Basement Development/Renovation Services and Consulting in Winnipeg

A lot of homeowners I run into are interested in General Contracting their own basement renovation projects. Renovations are expensive, and this is one way to save a few dollars. Looking for ways to save a few dollars resonates with my soul, so let’s take a quick look at just one pointer for how to make sure general contracting your own project is actually saving you a few dollars and not just deferring the dollars being spent after a costly mistake is made.

The first step is to make sure you have all the proper building blocks in place for your project. Your skilled trades necessary to involve right from the get-go are: framers, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC (responsible for your new duct work). If you haven’t found a contractor you have decided to trust for each one of these tasks then you are not even ready to pull your permits yet. None of these are small expenses, and they are all twisted together affecting each other. If you have decided to general contract, it is not your framer’s job to know where your plumber needs walls, your electrician’s job to know where your plumber is putting your sinks, nor is it your HVAC guy’s job to ensure that you are running power for your bathroom fan. As the general contractor, it is your job to talk through your entire plan with each trades person at the beginning of the project, find out what they are planning, and communicate the parts where they are relying on the other trades, to the other trades. It is best to start doing this right from the beginning, during the quoting stage, because each will adapt to accommodate the others and it will affect the materials they plan on using and the labour involved. And if you think you are finished with this after doing it once, think again. The more information passed between the trades about the other trades’, timelines, changes in plan, and issues that have arisen, as they arise, the smoother your project will go.

There are a lot of moving parts in a large renovation, the skilled trades listed above are likely only half of the individuals you will need to complete your project. So, when things go wrong, which they often do, it is usually because of simple miscommunication, Person A went ahead with their plan, as they planned to do it, which in turn affected Person B’s plan in ways they hadn’t foreseen, which in turn affects your overall plan. So now you need to do one of the following: adapt your overall expectations, tell Person A they need to do more work, tell Person B they need to do more work, or, as will likely be the case, do a little bit of all three of these options.

There is a culture in the construction industry, as I’m sure there is in most every other industry, of blaming. If you are the homeowner and problems arise then one trade will blame the other trade, label them incompetent, while the other does the exact same thing in return. Everybody is an expert on someone else’s work. You may feel at this point in the project that all the problems on your project are the result of other people’s faults as well.

However, you are the General Contractor, and blame games don’t get your project done. So, forget who’s fault it is, it is likely a little bit yours as well as a little bit everyone else’s, and keep pushing towards project completion. You communicate with everyone as best as you can at all times, and when problems come up and when mistakes are made;

  1. communicate with everyone involved
  2. figure out how much change in the plan you are willing to accept
  3. discuss how much change in the plan your trades will be willing to accept
  4. put together the new plan of action
  5. communicate the new plan of action to every affected trade
  6. keep things moving

This is one of the main jobs of being your very own general contractor. Being the person with the wholistic picture of the project and constantly communicating with the people you bring onto your project in order to ensure that they know where the project is at, and where the project is going.