Remodels can be bumpy affairs, fraught with unexpected crises and cost run-ups. Here’s some simple rules for sticking to the plan.

1. Play Nice With the Contractor.
Realism, flexibility and good communication are the keys to a successful relationship with your contractor…and the contractor is the key to your successful remodel. Make sure you see eye-to-eye on every detail of the project. Issues you might need to work through with the contractor include:
• What hours will they work?
• How will they gain entry if you won’t be around?
• Will they be cleaning up at the end of each day?
• Is there an extra cost for this?
• Will there be a dumpster, and where will it be placed?
• If not, where will any remodeling debris be stored until it’s removed?
• If floors are being refinished, when and for how long will you have to remain out of the house?
• Who will move furniture, and where will it be stored?
• Where can the workers stage tools, and cut wood and tile?
• Will they have access to bathroom facilities?

2. Be Available!
Staying connected to the jobsite when you’re out and about is critical. Make sure you are available when contractors need to discuss either progress or unexpected issues. Remember: your unavailability to make decisions could lead to delays or additional expenses.

3. Keep the Neighbors in the Loop
There are plenty of stories where house remodeling jobs have run afoul of the neighbors. Whatever your relationship with them, it’s always a good idea to let them know there will be contractors at your home for a construction project. If there are any noise issues or driveways blocked by trucks or dumpsters they should let you know.

4. Kitchen-Remodelers: No Need to Panic!
Yes – remodeling the kitchen wreaks havoc on our lives. After all, it’s the room most of us consider number one in the home, and we spend most of our time there. The kitchen remodel is about to throw your gastronomic life into an uproar – and the longer it goes on, the less you’ll want to keep eating out.

But don’t fret – instead, plan your temporary kitchen! I’ve been on job sites where they’ve ranged from a simple propane camping stove, to a more elaborate nook with a coffee maker, microwave, toaster oven and quick access to the outdoor grill. The key is planning: think about your habits, and when you’ll want to eat what. Use picnic and folding card tables to house your pantry or dishes. Put foods in clear plastic bins for easy searching. Most of all: don’t feel guilty using paper plates and utensils. In fact, minimizing meal clean-up is the key to a smooth kitchen remodel.

5. Design Changes Midstream Are a No-No
It’s always a good idea to avoid changing the design once construction has begun. If – however – they’re unavoidable, be prepared to have to sign off on changes…and don’t get frustrated with the delays and cost run-ups. Remember: a great deal of planning has gone into your remodel, and hasty design changes can increase the potential for mistakes and miscommunications.

Have you ever experienced a difficult remodel?