New Construction client Expectations
We've found homeowners like being kept in the loop, provided proper expectations and understand the remodel process.
Homeowners don't remodel often and can not be expected to know a lot about the process, especially since most remodeling companies don't have a process or a mediocre one at best.
We've put together a lot of important information to answer questions, put your mind at ease, and ensure the remodel process is followed properly.
It is required to read this entire document so please block off time to ensure this is completed.
It will be obvious if you haven't gone through the items on this page so please take the time to review. If you have a question or concern that is fully answered here, we will reference the info on this page.
Expectations are important and one of the main items we've found improves homeowners' experiences.
Homeowners like how we are process oriented, take communication seriously and care about our clients.
Due to demand in remodeling, everything is taking a lot longer. We ask that you are patient because things usually take about twice as long as homeowners often think.
Construction always takes time and patience but now everything is taking longer than ever before.
Here is a post from another reputable remodeling contractor in Phoenix that expresses the challenge:
The Golden Rule
Everyone has seen the signs at at the entry of businesses that say:
"We have the right to refuse service to anyone"
To be frank, If someone is difficult or rude we will not move to the construction phase with them.
This is explained on our webpage "Are we a good fit" because respect is extremely important to us. If we notice it early, we may just refund your design retainer or a portion of it and explain we won't be able to meet your expectations.
It's no secret that there is a huge labor shortage, and it is much worse in the construction industry.
Our employees are the reason our homeowners have such a good experience, and we have to protect our employees. So if you are the type of person that screams at a server because the cook made a mistake, we probably aren't going to be a good fit.
If this information or any information on this page is a problem for you, please let us know now and we will cancel the agreement and we can part amicably.
A person’s home is their castle, really gets messed with during home renovation. People you don’t know are going to be coming and going in your most private space. This can become one of the most difficult aspects of a home renovation, if you’ve not properly prepared.
Depending on the scope and duration of the renovation, there are a number of ways to deal with this. In some larger projects, like the majority of the living space will be under construction, the house will have to be vacated.
However, there are many projects of lesser scope, budget allowing, where it may be a good idea to move out during the renovation as well.
With that said, in most cases there are ways to manage a significant renovation without abandoning the castle. With the right mindset, proper planning, and good communication, most renovations can be accomplished with a “stay in place,” plan of attack.
We can help you and your family prepare for what otherwise can be one of the most challenging aspects of home renovation, the invasion of your castle.
We tell all of our customers the same thing; you’ll love us in the beginning, hate us a little in the middle, and love us again in the end.
P.S. Don’t forget the pets!
The temporary chaos of a home under renovation can be stressful, at the best of times, for the human occupants of the house, let alone the four-legged family members. When doing a remodel, consider the safety and care of your pets.
This could mean having a family member or friend pet-sit, while the bulk of the work is getting done. This is especially true when the doors will often be opened to bring tools and materials in and out.
Accessing The House & Scheduling
There are a few things to keep in mind as it relates to preparing for a renovation schedule:
Even the best renovation projects will have some hiccups, it is inevitable.
It is not like ordering a pizza that’s relatively simple to manage, and yet, we’ve all had a few cold pizzas.
In a renovation project, there will be as many as 15 different tradesmen involved; demolition, framing, tile, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, flooring, the list goes on, who are likely involved with as many as 8 to 10 other projects at the same time. The home needs to be available for their access, via a lock box or garage code, from a minimum of 7 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday.
Here’s the part that many people who haven’t thought it through can find frustrating.
There may be days that no work is done, or someone is only there for an hour or two. One reason, among others, for this is many trades have multiple applications or touches required to complete their portion of the project, and require other trades to be completed, for them to start and are required to be finished for the next trade to begin.
Take drywall for example; In 1 or 2 room renovations, it may only take 1 day, or even only part of 1 day to hang the drywall. Then, the drywall finishers must tape and mud all joints. Then they must wait for the mud to dry before it can be sanded. When they come back to sand it may only take them 1 or 2 hours to sand it and apply a second coat. The next several trades in line, waiting to come in, are counting on drywall to go without a hitch in order to get their parts done on time.
Remember the drywall we just discussed?
Think about what it takes for everything to line up and the renovation schedule to go as planned. They have to rely on the demolition, framer, electrician, HVAC, plumber, insulation, and potentially many others, including the city inspector to complete their portions on time, in order for him to start on time, and that may take a small miracle, or at least the stars aligning to pull off.
