How will you find the right firm to handle your condo renovation?
To find the right fit, start by asking the right questions. Knowing what to ask can help you discover that standout company and find the right fit for your project, large or small.
Not every company is the same. Some are full-service, from architecture to a thorough cleaning after the last renovation detail is put in place. Others manage the build itself but will leave architecture and design to others. Depending on the level of involvement you want in the process, you’ll want to know what the firm will handle and what they are likely to farm out.
To find the right company for you, what are the right questions to ask? Here are a few that can serve as guidelines for a smooth luxury condo renovation experience.
It Starts with Due Diligence
There are many considerations for a smooth and efficient luxury condo renovation, but it all starts with due diligence. With so many renovation companies to choose from, narrowing down your choices can seem like a daunting challenge. Who has used this company before? A neighbor in the condominium building might be an excellent place to start in terms of finding a firm to work on your project. But don't stop there.
A referral gives you some initial confidence that the company you are looking at will be a good fit. But do your due diligence. A few more questions to ask: Will the company offer one-stop shopping for architecture, design, and build of your condo renovation project? What experience do they have with projects the scope of yours? How long have they been in business?
She offers this advice. “We typically refer clients to firms which have a high demand for their services because they have a proven track record. They can be confident in the outcome of their project. If it is a company without a proven track record, you may not feel as secure about the investment.”
You have a few candidates to choose from. Now what? If you have been in touch with a neighbor about their renovation experience, learn about the scope of the project. Was it a cosmetic refurbishment of existing space, or did they dig deeper and make more dramatic changes to the interior space?
So, they would interview the firm their neighbor used but would have to understand the companies’ experience with larger-scale condo remodeling projects.
If you are talking with neighbors about their experience, ask if there was a change in layout. Were walls moved or removed? Were changes to plumbing and electrical service made?
She cautions, “You can’t just assume that a contractor can automatically move pipes, wires and walls around. If you are considering relocating utilities, the people above and below you may have to have their water or power temporarily shut off while the work is happening. You should choose a company that can handle the many challenges involved in creating your ideal layout."
Consider this scenario – you talk with a neighbor about their renovation experience and learned about some significant challenges they faced during the renovation process. The kitchen remodel revealed some existing electrical work that was not going to meet code. There were also issues with subcontractors not following the building rules and disturbing neighbors.
It turned out, the company the neighbor was working with was excellent at problem-solving. They explained the wrinkle with the electrical work and made sure their workers were aware of expectations about staying out of the way of other building residents as much as possible.
The unexpected almost always happens in the course of a renovation project. How were challenges met? What kind of problem-solving was implemented? These are critical questions for any renovation company you interview.
Even if you receive a solid referral from a neighbor or even the building manager, doing your research is crucial. Condo renovation presents unique challenges to any renovation company. Understand the company's strengths and make sure they match your needs. You'd do best to hire a firm with extensive experience in condo renovation. The goal is to have your questions answered thoroughly, have the process run smoothly, and for the end product to be everything you wished for and more.
Who should you work with? You could use a design company that can refer you to some contractors in their orbit. But the more seamless and efficient choice would be working with one unified design/build firm who can take your condo renovation from ideas on a napkin to the completed project – with as much expertise and as little hassle as possible. This way, you’ll have one point of contact to answer key questions and make sure your expectations are being met throughout the entire process.
Accelerate your learning about condo (or co-op) renovation by downloading the eBook titled "Key Factors in a Luxury Condo Renovation."