Renovation or Expansion Project Questions

  • Are your plans and specifications adequate to assure you will get done what you expect?
  • Do you have a time based plan?
  • Are your design and contractor agreements complete?
  • Do you need a fixed price contract or would a time and material agreement be better?
  • Does this project fit into a master plan for future work?
  • Do you have all necessary permits?

Problem avoidance is achieved by thorough planning, application of quality assurance principles, and careful structuring of the work to permit periodic planning re-evaluations.

Planning is often rushed as people want to get the job underway. While understandable, this is a mistake. It is only through documented planning that you can assure everyone will know what to do and when. It does take an initial investment of time to get the planning right.

This may be the most frustrating concept for a building owner to accept but it is the most important step to avoid problems. Quality Assurance requires that there be detailed documented plans and monitoring of expectations and results at every stage of the process. More demanding expectations require greater planning time. Some year-long projects can require up to six months creating an effective plan.

Because creating detailed work plans takes significant time, some contractors are charging a fee. Such a plan should present the sequence of pre-construction activities. It should include the proposed methodology for performing various phases of the work. It needs to describe possible equipment and personnel to be used, general sequencing of the work activities, the use of the site for staging, stockpiling and other activities, and security. The plan needs to be time based with “hold-points”, as needed, so monitoring of work progress can be performed. Local code enforcement official inspection points and architect inspection points need to be identified. Third party inspections may also be appropriate and should be identified on the plan.

Few construction projects are completed without any changes. The more complete the project requirements are defined at the beginning the easier it will be to create change-orders as needed. Good change order management is critical to reducing potential disputes between contractors and building owner.