Homeowner Info

One of the most important things to consider while hiring a remodeler is the relationship you have with the remodeler. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) recommends that you take the time to get to know some of the key people you will be working with during your project.

Here are some common questions homeowners have when thinking about remodelling.

+ How do I determine a budget for my project?
I am told that I should be prepared to give you a budget for my project. I have no idea of what construction costs so how can I be prepared to give you a budget? This is a very good question and one that is hard to answer. Starting a design without some idea of a budget can be a waste of time and money. You would not want to pay for a design only to discover that the project far exceeds what you are prepared to spend. I invest a huge amount of time putting together proposals for projects; I want to feel assured that it isn’t being squandered on projects that clients aren’t willing to fund. I generally can provide a “ball park” range based on data from previous projects. With a budget range I can then take your list of ideas and priorities and determine if the project is realistic.
+ How much dust and mess does this make in my house?
This depends a great deal on the location and scope of the project. I install dust walls and separate the construction as much as possible. Canvas runners are used to protect carpets and hardwood floors where workers have to walk to and from the construction area and outside. Every effort is made to keep dust to a minimum; however, some projects make it very difficult to assure that no dust enters into the rest of the home. If you require special attention to dust control it should be discussed during the bidding process, as some types of special dust control will impact the cost of the project.
+ I am concerned about the security of my home during the remodeling process.
It is unsettling to have strangers wandering through my home while I’m not there. What can be done to reassure me? This is a major concern of most people who enter into a remodeling project. I have the same feeling when I require work at my home. When you check references, that should be one of the issues to inquire about. I have never had a problem with security issues. With human nature being what it is, however, I suggest that valuables be removed from the home and stored in a secure location for the duration of the project. If possible I block the area to be remodeled from the balance of the home to prevent any unnecessary access. Generally, portable toilets are placed on the job to eliminate traffic into and through the home. I have a code of ethics that I require of anyone on my jobs. They include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • No person should be on the job site unless they have a specific task to perform and then only during standard working hours.
  • Workers are to go directly to the work site in the home and no unnecessary wandering into areas of non-construction shall be tolerated.
  • No smoking inside the house and only at designated outside smoking stations.
  • No alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs are tolerated and anyone who appears to be under the influence of these items will be removed immediately. There is a zero tolerance for this infraction.
  • Profanity and vulgar language are not tolerated.
  • With owner’s permission radios at a reasonable volume are allowed on the job. Should owners object to the volume or content, radio use shall be terminated.
  • All workers shall be appropriately dressed at all times. When working inside shirts shall be worn at all times. As a matter of respect, it is also requested that workers put on shirts outside when in the presence of the owners or owners’ children and guests.
  • All workers are made aware of the fact that they are in someone else’s home and shall be required to show proper respect for that fact.
  • All workers shall be expected to show respect for other trades and their work.
  • All workers are expected to clean up after themselves and remove any debris resulting from their work, providing for a safe and tidy job site for the owners.

Any person who violates any of these basic rules shall be subject to removal from the job. The majority of construction workers have been on my jobs for years and I have confidence and respect for their abilities and their character.

+ I want to participate in the project, will you work with me that way?
Some clients feel that they can help reduce the costs of the project by providing some form of task like painting. Most of the time this doesn’t work well, for several reasons. To begin with most clients have limited experience and have little or no idea of the complexity of the task. When it becomes time to provide their contribution, they soon realize that they aren’t totally prepared to take on the work. Either the task is not completed or the end result wasn’t what was expected. In either case the project usually falls behind schedule. Another reason I discourage it is that a poorly done job reflects on my overall workmanship. My experience with this has not been good and I would discourage it in most cases.
+ Is “price per square foot” a good way to determine budget?
There are so many variables involved that cause the price per square foot to vary as much as one hundred dollars or more in some cases. Some variables include size of the overall project, accessability, height of foundation, types and number of windows, types of finishes both inside and out and so on. The use of the room can be a big variable. Kitchens are by far the most expensive room in a home, baths are second.
+ Is the price per square foot similar to new construction?
No. Remodeling is a much more complex endeavor. To begin with, the economy of scale comes into play. Usually remodel jobs are not as large as new construction. Working in or around a home where people are living requires extra consideration and more care. Most of the time some demolition is required. Matching existing conditions is complicated and many other factors are involved. It is not practical to compare the two.
+ What exactly should I expect?
I am excited about remodeling my home, but I understand from friends who have remodeled that it can be a dreadful experience. What exactly should I expect? Remodeling can be a fun experience. You get a chance to create your dream room or house and learn a little about design and construction along the way. On the other hand, expect to deal with major disruptions to your life and routine for the duration of the project. Your enthusiasm will experience ups and downs. No matter how short or long the project is you can count on getting tired of it before completion. Because I understand the burden of living in a home while the remodeling is in progress I work very hard to keep you informed as to the progress and attempt to minimize the emotional strain. I continue to emphasize the importance of visualizing the end result to help reduce the stress. Good communication prevents most problems, so be sure to ask any question that comes to mind.
+ What is “CR” and “CGR”?
CR (Certified Remodelor) is an exclusive designation. CR is designed to increase remodeler’s professional credibility by identifying those who demonstrate exceptional business integrity, competence and a solid track record of consumer satisfaction. The Certified Remodelor program was created by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) The CR designation helps you, the consumer, determine which remodeling contractor you can count on to do a professional job. Certified Remodelor (CR) designation assures you that your remodeling contractor:

  • Has met NARI prescribed standards of business practice
  • Has a proven track record of successfully completing projects.
  • Has completed relevant educational requirements.
  • Pledges to uphold the CR Code of Ethics.

All CR’s must have owned or managed a remodeling business for at least five (5) years and must be approved by a board of governors before being eligible to take the exam. Only individual remodelers can earn the CR designation. CR does not apply to companies or their employees. In addition all CR’s must provide reference letters, proof of business insurance, and licensing information to the board before they are approved for certification. In order to maintain the certification, annual educational requirements are necessary. CGR (Certified Graduate Remodeler) is similar to CR except it is awarded by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers Council.

+ Who will be my contact and how often will I see that person?
I will be your contact. I am on the job a minimum of once a day and often several times a day. I give all of my clients my cell phone number and am available any time they have a question or concern. Often I suggest regularly scheduled conference times to discuss project progress and/or questions and concerns.
+ Will I be able to live in my house during the duration of the project?
In most cases you should be able to live in the home during the execution of the project. For extremely extensive projects you may be advised to relocate for some or all of the duration of the project.