Before starting a remodel or renovation, any homeowner is bound to have a lot of questions concerning the design and building process. Here, we answer some of the most common questions we receive from our clients in order to clear up any confusion before an initial meeting and consultation!
Do I need permits?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is below. Westside Remodeling will not work without a permit when they are required per the Uniform Building Code.
From the Uniform Building Code:
- 106.1 Permits Required: Except as specified in section 106.2 of this section no building or structure regulated by this code shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted, or demolished unless a separate permit for each building or structure has first been obtained from the building official.
- 106.2 Work Exempt from Permit: A building permit shall not be required for the following:
- One-story detached accessory buildings used as tool storage sheds, playhouses, and other similar uses–provided the projected roof area does not exceed 120 square feet.
Fences that don’t exceed 6 feet in height.
- Oil derricks.
- Movable cases, counters, and partitions that don’t exceed 5 feet 9 inches in height.
- Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall–unless supporting a surcharge or impounding class I II III-A liquids.
- Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5000 gallons, and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.
- Platforms, walks, and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade and not over any basement or story below.
- Painting, papering, and similar finish work.
- Temporary motion picture, television, and theater stage sets and scenery.
- Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of Group R, Division 3, and Group U Occupancies when projecting no more than 54 inches.
- Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a group R, Division 3 Occupancy in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and if the capacity does not exceed 5000 gallons.
Unless otherwise exempted, separate plumbing, electrical, and mechanical permits will be required from the above-exempted items.
Exemption from the permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.
How much will my renovation cost?
Once we see your home and what you have in mind for the remodel, we will give you an estimated budget range +/- 10% for the total cost of the project.
Once we know the exact scope of work and all the material and finish selections have been made, we will give you a fixed price for the design and build. We also guarantee that our team will stick to that price and work within the budget agreed upon.
How long will my remodel take?
Again, how long your project takes to complete depends on the scope of work. Once we know the details of your home and vision, we will give you a project schedule and a guaranteed completion date. You’ll have peace of mind, knowing when the various aspects of the project will start as well as when the entire project will be completed.
When can your team start building?
As soon as we complete the design, sign a construction contract, and determine the next available lead carpenter date, we will start your project–never before or after.
Do I have to move out during my remodel?
Please realize part of the decision to stay in the house during the remodel will depend on your tolerance level for disruption of your normal routines at home. Since all we do is residential remodeling, we know how to work with you and your family. We are experts at navigating the privacy of your home and belongings and practice “Low Impact” remodeling. Of course, some jobs encompass so much of the house that it would be impractical for anyone to try to live there during the remodel. Other jobs are more modest in scope and leave large parts of the house untouched. We find that with the proper protection and use of temporary walls and doors, most people can stay in their house during these types of remodels.
Who works on the design of my remodel?
Our three in-house Remodeling Design Consultants direct the design of our projects. They work with the homeowners or homeowners’ designer to achieve the desired results while advising the homeowners with their long-time experience in design and remodeling. You will get the best finished renovation by collaborating with our designers on your project.
Does your team install local cabinets?
No! Our cabinets come from out of state, use superior finishes, and have a lifetime warranty. We cannot tell you how many times we’ve seen the finishes from “local” cabinet companies begin to peel off after just a couple years, especially around kitchen and bathroom sinks and dishwashers. Ask the local guys how long their finish warranty is–we bet it’s not a lifetime!
Do you give free estimates?
The initial consultation is free. However, we do charge for our designs. Typical design fees range from $500 to $2,500, and we offer a complete proposal after the design is agreed upon. We prefer to work with our clients on a thorough design/build process that allows us to deliver the best remodeling results.
Will someone be on site everyday for my remodeling project?
Yes! A Lead Carpenter is assigned to each and every remodel project. The Lead Carpenter is responsible for project management and meets with the homeowner throughout the construction process. They’re also responsible for handling all suppliers, subcontractors, customer satisfaction, and completing the project according to the schedule and plan.
What quality materials do you use?
Our team only partners with the best suppliers for the highest quality materials. We provide a One Year Limited Warranty, and we use only the best materials and installation methods. If a client wants to use a lower quality material or installation method that’s more cost-effective, we can arrange for that. However, those items would not be covered by our One Year Warranty.
What is the warranty, and what does it cover?
We offer a One Year Limited Warranty on our workmanship and remodeling services to ensure 100% satisfaction with your renovation.
Do you use subcontractors?
Yes, we believe that you will receive the best possible remodeling services and craftsmanship by using the best companies in each field of your project. To handle specific mechanical systems such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing, as well as other skilled trades such as drywall, tile, and granite, we do rely on reputable subcontractors to help complete our projects. All of our subcontractors must meet our specific guidelines and expectations and must also sign an agreement with Westside Remodeling before doing any work. Westside Remodeling uses the same trade contractors consistently from a list of partners have been selected from the very best over the last 30 years. You can rest assured knowing that all subcontractor work is top of the line and meets our high standards at Westside Remodeling.
