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Old 02-18-2008, 08:19 AM   #1
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How do I get started renovating?


Let me start by saying, that I have been a homeowner for 25 years and have never had to do a major renovation. So I have no clue how to start and in what order etc. I have 2 bathrooms that share a common wall, one small, the other quite large. They are quite dated. I would like to totally renovate, expanding one (capturing some new area and maybe capturing a little from large BR). I am not very creative, I just know generally the types of things I want in each BR. So, where do I go first? An architect? Designer? Contractor? Who does what and in what order? We won't have time to manage all the details or do much work ourselves, so looking for an all-in type arrangement? Would appreciate some help.

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Old 02-18-2008, 09:46 AM   #2
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How do I get started renovating?


The answer depends on your budget.

If you have a concern/ideas, as to the overall look, style, & balance of the finished project, you might want to go with a contractor who also does designing.
(Example: We are licensed GC's. We use my partner's sister in law to do our designs, she is an interior designer. We also have an architect that we access, when we need more extensive plans and details). Some companies have that all in-house, but be prepared to pay more for that service. If that is within your budget, it may be the course to consider.

Another route to go, is to hire your own interior designer. Then find a reputable, licensed/experienced GC to oversee and do the job, based on the designer's plans. (Obviously, that involves interviewing GC's and doing the whole research and reference checking).
Dependant on the extent of your remodeling plans, you may, or may not need an architect. Examples: Simple remodeling alterations: The GC can help you.
VS. More complex changes, layouts, addition (also exterior details) = you may want to get an architect involved to properly help with the design drawings.

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Old 02-18-2008, 12:45 PM   #3
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How do I get started renovating?


Biggest issue I see---is this a load bearing wall you want to move?? OR a partition wall?? AND what plumbing is located in said wall??Made of??
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:22 PM   #4
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How do I get started renovating?


Good questions, which is why I didn't know where to start. I have no idea about whether it is a load bearing wall. The 2 BR's share a common wall. Don't want to remove the wall, just maybe move it over some. The budget is flexible, but not huge. Maybe $35,000 total. I am sure there will be some plumbing moved around, especially the toilets. Doesn't sound like I will need an architect. But a designer, yeah. Is there a certain percentage I should figure for the cost of a designer and the cost for a GC? I am looking for round numbers so I can figure out how much I have to spend on the actual hardware?
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:34 PM   #5
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How do I get started renovating?


Just get some actual estimates from your local contractors and designers.
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:43 PM   #6
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How do I get started renovating?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LCangler View Post
Let me start by saying, that I have been a homeowner for 25 years and have never had to do a major renovation. So I have no clue how to start and in what order etc. I have 2 bathrooms that share a common wall, one small, the other quite large. They are quite dated. I would like to totally renovate, expanding one (capturing some new area and maybe capturing a little from large BR). I am not very creative, I just know generally the types of things I want in each BR. So, where do I go first? An architect? Designer? Contractor? Who does what and in what order? We won't have time to manage all the details or do much work ourselves, so looking for an all-in type arrangement? Would appreciate some help.

I would find 1 good General that you feel good about that can give you ideas, let you know if an architect and engineer is needed ect. Some generals just want the plans others have idea. He should have plenty of resources as far as architect contacts etc. Then you deal with just one person.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:18 AM   #7
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How do I get started renovating?


Thanks appreciate the advice. I would like to deal with just one person. I live in southwest Louisiana,population 100,000 or so. I know we have general contractors, I just need to find a good one. Any advice on how to find one would be appreciated. I am ready to get this thing going.
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:40 AM   #8
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How do I get started renovating?


'Any advice on how to find one would be appreciated"

Speak to friends or neighbors who have had work done. Ask them to ask their friends /relatives. Yellow pages can be a good source for initial meetings and sizing up. Check the ones you get with the local agency that governs their license to see if they have complaints against them. Try to work with an established company. Don't hire your neighbors/brothers/uncles friend who does this ,"on the side".
To get accurate answers you need to be fairly detailed in the job you want or most of the estimates will be a waste or worse, will lead you to an over estimation in what you think you're getting for your renovation dollar.
Change orders can be a killer to the job.
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Old 02-19-2008, 01:40 PM   #9
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How do I get started renovating?


