One of the best reasons to call the Contractor early is they know what’s necessary to get a project started and they can help guide you through the process, saving time and money.
What exactly is the “process”? It’s the steps that you need to take in order to start your project.
Let’s start at the beginning:
A homeowner’s typical first call to the contractor often sounds like this. “I’m thinking of….:
- Renovating that old bathroom or kitchen I can’t stand anymore
- Adding a few extra feet for the new bathroom or kitchen
- Adding a whole new upstairs or a big great room in the back
- Giving the house much needed exterior curb appeal
- Building a brand-new home
And, “I’d like to start soon.”
Knowing the approximate cost of your project before deciding to move forward in the process is usually a good reason to call the contractor early. Meeting with the contractor early to discuss why you want to do the project will provide valuable information for the contractor to give you a more accurate cost range. This is often critical in helping you make an informed decision to move forward or not.
If the cost range sounds good to you and you’ve decided to move forward in the process, super! The next step in the process may be to find an architect/designer. For most small projects, such as re-doing a bathroom, or removing a non-bearing wall, you and the contractor can usually handle both the design and construction end.
For new homes, large additions, whole-house renovations, and even a new kitchen, plans will beneeded. The contractor may be able to suggest some architects/designers that they and previous homeowners liked. An architect/designer will ensure that your vision meets the structural requirements and that the space is both livable and good looking! Once preliminary plans are drawn, they may be given to the contractor in order to draft preliminary specifications and narrow down your project cost.
Whoa! How much will this project cost? It’s not unusual for the first set of plans to be out of your budget range. Afterall, you’ve given the architect/designer your wish list. Be open about your budget when meeting with the architect/designer. Sometimes a revision, or two or three, may be needed to get the project ready for a final plan. This process may take several months, or longer, as you go back and forth with the architect/designer and then to the contractor for cost revisions.
Your plans are ready, and you’ve got specifications from the contractor! You’re moving along. The next step in the process is to obtain proper permits from your village or town. The contractorcan guide you through the steps to get one. Because requirements vary from village to village, town to town, the best thing to do is check with yours! It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you need permits and don’t get them, you may be fined and/or the job may be shut down mid-stream causing delays. If you are working with an architect, they may file the necessary paperwork for you.Keep in the mind that the permit process can take many months or longer in some villages/towns.
For some projects, a request to do something outside of current zoning requirements, or a variance, may be needed even before plans can be submitted for permits. Maybe what you want to build is too close to the property line. If you get the variance, you’ll be able to use the land in a way that is ordinarily not permitted. This step can add months to the timeline as you gather all the necessary paperwork and wait for meeting dates at the village/town because they often meetjust once or twice a month!
After the plans are submitted for approval, typically the village/town engineers must then approve them. More often than not, a slight revision may be made to the plans. There may be an additional cost to youbecause of the change. The contractor will revise the specifications and you will have to approve the cost. That added a couple of weeks.
Depending on the scope of work and your village or town’s requirements, this process may have taken you several months, and in some rare cases, a year or more to complete. But you contacted the contractor early and they’ve been with you every step of the way, paving the way for you to now have all the plans, approvals, and permits you need to start to renovate or build your forever home! Congratulations!