You’ve got the keys to your new property and are keen to get started on the renovation as soon as possible – but before work begins, it’s vital to arrange a meeting with your contractor to discuss some key issues that could have a huge impact on your plans.
Use the guide below as a checklist – take it with you into the meeting to make sure you’ve got all the bases covered before going full steam ahead!
Parking and Trash Collections
If you’ve just bought the property, to avoid any possible disputes with your new neighbors, make sure you’re really clear on which parking areas or spaces you have a right to use. Checking this with your contractor takes just a moment and yet can save you a lot of hassle down the line, as well as help you to get off on the right foot with the other homeowners around you.
Find out how trash and recycling collections work, too, to help smooth the renovation process. Ask your contractor about the days/times that waste is collected and where you need to leave bins or crates to be picked up.
Site Protection Arrangements
Having an on-site meeting with your contractor is preferable, as it will allow you to walk around the property to ascertain where site protection will be placed. This protection could be in the form of temporary walls or tarps, for example, and acts to clearly delineate the boundaries of the construction zone. If you opt for a temporary wall, then you can decide whether you’d prefer to have a door (with or without a lock) or not.
The meeting is also a good time to talk with your contractor about any outdoor plants etc., that will need protection, and also to determine where building materials will be stored.
Use the meeting, too, to get clear on the days and hours when trades and work-people will be carrying out the renovation. The majority of construction companies stick to standard office hours, although there may be some evening or weekend work required. Check that you’re all on the same page regarding this.
The meeting is also an opportunity to gather the contact numbers of all of the key construction staff, as well as the phone number of an out-of-hours emergency contact.
Security and Access Considerations
Discuss with your contractor the access required before the renovation starts and how this will work. For example, will the site manager have access to a key, and will you be supplying them with your alarm code? Many security systems allow you to set and use an additional temporary code, which can then be disabled once work is done. Have a look at these Frontpoint security reviews to get an idea of the benefits that an advanced, holistic security system can deliver – and which can protect your newly renovated property.
You should also discuss other security elements with your contractor at this meeting, such as the need for signs or fences to protect the site.
Utility Shut Off Locations
It’s vital to ensure that your contractor knows the location of the utility shutoff panels for the supply of electricity, gas, and water to your property. At the meeting, let your contractor know, too, about any appliances or systems that are not to be shut off. These could include a deep freezer, fish tank, or pool pump.
Communication and Billing
Find out from your contractor how necessary information will be communicated to you as the work progresses, how queries will be raised, and how billing will work so that everyone’s on the same page.
Some contractors use an online project management system which you’ll be given access to, allowing you to check on any details of the renovation with just a couple of clicks. Work with your contractor to find a method of regular communication that’s best for both of you.
Other People Requiring Access
If you employ, for example, a cleaner or a gardener who visits the property on a regular basis – and will still be attending throughout the renovation – then let your contractor know about these members of staff, too, and their working days and hours.
Have a discussion with your contractor about any issues that could arise as a result of having additional people on-site, and be prepared to suspend these services until work is completed if necessary.
If you have pets that will be remaining in the home during the renovation, then it’s important to consider their needs and to make sure that contractors are aware of their presence.
If the work is likely to be short-term and could be noisy, then you may wish to book your pet into a cattery or kennel, or lodge them with a willing friend, to minimize their stress levels.
Agree Further Meetings
And finally, it’s crucial to have regular check-ins with your contractor after the initial pre-renovation meeting. These are an opportunity to be updated on the progress of work as well as to raise any queries or concerns.
End the meeting by agreeing on a day and time every week, or every other week, to sit down with your contractor or walk around the site for a full appraisal of how the project is going.