Imagine this scenario; you’ve determined the scope of a large renovation project, chosen a contractor and are about to get started. Your number one goal is a smooth, stress-free process. But is that possible on large-scale apartment rehabilitation or new ground up construction projects? It’s not only possible, but guaranteed if the right steps are taken before you begin or break ground.
The essential key to making your renovation a huge success is the quality of communication with the contractor from start to finish. The way that information is shared with your contractor and with your residents is critical to a successful process and outcome.
According to Chris Tolar, President and CEO at Stonebridge Builders, there are a few critical communication requirements for a smooth rehab project, most importantly that the project is viewed by all stakeholders as a collaborative endeavor, not an US versus Them mentality. Additionally, before any construction begins, the client first needs to communicate the full scope of work to the contractor. There is a shared responsibility to confirm that the clients’ expectations are clearly understood by the contractor, and that agreements are set in place to create a system for accountability.
Tolar also emphasizes trust as a crucial component to a solid client/contractor relationship. The contractor should be hired and trusted to manage all pieces of the project – materials, construction, scheduling, permitting, etc.
For the most efficient exchange of information and decision-making regarding the project, the client should have one designated point of contact to deal with any and all rehab questions.
Diana Pittro, executive vice president of Chicago’s RMK Management Corp, leverages technology and communication tools early in the rehab process, and then employs them at every point along the way. She starts every project with an extensive spreadsheet she calls her “Bible.” This includes everything from scope of work, detailed lists of all necessary materials, projected install dates to marketing and resident communications plans, on-site storage and rotation scenarios, costs, and analysis tabs. This spreadsheet is created and updated long before residents get notice of the upcoming renovations. Residents are informed of what’s going to happen and when at 90, 60, and 30 days and then one week before any construction begins.
“If you do it right, your residents are the last to know, but they still find out well before you start any work,” Pittro says.
On inferior renovation projects and rehabs, communication is sub-standard and work often commences before very clear agreements are set in place regarding the specific course of action at every stage of the project. When the client and contractor aren’t on the exact same page from the start, the project tends to extend beyond projected deadlines and budget, resources are poorly managed and residents are inconvenienced and frustrated, which ultimately affects lease renewal rates.
When considering improving your property with a rehab, renovation or remodel, partner with a contractor like Stonebridge Builders. Their commitment to the highest quality craftsmanship, exceptional service and consistent and thorough communication at every step of the way will ensure your project is a huge success