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Without a successful launch, a safe landing is impossible.
People who hire a remodeler to improve their home want the project to turn out just as they envisioned, completed on schedule, and for the agreed upon price. As Professional Remodelers, we want exactly the same thing. That’s what makes the preconstruction meeting so important. This meeting is analogous to the airline pilot’s preflight checklist: it’s a time for remodeler and client to ensure all project details are clear and agreed upon, and to nail down the jobsite rules and procedures before work begins.
Clients who get the most from the preconstruction meeting know what to expect and come prepared to fully participate.
The meeting is usually held at least a week before work starts. (This gives the remodeler time to complete any pre-job items that come up during the meeting.) Depending on the size of the project — a kitchen remodel or a major addition — it could last anywhere from 45 minutes to a couple of hours. Attendees include the lead carpenter, the company owner or owner’s representative, and the client. Regardless of who will act as the primary decision maker or point of contact during the project, it is important to have husband and wife in attendance, especially if they will be living in the home during construction. Having both parties at the meeting helps eliminate uncertainty and minimizes surprises once the project gets under way.
Topics covered will vary depending on the project, but one topic will generally be a review of the company’s general policies. These could include things such as work hours, the process for making changes once construction begins, and how often the remodeler’s team will hold scheduled meetings with the client. The job schedule will also be reviewed.
The remodeler and client will usually walk through the areas of the home to be remodeled. They will review the project plans and specifications, making sure to confirm the client’s product choices: cabinets, fixtures, appliances, floor finishes, even mechanical items like a new water heater or air conditioner. If something isn’t as expected, this is the time to ask questions. Errors and misunderstandings are easier, less costly, and less stressful to correct now than they will be once work begins.
This meeting is also where the client and remodeler agree on jobsite rules and procedures. Remodelers will ask the client a series of questions that will manage a number of logistic issues. They can include how to interact with pets, who gets the code to the home security system, where to put the porta potty, where to stage materials and place the dumpster, where the workers can park, and any number of other concerns. Professional remodelers understand that they are guests in the client’s home, and use this time to make sure they minimize stress on the family.
Some prep work will usually need to be done before this meeting. For instance the client should prepare by making timely selections, especially if there are special-order materials with long lead times. The client should also carefully review the plans and specifications, and prepare a list of questions and concerns. These can run the gamut, from products and design features, to procedural questions such as who should the clients call with questions or concerns.
Done well, a good preconstruction meeting eliminates uncertainty and puts everyone on the same page. It goes a long way toward ensuring a trouble-free project and a smooth landing for everyone.
Todd Allen Miller, AIA
QMA Design+Build, LLC
5000 Boardwalk, Suite 2
Ventnor, NJ 08406
NJ New Home Builder License #037561
NJ Home Improvement Contractor #13VH01107300
(609) 822-4949 – phone
(609) 822-4429 – fax
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