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Managing the Project

Keeping your project on track begins with keeping yourself on track. Here are a few tips to help you and your contractor come to terms — and stay there.

Put plans in writing

Before any work begins, get a detailed estimate and work plan outlining your project. Capturing this detail in writing will make yourPlanning an exterior remodel job much easier to manage during execution. After you both agree on the plan, it’s time to sign the contract. All this paperwork may seem daunting, but it will protect and serve you down the road by eliminating guesswork, outlining payment plans and legally substantiating that the contractor and his employees work for him, and not you and they have the appropriate insurance to cover them in case of an accident. That way you shouldn’t be liable for medical bills if someone is injured on the job. If your general contractor refuses to sign something, find another contractor.


Keep an eye on the work

Tracking your remodel progress, expectations for your exterior remodelOne of the most effective ways to manage your contractor is simply by being present. Keep an eye on the work being done. Stop by unexpectedly, or stay home one day. Though you don’t want to intervene, you do want to check on progress and be available for questions. If you must be away every day, plan a set time each week to review work in progress. A final word of caution: never plan to go out of town during construction and leave “supervision” to a friend or family member: you just might come home to a window in the wrong wall.


Be reasonable about expectations

It is fair and reasonable to expect quality work, but chances are you’ll need to be a tad flexible about your timeframe and budget. Often a remodeling or new construction project will take longer than planned due to weather or material procurement difficulties. Costs often run higher than estimated — often up to 20 percent. It’s wise to remember this when you plan your timeline and budget. Plan for these “surprises” in the beginning and you won’t have a negative surprise at the end or be unable to finish the job due to lack of funding.