After being in the business for close to 25 years, the biggest mistake I see homeowners make when embarking on a remodeling project is
The failure to properly plan.
This failure may be due to their inexperience taking on whatever project they are doing (as the majority of people do not remodel that often…), it may be due to their desire to hurry up & just “get it done”, or it may be due to a number of other reasons. Whatever the case may be, proper planning is critical.
Obviously, the larger the project, the more planning most likely will be involved (i.e. in theory, it should take a whole lot less planning to redo your roof than it would if you were adding an entire 2nd floor to your home).
Any viable, successful business, sports team, military operation, etc. will tell you, the vast majority of the battle is won before the actual action begins.
Remodeling is no different.
When doing something beyond “simple” remodeling (with examples of “simple” remodeling being: painting, changing out windows or doors, or putting on a new roof), it is critical to have sets of drawings to work off as a “map” of where you want to go.
If the average person were driving from Providence, RI to Los Angeles, CA, your chances of getting there MOST efficiently are certainly MUCH better with some type of map than simply relying on the sun & the stars to guide you.
Remodeling is a similar concept.
Whether you are doing it yourself or hiring a Professional, having the proper plans in place are critical.
Even for seemingly easier projects
(examples: moving a wall, rearranging the 1st floor on a home to make it an easier living space for an older relative, etc.),
having the appropriate plans in place will make things run MUCH more smoothly.
Adjustments should absolutely be able to be made as you get the actual project underway; having the initial plan for the project though is VITALLY significant.
If hiring a Professional for a more in-depth project, you most likely will be hiring either a Design-Build firm (where they conduct the design-work in-house) or a Contractor who works hand-in-hand with an architect or designer to ensure project success.
The relationship between the Contractor & the Architect/Designer is REALLY important!
I recently pulled our company out of the running for a project because I could tell (based on experience) that the architect the Client had chosen was most likely going to present what I thought would be unnecessary challenges for us at some point along the course of the project.
Most Contractors have at least a few architects or designers that they use regularly and are happy to steer their Clients toward.
These professionals are already vetted by the Contractor and if the Contractor is the one that you would really like to do the work, my suggestion would be to strongly utilize an architect or designer the Contractor is comfortable with. This would most probably give your project the surest chance of things getting completed as well as possible.
Whether changing out a storm door or gutting an existing home entirely & starting completely fresh, having a proper plan in place will not only present you with the best chance of things running as smooth as can be during the course of the work, but will also go a long way toward instilling ‘Peace of Mind’ in what is often the most unsettling of undertakings – the Home Improvement project!!