The Pre-Construction Meeting
As you anticipate your new kitchen, bath, addition, or other major home remodeling project, there is a crucial step implemented by most competent remodeling contractors. While the journey from first contact to final contract can be daunting, exhausting, and somewhat confusing, by the time you signed that contract, hopefully, all of your questions and concerns have been addressed—or so you may think. A thorough home remodeling pre-construction meeting is very much in your interest.
Sometime prior to the scheduled start of your project, your contractor will (or should) schedule a pre-construction meeting at your home (or site.) The attendees will be the person with whom you signed the contract, the person that will be in charge of the producing of your remodeling project, and you. It may be appropriate to include a specialist or experts in a particularly challenging aspect of your project for logistical input.
The primary purpose of the remodeling pre-construction meeting is the practical hand-off of the project from the design and sale to its actual production. It is largely an effort to establish the daily and overall logistics. The person in charge of physically executing your contract is the point man for all of these. The topics discussed will range from where the portable toilet will be placed to the path the excavation equipment will take to access the site. Contact info will be exchanged, communication preferences, times, dates, and how the production crew will access the home. Pets, children, parking, property and dust protection, safety perimeters, emergency numbers, and utility interruptions will also be addressed. From the information gleaned at this meeting, the production lead will develop the project schedule, protection plan, and general ground rules for everyone that will be involved in your home improvement project. This meeting typically takes 1-1 ½ hours.
While a full-blown pre-construction meeting may not be necessary for a single-trade operation, for any home remodeling project that involves coordination with multiple trades and operations, it is absolutely critical. If you have signed a contract for a major home improvement, and this meeting (may be called by different names) is neither mentioned, nor scheduled, you may have made a huge mistake. This is not something you want your contractor to “feel” their way through. The safety, security, and well-being of your home and family is at stake. Your time and consideration is well worth the effort.
Below is a checklist of pre-construction topics. Whether this is your first or your 15th remodeling project, there will be relative strangers in your personal space, and it will be disruptive and inconvenient to some degree. To minimize the impact of your home improvement on your daily life, it is to your advantage to think all of these issues through prior to the meeting. You’ll be glad you did.
- ACCESS: How will the workers access the site each day?
- PETS: Where will they be kept during construction?
- CHILDREN: Will there have to be an alternative entry/exit/path for children leaving for/coming home from school/work?
- NEIGHBORS: Are there any special considerations regarding neighbors?
- CONTACT: What is the preferable number/method of daily communication?
- PRIMARY CONTACT: Who is your primary contact once the work begins?
- EMERGENCY: Who to call in the case of an emergency?
- WORK HOURS: What are the start and end times of typical work days?
- WEEKENDS AND OTHER: What is the possibility of working past the typical work hours and on weekends? How much notice is needed?
- DUMPSTER: Where will the trash container be placed? (Some municipalities do not allow trash containers on the street under any circumstances)
- JOB SIGN: Where will the contractor’s job sign be placed?
- PORTABLE TOILET: Where will the portable toilet be placed?
- PARKING: What parking restrictions/needs will there be?
- WORK TRAFFIC: What will be the paths taken by workers and equipment to access the work area(s)?
- DUST/PROPERTY PROTECTION: How will the dust be controlled? What steps will be taken to protect flooring, decks, porches, steps and landings, lawn, and landscaping?
- SAFETY: What steps will be taken to maintain a safe worksite?
- SECURITY: When the workers must leave the site when no one is home, what security precautions to you want taken? i.e. set alarms, lock all windows and doors.
- VACATIONS: If your family is going away during the course of the project, what else do you need the contractor to do? i.e. mail, newspapers, etc.
- CLEAN-UP: What will be the extent of daily clean-up?
- CHANGE ORDERS: How will changes in the scope of work be addressed