There are so many decisions a homeowner must make to get through a renovation project. This article narrows it down to six critical decisions a construction manager helps you make. Your custom builder will work with you and your Architect to get the job off to the right start.
If your project costs more than a few thousand dollars, it may be time to call in the professionals.
Six critical decisions a Construction Manager helps you make
- Lighting and electrical layout
- Selection of plumbing fixtures
- Appliance selections
- Selection of cabinets and any built-in cabinets
- Tile and stone selections
- Flooring selections
Lighting and electrical layout
Unless you’re an experienced electrician, it’s advisable to leave this part of the project to professionals. However, you should know your needs and be in on the planning of wiring and lighting installation. As with the functional design of the home living space, a good electrical plan begins with a diagram.
Home electrical wiring covers a lot of different things; the breaker box panel, home lighting, appliances, and other high voltage electrical systems. Ovens, water heaters, clothes dryers, and HVAC (heating, venting, and air-conditioning) systems need high voltage. It might include low voltage systems like phone systems, doorbells, computer networks, and home security systems as part of the wiring process.
Your construction manager knows the local codes and requirements for the kitchen, bathrooms, and outside outlets. There will be code requirements about dedicated circuits, a minimum number of kitchen circuits, a minimum of outlets on each wall, and many others that might seem overwhelming at first. Once it is all done though, you’ll really be glad you followed all the regulations. It makes for a better house.
Selection of plumbing fixtures
Building a home requires installing systems to deliver water and remove waste. Determining the size and type of pipes needed for the drain, waste and vent (DWV) system, and your local plumbing codes is critical to the success of your new or renovation project. Each jurisdiction follows specific Uniform Plumbing Code requirements for pipe sizes, they may need additions or deletions to the code. Your contractor must calculate the correct plumbing waste line sizes required for your construction project. Connaughton Construction will gladly guide you through the best choices for your home and project.
Once the plumbing behind the walls is determined, selecting the fixtures for kitchen and baths include toilets, faucets, sinks, and showers. Connaughton Construction can recommend the latest in technologies and features for your home, while maintaining the style of your existing room.
We help clients select appliances and sinks during the preliminary design phase, which often comes before selecting the rest of the finishes and fixtures. This is so the plans can reflect the proper sizes, which will in turn affect the cabinetry layout.
It’s also time to decide whether or not you want a prep sink in addition to your main sink. At this point, by the way, it’s fine if you decide to change from a 36-inch range to a cooktop and wall oven.
By the time you get to final construction documents or order cabinets, however, these decisions must be finalized. The nice thing is that there are now a few big decisions that you can check off your list.
The decision on how many pendants to use affects how many junction boxes you need on the ceiling — and that decision needs to be made before plans get approved for permits and before the contractor closes up the drywall after rough electrical is done.
This is why the professional you hire may focus you on figuring out the lighting plan before picking out the countertops.
Selection of cabinets and any built-in cabinets
Rather than picking the cabinet wood species and finish color by itself, and then picking countertops and tile, I like to have my clients work on an overall palette of materials at the same time. Layer the materials and create collages of patterns, textures and colors to see what works best together.
Tile and stone selections
Order current samples of the materials you’re considering. Get a door sample with your style and finish for final approval. Make sure you go to the stone supplier and view and tag the actual slab of marble for your countertops, and make sure to order a current control sample of tile for your backsplash. All these extra steps will cut down on costly mistakes.
Decorative tile in the kitchen is a great way to express your personality and style, but proportion and scale are critical. Tile is a pretty permanent decision; once it’s up, it’s expensive to change. You or your designer should do color studies and pattern studies, and look at them alongside photos and samples to be absolutely sure you’re making the right choices.
Matching the floor stain color is one of the most challenging phases of a project. If you’ve got original floors and plan to refinish just the kitchen — or are laying new wood floors to match the old for continuity — don’t expect a perfect match. Many floors in old homes are made of old-growth wood, and flooring is manufactured differently now. The natural patina of an old floor also is nearly impossible to match. Companies offering reclaimed wood floors can make that matching process easier.
A good rule of thumb is if your project costs more than a few thousand dollars, it may be time to call in a pro. A construction manager has access to planning tools and technology that most homeowners do not. They have the inside scoop on trends, new materials, building codes and technical quirks. And their remodeling expertise can save you a lot of time, money and frustration. Use our tips to help the process flow smoothly from start to finish. Be prepared to share with your architect and PM what you like and what you hope to change to give a firm place to start. Do your research. Stay Flexible. Know your budget. Settle on a timeline and a number of draft plans. Keep changes minimal.
Finally be patient. A good plan takes time to create, and so does bringing it to life. Putting in effort on the front end, from choosing finishes to thinking through the work zone, will pay off in the long run. And the last thing you want is a rushed construction job — no matter how anxious you are to put your new kitchen to work.
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If you prefer to talk to someone on the phone, please call John with Connaughton Construction at 781-899-1438 x 14 or Ellen at x13.