Keeping Your Renovation Project On Schedule

Keeping a construction project on track and on schedule is one of the most difficult aspects of the construction process. For every project that is completed on schedule, there is another that falls behind schedule.

Currently, we have two major kitchen renovations projects in progress in Toronto, that have been running very smoothly.  We’re happy, and more importantly, the homeowners are happy.

We wondered, what makes these projects run so well, and make them such a pleasure to work on?  So we have analyzed the results of many years of projects – renovations, house additions, and custom homes – and found certain common elements in projects that were completed on time, and others that fell grossly behind schedule.

1.  Determine what you want and need. Consider all the work you want to have done in your home, and then plan and prioritize what work will be done.  Adding additional work to a project after it has started is a normal occurrence in construction, however every additional work item will add to the length of the project, and together these can add weeks, even months, to a project.

2. Invest in design. Everyone expects that design required on large project such as custom homes and house addition. However, even smaller projects such as kitchen renovations and basement finishing can benefit from design work before start of construction.  Simple things such as cabinetry layouts, and the locations of lights, switches and plugs should be determined beforehand.  Design gives the builder clear instructions on what to build, reducing the need to call you for clarification, and the need to rebuild.

3. Select products early.  In the ideal world, all products are selected before the project begins.  But many are selected as construction progresses, and this is okay, as long as selections are made on a timely basis.  Delays in making selections will delay the completion date of a project,

4. Select stock products.  You’ve ordered a product, and when it arrives it is damaged, or its the wrong item. If it’s a stock item, you may have a few days delay until the replacement arrives. If it’s a special order item that takes a month to arrive, your project will be seriously delayed.  Order special order items if you wish, but do understand the potential impact it could have on the project.

5. Stick to the plan.  Nothing delays a project faster than a change in your plans or the scope of work.  Additional work will add extra time to the project, as we discussed above.  Change in design could require additional engineering or a change in the building permit.

Changes in the type of material that is used can add extra time to a project. For example, say the construction schedule was based on installation of pre-finished hardwood flooring, but then you selected an unfinished project that is to be finished on site.  This will automatically add several more days to the construction schedule.

6. Be prepared to adjust the plan. For any number of reasons, your well conceived plan may have to change, it could be structural reasons, or unavailability of material.  Preparing yourself in advance for this and event, and being decisive should it occur, will prevent further delays.

7. Allow for delays.   Delays come in all forms: weather, illness, labour strikes, missing or damaged materials, to name a few.  The list of items the builder does not control, that can cause delays, is endless. The larger the project, the greater the chance of a delay.  Prepare yourself for delays that may occur. Allow some additional time at the end of the project as a buffer, in case delays do occur.