Should you take a vacation when remodeling?

Remodeling is hard work and around midway through your project or sooner, you may really want to get away from the dust, noise and stress. So you think, why not? I earned it and what could happen in a week or 10 days? Our answer is PLENTY and most of it won't be good or in your favor. What ever you do, try to hold off and if you have to send your loved ones away and stay behind to guard the castle.

What could happen?

We never take a break let alone a vacation when we are remodeling and there's good reason not to. Here are a few real live examples of what happened to some friends of ours who took a "little break" (two weeks) while remodeling their home:

  1. The new central air conditioning units were installed, but they were not the ones specified in the contract. Turns out the contractor asked the Architect if it was ok to substitute the brand name with another. The Architect approved it even when the contract said no substitutions without written permission of the owners.
  2. The new windows were installed. The owners wandered if the crew was from the high school carpentry class because of all the gaps around the windows.
  3. The plumbing in the garage's ceiling seemed to have an unusual number of twists and turns and very different from other rooms in the house. Turns out that the contractor was cutting costs and had a plumber's helper do the job. The garage failed inspection

How could these things happen?

There is too much going on in a major remodeling project and you can not expect your architect to provide the oversight. That may come as a shock to many of you who have hired an architect to administer the contract and look over the job. Read the fine print of your contract, especially if you used an AIA standard contract. The wording says that the architect is responsible for general oversight and can't be held liable for the quality of the construction or supervision of the contractor or their subs. This is especially relevant if your architect and contractor are working on numerous projects together. In my opinion, this poses a conflict of interest and is something that you have to be on guard for. Going away for a break is just asking for trouble.

What can you do about it?

One thing that you can do to prevent the above behavior from repeating itself is to hold your ground and demand that the wrong equipment be removed and the brands you specified are installed. This shouldn't be done on minor things, but on major items. It will be hard to do, but if you don't stand your ground, you may be only encouraging more bad behavior in the future.

Most of these situations can be avoided by working with a reputable contract who has high ethical standards like those belonging to NARI. These contractors may cost you more, but the odds that you will be dealing with the above shenanigans.

But I really need a break?

We hear you but suggest you plan that getaway and hold off until the project is done. Here are some great travel suggestions.