As the end of Winter appears on the horizon, many homeowners start to think about renovations. If that sounds familiar, the time to plan for a Spring or Summer project is NOW – if you haven’t already started, don’t wait for the crocuses to begin peeping through. At that point, as Bill Belichick recently noted, “you’re already five weeks behind.”

Planning is the most important part of any project, and experience indicates that it can be the most timeCouple redecorating their home consuming. In order for things to proceed promptly, you will need to make most of your design decisions and material choices well before any work begins. Also, of course, a key goal for any project is to minimize disruptions to your family’s daily life, and the first step to accomplish this objective is good planning.

Here are three of the more pragmatic reasons for getting your detailed planning process started sooner rather than later.

The Design Process

Depending on the size and type of project you are planning, you may decide to go-it-alone or, alternatively, you may require the help of a design professional. For smaller projects that you’d like to handle on your own, e.g., a partial update in a kitchen or bathroom, you may opt to either fly solo or tap into a good interior designer, kitchen designer or tile showroom professional.

The important point is that even a smaller Spring or Summer project requires that you start your detailed planning NOW so as to minimize spur-of-the-moment, ill thought out decisions later on when work is underway and money is being spent.

If, on the other hand, your Spring or Summer project involves structural changes you absolutely need to get your planning underway NOW – the clock has already started.  For example, if your goal is to add a new addition, or a dormer, or anything requiring changes in the foundation, this qualifies as a major project requiring significant, detailed planning.

Depending on the specific project, you probably will need to hire either an architect, a structural engineer, or a surveyor – sometimes all of the above.  All of this takes time.

Finding a Contractor

Whatever the project is that you’re considering, eventually you will need a good contractor. Make this your first planning step.

Construction team on siteWhether it’s your brother in law, a contractor working in your neighborhood, someone recommended by a friend or the result of a Google search, bring them on board ASAP. A good contractor will be enormously helpful in developing a comprehensive and realistic project plan based on your preferences and budget.

Also, as the first member of your construction team, your contractor can lead you to the other professionals that will be necessary to complete your project.  Using this approach provides you with a coherent group of professionals that is much more likely to work seamlessly as a team, thus providing you with a smooth process that yields an on-time, on-budget successful project.

Why Start Everything Now?

The primary reason to emphasize early planning is that Spring is the most popular time to start a major construction project in New England.  Due to the historically harsh Winters we suffer – snow, frozen ground, bitterly cold temperatures – the construction process has a limited window during which it can be productively undertaken…and that window is NOW.

All New England design and construction professionals are aware of this limited window and, understandably, budget their time, work, and commitments accordingly. Because of this, building a cohesive team that works & communicates well can become a challenge as the weather gets warmer and key team members are less available.

Bottom Line

Good planning, a cohesive team, and good communications are the keys to success on any project.  And it all starts with good planning, so do your part and start NOW.

Best of luck, and as always let me know if I can help you out!

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