Beginner’s guide to managing a remodel

May 26, 2016 | By | Comments (15)
Sigmar, original photo on Houzz

Sigmar, original photo on Houzz

Browsing photos and ideas can be a fun part of creating your dream room. But making your designs a reality also takes smart planning and organization. Project management is an essential part of home remodeling, and there’s nothing like the feeling of implementing a plan to create something new and beautiful. These tips can help you achieve your desired results.

YourSpace Contractors, original photo on Houzz

YourSpace Contractors, original photo on Houzz

Become a list writer

Making lists is key when it comes to project management. It’s the only way to properly organize your thoughts and prevent any details from being forgotten.

The most important list is your scope of work, or specifications, document. This is basically a detailed list of everything to be done, from start to finish. If you’re dealing with one main builder who’s organizing all the work, then you’ll need to make sure he or she gets a copy, so the goals are clear and all the information is provided.

Also, having detailed specifications makes it easier if you want to obtain multiple quotes, and you’ll know it’s a fair comparison since all the builders will be quoting using the same criteria.

Related: Top 10 Home Remodeling Don’ts

frenchStef Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

frenchStef Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

Make sure you’re all on the same page

If you’re coordinating separate subcontractors (cabinetmaker, plumber, electrician), then it would be worth indicating who’s responsible for each task. Give a complete copy of the specifications to all of them, so they’re all aware of what everyone is doing. Discuss the specifications with your subcontractors since they may be able to provide help and advice. A schedule is also useful, so you can keep track of progress and everyone knows who’s going to be on-site on which day.

With prior knowledge that a partition wall will feature some lighting, for instance, the builders will know to leave the stud frame open for the electrician to run the wires through before it’s boarded up and plastered over. Trying to feed wires through after the fact is much harder, takes longer and risks unnecessary damage.

Sian Baxter Lighting Design, original photo on Houzz

Sian Baxter Lighting Design, original photo on Houzz

Break into subsections

In addition to your main specifications, it’s a good idea to have sublists for each separate element of your design. For example, your main specifications may say “install 6 x recessed LED downlights in ceiling,” but your lighting specifications will detail where they are to be positioned, the type of bulb, the hardware finish and so on. The more information you provide, the more accurate your quote should be and the less likely it will be for mistakes or misunderstandings to occur. It will also minimize any unexpected costs.

This bathroom has a minimalist elegance, but it’s far from straightforward. This project would have required a builder’s spec, including layout and elevation drawings with dimensions, an electrical spec with lighting plan, a plumbing spec with layout drawing, and a decorating spec — phew!

Related: Find a Local Contractor to Create Your Dream Home

Sigmar, original photo on Houzz

Sigmar, original photo on Houzz

Stand by for decisions

Your builder will present many questions and decisions to you along the way. Which tiles do you want on the walls? Where do you want these wall lights? What color do you want on the baseboards?

Your best bet will be to try to pre-empt as many of these decisions as possible and have the answers ready or, even better, provide the information in advance. Making these decisions under pressure can lead to impulse moves you may regret later. However, taking too long could hold up the project, costing you time, money and the patience of your builder. No one wants an unhappy builder.

Inevitably, there will be some questions you couldn’t have anticipated, but if you communicate well with your contractors, they should, where possible, give you time to make a decision without holding up the project. Don’t be afraid to ask their opinion on the best course of action, but don’t feel pressured to compromise on the design if you don’t want to.

Elayne Barre Photography, original photo on Houzz

Elayne Barre Photography, original photo on Houzz

Call in the cavalry

If you choose to manage your project yourself, it’s certainly an enjoyable and rewarding process, but it also takes a certain type of person. You have to be organized, calm under pressure, strategic and confident — not to mention being able to afford the time to plan, coordinate and oversee the work.

If you have qualms about taking it on yourself, then consider hiring a project manager. Yes, there will be a fee, but consider that a badly managed project can cost you time and money, and you may not achieve the results you were after. A pro will take care of everything and allow you to rest easy, knowing you’re in safe hands.

