Posted in Consumer Protection, Managing Expectations, Surviving A Remodel

Communication with your Contractor

Successful remodeling companies have a pre-construction meeting to clarify the construction logistics before construction begins. Once a project begins, you will be living in a construction zone. It is so important that homeowner and contractor have a game plan in place for the logistics, parking, deliveries, work hours, primary contact phone list, and discuss expectations for the project.

Written procedures must be in place for a successful outcome to your project. When you hire a contractor, insist you have this meeting at your home prior to demolition. My firm has an excellent written Pre-constructon Meeting Checklist we implement for all our projects. The meeting takes about an hour and all the logistics are discussed. The client gets a copy and another is kept in the lead carpenter’s job binder and one copy goes back to the office.

As new home construction sales are on a decline, it is not uncommon to find new home construction contractors competing for the jobs in the remodeling sector. A construction zone differs greatly when the homeowner is living in the home during a remodel. It’s important to find a contractor that specializes in remodeling and will be able to set standards for his crew to abide by while they are in your home. The attitudes can be relaxed in new new construction where there are no children and pets to be aware of, and no one sleeping or changing for work under the same walls.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association’s Professional Resource Library sets forth a good sample as outlined below. As a homeowner here are some questions to ask during the pre-construction meeting:

  1. What are the contractor work hours?
  2. What days will the contractor work?
  3. Will the contractor provide a construction time line?
  4. What areas of my home will be protected?
  5. What will be the path of entry?
  6. What type of floor protection will be used?
  7. Will the contractor use plastic zip walls?
  8. Will the contractor cover the vents in the construction zone?
  9. Will the contractor use air scrubbers to filter air-borne particulates that are kicked up during construction?
  10. What type of covering will be used for the newly installed tub, the new cabinets, and will plywood/cardboard coverings be used to protect my new counter tops so that no tool is set down on a finished surface?
  11. Who will be responsible for moving and storing any precious possessions, (the grand piano or art collection) adjacent to the kitchen or bath.
  12. Will the contractor need special permission to enter certain areas of your home?
  13. Discuss security alarm system and procedures.
  14. Will the contractor provide a lock-box system during the project?
  15. Will a mailbox be set up inside the job site for homeowner and contractor to leave messages, and other important documents such as owners manuals and warranty paperwork that should be provided to homeowner.
  16. If the home has wireless connectivity, may the contractor have access to your wireless network? If not, is there a high speed internet line available to use in the work zone? (Laptops are now carried by some contractors for downloading specs or expediting e-mail communication or schedules.)
  17. Regarding children: what is their schedule, who is responsible for them if they return home when parents are working?
  18. Are there any pet considerations?
  19. Are there any neighbor concerns?
  20. Regarding lunch time, will the crew have permission to eat their lunch in a designated area on your property? Will the crew take their lunch trash with them and not place food in the dumpster to avoid rat infestation?
  21. Does the contractor have rules in place for the crew members and sub- contractors that respects your home from loud radios, cursing, smoking and from using any of your personal tools, trash cans and household equipment?
  22. Where can the contractor drop/store deliveries, notably the cabinets and or/crated, over sized bath fixtures?
  23. Where can the contractor maintain a staging area and a place to store his tools?
  24. What do you want to salvage from demolition, and where do you want it stored?
  25. Where can the dumpster be set up?
  26. Where and how will trash be collected? Are they any community regulations about it’s location.
  27. Where can the portable toilet be set up? (Or, which of your bathrooms can the contractor use?)
  28. Will the contractor provide a temporary kitchen? (On loan temporary table, microwave, toaster oven, hot plate, temporary sink.)
  29. Where can the contractor and subs park vehicles?
  30. Where may the contractor post a company sign?
  31. Where are the utilities (gas, electric, septic, communications)?
  32. What furniture or shrubbery needs to removed?
  33. Who will be the primary contact person (husband or wife) for the contractor to communicate with?
  34. What hours can the contractor call you, and what numbers should they use (home, work, cell, other)?
  35. How often do you want the contractor to meet or contact you?
  36. Do you and your family understand that no family member or other unauthorized individuals spend time in the work zone, and that all communication is best maintained between your lead project manager or designer and the homeowner.
  37. Will the contractor provide professional cleaning service at the end of the project or provide a “broom clean” service?

Well, that’s it. It’s important to know that construction is not a perfect science. Expect that things may not go perfectly, but as long as you and your contractor have a clear understanding of procedures, it helps make the project run smoothly.



Laurie Burke, connected to the design and construction industry since 1996. A seasoned residential kitchen and bath design specialist , Laurie has designed thousands of kitchens & baths as well as other cabinetry projects requiring technical precision in design drafting utilizing state of the art 2020 software for creating accurate plans and elevations. Through on- going product knowledge training and a desire to always stay current with an evolving marketplace, Laurie Burke maintains a strong command of knowing the appropriate Fit & Finish materials required for a residential remodel to meet the budget, the timeline of a project and a client's need for a finished product that meets their satisfaction. Kitchen Designer by trade, foodie, techie, weekend traveler for fun. For more information contact me at

2 thoughts on “Communication with your Contractor

  1. Yes, customers have to live through a kitchen remodel just once, for most people. Customer’s should never feel timid to ask the questions or intimidated by their contractor. I would also say, that if a contractor does not want to discuss these points, it’s time to find a new contractor. The best contractors live through a remodel hundreds of times over, project after project, year after year, so most of the good ones will gladly sit down and explain how they work.


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