10 Things to Discuss with your Contractor Before Work Begins

You’ve signed your contract, made your selections, and ready to begin work on your remodel. Right?

Not quite! There’s one more step we believe is important to have our projects run as smoothly as possible. Before work begins on your project, we like to have a meeting with you, our sales team, and your project manager, and possibly even trade contractors to make sure everyone is on the same page! During this meeting we do a walk-through of your project and discuss details that are often overlooked by other companies.

These are the top 10 things we recommend discussing with your contractor before work on your home begins:

1. Work Days and Hours
Most companies have standard work hours, ours are Monday-Friday, 7:30am-4:00pm, but we do our best to accommodate our client’s schedules and have been known to start a little later when asked! We do try to keep our weekends free of work so we can spend time with family and so you can have a little break from us. No matter who you are working with, it is important to have clear work hours laid out, so you know who to expect in your home and when to expect them.

2. Parking Spots
We need space to park our truck and/or trailer at your home, so we have access to our tools and supplies, but we certainly do not want to inconvenience you or your neighbors over a parking spot. Similarly, it’s good to know when your trash and recycling pick-up takes place to ensure your cans are not blocked and are picked up as scheduled. While this may seem like a silly thing to go over, it is brief and is very helpful for our clients.

3. Entry and Security
Establish a way for your contractor to access your home. Some clients choose to have a key box on site while others are comfortable with their project managers keeping a copy on their key ring for the duration of their project. You’ll want to also inform your construction team of any alarm systems you have. Most alarm companies will allow you to set a temporary code for your contractor that is separate from yours, that way when the job is done the code can be cancelled. This is a good time to talk about other security measures as well. For example, when we have work done on our house, we always make sure to communicate fences must stay closed for the safety of our dogs.

4. Best Form of Communication
Make sure you and your contractor have a complete list of phone numbers and email address and know who your on-site contact is. It’s also nice to include an emergency contact, hopefully no one will ever need it, but it’s smart to include it! This is a good time to establish your preferred method of communication, how you would prefer check-ins and how often you would like them. Job check-ins could be a summary sent daily or weekly to your email or via a text message, weekly meetings, updates written in your detailed job binder, or a phone call twice a week. Whatever your preference is, we want to know so we can be sure to meet your needs!

5. Working Zones and Site Protection
A huge reason we have these pre-construction meetings on-site is so we can discuss where site protection will need to go (ZipWalls, temporary walls, tarps, etc.) so that everyone understands where the construction zone will be. This meeting will help you determine what you need to move out of the work area, and what you may need to remove from walls. The latter isn’t always necessary, but if there are large amounts of demolition and framing you will want to ensure any pictures or fragile items are protected from the rattling. For larger projects it’s nice to have a “staging area” where materials and tools can be stored for your project. We like to find a spot together that will work for you! Usually a garage, side yard, or deck works great!

6. Location of Utility Shutoffs
During the walk-through we will locate the emergency shutoff for your water, gas, and electric panel. If there are appliances or circuits that absolutely cannot be shut off, like a deep freezer, pool pump, or fish tank, please let us know.

7. Household Workers
If you have a house cleaner, gardener, dog walker, etc. please let us know at this meeting! It’s important to fill us in on when they are at your house so we can expect them. Also, food for thought, if I was having a major project done on my home, I would suspend a house cleaner until after the project. But you do you!

8. Pets
If you have pets and are keeping them on-site during construction, please have a plan to confine them and keep them out of the construction areas. We love pets (a lot!), but we know our time is better spent getting your house back to “normal” versus moving pets from room to room. We do suggest your pets have a meet and greet with the crew so they can become familiar with them, we find it helps their stress level throughout the project. Remodeling affects everyone in your home, even the animals!

9. Neighbors
If you haven’t told your immediate neighbors that you are starting a remodel, this is a great day to do it! Your neighbors will likely be impacted by parking and noise, so it’s kind to let them know ahead of time. If any of your neighbors are sensitive about parking spots or noise, please let your contractor know so we can be as courteous as possible.

10. The Details
At this meeting, we believe it is important to have a detailed schedule for you so you know who will be at your house and when. We would want the same if we were having work done on our house! If you have questions about the schedule, billing, or anything else, this is the perfect time to ask. Remember, we want you to be comfortable and prepared for your renovation before work begins, and any other reputable contractor should want the same!