Preconstruction Tips


Careful planning makes every construction project easier and more efficient. You can help to facilitate a smoother process, from bidding through actual construction, by implementing the tips below.


• A picture is truly worth a thousand words. Tear some pictures from magazines or take photos of things you like and donít like and arrange them in a booklet that can easily be copied and used for reference by your architect, designer, and contractor. Be sure to include notes as to what your impression of the picture is and consider circling any special element within the picture.


• Become familiar with sizes and dimensions. Building professionals can intrinsically visualize the size of a dimensioned room. Help build the same skill for yourself by measuring the rooms in your home and writing the dimensions on a Post-It note, and place the note where it is easily read every time you enter or leave. This will create a mental reference linking planned dimensions to reality.


• Make your plans visible. During the planning phase, you should post your most current plans in an area of your home that is looked at often. A dining room or hall way wall works quite well. Stop and mentally take of note of your project each time you pass the plans and allow your mind to wander about the project while completing household chores. Keep a notepad nearby for anything that comes to mind or write your thoughts directly on your plans.


• Every thought is important. Quite often, thoughts come to mind at random and are brushed aside quickly. Do not allow any thought to be silenced before first giving it ample time to be realistically considered. Remember, lines on a page are more easily moved than walls and with much less expense. Too often, changes made during construction could have been avoided by entertaining ideas during planning.


• Do some homework early. Spend some time on the internet, or visit some material showrooms before moving too far ahead in the planning process. You should have some idea of the style you are after and the means by which you will attain it. Consider some finish and material choices in a very general sense to start with. For example, before choosing a brand of windows, consider the differences between the materials from which they are constructed and the price point they will likely meet: low, medium, or high.


• Consider appointing a family spokesperson. Itís likely that one member of the family will naturally deal with the construction process due to proximity or time availability. If it is possible, try to route as much communication through that person as possible. Alternatively, choose areas of concentration for different family members. This will help to avoid he-said/she-said issues as well as curtail potential budget problems.


• Budget within your comfort zone. The easiest way to avoid conflict is to carefully budget for the entire construction project and its effects. If you are planning to seek financing, meet with a qualified loan representative early and become familiar with your program options and payments. Be sure to have your architect detail for you any preconstruction expenses not a part of his or her proposal such as survey expenses and school taxes. Consider also meeting with a designer to forecast the cost of window coverings and new furnishings.


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