Do you have a list of references that we can contact?
In fact, we do have a list of hundreds of customers that can be called as references for our work. Out of respect for our past clients, we do not give this list out until we meet with you in person to consider your remodeling project.
Why Westside Remodeling Design & Build?
- We Really Listen
At Westside Remodeling, we ask specific, relevant questions about your project and completely document your responses and requests, every step of the way.
We guide you step-by-step through our unique remodeling process.
- Thoroughly Trained Staff
We spend a great deal more on training than advertising. Because our associates know how to deliver the Westside Remodeling difference, they’ll exceed your expectations.
- Courtesy + Customer Service From Everyone
Our office is staffed from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. to ensure that your questions receive prompt attention. Also, our lead carpenters and remodeling consultants give out their cell phone numbers, so you can reach them after hours for urgent matters.
- One Project, One Team
The team assigned to your project stays with your project until it is completed.
- Communication: Just As Important As Construction
Throughout our collaboration, Westside Remodeling will maintain an open dialogue with you concerning the small details and big picture of your particular remodeling project.
Our formal policy is that we will respond to you within 24 hours–no later.
Our industry and community have recognized us, not only for the commitment we offer our clients and neighbors, but for the quality work we’ve performed over the years.
Our showroom allows you to actively participate in the remodeling process as well as see and feel a variety of materials firsthand!
- Quality Guarantee
Westside Remodeling guarantees our workmanship for one year.
- Completion Guarantee
Our team of professionals gives you a written completion date guarantee.
- Price Protection Guarantee
We also provide you with a written price guarantee. We will complete everything within the scope of your project for the price quoted – guaranteed!
- Low Impact Remodeling
We practice low impact remodeling. Ask us how we make the remodeling process as easy as possible for our clients.
Who will be running my project?
At Westside Remodeling, we use what is referred to in the industry as The Lead Carpenter System. Entire books have been written on the LCS. With this method, a lead carpenter is assigned to each project we do. This professional becomes the single point of contact for your entire renovation. Since the lead carpenter is on site everyday and working hands with the building team, they have in-depth knowledge about all aspects of the remodel. It has been proven that this system consistently provides the following benefits: meeting timely deadlines, staying within the project’s budget, delighted clients, and a zero punch list at the end of the project. Contrast this with the production manager model that most companies use, which involves a single Production Manager that attempts to run several projects at the same time. However, this Production Manager cannot be in more than one place at once and acts as a “fireman” putting out fires and solving issues as they arise on each project instead of preventing them from consistently working on site. This is one of the main contributing factors as to why remodeling can be so frustrating, and we all hear horror stories about home renovations.
How do I plan for my remodel?
When preparing for your home renovation project, here are some items to consider:
- Determine what you really want in advance. What are your basic priorities and goals for what you want your remodel to achieve? Write these items down on paper for future reference./li>
- Cut out pictures from magazines and articles on remodeling. Make notes and write down any questions you have about the various products and designs that you are potentially interested in.
- Calculate your budget. Your budget will ultimately decide what you can do, and how you will go about doing it. How much do you want to spend? Are you familiar with current remodeling costs and the value of home improvement projects? Check out www.remodelingmagazine.com and look at the cost vs. value report.
- Consider how you will finance the project. Determine if you will pay cash, take out a home improvement loan or home equity line of credit, refinance your home, or take out a second mortgage.
I have 3 different estimates, and the prices vary greatly, why?
This is a good question. There are a number of different factors that go into pricing a remodeling project. Check the obvious first. Make sure that every estimate includes the same scope of work. If the estimates are so vague that you cannot decipher the information, go back to the contractor for clarification in writing–not just verbal confirmation over the phone or in-person. If you cannot get satisfactory written results, eliminate that contractor from future bidding.
Another factor is “Builders Allowances”. This can greatly affect an estimate. An allowance for a $20.00 sink one contractor may include may not be realistic to the homeowners style and result in upgrade charges later. A contractor who includes an allowance for finish materials will typically allow for quality products. The best way to compare estimates is to request that allowances for finish materials (fixtures, flooring, and tile be left out of the estimate) or at least show them separately so they can easily be compared.
The level of service given by a contractor greatly affects the cost. If the contractor spends lots of time picking out materials, attending to every detail, and taking care of all the little extras, so you don’t have to, it will cost a little extra. When a contractor carries all the proper and required insurances, his prices will be higher than a ‘pick-up contractor’. Quality of work, which is hard to show in a written estimate, is also a factor in costs. For example, our carpenters offer high-quality craftsmanship. That piece of mind is worth extra money up front to most people. This facet of the cost difference is usually only confirmed by calling references or visiting jobs the contractor has done in the past.
Do you have any extra questions about our design and build process here at Westside Remodeling? Don’t hesitate to contact our team directly for immediate assistance!