What to Expect During the Construction Phase

The Design | Build Process is multi-faceted, with different phases.  This is an outline of what to expect during the Construction Phase of the project.  For an overview of the Design | Build Process in general, click here.

There are various aspects of a renovation to prepare for.  The excitement builds as the Construction Phase of your Renovation nears.  It can be an emotional and stressful time.  I try to prepare homeowners in an effort to manage their expectations, to help prevent confusion.  There are various aspects to be aware of that may impact your household’s lifestyle in general.

There are multiple factors that impact a project’s readiness for construction.  

We typically start planning renovation construction schedules once a complete Scope of Work is developed.  The Scope requires decisions, and as many of them as possible should be made ahead of demolition.  This prevents the risk of removing too little (and having to uproot out of sequence), or taking out too much (only having to repair what didn’t need to be disturbed).

Most homeowners are eager for a start-date, and we understand that you’ll have arrangements to make ahead of time.  Sometimes it is hard to provide a definitive calendar-date until approximately a month prior to our expected starting time-frame. 

We initially start planning your project around the cabinet installation date.  We use the cabinet lead time to calculate the project’s timeline.  Construction start is then considered in accordance with lead times of all other fixtures and materials, and the availability of all of the resources to perform the work required.

Timing and Building Permits

If a building permit is sought, renovations are usually only placed into the construction queue when the building permit is issued and attained.  Renovations are subject to the other projects that are precedently slotted.     

As your construction start nears, a site meeting is usually arranged with our trades (if it’s been awhile since they’d have been there from early on during the estimating phase).  This includes the Construction Manager, our Plumber/Gas Fitter, our Electrician(s), usually our Tile Setter (if applicable), and myself- your Designer/Project Manager.  Attendance depends on the Scope of your Renovation Project, its Scale, and may include our drywaller and our HVAC contractor.

A lockbox is kept in a safe place on your property, with a spare key, that I collect from you, placed inside.  A select few people will have the code to it, to be able to access your home to perform their work.

You have options to the degree of site protection you’d like for your home.  This is typically driven by the scope of the work, and the level and timing of anything invasive that will occur.  Drop cloths (both polyethylene and canvas) are used in conjunction with heavy duty cardboard floor protection.  Plastic dividers will vary in thickness and are available with a zipper, if they are considered of value.  There are varying costs attached to the different levels of protection.  The requirements for a typical procedure will have been factored into your estimate, however, if you seem to want more than what is commonly allowed for, you will be made aware of this and the additional cost will be provided for you.

Depending on the level of demo required, a bin is usually ordered and will be delivered as required.  It is typically strategically placed in your driveway.  It remains there only for the timeframe it is needed, which is typically a week or two.  Many times homeowners wish to take advantage of its use, to dispose of large  personal items.  Aside from the size of the bin, and the length of time it is onsite, the bin companies usually charge by weight, so if you will want to use it, the amount the bin can hold and the weight of the items you’re planning on disposing of, will be considered.

Work is typically performed Monday-Friday 8am-4pm.  Occasionally, an early start or a long day may prove useful, based on the progress of the project’s tasks at hand.  If weekend work is deemed appropriate, there may be a request for this.  If your home is part of a strata, those regulations will be followed.

We work with the same trades and suppliers regularly, so we know them all well.  Sometimes they will be at your home alone.  That being said, there will be some days, in fact, that there may not be anyone at your house.  More often though, several people will be in and our regularly.  Use of a washroom will be required.  Depending on the level of the work, at least one bathroom is left functional.  Although the construction debris and disruption will be managed as well as possible, your house will be a construction zone.  We typically put down floor protection in the bathroom that will be used, and leave a roll of paper towel for hand-drying.  Parking will need to be taken into account, so consider the best place for our trades and installers to park.  Some have large trucks and/or trailers.  Lunch is taken whenever the time can be afforded.  There will be a site garbage for construction debris etc, however, any leftover food would be removed from the site daily.  The jobsite is tidied at the end of each day, however, the level at which it will be cleaned needs to be addressed.  The extent of daily cleaning by trades can affect the completion timeframe.  Some homeowners take it upon themselves to do additional cleaning regularly, to keep their costs down, or to satisfy their own interests. 

If you have pets that will remain in the home during construction, you will require a plan to ensure your pet stays safe.  Some dogs have attempted to eat drywall mud, sawdust…  even newly installed material.  If your cats are the curious type, they may try to explore the attic when the access is open!  Your home will be a construction zone, so when you’re not home during the reno, you’ll need a plan in place for your pets.  The trades and installers will need to be able to focus on their tasks.

Homeowners pay suppliers directly for their selections.  Depending on the product, deposits are made at the time of order.  The balances are due upon delivery or installation.  Clear instructions are provided of how and when to make payments, so that doing so will be as quick as possible, to avoid any holdups. 

Depending on the space available, we will have material and product brought to the site as needed.  To avoid courier and delivery charges, homeowners can pick up certain products themselves.  I would provide specific instructions if this may be a consideration.

Each trade and supplier will require a different set of requirements to be able to perform their work.   The cutting of various material (wood, tile, wire, plastic etc…) is necessary.  There will be debris from this which needs to be considered, so a designated space will be determined.  Sometimes weather impacts this decision.  When it rains or if it snows, temporary tarps will be used, if possible.

Throughout your renovation there will be various milestones attained.  Each carry their own sense of victory.  However, there may be instances during the construction process that cause some uneasiness.
We do our best to manage at all times.  Scheduling changes occur regularly, and sometimes without notice to homeowners.  Downtime surrounding drywall and painting may occur, due to the number of steps and dry-time involved.  Appliance and fixture leadtimes can be lengthy, and even inaccurate, causing delays.
The cabinet and countertop installation phase is momentous.  Once cabinetry is installed, the countertop is templated.  This is the point where homeowners tend to start getting antsy.  Sinks are usually mounted during countertop installation. Getting your sink back relates to running water.. a “luxury” that is most missed by now.  Once countertop is in, appliance installation can start to occur. This a major milestone and spirits start to pick back up at this point.

When the end of your renovation is in sight, a walkthrough is performed. I typically do this myself, but sometimes it can involve the homeowner. We will consider what is left to do, and address any areas that require attention and/or touching up. Sometimes it can feel as though this final phase drags on..  By now, you might be moving back into your space, and there might be a general sense of unsettlement. The trades try their best to get back to the home in a timely manner.  Depending on the tasks left to accomplish and the circumstances surrounding the deficiencies, it can sometimes take a few weeks for the job to be considered complete. This is when patience is most important and, seemingly, hardest to master.

Your home is ready for you to settle back in and enjoy.  With goals having been attained, you can now experience your household’s lifestyle improved.  You have become accustomed to having us in your home, and many times we hear that our homeowners miss us at first.   We do have a great time along they way, and I’m never very far, so you’re able to get in touch with any questions after your reno is complete.   

Are you considering a renovation, or planning on building a new home?

I’d love to hear from you!

I’m Amber, the Designer

call/text 604-365-4151 or email [email protected]
Serving Langley, Surrey, Abbotsford, Delta, White Rock and the surrounding areas.