The Decision To Remodel
The decision to remodel one’s home usually starts with a need or a desire. At the initial meeting with the homeowner Bill Keilty spends most of his time listening to the homeowner’s ideas, needs, wants, and desires. He wants to hear all of their thoughts and ideas so he has a clear understanding of what they are trying to accomplish with their remodel, rather than focusing on what the client already has decided is the best plan or idea. Anything can be accomplished, but there are usually options, which may be more realistic, more inexpensive or just more practical. It is Bill’s task to sort through the client’s ideas and work with the clients to design their remodel to fit their specific needs and accomplish their goals.
Where To Start
Unless you have an unlimited budget, we believe that it is important for the contractor to be involved in the design process with the architect or designer. By having these two parties working together, you have a better chance of having something designed that is in line with your budget. There have been numerous occasions in the past where people have come to us with full blueprints that they have spent many hours and monies on that is well beyond their budget. We get to be the “villain” that squashes their dream when in reality we are only the piano player. We didn’t write the music, we only played it.
A meeting is scheduled with Bill at your home to discuss your remodeling needs. He will make certain what is the real driving force behind your remodeling needs before he directs you as to how it can be best achieved. He will work with you to make sure you will get what you are expecting out of your remodel rather than try to sell you something that is more than necessary. If, for example, you are looking for a more functional kitchen, it may not be necessary for a room addition but only to reconfigure the space you have. At this point, it is determined what extent of blueprints is necessary for your project. Sometimes it is only necessary for us to use a draftsperson for spaceplaning whereas other times we need to have full architectural blueprints. This will all be discussed and approved by you.
Budget and Estimates
It is important to have a budget in mind prior to proceeding with the design of your project. This should be discussed at the initial meeting to make sure your expectations are in line with your budget constraints. It is very hard to give an accurate preliminary estimate for remodels because each project is custom. Using square footage calculations for additions is inaccurate because you are normally renovating some of your existing home to accommodate the addition. The other major factor is the selection of finishes. We liken it to these simple questions: “How much does a bag of groceries cost?” or “How much does a car cost per square foot?” What we try to do is compare your project to other projects we have done to get a budget range. Establishing a budget helps us in the design process, which is the next step.
If it is determined that a draftsperson or architect will be required, we will schedule another meeting at your house. The ideas you have discussed with Bill will then be relayed to that person so they can get started on the preliminary plans. After they have a chance to review your project, we will present you with a Design Agreement that will outline the costs associated with the blueprints. At this point, you can decide whether to proceed to have the plans drawn up or not. We believe that it is essential to have these renderings. This not only enables you to see what the project will look like, but also allows us to accurately bid your project. This process usually takes longer than people anticipate. Often there are several meetings with the draftsman/architect to finalize the plans. The first documents will be a preliminary floor plan and possibly a simple elevation to make sure we are all on the same page. The second preliminary set (if necessary) will show any of the changes from the first set and have some more detail. The final “permit set” will have all the details and elevations that are necessary for an accurate bid and are ready to be submitted, with your approval, to the building department. The time span for these steps varies depending on the size of the project and the availability of all the parties involved. With this in mind, it is best to “get the ball rolling” well before your anticipated starting time for the project.
Once the final plans have been approved, we schedule a construction diagnostic meeting at your home. This is where Bill and our production manager will meet with our subcontractors and vendors to dissect your project in order to get an accurate bid and help derail any potential challenges that may not be shown on the blueprints. This meeting usually takes 1 – 3 hours depending upon the size of the project. You will not have to be there for this meeting, but are more than welcome to be there to ask/answer questions. We feel very strongly that this meeting is imperative to accurately bidding a project and to help eliminate costly change orders for things that may not be depicted on the blueprints. Although we make every effort to identify potential hidden conditions, sometimes issues arise that are not foreseeable. It takes approximately one to two weeks for us to compile your bid after the construction diagnostic meeting. Initially, we usually submit a “Preliminary Proposal” without all the specific details of your project with our bid. Because full project specifications can take 10 to 20 hours to prepare, we want to make sure you are comfortable with the bid prior to putting additional time into the full specifications. We will, of course, answer any questions you have regarding specifics of the project prior to your making your final decision on whether to proceed with your project.
Design Agreement Payment
If a design agreement has been signed and you decide not to proceed with Keilty Remodeling on your project, the agreement amount now becomes due. If you decide to proceed with your project, you can pay that amount now or have it added to the project contract amount.
When you decide to proceed with your project, a start date will be determined and a “preconstruction conference” will be scheduled at your home with Bill (and/or Chris), Mike Cook (our production manager), and you. At this conference, we will answer any further questions you have about the specifications and also ask you other questions. These questions will range from the start date of your project to where you would like the portable toilet set as well as obtaining information about pets, etc. Chris will usually get her before photos at this point as well.
Any changes or clarifications made at the preconstruction conference will be incorporated into the final project specifications that will be attached to the contract and submitted to you, along with other documents required by law. Once the contract has been signed and the project start payment received, the project will begin.
At this point, every project is different in its process. Obviously, cosmetic remodels differ greatly from room additions. The first step may be excavation or the removal of appliances in your kitchen. Mike will provide you with a schedule of events so you will know what to expect as the project progresses. Some subcontractors days may change throughout the project, but our goal is to be completed with your project by the date we set for completion. Mike will keep you updated of any changes and is always available to answer any questions you have. Mike will be your main contact throughout your project. Of course, you are always free to contact Chris at the office if you have any concerns or questions, but usually Mike is the best person to answer project-type questions. (He doesn’t allow Bill to answer production schedule questions.)