project. The delay of one subcontractor can delay several more down the line like a domino effect.
In addition, special order materials may take as little as one week, or, in the case of cabinets, up to 16 weeks. Special counter top materials like Corian and granite may take up to several weeks to obtain, not including their installation time frames.
Patience in this “category” is recommended. Again, it’s all part of “The Process” of remodeling.
“Almost” - bringing it all together
The scheduling is decided here, not by a pending special occasion or when “we” want it done, but by
Once everything has finally been decided upon, we contact each sub and check their lead time, deposit and payout requirements. We also check with the material suppliers and their lead time for any special orders.
Next, we create the contract. The contract contains several sections and it’s financial arrangement is based on the above subs and vendors as well as our own requirements. Adhering to the payout dates is crucial to maintain our relationships with your subcontractors.
When payouts are delayed, subs may start another job. Then we wait for them to return - on their terms. When payouts are delayed, a major interruption occurs in “The Process”, so it’s not unusual for work to stop.
The contract also includes all material selections, model numbers, colors, etc., and the agreed upon schedule - the next section
Finally -The Schedule
When will it be finished?
Because of the critical labor shortage and CollierCounty’s tremendous construction activity, and for several additional reasons, we allow plenty oftime for each project.
1. Emergencies - A sub might be detained on another job due to the bane of all contractors - Change Orders. You will initiate some of them as well as we mentioned earlier. It’s just one more part of “The Process.”
2. Miscommunications from one sub’s employee to another. Remember, we’re not building washing machines in a factory where hundreds are made daily on the assembly line. We’re building a single, customized “prototype” for you that’s never been made before.
3. A product delivered that might be defective.
4. Waiting for building permit inspections - as many as a dozen.
5. Mistakes - they happen - both yours and ours.
6. Weather, if exterior construction is involved during our rainy season.
7. Change Orders - As the project takes shape, you may decide to make a change or may say, “While you’re here, can you also ..................?” Contractors call them, appropriately, the “While your here's”. Hidden problems or a building inspector’s demands may also require a Change Order. No Change Order is initiated until approved and signed by you.
Prior to starting your project we create the schedule and give a copy to everyone involved including yourself.
Glitches and Changes
As we mentioned earlier, they happen. That’s why a project that would normally take 6 weeks is scheduled for 8 weeks. We don’t want to promise or deceive you and we feel that being above board is critical to what is really, our limited “partnership”. Communication is imperative. This can be a fun venture, but only if we are all realistic about the entire process, it’s highs and lows, and knowing the entire process in advance.
Again, please remember this is not unusual, but
instead, is typical when building a prototype, the reality
of every remodeling project, and especially when
involving so many different companies and people.
In fact, one of the #1 problems in our industry regarding scheduling involves clients who do not make timely decisions about product selections. Planning is crucial and cannot be dismissed in a cavalier manner. Remodeling is not a “catch up” process. In fact, problems or delays often create a domino effect.
So while changes must be thought out, they should be implemented rather quickly to maintain the project’s momentum and planning.