Post details: Remodeling 101


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Remodeling 101

No two remodeling projects are alike, but here's a broad look at what to expect during each phase. Two words will see you through: patience and planning.

RemodelingGetting Started

A remodeling job requires at least one and possibly two professionals to draw a plan and execute it. For suggestions on choosing the pro or pros you need, see "Finding the Help You Need."

Obtain at least three written bids for your particular job, using identical plans and specifications. Do not automatically accept the lowest bid. Discuss each bid in detail with the person who submitted it, and make sure you understand the reason for any variations in price.

Beware of any bid substantially lower than the others. It probably indicates that the contractor has made a mistake or is not including all the work covered by the competitors' quotes. He or she may be planning to recoup the costs by charging you with change orders (a written order specifying any change from the agreed-upon plan that is not included in your contracted price) after the project has started.

Early Phases

- Sketch a preliminary plan. Even if you're not an artist, you can draw lines that indicate just where you want your new kitchen to start and stop.
- Be open to constructive criticism. Your architect or designer will help you decide whether it makes more sense to reuse existing space or build an addition to meet your needs. He or she will tell you whether your house can structurally support an addition or the other changes you have in mind.
- Review preliminary designs prepared by your designer or architect. To prepare the preliminary designs, your professional will measure your existing residence, research local building and zoning requirements, and prepare floor plans and elevations in 1/4-inch scale. Typically, this phase requires several meetings with you to modify the designs to set your dreams on paper. The goal is to create a functional design that meets your needs and that enhances the look and style of your home.
- Establish a construction budget. Construction budgets are prepared to determine if what you want is in line with the amount of money you can spend. Because design drawings are done to scale, they can be used to determine accurate material and labor estimates and to establish a usable construction budget. If necessary, designs and material selections can be changed to fit the budget.
- Allow time for the working drawings to be prepared. Working drawings are technical drawings and calculations necessary to acquire building permits and to receive subcontractors' bids. The drawings typically consist of a site plan, floor plan, foundation plan, elevation section, general notes, and details. In most cases, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical symbols appear on the floor plan.
- Pay for the building permit obtained by the contractor. The contractor must show proof of workers' compensation insurance and a city business license to receive the permit.

Better Homes and Gardens



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