Let’s say the person performing demolition gets things torn off and finds some dry rot. Or the demolition goes well and the framer see’s that where a wall was removed, there are floor framing supporting the upper level that had not been properly installed.
Apparently, when the last homeowner had renovation done, it wasn’t built to code. Or let’s say the demo and framing went well, but the electrician found parts of the now exposed electrical, that were not up to code and dangerous. Or the plumber found old lead pipes. Or imagine all of those things happened on the same project!
If that occurred on your project, you’d want the tradesmen to correct them, take the extra time they hadn’t planned for, and make sure your renovation was done correctly, right?
Now imagine, none of that happened on your project, but remember, the tradesmen we’ve been talking about are working on as many as 10 other projects at the same time. You want them to only work on yours? That’s easy, just agree to pay them to stand around and wait for the other trades to be done, so they can immediately be available, it would only cost you an extra $10,000 or so. The tradesmen are highly motivated to complete each project in as short of time as possible; they aren’t paid by the hour; they’re paid by the job.
Phx Home Remodeling will always strive to keep things on schedule, however, if things happen to get off a bit, please keep in mind, our goal is for your 100% satisfaction. As long as you are understanding about what we just shared, it will be much more likely you will be more than satisfied.
One last thing to consider, don’t schedule right up against another hard stop due date, such as a graduation, wedding, or relatives coming in from out of town. You want to give yourself plenty of cushion, no need to add to what can be a stressful event.
What's In Writing Is Important
As you probably noticed in the proposal emails to you, we always mention to please double check all items are included that you want done to your remodel and not to assume something is included that isn't in writing.
We also ensure everything we are covering is in the agreement.
If you would like to make changes to the project, it is usually easy to do and we are happy to make those changes for you. Changes that involve more work will normally cost more money.
As a project starts it can become easy for a homeowner to ask us to add things but forget that it costs more.
We have found that occasionally homeowners will ask for something extra and think it's not a big deal and they may not need to pay for it.
It is important that we stay a profitable business for many reasons including, being around years later to honor our warranties, ensure we can continue helping Phoenix homeowners with a great remodel experience and much more.
Even small items can cost us time and money. Some examples of items that are small but still cost us money and time are:
It's important to understand that we are not trying to "nickel and dime" homeowners, but new items usually cost more money and time. You also can ask us to do something, we provide the amount and you can easily say no thanks.
Another way to think of this... You would not ask a lawyer or a surgeon for hours of free work, right? You also wouldn't ask them to provide products for free. It goes the same for us.
This isn't to be negative, but simply to show that things take more time & money than some homeowners realize.
Another example to relate to:
If you have ever done a small project and it takes 3 times longer than you thought and you had to make several runs to the local hardware store. We don't expect homeowners to know how long something takes, but that doesn't mean we should be asked to do other items for free.
So if it is not in writing it is not included. We have to go off the scope of work and agreement that is in writing. This makes it very clear so there is not a gray area.
"It's my way or the highway"
You know the old adage, the customer is always right? Well it’s incorrect in construction.
However, they are of course always the customer!
We always value their opinions and input, however, looking over the shoulder of the tradesmen, and interjecting continuously with instruction on how to perform their job, is not a productive work environment.
That might not be what some customers want to hear, however, there’s a reason they hired a professional and licensed contractor to complete their renovation.
Over the years we’ve seen and heard some of the craziest things.
Homeowners wanting to give direction to the contractors on everything. They explained that they’d watched many episodes of “Love It, or List It” and were sure it should take no more than one coat of drywall mud to have the wall ready for paint. If their project was going to require more than that, they were sure the drywall tradesmen on their job must not be experienced.
Or the time the homeowner wanted to use the experience as a show and tell for their children.
Don’t get us wrong, we love kids and truly enjoy the opportunity to educate young, curious minds. However, when little Billy decided to use the drywall mud, that had just been applied, as sculpting clay, and thought the newly installed tile floor felt “cool” to walk on as it moved around under his feet. The cost for that education was expensive.
It truly can look like a bit of chaos, however, as the final touches are being applied, homeowners learn that there is a method to the madness and the reward is a beautifully completed project.
Lead Times & Shipping
Everyone knows leads times can be a challenge.
An example of a challenge is clearance items - they might be gone by the time it is ready to purchase or a different price. Clearance items can also be on clearance for a reason, such as not having good reviews or other issues that caused the retailer or manufacturer to discontinue or put on clearance.
