Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 17th 2015 Contents 12 | WOW MAGAZINE
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt May 17, 2015
By Ann Moore-Spencer
BEING IMPACTED by someone else's renovations has me
thinking lately of the renovation process and its potential to
upset one's equilibrium. Most of us are only able to endure
because of the promise of something better at the end of
the process. But how do we make the renovation process
Contractor Management. Three quarters of your stress
will be alleviated if you master the management of your
contractors. Don't select a contractor mainly on cost. The
lowest bid can end up costing you the most. There is nor-
mally a logical reason why one contractor's cost varies sig-
nificantly from another's. They may be using different
quality materials, methods or warranty. The lower bidder
may just be desperate for work, and his low price camou-
flages inferior materials. One may have more experience in
pricing, and understands the real cost and is less likely to
sneak in additional unpredicted costs. One may be using
skilled tradesmen; the other may be employing apprentices.
One may have built-in insurance costs; the other may have
no insurance. Whose responsibility it is to handle the per-
mits? Ensure that you are comparing apples with apples.
Let each contender itemise their materials lists and descrip-
tion of the job in writing. Be sure to determine why the
costs differ, and ensure you are comfortable with it. In ad-
dition, communication is key.
Don't neglect to communicate. Let your contractor know
your financial limits. Let them know your design preferences.
Create a file with your preferences to assist with your com-
munication. Communicate with your contractor daily, by
phone or email, and meet with them at least weekly to re-
view the project. Be careful not to appear to be micro-man-
aging and do not be a distraction. Take photos as the project
progresses to record and communicate the progress and
the issues. Have your contractor share all the material sam-
ples, paint selections and colour swatches with you and give
him/her timely feedback. If more than one person has inter-
est in the renovation, for example your spouse, nominate a
single individual to communicate with the contractor, so as
not to cause confusion.
Manage your expectations. Recognise that even though
you have a well-thought-out project plan, variances in time
are quite common. You should make allowances for the pos-
sibility of an extended renovation timeline. That being said,
you should also actively seek to manage the risk of delayed
projects. Very often, projects take longer than you expect.
Don't expect perfection. Quite possibly, you will be trying to
rectify or camouflage some pre-existing problem. Adjust
your reality meter. Plus, your tradesmen are only human and
not precision machines. Of course, I am not suggesting you
overlook poor quality workmanship or settle for inferior ma-
terials or design. I am only saving you some stress by re-
minding you that nothing is 100 per cent perfect. Be flexi-
Manage the health and safety. Renovation can expose you
and your family to dust, fumes and other air pollutants. In
addition, there is all the rubble and trash generated from the
process. All potentially endangering the health and safety
of you and your family. Even your electronics and furniture
can be damaged. Communicate with your contractor. Find
out when adhesives, epoxies and other odorous materials
will be used, or when major demolition will take place.
Arrange to be out of the house. Alternately, seal off the area
with an impenetrable material such as plastic. In addition,
ensure that your contractor has a plan for systematically
getting rid of the trash and waste.
Adjust your life. Renovation will disrupt your normal flow
of life. Where you conduct your usual activities may not be
available to you. Depending on where you are renovating,
you may have to wash dishes outside, cook in your living
room, eat out, share bathrooms, combine sleeping arrange-
ments ... you know what I mean. Not to forget the disruption
of having strangers in your home; invading your personal
space and your privacy. So it is not home as usual. Every-
thing familiar is being disrupted, destroyed and rearranged.
Very often this disruption is a critical source of stress. These
are, indeed, perfect reasons to seek alternate accommoda-
tion during the process. It will be well worth it when it is all
| DÉCOR |
"Everything familiar is being disrupted, destroyed and rearranged. Very often this
disruption is a critical source of stress. These are, indeed, perfect reasons to seek
alternate accommodation during the process. It will be well worth it when it is all over."
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