Marc Brahaney, Architect

Surviving Construction

by Architect Marc Brahaney

The reality is that reconstructing your house or renovating your kitchen is often a dream come true but the dust, noise and confusion during construction can sometimes seem like a nightmare.

Homeowners can easily survive and even enjoy the process by planning carefully. Communication is the key. Hire a construction firm that suits your personality and one you can trust to handle the inevitable bumps in the road.

Most people choose to live in their homes during construction. They work around the chaos and find ways to avoid being in the house as much as possible. Your construction team should work hard to make you as comfortable as the situation permits.

To control the mess, dust barriers, cordoning off work areas and installing a job toilet at the site make a huge difference. Temporary kitchens can be installed elsewhere in the house. Most importantly though, the crew cleaning up each and every day makes the work significantly more bearable.

Renovated home in Princeton.

The construction team should outline a schedule that sequences the project for you. It should show dates when phases of the work will happen. All the decisions that you need to make whether it be bathroom fix-tures, paint colors, or molding style should also be clearly outlined with due dates. This can avoid miscommunication and cost overages.

One Princeton family renovated most of their Princeton house, adding on an apartment for the In-Laws, renovating the kitchen and bedrooms, mudroom, front entryway and library. The In-Law apartment was done first, allowing the family to use the apartment kitchen during the kitchen renovation.

“I’ve heard lots of horror stories but this definitely wasn’t one of them,” one client stated. ”The project was so organized that you kind of wish you could run your life like that.” She was especially happy when she was told a week in advance if there was going to be a lot of noise.

Be prepared for something big or little to go wrong during construction. If you have a problem or concern, you should speak up immediately. Request a company cell phone number for overnight emergencies. A good construction team will try to build good relationships, so you can trust them to work out any problems that come up.

Your construction team can do a lot to minimize the noise, turmoil and mess. But some people simply can’t live with the confusion, even if it’s temporary. If you’re one of those people, our advice is that you might be happier if you can find alternative living arrangements for a few months, whether it’s a second home or a relative’s house.

Whether you love watching your house being transformed, or it’s an ordeal that has you gritting your teeth, in the end it’s just one short step toward a home that should delight and inspire you each and every day.