We just want to set proper expectations so that you aren’t disappointed if it is no longer available or the price changes.
As an example, imagine you pick your bathtub right away and it takes 2 weeks to pick the other items like countertop faucets. In the 2 weeks that goes by, that bathtub could be more/less money and it might not be available.
Due to remodeling being in such high demand along with some other political/and current events going on, it can create logistic challenges that extend the time that bathtub is ready for several weeks.
Another reason it is good to order everything at once, is you get a discount on freight shipping. They also often have a minimum requirement for freight shipping which is needed when ordering heavy items. Ordering all at once also saves time and ensures you are sure the items you picked are right.
There is no fault here and it is out of everyone’s control, but important to know up front. We are all about providing the best expectations and information to help you through this remodel process.
To make any house remodel as simple as possible, de-clutter. Pack up and move any items in the renovation zone. There can be no furniture or other belongings, of any kind, in the room(s) where construction is happening. Phx Home Remodeling is not able to take any liability for any items left behind.
We’ve had homeowners ask, “Can we leave things on one side of the room? After all you’ll only be working on that wall in the den that adjoins the kitchen, where the renovation is taking place.”
What we have learned is, that leaves to much open for interpretation. When we got there to start, furniture was within a few feet of that wall.
For a whole-home remodel, consider renting an offsite locker or onsite storage pod to keep all your belongings secure and clean during the process.
Making Changes Once We Start
As you can imagine, making a change to the project once we have everything lined up usually slows down your remodel and can hinder many aspects of your remodel project.
We want you to be happy and make a change if it is important to you. Some changes don't have an impact, while others do.
It's important to know that changes can dramatically increase the time it takes to finish your project. If we have everything lined up and a change is made, that can have a "domino" effect on the other parts of your project.
For example, cabinets can take 4-10 weeks to come in and if you make a change to the cabinet layout, it can extend that project by months depending on what is changed and depending on the manufacturer.
Some contractors don't allow any changes once things have been ordered, but we don't want to restrict a homeowner from getting their dream space.
We think it's important to provide proper expectations and understand if you make a change it can cost more money and increase your remodel project timeline.
Since homeowners don't remodel often and don't see behind the scenes, they can't be expected to understand how much a change can impact the scheduling and cost of the project. That is why we want to let you know so if you do want to make a change you understand there will be an impact on the cost and time to complete.
As you can imagine, returns usually slow down your remodel and can hinder many aspects of your remodel project.
Returns increase the amount of time we have to work on your project. Many homeowners don't realize it is often an hour or two just to coordinate the returns when it is special order, heavy items, freight or when from certain manufacturers.
Not only does it cost more time for everyone, it can also extend your remodel project timeline.
For example if you pick a bathtub and then change your mind once it is hear, it extends the amount of time in these ways:
- 1You have to take time to research bathtubs again and find another one. This can take 1-14 days on average
- 2Then we have to order the bathtub, which might be a special order.
- 3We have to wait for the bathtub to come in, which could be 1-30 days.
- 4Any other tradesman or remodel work we had already lined up has to be contacted and rescheduled to a later date that might not be known until the bathtub actually arrives.
- 5We have to inspect the bathtub to make sure it is in good condition and then coordinate everything around that.
So returning one item like this could increase your project time frame by 3 - 45 days. That hinders your remodel, your experience, and it costs money & time.
Now, if we do a return because something is wrong with it, that is out of everyone's control and there's little any of us can do about that.
For returns that homeowners don't like, where nothing is wrong with it, we have to charge a $100 fee for returns plus any shipping costs.
This applies to items that are heavy, special order, freight and a few specific manufacturers.
Be prepared for setbacks and extra costs
If you’ve ever watched “Fixer Upper” or other home remodeling TV shows, you’ve seen episodes where they encounter something unexpected ― water damage, termites, unsafe wiring and so on.
Any remodeling project could run into a similar situation that will increase its cost and or delay its completion. It’s a good idea to have extra money to cover any unexpected remodeling costs ― and to have a lot of patience when there are setbacks.
Communicating With Our Trade Partners / Employees
We have some amazing trade partners that are licensed, bonded, and insured.
It is fantastic working with people that specialize in only 1 or 2 trades because they are really good at that specific skill.
The one thing to know, is it is important not to communicate changes with them without us involved. The reason is because if you make a change to the project, it can increase the price and also increase the amount of time it takes but you won't know that if we are not involved.
