CONSTRUCTION : Lay the Foundation With Family, Neighbors for a Model Remodel

From Associated Press

You’ve lined up the money and signed off on the plan. But an army of tradespeople laying siege to your home can start kids squawking, dogs barking and neighbors talking.

Here are some suggestions for ways to keep your sanity and prevent aggravation during a remodel:

* Prepare the family. Explain to kids what’s about to take place and why. Construction sites are always dangerous, so make sure the kids know to stay clear. Put in temporary doors or gates to keep toddlers and pets out of unfinished areas.

* Inform the neighbors. Noise, debris and curbside traffic jams are all part of a remodeling. If you have neighbors nearby, it can’t hurt to warn them. Ask if they have any concerns. They may have a baby who needs a quiet nap or a pet that needs to be kept inside during your work. To keep things friendly, you might offer to let your neighbors use your construction dumpster or pick over your scrap pile. Throw a party when you’re done.


* Be nice to the crews. Have coffee and doughnuts to offer them in the morning. Then leave them alone. If you have questions or changes, talk to the person you signed the contract with, not the subcontractors.

* Set guidelines. After several weeks, even the nicest tradespeople in your house can become aggravating. For peace of mind, and to avoid confrontations later, talk to your builder about starting and quitting times, loud music, bathroom access and daily cleanup.

* Discuss material storage. On jobs that take more than a few days, the storage of construction materials in your home, garage or driveway can be a nuisance. Explore alternatives with your builder beforehand.

* Store breakables. Chances are the first crew in on a remodeling will be there for demolition or rough framing. Don’t tempt fate and expect them to tiptoe around a lot of expensive cut crystal. Move antiques, furniture and anything breakable before work begins.


* Increase security. The vast majority of contractors are trustworthy. On rare occasions they may hire a helper who is less so. At a minimum, keep valuables locked up. If you can’t be at home while the work is being done, find ways to limit access with your builder.

* Be nice to yourself. Budget some extra money for rest and relaxation. Take a few day trips to get away. Go to the movies or visit friends in the evenings. And, at least once a day, think about how great everything will look when it’s done.