Moving Forward & What To Expect
The initial site visit is over, the detailed design is done, and the contract has been signed. The next phase is to begin breaking ground, but even more is involved. What can you expect from AJH Renovations as the project moves forward? We recognize that communication in all phases is key to a pleasant experience and a finished product that matches the homeowner's dreams. To facilitate this ongoing conversation, we use a range of processes and media.
Writing, not memory, is critical for keeping both homeowner and contractor in the picture. We regularly email our clients to ask questions, note changes, and record discussions from site meetings, while iPads and iPhones extend communication into the field to ensure all updates reach the correct people. This element above all others is how we strive to eliminate confusion and mistakes: unless it is written down, neither party will remember clearly what decisions have been made.
For larger projects, homeowner selections, needs, and deadlines can quickly become overwhelming. We use Basecamp.com to give each homeowner their own project "file": a single online place to upload photos, ask questions, review schedules, and approve fixture selections. Both the AJH Renovations superintendents and the homeowners have access to these private folders, and automatic emails are sent to notify the other party when a new file is shared. Organized and easy to navigate, Basecamp cuts down on paper-shuffling-and on the possibility of lost documents and miscommunication.
Schedules, updated weekly, provide us with target dates and goals. They also let homeowners know when deadlines for selections are approaching and help them to plan, not just for the next week, but for the whole phase of the project. When does demolition begin? When do I need to pick out tile? When can I expect to see fixtures installed? The schedule answers all these questions and, by placing expectations in front of both the homeowner and the contractor, keeps the project running without hitches. By updating them regularly, we can also show any changes due to unforeseen difficulties, such as excessive rain.
MATERIAL SPECIFICATION SHEETS
Many options are discussed throughout the design phase. These Excel sheets, developed and updated by AJH Renovations, ensure that the options are kept in front of both parties and that changes are quickly noted in writing. They also provide a single place for homeowners to approve selections, so that no fixture is ordered without the client signing off on it. Material specification sheets note allowances for different categories-electrical or plumbing fixtures; tile and granite; paint colors; etc.-and also track actual costs of selections, so that homeowners can see at a glance where they are on budget.
GUIDES & BOOKLETS
A remodel requires many decisions from the homeowner, from initial design to paint colors to the very last fixture. For some homeowners, this is the most enjoyable part; for others, the sheer amount of choices becomes daunting. To keep the process as painless as possible, we provide more than just black-and-white specification sheets: we also make initial suggestions to gauge the homeowner's style, compile photo booklets, and organize choices on Basecamp by category (ex. Plumbing) and room (ex. Master Bath). We are always working to improve this part of the project and assist our clients; our most recent innovation is a brief overview of paint options-neutrals, pastels, and vibrant colors-to give homeowners a place to begin.
The most enjoyable projects are the ones where communication is clear and on-going. We encourage homeowners to contact us at any and every stage of the renovation.