The most successful remodeling projects are a combination of great planning and the hiring of the right professionals to execute that plan. It also requires an understanding of your budget limitations and how that relates to the materials, services and designs included in your project. Every remodel is unique, however, the guidelines to help steer the project in the right direction are the same, no matter how large or small the project is.
Selecting the right team of professionals will most definitely help your project run more smoothly. Some projects may be more straight-forward, requiring only an experienced contractor to complete the work. Whereas other projects may require the expertise of an architect, interior designer and/or kitchen and bathroom designer.
If your contractors does not provide design services, you may benefit from the assistance of a professionally trained Architect and/or designer experienced with remodeling. Architects are licensed and trained in building design to create spaces that are structurally sound and compliant with local building codes. If you are planning on making significant changes to your home, like moving or eliminating walls, building an addition, refinishing a basement, or adding a deck or sunroom, you must utilize the services of a licensed Architect.
An Architect can further assist you by recommending a competent general contractor, evaluating contract proposals for your job, and inspecting the progress of your job to ensure compliance with building codes and job specifications.
An interior designer can provide suggestions on how to maximize your space, create better functionality and make it more beautiful. They are trained in interior architecture, envisioning the possibilities and implementing a cohesive plan. Interior designers are responsible for the selection of the finishes as well as ordering and coordinating their installation. A good designer will be sensitive to the special challenges that a remodel presents, clarifying the goals of your project and prioritizing your remodeling agenda.
If you are considering redesigning your kitchen or bathroom, you may want to enlist the services of a kitchen and bath designer. These designers have specific knowledge about cabinet brands, countertop surfaces, plumbing fixtures, appliances and other space saving ideas. They can offer innovative solutions for room layouts and are usually responsible for the ordering and coordinating of the installation.
Many home improvements such as roofing, siding and window and door replacements may not require an architect or professional design services and can easily be handled by an experienced, professional contractor. If considering a basement remodel, make sure to consult with an architect to make sure it does not require filing with the Department of Buildings.
Some contracting firms offer design/build services which combine both quality design and construction services within the same general contracting company. A few advantages of working with a design/build firm are:
· A design/build contractor knows his job costs, so throughout the design process, the project is engineered to fit your budget and needs.
· The lines of communication that are developed in the design stage prepare the groundwork for a clear, well run remodeling project.
· When you contract with a professional design/build firm, you become part of a team whose goal is to design and construct a project that will fit your needs.
In most cases where homeowners are planning significant home remodeling projects, a general contractor (GC) is hired in combination with a licensed architect, and in some cases, a designer. The GC is responsible for preparing the proposal and agreement for the project and disclosing to the homeowner the timeline for the project, what is included and excluded from the project, what the homeowner will be responsible to do or purchase, the cost and a sensible payment schedule. The GC will manage and coordinate the subcontractors, maintain a daily schedule, secure the permits and make sure the project is completed on time and within budget. If the project is more than a single room renovation, a GC can be a huge asset.
In general, a professional remodeling contractor, Architect and/or designer should be consulted for any home remodeling project. They can be a great resource for new materials and trends, while offering time and money saving tips.
No matter how large or small, all projects need careful planning and attention to detail. Every successful home project should begin with a sensible plan and the right professional.
Lana Seidman, Executive Director HIC of Staten Island, Inc.