Modern building projects are complex and require precise organization. Builders manage a number of subcontractors, purchase surface protection and materials from many suppliers, adhere to numerous building codes and regulations, and ultimately answer to the homeowner overseeing the project. Due to this complexity it may feel as if a homeowner is far removed from their own project. However a homeowner’s role is as valuable as ever; the homeowner has the final say on project decisions.

A homeowner’s role as project leader is of paramount importance towards finishing a job, as their decisions carry lasting impacts on the management of a project. Just as easily as good communication can expedite a remodel, detrimental decisions can delay a project by weeks. Homeowners can take basic steps to best prepare them to effectively manage a project.

Foremost, learning about the construction process is the best preparation a homeowner can take to facilitate timely completion of a project. Understanding the progression of a project through its various planned phases will help to ensure timely completion of work. Knowledge helps the homeowner effectively communicate with the builder as project progresses through planned phases. Understanding the pace, surface protection, and the material needs of a project allow a homeowner to constructively communicate with their builder.

Further, requesting a change order can significantly alter the planned timeframe of a project. A change order is a decision made after a previously agreed upon deadline has passed. For example, a homeowner may decide to change the type of floor being installed in their home. A new decision may delay a project as now new floor needs to be purchased, and surface protection methods may need to be revised. This change can have continual effects, as a setback in one aspect of a project can lead to further delays to subsequent phases of a project. It is the builder’s job to best accommodate change orders. But as the leaders of their own projects, it is the homeowner’s obligation to communicate with the builder to best implement changes to a project. It is a homeowner’s responsibility to understand the potentially significant impacts of change orders.

By learning about the building process of a project and communicating with your builder, many costly problems can be avoided. Homeowners should be able to agree with their builder on reasonable deadlines, and follow through to adhering to those deadlines. A well prepared, educated, and savvy homeowner will be able to meet their builder halfway to best streamline the building process.