Home Renovation – Things to Consider

What is important for you as the owner to consider?

Whether you lay out Scope, Budget, Schedule and Concept alone or with the help of a designer, architect and/or contractor, these are decisions that will have be made in the course of any project.

1                 What is your scope of work? This will usually be called your ‘Program’ by your designer. It amounts to describing the work that you want done.

If you hash out what you need or want from the renovation, and prioritize for yourself what is the most critical to achieve, to what is on your wish-list, it will help you make good decisions during the design and construction processes.

 2                 What is your project budget?

A project budget is different from a construction budget in the following ways:

Project Budget:   

Costs associated with undertaking your project but that are not related to the construction of the work (labour and materials). *

 *These will vary for any project.

Construction Budget:        

Contractor’s services
Building costs: Demolition/ new construction/ finishes/ electrical and mechanical work/ site servicing and landscaping.
Contingency. (It is important to recognize that during construction, especially a renovation that unforeseen issues will arise. A contingency to address these items is necessary to allow for).

3                 What is your construction budget?

Part of figuring out what you are comfortable spending on your renovation is deciding on your scope of work (what you would like to be done) and the level of finish (Standard/ Good/ High-end). Lots of detail and custom work is considered to be moving towards the higher-end of finishing. Off-the-shelf and standard construction is less costly and usually less time consuming.

There are three components in any project, Budget-Scope-Finish Quality, at least one of these three needs to be flexible in your project.

 These are issues that can be discussed with your contractor/designer in greater detail.

 4                 What is your schedule?

Scheduling can potentially affect your project and construction budgets.

Scheduling may or may not be a concern for you at the outset. However, if you have a timeline in mind you should discuss it with your designer as they will have to consider their schedule of design services in relation to overall milestones.

They may also have to consider it in terms of the design itself – if you want something done quickly there may be less custom detailing and items that require a long lead time for ordering will be avoided.

Discussing scheduling with your contractor is essential.

5                 Gather together any existing information that you have regarding the existing house.

For instance, if you have a survey plan, the age of the house, a list of any work that has been done – or history of the home’s issues, permit drawings from the City, Site Servicing drawings from the City, Site plans, house plans it will help with the start up of the project.

6                 Start by looking at examples or images of concepts or other projects to help you get a better idea of what you like or are drawn too or are inspired by.

This helps with communicating with your designer/ contractor. It is a starting point only – you will not be expected to commit to your first idea.

You can try magazines or books or even a painting or photograph that you are drawn too, or if you are more inspired by other sources such as music, gardening, food or literature you can find your inspiration from anywhere and anything. Sharing what inspires you is personal – but so is your home and the better you and your designer can understand each other, the better they are able to help you achieve your goal.

You can also look at the www.houzz.com website for endless examples. While your project should be unique to you and your needs and story, understanding what you like goes a long way to helping your designer get into your frame of mind.

Meeting to discuss these issues with your potential designer is recommended. Feel free to ask lots of questions.


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