What Your Contractor Really Wants You to Know

A Q + A with Susan

Here’s a surprise – 2020 has made things a little crazy in the home construction and renovation industries! Due to a variety of factors, some of the “norms” that people might expect during a home renovation are not, well, normal. So we thought this would be the perfect time to answer some of the questions that we are getting the most from our clients. 

How is the timing of projects different this year? 

The biggest difference about the timing of projects in 2020 is that there is a perfect storm of higher demand for renovations from homeowners (not surprising considering how much time we all have spent at home recently!) combined with delays due to supply chain issues. 

Many suppliers were temporarily shut down due to the pandemic, so everything from windows and deck material, appliances, and tile for bathrooms and kitchens are delayed as businesses work to get back up and running at full capacity. 

As a result, construction times may sound a little longer than expected because contractors are covering their bases on supply issues. Unfortunately, this is paired with our clients being anxious to move through their projects even quicker because they are feeling the effects of being stuck at home. 

What can you expect if you are planning a project right now? 

Depending on the type of project, expect that it will take 2 to 3 months to iron out the details of your project, before we can even start the permit process. 

While we always pride ourselves on moving through the process as quickly as possible, we won’t sacrifice quality for quickness. Currently, we are adding on at least one additional month to contracts due to potential supply issues. We also are ordering tile and other materials earlier in the process to help mitigate the delays in the supply chain. 

What type of home renovation projects are most popular right now? 

While people have generally been moving away from having a dedicated home office space, there is definitely more interest in those types of projects right now. Due to the increase in remote working and learning, we are finding that many homeowners have both parents working from home and kids learning remotely, as well. We are actually starting one new project now that was originally supposed to be a refresh of a spare bedroom and basement, and it has turned into the renovation of a dedicated office space.  

Do you love HGTV? 

Yes! But I do NOT love the HGTV-effect … which is that we all think these major home renovations can happen in 6 weeks for $20,000!  We are spending a lot of time helping clients reevaluate what deadlines and budgets actually look like. The fact is that any renovation or addition that includes moving walls can take a good 2 to 3 months just to get a good blueprint from the architect that we can use to put together a proposal. 

Any tips on renovation projects through the holidays? 

People usually do not want to start projects as we begin to get closer to the holidays because they don’t want the house torn up for guests that they may be entertaining. Probably not a surprise, but people really are not planning to entertain as much this holiday season, so we are finding that demand for renovation projects is not slowing down. And keep in mind that many suppliers shut down throughout the holidays, so getting things like cabinets and such will not be happening as quickly as normal right now. 

When should I buy my new appliances? 

If you are undergoing a kitchen renovation, we highly recommend buying your new appliances whenever you find something you like. We are seeing major delays in getting appliances, so it is worth purchasing well in advance of when you will need them and let them sit in the warehouse – or your garage! – until you are ready for them. Otherwise, you may be stuck with a beautiful new kitchen and no appliances. 

Should I just hold off on my renovation project until things settle down? 

If you are committed to a renovation, home addition, or outdoor project, we recommend starting the process as soon as possible since everything is taking longer. If you think you want to start a project in the spring, the sooner you start, the better. 

Can outdoor projects take place during the winter months?

Well, it depends. We do live in Ohio, after all. Last year we were able to move forward on projects throughout the winter because we didn’t have much snowfall or extreme temperatures. Of course, this year could be different. 

It is not unusual to be able to start projects, but then have to shut down for a while due to snow and temperatures. We currently have several outdoor projects that we plan to complete this winter, but it is dependent on if the weather cooperates. 

Even if we cannot complete your outdoor project (we have a few ideas here), we recommend that you plan now for next year. For instance, the StruXure pergola is in very high demand (because it’s awesome!) and we are already booking for next spring.

Do you use subcontractors or have an in-house crew? 

While we have our own in-house carpenters, we utilize a trusted team of licensed subcontractors for the other work, such as plumbing, electricity, and HVAC. We are very particular about who we work with and would rather wait than to move forward on your project with someone else. We are doing everything we can to make sure there is someone on each job site every day but we also don’t want to sacrifice the quality of our work. 

Now it’s our turn to ask the questions … are you ready to get started? 

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