Successful Home Remodeling

Home Remodeling – Define the Scope to Ensure Success

Defining the Scope of Your Construction Project Ensures Successful Home Remodeling

Home Remodeling is a big undertaking!  So you are ready to build, or hire someone to do even something small at your home? Too often we see contractors starting projects that are not ready and homeowners giving the go-ahead start the minute a contract is signed. Know what you are getting into; define your scope of work correctly! If a project is not truly ready to start, the experience is going to be a bad one. It may seem daunting, but one does not need to know how to build in order to properly define a scope. All one needs is a direct knowledge of exactly what they want.
Working from the initial scope summary, there are several factors to first consider.

– Consider the balance of the triple constraint (Time, Budget, Scope). These three items must be carefully considered, as each has direct effect on another. Understanding that each item in the scope is tied to every other, therefore costs are not simply one-line items to add or delete, and when one item is pushed in any way, the others follow.

– Note responsibilities in the planning stages for specifying specific deliverables; which go to customer and which go to others

Let us now use an example as utterly simple as adding a light post to your yard.

Customer’s responsibilities defining the scope
Contractor Considerations in the Schedule

Note what happens when something small is forgotten in the scope. Let us remove the Height definition entirely. The trench is prepared and the hole is dug. The Owner goes to work in the morning, without a worry (as they should), assuming that all is well. The electrician installs his wiring, the carpenters install the post, and the trench/hole is backfilled. Upon arrival home, the owner discovers a 4’ light post that is to the exact specifications in the contract, but the owner really wanted something taller at 6’! He/She had assumed that was standard practice rather than specify the scope (the neighbor has a 6’ one!). The contractor also assumed a 4’, as that was what was in stock at the supply house in the particular style chosen by the owner.

This small miniscule project is now in damage control mode. Fingers are pointed, time is lost, and not only will the contractor now lose money on the project, but will have an unhappy customer. What should have been a maximum 2 day project will now run weeks, as a new post must be ordered, the trench needs to be dug up as the wire is now too short and the electrician must remove and reinstall the new wire to the correct length. Everything that was done now needs to be re-done.
Imagine you are now doing a full home build. Assumptions simply cannot be made. If something as simple as a light post can derail both relations and the schedule, you may imagine how daunting the scope of work on a full house or addition build must be in order to be right. Pushing for a start date when a project does not have time to fully percolate will always end in multiple emergency decisions needed, along with mistakes.

Minor decisions will always need to be made during the course of any major project, and small mistakes will always be made. It is the number and size of these decisions and mistakes that are at stake in the initial planning process; the future sanity of the owner and profits of the contractor are directly tied to the initial preparations in the Scope of Work. Again, one need not know how to build; one must simply specify exactly what one wants in order for the project to be truly ready to start!

Jacob Gadbois is the Production Manager at Masters Touch. Educated at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA, and experience certified through the Project Management Institute (, he has found great personal advancement through the the core values set forth by Masters Touch (, the words on the Wentworth crest (Honesty, Energy, Economy, System), and the principles of the PMI; which certifies competent Project Managers and is dedicated to this proposition of continual system improvement and higher learning.

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