Why Renovation Projects Usually Cost More Then You Anticipate

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home remodeling & renovations-home informationRenovation projects don’t have to get out of hand!

Cost and time control issues sometimes make renovation projects undesirable.


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• Labor saving equipment is often difficult to use due to the physical limitations of a renovation. In those cases that means that only hand operated equipment can be used. Think of excavating a basement by hand using a conveyor belt or wheel barrel to remove the dirt, concrete by wheel barrel instead of pump truck, lumber by hand instead of by forklift, or carrying drywall into the house by hand instead of by boom truck are all time consuming and very costly to any renovation project!

• In many renovations the distances required to move excavated materials add costs. Most additions take place at the rear of the house.

• Delays can occur due to unexpected conditions discovered during demolition of the renovation. These delays ultimately increase renovation costs.

• Very often with only small renovation work areas available at a given time, job scheduling between trades becomes difficult and subcontractor quotations may reflect the excessive start-up and shut-down phases of the job.

• Dust protection to adjoining non-construction areas can involve substantial special protection and alter usual construction methods.

• Plumbing piping and heating/cooling duct work runs can be difficult to access. Electrical wiring may have to be snaked through finished walls and floors during a renovation.

• On small renovation projects its often necessary to pay a tradesman for a minimum of four hours for a task that is completed in one hour.

• Renovations often involve removing interior or exterior load bearing structural walls. This creates the need for shoring and bracing to hold up the building while structural changes are being made.

• Both on the interior and exterior of the house there is a large amount of cutting and patching and attempting to match the existing conditions during a renovation. Matching “existing conditions” can be difficult because materials may no longer be manufactured. Substitutions can be expensive. In many cases this gets so costly that it’s more economical to remove entire walls rather than create many new door and window openings. This sort of trade-off has to be carefully analyzed.

• There are none of the economies of scale usually associated with new construction. In renovating very often small quantities are required. This increases both material and labor unit costs.

You should review the following in detail with your renovator prior to signing a contract.

• Hold backs and Liens:

Who is responsible to administer the hold backs? What happens if a contractor, subcontractor or supplier places a lien on your property?

• Commencement of construction and delays in completion:

What happens if the project is delayed in getting started? What happens if the project is delayed in completion? What are the penalties for delays?

• Insurance:

General liability, loss and damage to property, personal injury: What type of insurance coverage is being provided by the renovator? What type of coverage are you required to provide? Are you and your assets adequately protected?

• Changes and extras:

What happens with changes and extras? How are they billed. and when are they paid for?

• Warranty:

renovation projectsWhat type of warranty are you getting and how long are you covered?

• Labor saving equipment is often difficult to use due to the physical limitations of many renovations. In those cases that means that only hand operated equipment can be used.

Michael Curry is the author of this article on Home Improvement Toronto. Find more information about Home Renovations Toronto here.

By: Michael C. 

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