When it comes to construction projects, last-minute decisions can be a common source of stress and delays. In our Get Organized for Your Renovation workshop, someone asked the question “Why are decisions so last minute?”
While every project will have some last-minute decisions if you’re making most of your decisions at the eleventh hour then you’re doing something wrong. Contractors are not designers FULL STOP. The onus is on YOU, the homeowner, to have a detailed design plan in place PRIOR to construction.
As a professional interior designer, I can say unequivocally that ending well depends on how you begin. My most important renovation tip is: MAKE A PLAN!
Creating a PLAN for your renovation means:
- You have a clear vision and strategy.
- Documents are organized, easy to access, and can easily be shared with your contractor or architect.
- Your calendar contains enough white space so you have time to make decisions without feeling rushed or panicked.
- You have a clearly defined budget including a contingency fund.
- Your design style is captured on a vision board and can be easily articulated to your architect, designer and/or contractor.
The Complexity of Construction
Construction projects, whether building a new home or renovating an existing one, are intricate endeavors. These projects involve numerous decisions, ranging from structural aspects to interior details. Homeowners underestimate the sheer volume of decisions that need to be made during the construction process. People then get overwhelmed and begin to defer decisions to the contractor because they have decision fatigue. This is a recipe for disappointment and frustration. I know this happens because I’m hired to fix these mistakes ALL. THE. TIME.
In the construction process, homeowners play a central role. You’re ultimately responsible for the decisions that shape your home. Contractors and builders are there to EXECUTE the plan, not to CREATE the plan. Builders will provide guidance, but the direction of the project is driven by you, the homeowner. This shared responsibility means that builders are looking at homeowners for decisions.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
Imagine this scenario: you carefully designed your bathroom remodel. You selected the shower and floor tiles, bathroom fixtures, cabinet color, and countertop. You’re confident everything is done. Then during construction, the contractor starts firing questions and needs decisions NOW:
- The tile didn’t have a bullnose option, what color Schluter should be used?
- What tile should go on the back of the shampoo niche? What about the sides of the shampoo niche? What size do you want the shampoo niche?
- Do you want a toe ledge for shaving? How high should it be?
- What about the shower curb materials? Not only is this a construction decision, but it’s also a major DESIGN decision!
- And let’s not forget the door threshold material.
The Power of Planning
That’s why our Renovation Roadmap program includes design checklists for every room in a home. This allows our students to make calm, rational decisions while sipping a cup of tea in the comfort of their homes and not on a chaotic construction site with sawdust flying everywhere and blaring power tools.
The last-minute decisions often seen in construction projects are a reflection of the homeowner’s critical role in the process. From material selection and preferences to aesthetics to budgetary considerations, the responsibility for shaping the project rests squarely on the shoulders of the homeowner. Understanding this dynamic can help homeowners navigate the construction process more effectively and work collaboratively with contractors to achieve the desired results. In the world of construction, informed homeowners are empowered homeowners!
If you’re planning a renovation or new construction project and you want to be proactive in your design and decisions, add your name to our Renovation Roadmap waitlist by clicking here. If you’d like to get a head start consider our on-demand Get Organized for Your Renovation workshop replays which can be purchased by clicking here.
Have a well-designed day,