How to Reduce Construction Chaos

Thinking about the dust and construction mess going on for months is enough to send shivers of dread down the spine of just about everyone contemplating starting a remodeling project. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the headaches and inconveniences that go along with construction. If you’re about to embark on a remodeling, here are some tips to make your life a bit more placid: Continue reading “How to Reduce Construction Chaos”

Don’t be Shocked When You Upgrade Your Electrical System

Because electrical systems are a seeming mystery, homeowners involved in a remodeling usually simply trust their electricians to do a responsible, safe job. And most electricians are remarkably conscientious with their work, making sure that it “meets code.” But many opportunities to improve existing problems and eliminate future ones are routinely lost to inattention.

Most homeowners don’t realize that “code” is intended as a MINIMUM level of safe work. High quality remodeling deserves better than this minimum. But an electrician bidding on work doesn’t want to risk losing the job by figuring in extra work that wasn’t requested. Continue reading “Don’t be Shocked When You Upgrade Your Electrical System”

Insuring Your Project’s Success

Remodeling, like all construction projects, is a risky business. Construction accidents are as common as the sawdust on the floor. If something happens on your project, will you be protected from severe financial consequences?

Before starting any construction project, it’s essential to discuss your insurance requirements with your insurance advisor (ie. your insurance agent/broker). Although everyone has different insurance needs, here are some general tips: Continue reading “Insuring Your Project’s Success”

All Plans Are Not Created Equal

In a recent remodeling class that I taught, a student raised her hand and asked, “If I can get computer-drawn plans for my kitchen remodeling from one of the big home improvement centers (which will do them for free), why would I need an architect to draw plans?” From the nods around the room, I could see that it was a question for many of the students.

The plans that these improvement centers, and an increasing number of local cabinet shops, are producing look amazingly detailed and accurate, and even show you how the kitchen would look in a semi-realistic 3-dimensional perspective view. Couldn’t you get bids from these? Continue reading “All Plans Are Not Created Equal”

Saving Money in Design Fees — A Good Idea?

I came across a very interesting survey done a few years ago. Homeowners who had done projects were interviewed as to their satisfaction levels. Those who had paid more in design fees (e.g. to an architect) were overwhelmingly more satisfied in the end than those who had paid low fees. Why this surprising result?

In a nutshell, those who had paid higher design fees had received more service. They had received more attention to the actual design, the plans were more complete and easier to build from, they had fewer problems during construction, and the architects were available to help solve problems during construction. Conversely, the study found that those who had paid the lowest fees had far more problems and were far more prone to lawsuits. Continue reading “Saving Money in Design Fees — A Good Idea?”

Home design software can help, but it’s not enough…

Go into any large bookstore or computer store, and you’ll see an astounding number of computer software programs for home remodelers. And I know that people are buying these programs to help themselves design their own remodeling project. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed more and more clients coming to me with computer-drafted sketches, rather than the crude pencil sketches I’m used to seeing.

Are these software programs valuable? Do they really allow you easily draft your own design? Continue reading “Home design software can help, but it’s not enough…”

Why Don’t People Hire Professional Designers?

I recently came across a posting by a somewhat mystified architect on an Internet bulletin board for home remodeling. He posed the question: “Why don’t more people hire architects for their remodelings?” (The question would apply equally for interior designers, as well.) The comments from the public were enlightening and generally as follows: Continue reading “Why Don’t People Hire Professional Designers?”