Food for Thought: Simple Not Necessarily Easy

September 14, 2016


What might seem to be a simple scope of work on the surface of a renovation project, can go bad quickly and in a hurry if trouble arises and without having employed a skilled general contractor who has the experience and knowledge of how to overcome the different pitfalls that can occur in a renovation project regardless of the project’s seemingly simplistic work scope.


Take for instance a project that might consist of concrete overlay that spans 5 city blocks, encompassing an 82 unit condominium property. At first glance, a project of such limited scope might appear easy enough and might even be considered as one that can be performed internally using the condominium’s engineering staff at a savings to management.  What’s often overlooked and not at all considered are some of the underlying critical details involved in accomplishing project goals that can derail the project resulting in not just cost overruns but the inability to turn the project over efficiently and effectively.


Organizing the project up front is essential to the project’s success. Being organized is not just necessary for those performing the scope of work, but it also takes a load off the condominium’s management team in that it allows them to maintain focus on other pertinent areas of their day-to-day operations. Questions that a seasoned contractor will address in planning the project are: (1) How will work be staged and accomplished, what are the logistics? (2) What methods will be used to communicate with the condominium board members and owners and how often? (3) How will areas be cordoned off to help eliminate any safety hazards as well as helping to protect property features such as plantings? (4) How and where will products be stored?


Communicating the details and what will be expected throughout the project’s duration can help resolve many issues that the board may run into with the condo owners during the renovation process. Using project management systems such as Procore provides board members access to daily reports giving them knowledge of day-to-day activities so that everyone is aware of project status, changes, and complications so that open communication is always maintained and any problems are resolved expeditiously.


Another example of what can go wrong in what on the surface appears to be a simple renovation with a limited scope, is when renovating an area in a building whose structure is old and the project calls for updated features.  Oftentimes when performing these types of renovations, problems such as unleveled floors and walls, outdated plumbing and electrical can pose a threat to the project scope, timeline, and not to mention the unforeseen costs if your contractor is not proficient in recognizing these challenges and having the ability to provide solutions to these challenges early rather than later as the project progresses. Not doing so is not just detrimental to the project itself, but it can result in damaging a relationship you’ve established with your client. Clients want to know that their project is in good hands and that their selected contractor has evaluated the project and communicated any risk to the owner that could possibly effect the original scope and be able to provide solutions to those risks.


An established general contractor, one who has the years and the experience, brings project knowledge from having seen and worked through many challenges over the years and the capacity to work through those challenges never before seen.


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