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Top 5 Issues you May Have with your Remodeling Contractor

April 13th, 2023 | 5 min read

By Michael Flory

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The last thing you want to experience during your home remodel is stress and frustration with your contractor. Remodeling your home is a significant investment, and it will impact your daily life.

Knowing potential issues that can arise between you and your remodeling contractor before construction begins can give you time to prepare. Finding a contractor that is experienced and knowledgeable will help you address these issues efficiently.

As an experienced Mid-Michigan design-build company, we understand the importance of establishing and maintaining a positive relationship with our clients. 

By fostering effective communication, clarifying expectations, and creating a collaborative environment, we work to ensure that our clients have a positive remodeling experience and a finished product that exceeds their expectations.

Conversely, when our clients take steps to foster a positive relationship with us, it leads to an even stronger partnership and improves their remodeling experience.

In this article, you’ll learn the top five issues you may encounter with your remodeling contractor and how you can work with your contractor to resolve them.

1. Delays during construction.

It's common to experience some delays during your project, and it's important to understand that many of these are outside your home remodeling contractor's control.

However, your contractor's job is to address these delays and continue progress on your project. Here are some of the most common causes of delays during construction, many of which are beyond your contractor's control.

Unforeseen issues that arise: These can include problems such as discovering water damage after opening up a wall during demolition or finding your electrical or plumbing is outdated and requires replacements.

These issues can cause change orders, which can result in delays in continuing work on your project.

Building materials damaged during delivery or installation: For example, your cabinets have been installed, and during your countertop installation, the countertop installers accidentally damage a cabinet door. 

Additionally, damage to materials can occur during shipping. When your building materials are shipped to your contractor, there is a chance that the shipping company could damage them in transit. 

Both of these scenarios can cause delays while your contractor orders replacement materials and waits for them to arrive.

Inspection-related delays: For most remodel projects, inspections are required throughout the project to make progress.

These inspections are performed by licensed building inspectors to ensure your project adheres to building codes. Inspectors maintain their own schedules and waiting for them to arrive at your home can be a cause for delays.

Weather delays: Depending on the time of year, snow or extreme temperatures may slow down progress on your project. 

While your contractor will do everything they can to keep your project moving forward, there may be times when weather conditions simply make it too dangerous for workers to be on the job site.

Construction crew illness and days off: Another factor that can cause delays during a home remodeling project is unexpected crew illness. Construction crews and subcontractors may need to take sick days when they are not feeling well, as in any other industry.

Additionally, construction crews and subcontractors may also take personal time off, such as PTO or vacation time. While your contractor will do their best to schedule work around these periods, there may be times when a worker's absence causes delays.

2. Miscommunication between you and your contractor.

Miscommunication between you and your contractor can lead to delays, misunderstandings, and frustration. 

It's important to have accurate expectations from the beginning of the project that delays may occur and to work with a proactive contractor who communicates regularly with you.

To avoid miscommunication, make sure you know who the appropriate person is to communicate with. Your main point of contact should be your general contractor or design-build company, as they have the full picture of your project. 

While text and email can be useful, it's important to have regular updates and to discuss important matters over the phone or in person.

If you are experiencing miscommunications, it's a good idea to call for an in-person meeting or phone call. This can help you understand where your project stands and ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

While email and text messaging are effective tools for quick questions, they can confuse larger topics that require context and visual aids. Hearing the emotion behind words can make it easier to fully understand the situation and each other.

3. Being unsatisfied with your project before it’s completed.

If you're unsatisfied with your home remodel before it's completed, it's important to take a step back and evaluate the situation. 

While it's natural to want to oversee the project and make sure it's going the way you want it to, it's essential to trust your contractor's expertise and let them do their job.

Micromanaging can cause unnecessary stress and can even slow down progress. It's important to remember that you hired the contractor for their experience and skill set, so it's best to trust their judgment and let them handle the project.

If you have any questions or concerns, it's best to go to your general contractor for answers. The subcontractors may not have all the information or may not be able to answer your questions accurately. 

Trusting your contractor and working together to achieve your vision will result in a smoother and more satisfying home remodel experience.

4. Experiencing dust and noise during your home remodel.

Home remodeling is a noisy and dusty experience that can disrupt your daily life. It's important to talk to your general contractor about these potential issues before the construction begins to come up with a plan to address them.

By being upfront about your expectations, your contractor can take the necessary steps to make sure the construction doesn't impact your life too much.

Even with the best planning, some disruptions may be unavoidable due to various factors. However, a good contractor should communicate these issues with you ahead of time. 

Some things can be done to help mitigate the effects of construction, such as installing temporary walls, floor coverings, and dust guards.

For kitchen remodels and bathroom remodels, setting up temporary facilities makes sure you can still maintain a daily routine without major disruptions as well as minimize tracking dust throughout the rest of your house.

5. Mismanagement of construction logistics.

Logistics play a critical role in any home renovation project. Before construction begins, several important decisions must be made, such as where to place dumpsters, where materials will be dropped off and stored, and how to manage potential lawn damage.

Additionally, the day-to-day operations of the construction crews working in your home must be taken into consideration. Proper planning and communication with your contractor can help mitigate any logistical issues that may arise during your project.

A material drop form can help ensure that all of these logistical decisions are figured out before construction begins. This way when you come home from work and see a dumpster or five pallets of bricks on your lawn, you’re not surprised.

Another common frustration we hear from people who have remodeled their homes previously is the damage to their lawns with no clear plan for who is responsible or how to fix it.

It's important to establish upfront whether the contractor or you are responsible for repairing any lawn damage. If you request lawn repair, make sure it's explicitly noted in the scope of work.

Next steps for having a healthy relationship with your contractor

Knowing the potential issues that can arise before construction begins can give you time to prepare and plan accordingly. 

By choosing a contractor who is experienced and proactive, many potential issues can be prevented from happening in the first place. And, if any issues do arise during the course of your project, a good contractor will work with you to resolve them efficiently.

Our mission at Custom Built is to not only design and build the dream spaces of Mid-Michigan homeowners, but to also educate you on everything related to home remodeling.

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To learn more about finding the right home remodeling contractor for you, read the following articles:

Michael Flory

Michael brings over 2 decades of building and remodeling experience to his position as the Owner and Visionary of Custom Built. Michael’s passion to make an impact on the home building industry has led him to serve for over ten years at the local and state Home Builders Association, culminating as President of the HBA of Michigan in 2020.