How to Keep A Construction Project On Time - MDG

How to Keep a Construction Project on Time (Which in Return Usually Means on Budget)

Posted by Bridget McMullin on April 12, 2016

One word.


Planning for any project takes patience.  It’s hard, especially when our clients have been waiting for years to build that perfect house or to move into their dream neighborhood.  Waiting another day to get started is always tough, especially when they realize that the HGTV half-hour timeline is not compatible with the family room/kitchen open concept vision that needs to be ready by move-in.  The Property Brothers fail to show the five months of planning it took to get to their 6 week construction timeline.  As far as they are concerned, everything happens simultaneously.  Of course it does…’s TV!

As for the excited new home owner, reality sets in when they realize that all of the architects, designers, and contractors have wait times on their schedule just for setting up the first meeting.

So, patience starts with the first phone call as meeting with any professional, especially in this booming renovation market, is now elongated. Once you have had your initial consultation, you will have to consider the contract process (how fast are you ready to sign those papers?), when the professionals can fit you into their design schedule, as well as when the builder can actually begin your project.

The best way to start planning for your project is to count backwards from your finish date.  Let’s say you are gut renovating your kitchen and family room.  Not only does all of the electrical need to be addressed, but you are planning on taking out a load bearing wall and adding a fireplace, new flooring, cabinetry, and furnishings.  Here is a timeline I would discuss with a potential client:

  • 10 weeks construction. Hiccups and unknowns should always be part of the timeline. Did you know granite countertops can take up to 2-3 weeks AFTER your cabinets are installed?
  • 4-6 weeks for product. From plumbing fixtures to the cabinets (usually the longest), unless you are planning to walk into Lowe’s and buying what is available on the shelf, you will need to take into consideration your products.
  • 5-12 weeks for planning & bidding. Your schedule, the designer/architect’s schedule, the time to create the concept, presentations, time to mull it over, the time to make the changes, the time to create the construction documentation…notice the word TIME keeps coming up.
  • 2-4 weeks to get you into the designer/architect’s design schedule.
  • 1-2 weeks for you to contemplate your choices, sign, and return your contract & retainer.
  • 1-4 weeks to get on the designer/architect’s schedule for an initial meeting.

On the short end you are looking at five months, and the long is about eight.  It’s a hard reality to understand if you already signed the papers on your new home and had visions of having your first holiday in your new kitchen.

When clients are on a tight timeline there are many ways they go about cutting the time frame, but these are the three I DO NOT recommend:

  • Hiring the first design professional that will give them an appointment. This is an option, however I would be sure to check the portfolio and references of all professionals before hiring.
  • Choosing the first contractor available for their timeframe. This can be a recipe for disaster.  Bids take time and any good to great contractor is BOOKED SOLID right now.  You don’t want your contractor taking your project when he is overloaded.  Make sure to understand his schedule and also plan to have ALL of your products onsite and ready to install.  A quick project runs smooth when there are no missing specification items.
  • Pick lesser products. Long lead times or unplanned changes can cause clients to make quick decisions that then lead to sub-par products.  Do you want to replace your flooring in ten years?  Probably not.  So make sure to leave enough time not only to pick the items that you love, but also to allow for their delivery.

With a solid plan in place and the right team of designers, architects, and contractors by your side, you are sure to receive the home of your dreams even if it takes time to get there.

Need help with the master planning and construction of your new space? Learn more about our construction and planning services here or contact us today.