Making changes for a renovation once the work has begun

Making changes for a renovation once the work has begun

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Making changes for a renovation once the work has begun does not happen often with my clients.  We typically take a lot of time in the design phase to ensure we have thought out everything so that when the work begins, it is full steam ahead.

This past week, I was faced with the need to offer some options to proceed with making changes.

Making changes for a renovation

There are certain times when making a change for a renovation does not have to be a costly one.  I am currently working on a project I have called ‘Coastal Vibe‘.  To be honest, the actual work started well before I was actually ready to start this project.  My clients booked the asbestos abatement team to come in (they were dealing with that on their own) well before a kitchen design was finalized and items were picked out.

I worked at a record pace to pound out a kitchen design to present to my clients.  While the budget was and is always at the top of my mind, we were checking off many of the wishes on the list.  And I would like to add here, not all items were on the list due to budget constraints.

We were going with a galley-style kitchen allowing us to incorporate a narrow island down the middle.  Here is what the plan looked like:


Making changes for a renovation

Here is me explaining how I marked it out on the floor for my clients to really see what it was going to look like.

Timing is Everything

For my clients, when they saw the actual size of the island, they were not happy.  Although they knew it was 24″ wide, actually seeing it taped out was huge for them.  We discussed how this was a great time to bump back the wall and make changes to reconfigure the island.  We ended up moving the wall over 10″ to accommodate a new bank of cabinets on the island while still keeping the front foyer open.  Here is the new plan:

Making changes for a renovation

Here is me explaining what we did:

As you can see, this was the best time to make that particular changes.  In total, the change to move the wall and add the 2 side walls was $700.00.  A good investment in my personal opinion!

Change Orders

Change orders are necessary for all parties to keep track. A formal piece of paper that reflects the change(s) allow for all changes to be tracked.  This not only includes the scope of work that has been changed but the cost associated with a change.  And yes, there is always a cost when there is a change.  For my contract, once my clients sign off on the design, any changes moving forward are considered a change order.  I have a fee associated with the change order (I charge a base rate). All change orders should be signed off as well.

Making changes for a renovation

Change orders can be costly if you are not careful.  There are great times to make changes, and there are really expensive times to make changes!

The Domino Effect

Making changes for a renovation typically involves a domino effect.  What I mean by that is, when you make one change, there are bound to be more changes that will need to be made.

When my clients wished to move the wall back 10″, it actually didn’t cost them $700.00.  Why?  Here is what we had to add:

  1. 3 more base cabinets to the island.
  2. 9 more cabinet pulls to be ordered.
  3. More quartz was needed for the wider island.
  4. A new drawing to be onsite for the electricians so they had that to carry out their rough-ins.

Making changes for a renovation

I’ve often said that the most expensive phrase during a renovation is,

While we’re at it, can we add…

I believe it is my job to make sure my clients are fully aware of what they are asking for (including all of the dominos that may fall with a particular change) and what the cost associated with the changes will be.

Have you ever made a change in a renovation that was a good decision or a costly decision? I would love to hear about it!

Sheri Bruneau Get It Together

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