We receive calls every day from people looking for contractors, and we get many of the same questions on each call. We thought we would share some of the most common questions (and our answers) from those first conversations, along with one question no client ever asks, but every client should: 1) “I want to renovate. Where do I begin?” If you are doing a small renovation project where changes are purely cosmetic, you can start by calling a contractor. An example would be a kitchen where you want new flooring, cabinets, counters, backsplash, sink, faucet, lighting, painting, etc, and all the fixtures are going back in relatively the same place. Once you add anything structural, (like removing a load-bearing wall or enlarging a window) you might want to start by getting drawings. Structural work includes any work where anything needs to be built or moved that is not purely cosmetic. Want an addition off your family room? You definitely need drawings. Want your basement dug down? A bathroom added where there is no bathroom? Stairs moved? Drawings, drawings, drawings. If you find a contractor who is willing to do structural work without a permit for cash, run far away! Generally, if your job is big enough to require a contractor and not a handy person, you probably need drawings from an architect or designer who can help you lay out the space and apply for permits. Obtain drawings from them and then approach a contractor for a quote. This will give the contractor enough detail to price out your quote with some degree of accuracy. That small investment at the beginning can save you thousands in the end. 2) “How much is an addition going to cost”? A contractor can likely give you a ballpark figure based on square footage but there are just so many factors that will affect this that without proper architectural drawings outlining the scope of work, this figure could be way off. Before you can get even a general quote, you’ll need to consider as many details as possible. Your architect or designer can help you do this, as they will consider added costs you may not think of, for example:
- If building a back addition, is there access to get machinery to your backyard, or does equipment and material need to be craned over the house?
- Does your current HVAC system have enough capacity to handle the newly expanded space, or do you need a larger or additional system?
- What parts of the existing space will also need to be renovated at the same time to tie everything together?
- What are the electrical and or plumbing upgrades that will need to be done in order to accommodate new appliances/fixtures… etc….