Your Remodeling Project Is A Symphony

A remodeling project is similar to a symphony. In this analogy, your project concept or idea is the musical genre, the designer is the composer, and your contractor is the conductor. Each instrument is a trade or vendor that brings your remodeling project into reality.

Every musical piece starts with an idea. A genre is chosen and the theme developed. The notes are written out and refined. Instruments are selected to take part in the production. Finally, when the composition is ready to play, a conductor is chosen and the musical composition is ready to play.

Let’s go over each step that is needed to take your project from concept to reality.

Choosing a Genre (Your Dream)

You’ve made a decision to renovate your home. You start to gather ideas from magazines, talk to friends and neighbors, and look for ideas in other homes. You might spend your Sunday’s visiting open houses, taking notes and pictures. You make sketches and take some basic measurements of the space you want to modify. You discuss your ideas with your spouse and a decision is made to take the next step. You call in a designer.

Choosing a Composer (Your Designer)

A designer, in this case, is not an interior designer. This is a residential designer that has the knowledge and experience to gather all of your ideas and put them on paper. She may be an architect or you may choose a design-then-build remodeling company that takes the project from the beginning to the end. In either case, you will end up with a real plan that will be used to build your project. This is the most important part of the building process. Don’t underestimate the value of a well drawn plan. With a plan you can visualize your project, and so can everyone else involved in the project. A plan puts everyone on the same page. Imagine how a musical piece would sound if everyone were not on the same page.

Choosing a Conductor (Your Contractor)

If you hired a design-build contractor to draw the plans, you may have already decided on a contractor. If not, you have some research to do. You may already know someone, or your neighbor knows someone that they recommend. Selecting a contractor is a whole article unto itself. Briefly though, look at their experience, ask for and check out their reference list, get a copy of their state, county and city licenses, get a certificate of insurance (Worker’s Compensation and General Liability) from their carriers, and always trust your gut feeling. That is the short list, but every item is very important. Also be aware that statistically speaking, if you hire a friend to do your work, you are likely to be unhappy in the end.

“Yes, but are you experienced?”

Your contractor is very important to the successful outcome of your project. A project can be “played” in so many different ways. For example, listen to a piece of music as it is played by a grammar school band, a high school band, at a university band competition and at your symphony hall. Same piece of music, but vastly different outcomes. Just because you think the outcome will be exactly what you expect it to be, doesn’t necessarily make it so.

A conductor has to be familiar with each instrument in the orchestra. He may not be able to play each one, but he has to know what its capabilities are and how it will sound. A conductor has to know exactly when an instrument should play, how loud, at what tempo and how long. Likewise a contractor has to be aware of every trade that is on the job, when the next trade is scheduled, and what next action is required.

Also the contractor has to know what materials are best for each and every situation. Will they stand the test of time? Are they energy efficient? Are they likely to break before their warranty expires? Do they blend with the other materials used on the job? How should they be installed? In what sequence should they be installed? What is the best or proper installation method? This further clarifies why you should hire the best contractor you can.

“No fighting in the pit!”

Each trade not only has to be good at what they do, they have to get along with the rest of the “orchestra”. They have to learn to play together. There is no perfect job site, and each project presents its own unique sets of problems and unforeseen situations. The trades and vendors have to adapt and improvise every day. So flexibility and patience are needed by all those involved.

“We don’t need no education!”

Not! An educated contractor can make your project sing. And there is so much to learn. Just as technology changes every day, so do building practices, materials and legislation. You need a contractor that is consistently continuing his or her education. Trade shows, conferences, trade magazines and building associations offer the latest in building news and methods. You don’t want a contractor that is static – one who already knows it all because he or she has been in the business for a long time. There has never been a time when so many things are changing on a daily basis. Your contractor must be an informed contractor!

“Can your hear me now?”

A conductor waves his baton at the orchestra, but he should never forget the audience behind him. They are the reason he is there. This is why communication is so important during a project. You will have hundreds of choices to make and there will be a thousand messages exchanged to arrive at these decisions. This will involve face-to-face chats, phone calls and emails. No matter what method is used to communicate, having a contractor with communication skills and good procedures is invaluable. It is imperative for both parties that these communications are kept in a safe reliable place for future reference.

“When the party’s over…”

At the end of the performance would you say that the concert was a success? Were there several encores? Did the audience give the orchestra a standing ovation. If you did your due diligence from the start to the finish, you will have an outstanding remodeling project. Pat yourself on the back, Mozart!