"Experience SBI" – The Remodeling Newsletter

Want to get free tips and hints for improving the appearance and livability of your home? Trying to sell a house and want to increase the value? Or are you looking for ideas on remodeling projects? You'll find all this and a lot more in Sound Builders' newsletter "Experience SBI".kk

Take a look at our current edition below, or visit our archives for previous editions. Then be sure to subscribe, using the form on the right, so you'll keep up to date in the latest in home improvement!

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It is time to turn those clocks ahead one hour before going to bed on Saturday. In other words: "Spring Forward"!

What are you going to do with all the extra daylight that is coming? Whatever it is, be sure to get out there and enjoy it!

Remodeling Success 101

Q: Can I buy my own fixtures?

In most cases, no. The brands and models that professional remodelers offer are those that have proven reliable and come with solid warranties. Items like toilets sold at home centers may be different than those sold to pros through plumbing distributors, even if they’re from the same manufacturer. The pro model will generally use higher quality parts and allow the remodeler to stand behind a product during the full warranty period.

Estimating Time

The work of building a price and schedule for a big remodel is a project in itself.

There’s a reason that quality project estimates don’t happen overnight. A major remodeling project can include thousands of individual components, from wall systems to doorknobs and faucets. The remodeling contractor has to consider every one of these elements when projecting the cost in time and materials to complete the work.

How long this takes varies by project type. For instance, an estimate for a full kitchen remodel can easily require 25 hours of staff time, and larger, more complex jobs can take even longer. The logistics of getting the estimate done can spread out these hours over a couple of weeks.

The remodeler needs to calculate the time and expense for everything from having the plans reviewed by permitting agencies to framing, plumbing and interior finishes. And although remodeling work includes some costs that are easy to determine, like the price of a particular cabinet, it also includes work that’s more difficult to quantify, like demolition. It should be no surprise that accurate estimating requires experience, knowledge and organizational skills. And, of course, time.

In addition, the remodeler needs to ensure that the products being priced are ones the customers want and that the budget will support. In many cases, this means investing time to complete the plans and clarify the product specifications, or specs.

People come to the table with dramatically different assumptions about costs, so the remodeler needs to review these assumptions with the customers. For instance, the home’s overall quality level may indicate that it’s safe to base the fixture allowance on standard Delta brushed-nickel faucets, until a discussion reveals that the homeowners are imagining something more expensive. This clarifying work may need to be done for every line item in the estimate.

The remodeler also needs to get prices from each of the trade subcontractors that will work on the home, the number of which depends on project type and complexity. This can be the most time-consuming part of the estimate. If getting the subcontractors’ bids in house weren’t enough of a challenge, these bids also need to be put under a microscope.

That’s because the remodeler needs to make sure that subcontractors’ estimates are realistic. For instance, if a drywall bid for a big addition seems low, the remodeler has to know enough to ask the drywall contractor how many sheets the estimate was based on, and someone on the remodeler’s staff needs to check those calculations. Inaccurate bids are not the rule, but they’re always possible when the trades are busy and need to get something to the remodeler on deadline. That’s why bids must be carefully reviewed.

All this work is about getting the estimate right. Taking the time to do a thorough and accurate job today will save time, expense and headaches tomorrow. It’s an area where patience pays real dividends.

Warm regards,

Jay DePhelps, CGR, CAPS
Sound Builders Inc.
(206) 246-7100

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Sound Builders Inc. - 1- 30th St. NW, Auburn, WA 98001 Phone: 206-246-7100 or 253-859-7978 Email:
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