Renovation 101

What You Should Expect: Phases + Order of Operations

Understanding what’s supposed to be happening and when will provide peace of mind during the construction process, and also may help alert you to when things may be going off track, providing the opportunity to avoid costly mistakes. There are four phases of the construction process: planning and design, demolition, rough construction, and finish.

Understanding what’s supposed to be happening and when will provide peace of mind during the construction process, and also may help alert you to when things may be going off track, providing the opportunity to avoid costly mistakes. There are four phases of the construction process:  planning and design, demolition, rough construction, and finish.


Planning and design

It is important to understand the importance of this phase, as it can set your project up for success, or lead to endless problems.  This stage involves identifying the goals for the project, defining the scope, drawing up the plans, obtaining permits, performing any preliminary testing (soils, hazardous materials, etc.) and determining the budget.  Incomplete planning is one of the leading causes of cost overruns and delays in construction, so time is well spent at this stage, as it pays dividends throughout the rest of the project.  


Demolition

Demolition is typically a messy and disruptive process, and may involve moving debris and waste through finished areas of the house to remove them.  The demolition phase also sets the stage for the rest of the project, either making everyone’s job easier, or more difficult.  For these reasons, it is best be thorough in the scope of demolition, and to get as much of it as possible completed early in the project.  Consult with the different trades to make sure that when they come in to do their work they won’t be faced with additional demolition they have to either do themselves, or wait for another contractor to do.  Also, it’s worth it to clean the construction area well after demolition, this makes the following contractors’ work easier, and also reduces the amount of construction debris that can get tracked around the house.


Rough construction

This phase involves all of the things that eventually get covered up by flooring, drywall, tile, etc.  For this reason it’s critical to complete this stage before moving on, otherwise you end up cutting holes in the drywall, removing tiles, or worse.  Verify with your contractor that locations of plumbing, electrical, doors, etc. are correct.  Sometimes this is as simple as reviewing the plans, but oftentimes plans are made before finishes are selected, and it is important to be sure that selected items are compatible with the plans as built.  Specific examples include how plumbing fixture locations relate to tile layout, making sure vanity lights are centered on the vanity, that electrical outlets don’t conflict with a backsplash, etc.  another aspect of this category is Rough inspections.  If you have a permit for your job, make sure you have all required inspections complete before you cover up the work.


Finishes

The finish stage is where the magic happens.  Flooring goes in, cabinets go in, bathrooms get tiled and plumbing fixtures get installed, etc.  It’s exciting, and after what may have been a long road you really start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Pay attention to the details here though.  Make sure the finishes you chose , a little extra attention at this stage can really pay off so things get finished up exactly like you envisioned.