Barbara (name changed for this article) wanted to build a new garage in the back of here McKenzie Lake (a suburb of Calgary) home. The first thing she learned in the process was the flexibility she needed for contractor scheduling. An initial 3-month quote given in March turned into a 6-month job by the time construction was completed. Barbara’s case was not unique as Alberta has been under a construction boom and most trades people are booked 6 months in advance.
Home renovations in Calgary, like the one for Barbara, can sometimes follow an unpredictable schedule. When done correctly, and allowing for delays, those renovations can be a rewarding experience. From start to finish, there are several common delays that can occur and set you back from your desired timeline. These can range from a contractors’ availability, to weather conditions, to unexpected surprises during the renovation process. With a little knowledge and the right contractor, you can work together to avoid these common delays and keep your project on track. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 of the most common delays in home renovations and how to work with your contractor to avoid them.
What are common delays when renovating a home?
These are the most common delays when renovating your home:
- Delayed contractor availability – Finding a contractor with availability at a time that works for your schedule can be difficult, as many renovators are booked out months in advance.
- Weather – The weather is unpredictable and can greatly affect a construction project. Even a few days of bad weather can set a project back several days, depending on the type of construction.
- Unexpected surprises – Renovations often reveal previously unknown problems, and there are always going to be a few unexpected surprises along the way. These are often minor and manageable, but may require a re-scheduling of your project timeline.
- Poor communication – The most important factor in successful home renovations is ensuring the contractors are fully aware of your expectations. This includes regular communication regarding the project schedule, any potential changes, and the desired end result. Be sure to look at Google Reviews of contractors, BBB, and a few other sites. But what’s better is a good referral from a friend or neighbor.
Finding a contractor with availability at a time that works for your schedule can be difficult, as many contractors are booked out months in advance. You can try searching online for local contractors who are available and have opened up their schedule for new projects. If you’re having trouble finding a contractor, be sure to let them know up front that you need them available on a certain date and for a set duration. If you have a set budget in mind and are looking for a specific contractor, you can also try connecting with local contractors’ associations and asking if they have any recommendations. Another option is to hire an architect or design firm to help you with the design and planning, and then find a contractor to help you with the construction.
Calgary’s Unpredictable Weather
The weather in Calgary is unpredictable and can greatly affect a construction project. A beautiful July day in Calgary can suddenly turn in a hail storm forcing your crews to take shelter. Do you remember the June 13, 2020 Calgary hail storm that caused millions of dollars in home damage? Even a few days of bad weather can set a project back several days, depending on the type of construction. If you are working with a general contractor, they can help you establish a contingency plan in case of inclement weather. This plan should include a list of alternative tasks that can be completed regardless of the weather. If you are working with a specialized contractor, like an electrician or plumber, you can discuss weather contingencies with them as well.
Renovations often reveal previously unknown problems, and there are always going to be a few unexpected surprises along the way. These are often minor and manageable, but may require a re-scheduling of your project timeline. When beginning a renovation, it is important to be realistic with your original expectations and to communicate those to your contractor. A realistic timeline will account for any potential surprises and allow for time to make any necessary adjustments or rescheduling.
If you are doing excavation work on your property, one of the the worst surprises for a Calgary home owner and nearby neighbours is striking a gas line. Make sure your contractor, especially a landscape contractor, has a utility locate completed before digging. ATCO Gas can be of herp here: https://gas.atco.com/en-ca/safety/digging-safely.html
What if there are Underground Utilities and You Still Have to Dig in that location?
Sometimes, excavation still has to happen even with utilities nearby. In this case, a hydrovac company will be called in to expose all underground utilities before construction proceeds. Sometimes a ATCO approved contractor will join the team to do gas line work. Understanding the potential for, “unexpected surprises” can help you come up with a better home renovation plan.
The most important factor in successful home renovations is ensuring the contractors are fully aware of your expectations. This includes regular communication regarding the project schedule, any potential changes, and the desired end result. Communication between the contractor and homeowner can become difficult if there is a breakdown in the relationship, or if there is simply a lack of communication. Establishing regular communication from the beginning is essential to avoid these problems later on. Whether you are in communication with a contractor, architect, or design firm, you should be fully informed about the project, and they should know what you expect from them.
How to work with your contractor to avoid delays
To avoid experiencing any of these common delays in your project, follow these tips when working with your contractor:
- Establish a timeline – With the help of your contractor, create a timeline and identify what tasks need to occur at what time. This will help avoid any surprises and keep everyone on track, and you can even check in on your progress through a project management app like PlanGrid.
- Schedule inspections – Schedule inspections at regular intervals throughout the project to ensure that all aspects of the project are being managed appropriately. This will help catch any potential issues early on and ensure that they are corrected.
- Be prepared – As the homeowner, you need to be ready for anything that may arise during the project. This includes having enough room for supplies, materials, and workers. Additionally, you should be prepared for the weather, and have a backup plan in case of inclement weather.
- Choose the right contractor – Finding the right contractor is essential for a successful renovation project. This includes finding someone who is experienced, trustworthy, and reliable. When interviewing contractors, make sure to ask the right questions to determine if they are the right fit for your project.