There has been much written regarding how to find a good contractor.

The key point is finding the balanced "approach" of what you need to do. You see, you want to do the right things and ask the right questions, but you do not want to go "too far" in your demands and questioning, because you could scare away many, very good contractors from working for you.
We regularly will tell "some" people that we are too busy to fit them into our schedule, if we get a "bad-vibe" or if they come across as overly demanding, pushy, controlling, or unprofessional. Yes, I say unprofessional. Home Owners can be unprofessional in the manner that they deal with their hired contractors and even when they are getting estimates and also in their general interaction. There should always be an unspoken and established mutual-respect between the contractor and the Home Owner. That creates an atmoshere for professionalism to exist and rule all facets of a contract.

It has been said, many times, to consider getting references. However, the references should involve personal references too. Yes, consider speaking to family and friends, in addition to speaking to past clients. It can reveal alot of exceptional details about a good contractor, or some things that will change your mind about dealing with a contractor.
Also, make sure that you find a contractor that has done similar projects to what you would like done, on your home. At any given time, there are "rookie" contractors trying to get into the industry and getting involved with projects that they do not have the proper experience to undertake. This is something that happens on a regular basis, and is a common cause for frustrated Home Owners and situations where "Poor Workmanship" rears it's ugly head.

Here are some suggestions for finding a capable contractor. Pick and choose what points will work for you. Talk to friends, do your research, use your intuition. Good Luck.

LINKS:

http://homerepair.about.com/od/worki...ow2_select.htm

http://www.bobandrodman.com/contractor.shtml
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Old 02-19-2008, 05:04 PM   #10
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How do I get started renovating?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LCangler View Post
Thanks appreciate the advice. I would like to deal with just one person. I live in southwest Louisiana,population 100,000 or so. I know we have general contractors, I just need to find a good one. Any advice on how to find one would be appreciated. I am ready to get this thing going.
You might want to drive around your area and look for projects that are going on. You want to find a contractor that works in the area and wants to be there. Someone that is close by will be more readily accessible for all the many small details that would need to be addressed. He will have to deal with the logistics of being the ring leader and anything you can do to accommodate that will make the project run much smoother. also look in the yellow pages, local newspapers, local building associations, ask any realtors you know, neighbors thagt have had work you can look at(walk the neighborhood and make friends)
http://www.hbaswla.org/consumerinfo.html
http://www.contractorfind.com/assoc/la.htm
http://www.hometalkusa.com/Tips/home_builders_assn.htm
http://www.lslbc.louisiana.gov/oldsite/home.htm
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:35 AM   #11
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How do I get started renovating?


Thanks for all the advice. I will give it all a try when choosing. One other question, is bathroom remodels standard fare/type work for most GCs or is it considered a specialty? Also, I work out of country and am only at home for 4 weeks at a time. Can a complete/simultaneous renovation of these 2 BRs be done in one month time? Is that something I can get settled up front...timing (given there are no major issues encountered).
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Old 02-20-2008, 11:30 AM   #12
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How do I get started renovating?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LCangler View Post
Thanks for all the advice. I will give it all a try when choosing. One other question, is bathroom remodels standard fare/type work for most GCs or is it considered a specialty? Also, I work out of country and am only at home for 4 weeks at a time. Can a complete/simultaneous renovation of these 2 BRs be done in one month time? Is that something I can get settled up front...timing (given there are no major issues encountered).
Yes as a GC I do alot of bathroom remodels and kitchen remodels. This holds true for most all GC's. In a bathroom remodel you usually have :plumbing, electrical, tile,painting etc so you use all the subs you would use in building an entire house. A general is the only one that is licensed to do all the trades in a such a remodel.

4 weeks is not realistic. If all the planning is done, all the details worked out, all the proper subs set in place, maybe but I doubt it can happen. You will need a contractor that is larger and has 4 or 5 guys he can throw on there for demo, framing then pull 3 of them off etc. A large contractor with in house electricians, plumbers, tile setters and painters would also lessen his reliance on said subs. It all really depends on the job and details.

Get a GC over there and start getting ideas. Just call one out of the book to pick his head.

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