Related: Refresh Your Home With New Doorknobs and Locks


  1. mikebarochiere

    This is valuable information and I really appreciate your advice how to organize home remodeling. One thing I’d tell you that we must have a plan before doing a remodeling for not to waste time and money. You shared essential tips for renovating a home and kitchen. Keep sharing this kind of stuff!!

    July 18, 2017 at 4:55 am
  2. bfjohncarrygmailcom

    Normal people can use the same techniques that professional home builders use to sell their homes in a slowing real estate market. How to get a full price quickly.
    Luxury Home Builder

    April 18, 2017 at 10:47 am
  3. Anitta

    There are certain points which we have to be kept in mind before home remodeling. I think the tips which you have provided here would be useful to all those who are planning for renovating their home. Please provide the details of some professional home remodeling contractors. remodeling contractors

    April 11, 2017 at 4:46 am
  4. Anu

    Good post..Zellmeonline

    April 10, 2017 at 10:12 pm
  5. eMoov

    Choosing the right size of the furniture for your bathroom is one of the details that you should not miss. You must pick the sizes that will fit in your bathroom as well on your living room. You would not want to have a large size furniture that doesn’t fit, right? That’s why choose properly on managing every part of your home.

    March 27, 2017 at 7:43 am
  6. Golan Azran

    No doubt that very experienced and professional service are provided by this organization. Thanks for sharing the article

    March 8, 2017 at 6:36 am
  7. lenny strin

    When ever i about to remodeling i am so confused with so many ideas and i always skeep the plan.

    February 27, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Remodeling your house to something that you wanted is a great thing. It will increase the comfort that you feel on your home. Always see to it that you have a plan before doing a renovation for not to waste time and money.

    February 22, 2017 at 1:30 pm
  9. Johnny McCarron

    I love your advice to write a list. I think that a lot of projects get away from me because I don’t write a lot of what I want down. Maybe I’ll have to write some stuff down for my next home renovation. Do you have any other tips about finding a good person to help out with home renovations?

    January 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm
  10. Ali Ijaz

    I love the designs and the decoration and it gives me some pretty damn idea’s for my next project, thanks for the amazing post.
    Ali Ijaz
    Home Designs

    January 10, 2017 at 8:47 am
  11. Braden Bills

    I want to make sure that I do my remodel correctly. It makes sense that I would want to ensure that any contractors I hire are on the same page! That way I know that they will work in tandem to provide the best possible outcome!

    November 21, 2016 at 6:52 am
  12. Click here

    Building your dream home is only possible if you get assistance from expert builders who have good expertise and experience in the field. A person or firm who have considerable expertise in the construction field will make sure the desired features are installed in the home or building. They can also assist people from the design stage itself and get the home built in the best and desired way. The material with which the home is made and the finishing works done to it holds great importance in the way a home looks and gives comfort to the residents. In Chicago, the Integrity Construction Consulting, Inc. is the firm from where you can avail the assistance from the experts regarding the home construction and remodeling services.

    November 17, 2016 at 9:50 pm
  13. Gary

    I like that you said browsing photos is a great way to get ideas. With Pinterest and the internet available, it’s easier than ever to get a clear picture of what you want.


    September 14, 2016 at 8:39 am
  14. Lillian Schaeffer

    This is some great information, and I appreciate your suggestion to start writing lists to organize your thoughts when doing a home remodel. My husband and I just moved into an older home, and we’re going to be renovating several of the rooms. I’ll definitely start making lists of things I want and need in each room so we can start planning. Thanks for the great post!

    September 8, 2016 at 8:40 am
  15. Laurie

    It is important to have a clear vision of what you want your room to look like before you get started or you could encounter some problems along the way. Great tips, thanks for sharing!

    July 11, 2016 at 1:24 pm

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