Maintaining Control During a Home Renovation Project
Perhaps the hardest part of dealing with a home renovation project for a homeowner is giving up control of his home. The homeowner has to really have faith in the contractor because she is turning her life upside down and allowing someone else to control her environment. The contractor is automatically in conflict with the homeowner, because he is trying to maintain control of the project while the homeowner is "interfering" in the process. The interference isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it allows for a system of checks and balances.
At the same time, some homeowners overstep and try to micro-manage and drive the contractor crazy. So, how does one maintain a balance and deal with the lack of control?
Rule #1-Start with a good contract. A contract that contains clauses that deal with possible unforseen events helps to protect both parties. Those who are in the business of construction develop these contracts over time as incidents occur during home improvement projects. They learn from the experience and incorporate these obstacles into the contract to protect future parties.
Rule #2-Communicate! Keep the lines of communication open. If you are going to destroy the homeowner's prized azaleas, warn her. If you do not want the contractor to damage your family heirloom, remove it or warn the contractor. If something is getting on your nerves, nip it in the bud, and discuss it.
Rule #3-All change orders must be in writing and signed off on by the parties. It's worth saying one more time. The parties should agree how the change order is going to affect the contract price and the date of completion.
Let's face it. No one likes to give up control; especially of his house or control over her workmanship. However, in the unlikely marriage between homeowner and home contractor, each side must work with the other and compromise in order to achieve the final goal.