ECC Blog - Delays & Increases

How to Avoid Remodel Project Delays and Cost Increases

Jul 06, 2015

All too frequently, construction projects that begin with hopes, dreams, and positive expectations turn into nightmarish experiences, for builders and clients both. The intent of this blog is to examine why such unfortunate outcomes occur, and the factors that are critical keys to preventing them from happening.

In general, many project delays and cost increases can be avoided if thorough and proper planning is agreed upon and implemented before the beginning of any construction process. Proper planning necessitates taking the time to ensure that the client fully understands all aspects and variables involved in the execution of their home improvement project before the first old, bent nail is removed from the house. At East Coast Contractors, we spend an enormous amount of time with our clients having them explain to us exactly what it is that they desire as they pour through appliance and tile catalogues, and we explain to them exactly how much time each step of the remodel process will take, and how much it will cost. Our “design-build” model integrates architects, engineers, business experts, builders, and clients themselves into our design team. Together, we establish budgets that are affordable, comfortable, and realistic, and it our intention to meet these budgets as precisely as we possibly can.

Clients often do not realize how expensive a “simple” change can turn out to be. For example, the client may request that their original choice of installing an electric stove be changed to installing a gas stove. That seems easy enough, right? Wrong! The builder must obtain a permit to install a gas line where previously there was none in the plans, and this will involve the participation of: the architect, an engineer, and building inspectors. Time and personnel equal money. Obviously, a change like this one can exponentially increase the cost of the project. Even choosing a sink different from the one first chosen can get complicated and expensive, and many clients are simply not aware of all the factors involved.

We see it as our job to educate our clients thoroughly enough in the realities of time and money to assist them in making careful, wise decisions just one time if possible—in the planning stages. Of course, some delays cannot be fully anticipated. For example, when we are restoring an old home to its original pristine condition, we cannot know what we will find behind an historic old wall until we begin to tear the wall down. Toxic metal walls may be revealed, or a rodent or termite problem—any number of things may happen. It’s kind of like planning a five-day trip from L.A. to New York. Usually, you get out a road map and begin to plan the route, and where your stops for the night will be, to ensure that you will reach New York in the five days you have allotted. However, you cannot plan for the sudden freakish blizzard that hits you along the way, and delays you for two days. Similarly, we builders cannot plan ahead for a major longshoremen’s strike in San Diego, which may hold up the delivery of the fancy imported tile you requested for a very long time.

So some flexibility must be built into the scheduling of the construction project as well, since potential pitfalls will be explained before construction begins. We at East Coast Contractors are proud that our business operates with total transparency, such that clients are informed at all steps of the process exactly what we are up to, and clients are totally welcome to stop by the site at any time to ask questions and give their feedback. This becomes your construction project. While we may be the architects, engineers, businessmen, and builders with the expertise and access to high quality materials and appliances, your satisfaction with a job well done is our absolute and ongoing goal.

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