That causes a bad experience for you the homeowner, where you made a change without knowing it would cost more and increase your project timeline and then we have to let you know those changes cost more and will extend your project.
An easy example to use is shower walls. When discussing the layout with your installer, they might recommend adding/removing items that were in the original scope. They aren’t trying to up-sell or down-sell, but trying to provide helpful feedback based on the look or layout. They aren’t in charge of managing the budget but we just want to make sure to catch it and discuss price to reduce the chance of any surprises.
We order a little extra tile because of cuts we need to make and tiles can crack sometimes. That being said, if you increase the height, we may not have enough tile and it could take another week or two to get your tile if it is not in stock. There are so many tile options, that most retail places cannot keep everything in stock. Retailers change their stock all of the time too.
If you want to increase the height of the shower, we are happy to do that, but we need to know any changes no matter how small they seem so that we can communicate any impact it might have.
If you want to make a change, just run it by your project coordinator and we can let you know if it has any impact. Sometimes it does not, but it is worth bringing this up here to ensure you get the best experience possible.
Anyone that has lived in Phoenix for a few years, knows we have hard water.
Even with a water softener and a secondary water filter, hard water can destroy some plumbing fixtures over time.
One of the challenges is it often creates small leaks that go undetected at first. When this happens calcium, rust, and other scale builds up and can cause mold and/or damage to surrounding materials.
One of the best parts of remodeling that people don’t usually consider is when we remove the shower walls, floors and other parts of the remodel, we see what is going on behind the scenes and we can fix it so it doesn’t hurt your house anymore.
Another plumbing factor to consider is toilet flanges and shut off valves. These aren’t a ton of money to fix, but it’s good to know these can go wrong and you often don’t know until you remove or demo items that are hiding the issue(s).
As mentioned earlier, It doesn't always happen, so we don't want to charge you if you don't need it. So we diagnose and then show you if anything needs to be done.
Plan For Outages
If the home is lacking plumbing shut-off valves in areas where work is being done, the water may have to be shut off at the main valve, leaving the home without access to running water. Plan ahead and place containers of water in the fridge for drinking, on the counter for cooking, and have buckets of water available to flush the toilet.
An easy way to do this is to fill the bathtub with water and place a bucket nearby to pour into the toilet bowl. If the electrical in areas, or in some cases, for much of the home, depending on how the electrical breaker is divided, is off, plan to run extension cords. Be careful not to overload them!
Electrical can get very complicated because there are so many variables.
For example, kitchen appliances may have a different amperage and we don't know until you pick or start to choose appliances. Your old oven might not be pulling as many amps as the new appliance you are ordering which might mean we need a different breaker, new wiring or something else.
Another example is sometimes your existing electrical wiring may not be “thick enough” for the new appliance or electrical item. Essentially certain appliances require a lower gauge wire (thicker wire) depending on the current and distance from the electrical panel.
Too-small of wiring can get hot. As mentioned here:
“If you have an outlet in your home wired with 15 amp wire, and you plug in a 20-amp appliance, you’re asking your wiring to deliver more current than its capacity rating. Your circuit breaker should trip and stop the flow of electricity through the circuit. The breaker disrupts the electrical flow to protect the affected wire.
When you overload a wire by plugging in an appliance that needs more current than the wire’s rating, the wiring gets very hot. Overheated wires can melt their protective insulation. If exposed wiring is located near flammable materials, the wires are an extreme fire hazard. Attic insulation and other flammable materials behind walls can ignite from the high heat of exposed electrical wires. If your circuit breaker doesn’t work properly, you could cause a house fire by overloading your home’s wiring.”
That article link above also mentions the benefit of larger wires and how they don’t lose as much watts of energy, so a thicker wire will save on your energy bill.
Another factor in electrical is how and where the new potential electrical lines need to be wired. For instance, can someone access the attic and wire through there or do we have to do it on the outside of your home? These factors change the amount of time, difficulty and cost.
Another example is we can't see where junction boxes are located or what the wiring looks like until the drywall or wall is removed or until we go through your attic. These all depend on the situation and houses are all wired different depending on the city, age of home and what the builder decided to do. Builders often took the shortcuts and electrical codes 15+ years ago weren’t nearly as strict as they are now.
Another example of an unknown variable is shotty work by a previous owner or handyman or unlicensed electrician. Depending on what was done, or how hard it is to access, it can take several hours just to diagnose it from our licensed and experienced electrician. That doesn’t include fixing it or remodeling the electrical, those hours are just to diagnose the situation by a licensed and experienced electrician.
