Planning ahead-start with WHY?

I proposed in the last post that the best, most realistic way to keep your project on time and on budget was to trust the professional and plan ahead – with a strong emphasis on the word “and”. It definitely takes both to make it happen and the last post was about trust so here’s my advice on planning: like voting- do it early and do it often. Oh the stories I could tell about someone who just decided to add a room or remodel the kitchen and would like to start next month. Seriously. And this is my favorite question “when can you start?” without, what to me would be a much more important question: “when will you be done?” But the point of my writing is not to make fun of clients who don’t have a grasp of the complexities and processes that are involved with remodeling. My point is to educate and create expectations that are more in line with reality which will make the entire process better for everyone.

I can’t overstate how important it is to have a realistic calendar expectations, proportional to the size and complexity of your project. Ideally, I advise a minimum of one year for a major addition/remodel to determine budget, scope of work, material selections and to select a contractor (not necessarily in that order).

The initial planning must be driven by the client. The WHY question should be firmly answered before you can move on to more tangible questions. It is critical from the very beginning to involve a design professional who will translate the WHY and help you fill in the blanks. WHY NOT questions will be a sure way to further develop the WHY of your project. “why do I want to add a bonus room, remodel the kitchen, and upgrade the rest of the house?” may be answered best by starting with “why not sell this house and buy one that’s already what we want?” and so the questions continue until you are confident in your WHY and have established boundaries that will help with mission creep which is a part of almost every remodel project.
I won’t be listing all the minute decisions that are part of planning here. Partly because every project is unique and partly because it wears me out just thinking about it 🙂 First things first: answer the WHY as thoroughly as you can. Make it bullet-proof from any angle. Marinate on it a little, even let a season pass and you might be surprised how your WHY might change from summer to Fall when the family rhythms change. Next post: planning ahead-HOW? Any questions for me in the meantime?

2 Responses to “Planning ahead-start with WHY?”

  1. Jessah Paul-Montecillo Says:

    Wow! This was educational. It brings me back to my younger days when my mother would get extremely impatient the the contractors due to her expectations & reality. I’m going to have to direct her to this blog.

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks Jessah! I’d love to show your mother what a professional remodeler looks like – and acts like 🙂