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Managing a renovation

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By Barbara Buchholz
From Right at Home Daily

As soon as you have your blueprints for your renovation project, you'll be able to create a list of products, appliances, materials, and a time schedule. Decide which rooms will be completed first and last.

Before work begins, pack up everything in the room where the work will begin and store it elsewhere. Have your contractor seal off the room with heavy-duty plastic to keep plaster dust from seeping through to adjacent spaces.

It's important for you to show up at the job site at least once a day (unless you're living through your renovation). It's especially important to be available during the first few days to answer questions about parking, delivery of materials, and where to stash the trash.

Look over daily work to catch problems immediately. If the wrong cabinets arrive, you should know it before they're installed. If the toilet paper holder was put in the wrong spot, get it moved before the room is papered or painted.

Discuss the job's progress each week with the construction supervisor. If it isn't on time, why isn't it? Whose fault is it? Take photographs or video record the progress for a family scrapbook, and in case problems aren't corrected. Keep a log of your phone calls and contractor's responses. Try to confirm all change orders and decisions in writing.

Unexpected problems will undoubtedly arise. By keeping all change orders in writing, you can keep track of mounting expenses. Don't be afraid to spend your reserve, but don't spend it all the first week of construction.

Withhold at least 10 percent of the cost until the punch list -- what still needs to be finished or corrected -- is met.

Finally, the best way to manage your job site is to be kind to your work crew, and when deserved provide treats, nice bottles of wine or beer, cash bonuses, and compliments.

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