We aren’t saying these things are going to happen to your house, especially if we aren’t changing electrical, but it is important to understand the potential situations in advance so it isn’t a bad surprise if your house has any of these challenges.
Plan for outages
For the safety of our employees and trade partners, the power may be shut off when working on electrical.
Many houses in Arizona have electrical tied into several rooms. So if we need the electrical turned off in the guest bathroom, it may be connected to a home office or other room. That means some rooms we are not working on could be without power.
Understandably, no one knows what the flooring underneath will look like until we remove the current flooring.
Sometimes there is a second layer of flooring that someone incorrectly put on top of the old flooring and you don't know until it is ripped out. That adds more time and labor to the remodel which increases the cost. That isn’t your fault or ours, no one knows these things until the current flooring is removed.
When we remove the current flooring a few other challenges that can arise are squeaky sub-floors, foundation issues, and termite damage. We don’t find these issues in all houses, but you can’t know for sure until after.
Of course, we don’t want to assume all of these things will happen beforehand and charge you for them beforehand because that would be wrong.
If we do find any of the issues or challenges mentioned on this page, we ensure that it is communicated right away and explained what is wrong and what solutions are available.
Cabinets are usually the most time consuming aspect of a remodel with the longest lead times.
Here are some items many homeowners are not aware of:
- If you see any mention anywhere online or otherwise about cabinet timelines, they are using business days and NOT regular calendar days. So if something says 15 business days, that is not 2 weeks, it is 3 weeks. If it says 30 days that isn’t a month it is 6 weeks.
- Non-custom cabinets typically have a lead time of 6-8 weeks. Custom cabinets often have a lead time of 7-12 weeks.
- Existing cabinetry may need to be removed 1 to 14 days before new cabinets are installed. Are you prepared to be without cabinetry for that time frame?
- Delays: Typically delays come from the manufacturer (manufacturing issues, shipping delays, damaged goods in transit...etc.) A delay can be as little as 1 day to as long as 6 weeks. We make every effort to remedy delays as soon as possible.
- Be advised: Humans are involved in the ordering, delivery, and installation of your cabinets. Humans make mistakes, forget things, and are sometimes untimely. We make every effort to complete your project correctly, completely, and in a timely manner. We want to see the project completed just as much as you do. Please be patient.
- New cabinets typically take 1-5 days to install. Delays can and will happen. Causes are possible from missing or damaged cabinets/parts, installation needing to be delayed due to sickness/ weather/traffic, or other project delays which push timelines.
- During installation damages may occur to cabinetry (scratches, dents, scuffs...etc.). In the event the damage is beyond “touch-up” a new part can be ordered. This can take as little as 1 day to as long as 6 weeks. We make every effort to attain parts so the project can be completed as soon as possible.
- Anticipate a “punch list” day. This is after installation is complete you may notice an item needing to be adjusted, touched up, or replaced. Most issues can be fixed within a few days but if a warranty or replacement item needs to be ordered it could take as little as 1 day to as long as 6 weeks. We make every effort to get the parts as soon as possible.
Cabinet Refinishing / Refacing
Cabinet refinishing is a great way to save money compared to new cabinets.
The one thing to know about it is there will be a very strong smell that permeates through the house. It doesn't matter if we put up out plastic walls, the smells still gets through.
Even with our top-of-the-line air filters called Build Cleans, the fumes are still present and will linger for 24-72 hours.
With your permission, we can open the windows which really helps, but it usually isn't ideal to do in the hot summer months.
We like to let you know this in advance in case you want to make any plans, such as staying somewhere else, or moving to another section of the home.
We wish this wasn't the case (we have to breath it in since working on the project), but unfortunately it doesn't matter what product is used.
Luckily it is temporary and after a few days the fumes are gone.
To Help Put Your Mind At Ease
We Look Forward To Working With You!
That may have been a lot of information you just went through.
Depending on your mindset, you may have seen that as really helpful or intimidating... or maybe both.
We don't want you to worry about your remodel because everything is going to go well. Even if an uncontrollable issue were to happen, we are great at communicating, explaining and fixing it.
This may have seemed like a lot of information but it is important and best to provide now unlike many contractors that don't say anything and then everything "blows up".
Not providing this information would create more headaches and stress for you.
So we try to eliminate anything that could reduce your experience with us.
If you have any questions feel free to write them down for our initial walk-through meeting.
We look forward to working together with you to create your dream space!