By Michael Lovis Ferruzza
I'm sure many of you are considering having your kitchens made over or remodeled......perhaps in time for Thanksgiving?, Christmas?, Your daughter's Wedding?, Perhaps you want it to be done before you leave on vacation?, or before school starts?
Bar-Mitzvah anyone ???
Well, DON'T DO IT! Remodeling will rarely, if ever, conform to YOUR timeframes.
By its nature, it is fraught with uncertainties, problems and surprises. Even to the most proficient of us designers, contractors and assorted trades people, remodeling resists all efforts to reign it in when it comes to deadlines and due dates.
The intricacies of marrying construction materials and methods which are sometimes as much as a century apart and getting a dozen or more tradespeople with different schedules and work requirements to be perfectly coordinated and synchronized is a daunting task.
Having spoken my peace, I know that 99.9% of you will proceed anyway. So, I would like to share some sage advice concerning timeframes and time saving to all of you brave souls.
When planning the time frame of a remodel, most people think that they have Voluminous amounts of time; BUT gentle reader, it's already too late! Ha Ha!....No, Really.
"Margin of Error"
If the shop says that the custom unit you ordered would definitely be done in 1 month, understand that this is just a very rough guess and has no bearing in reality. So add a "Margin of Error". Ask what is the absolute longest something might take then add 25%!
Don't compromise with yourself when you learn how long things take, take it at face value; Be honest with yourself. Don't think things will happen faster just because you want them to.
Let's say that you are having many relatives over for Thanksgiving and you want to do your kitchen in time to cook the family feast. Assuming the contractor will actually finish when he says, lets count backward from the event to be sure we are leaving enough time to enjoy it.
Many people will spend days before the feast cooking and preparing. Figure 1 week.
Its tough to finish a big remodel then go immediately to work cooking; you will burn out! Figure another week to relax before you need to start preparations.
Remember to add a week to put all the pots and pans that you previously removed FROM the kitchen, BACK INTO the kitchen and to organize it.
The most fastidious contractor may still leave some cleaning to do after the work is done. Figure another week.
We are now well into October!!
NOW you can start planning your timeline.
"Being your own Contractor"
If you are brave enough to act as your own contractor, add 50% more time to everything.
Sometimes you may not be familiar with the sequence if things and even with helpful tradespeople, inefficiencies can and often do creep in. Let's also hope you have not made any mistakes that need to be corrected either.
Plan for worst case scenarios.
"Have all materials on site before work begins"
One of the best ways to save your self from delays and inefficiencies due to waiting for material or wrong or damaged material delays is to get it all ahead of time, check it for damage and completeness. Keep it organized by room or by trade.
"Have a pre-meeting"
A brief meeting with all trades to run through the job can help everyone get the big picture. This helps to avoid the "I thought it was the other guy's job" syndrome, a BIG time waster. Do this at least 2 weeks before you want the job to begin. Keep the level of communication up throughout the job.
Just to give some ideas of timeframes....(Note, all municipalities, types of jobs, conditions etc. vary)
Planning (never enough time)
Permits 2 weeks to 2 months
Ordering handmade tiles, custom Cabinets, or special order items 1 month to 1 year. Be Careful!
Stock kitchen cabinets 0 to 8 weeks
Semi-custom cabinets 6 to 12 weeks
Custom cabinets 8 to 24 weeks
Don't forget to add 2 weeks for granite or acrylic counter tops
A minor kitchen refurbish will take appreciably shorter time than a full gut.
You get the idea. The scope of your job will determine how long it takes but a kitchen remodel without an addition can still take from 1 to 4 months.
"Be Patient" or "Don't Worry, Be Happy!"
Keep your cool even if things don't go well. Enjoy the job. Learn about the creative people sweating and working hard to make your home beautiful. Thank them and offer them something cold to drink on hot days (and visa versa).
Ask questions if you like but wait for a pause in the work so you don't break their rhythm and concentration. Stay out of the construction site as much as possible.
And most important, keep a good attitude; your good attitude will keep everyone's disposition up. Happy jobs go much faster!
Take timeframes with a grain of salt, add margins of error.
Be honest with yourself, "It is what it is".
Count backwards from your deadline.
Don't forget to add time to relax before the big event!
Have you allowed enough time ? NO??
Well, there's always next Christmas!
Michael Lovis Ferruzza is a Kitchen Designer with over 20 years experience. He keeps current with new trends and innovations. Once, a remodeling company owner, he is familiar with all facets of construction. Available for private consultation and design and rendering services; you can contact Michael at 914-646-0688.