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Question DetailsAsked on 5/4/2011

Does anyone have a project manager checklist for home remodeling?

I recently bought a house, that frankly needs to be torn down but the wife and I have decided to try rescue at least a little part of what is left. There are a variety of problems. 1. it was so badly neglected that the majority of the frame is either rotting, has mold, termite damage or smells! 2. the slab has split levels, although in a good condition it is highly impractical as there are three main levels and two other all with unusable shapes and sizes. 3. old design (1972) that needs new concepts - eg no original air conditioning so ugly ducting was put in later (rat runs!) as second story floor is only 6 inches thick 4. champagne tastes - soda water income. we have engaged an architect and now have a totally impractical but beautiful house on paper!! I have two problems with his work. one is the cost of doing the rebuild and at what level does a person stop tearing out and start the rebuild and how far back on tearing down do you go before it become more practical to bulldoze the property and start again? two - TAX; if we do what we propose, the house will be too expensive for us so we will need to scale back. Has anyone ever been in this situation? What's a practical time line for this sort of work? I have joined the list so hopefully we will be able to eradicate poor contractors, but I still feel exposed and a little overwhelmed.

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8 Answers


Thank you for sharing this, and I think you've made a good choice in joining Angie's List.

However, as you say, the major decisions - and the huge responsibility for making them - are still on your shoulders. The joys of responsible home ownership!

I'm wondering about your decision to "rescue at least a little part of what is left." You go on to say the frame is toast, the slab is unworkable for you, and at least one of the major systems - AC - is going to have to be completely reworked. So what is it you are intent on rescuing? In other words, what do you feel would be lost if you started from scratch?

In addition to getting bids for the work you want done on the house, I'd recommend also getting bids for a new house, perhaps a modest one that you could add on to in the future. You might consider having a house constructed that has plenty of "bonus" or unfinished space over the garage, in the attic, etc., with plumbing rough-ins and a large capacity electrical service. If you get bids for both that sort of thing and the renovations that you would have to make to the existing structure, you will be well informed and better able to make the right decision.

Let us know what your concerns are and how the decision-making process develops.

Answered 9 years ago by Commonsense


Hi Common Sense

I wish I had more of it :~\

I have to agree with your statements - especially that of responsible home ownership. As it turns out the more we strip out the more we find wrong and right! The frame is still open to whether we can rescue it or not and the changes we want to make to the exterior might still be another factor to knock it down. I will need to get onto the lists to find a framer who can quote and offer advice as to the overall condition of the house.

I would also appreciate pointers towards good books or websites on the project management aspect of running this type of thing. I have the rough outer framework but need the finer points needed towards doing all this without involving building contractors. All the people engaged so far, have offered cost plus type contracts or read "an open ended cheque book" contract!! I believe we can do this, it might have frustration written into it as well as take a little longer but I believe it would save us a substantial amount in the long run.

anyway, thanks for your comments - much appreciated

Answered 9 years ago by #N/A


I'm sure there's plenty of information out there on being your own general contractor, which is pretty much what you're talking about. However, without having pre-existing relationships with the subs you are going to find it very difficult to coordinate them and they are going to want payment - and lots of it - up front. I believe I'd strongly consider hiring a good general contractor, because you will save money - and your sanity - if you do.

Answered 9 years ago by Commonsense


15 years ago I decided I wanted a total kitchen remodel but not the labor involved. I agonized about design options & costs. Finally settled on a design, researched materials & appliances, and "played general contractor". After hiring a subcontractor to gut the kitchen (competent) & install the new custom cabinets I'd special ordered (no clue), he walked off the job when he realized he was in over his head. Weeks later I found a competent electrician, a cabinet installer/ tile setter/plumber, and a flooring craftsman... 3 months later, done! and still under budget....

Would I change anything? yep, the tile counters - I'm unhappy with the porous grout the tile setter used (reseal every 3 mos) and may have it replaced with another product.

Answered 9 years ago by tessa89


When you hired the architect did you tell him/her you were looking for a low cost solution?

The one thing I would stress over and over to anyone doing this please check to make sure whomever you hire to do the work is licensed and insured and not just liability but worker's compensation also.

People time and time again do not realize that their insurance company becomes liable if someone is working on your property and is not properly insured. It may be a great price but when your insurance premiums go up what did you save?

Answered 9 years ago by acrylicrecoating


Whirlpool, it's been sometime since you posted / why not an Angies member?

FYI, a "project manager" might not be involved in the assessment, architectual, or contract bid phase, but should be knowledgeable about the scope of work to be performed.

Good luck salvaging a house you've described as not suiting your needs [:)]

Answered 9 years ago by tessa89


i'm a pm, and i can see how some aspects of my job might be handy later for you, but only after all of your variables are nailed down.

it's not an actual project until everyone involved agrees what needs to be done.

pms spend their days making sure that pieces of the project dovetail together. EVERY CONCIEVABLE DECISION has already been made, before the actual work begins. that's the tough part

to me... it sounds like you have more homework to do. (get it.... homework! what a jokester i am)

Answered 9 years ago by michael


(get it.... homework! what a jokester i am)

Got it, thanks for the chuckle [:D] When we had a 'slight' flood & after damage was assessed, the insurance contractor's PM was here everyday to assess workmanship and stepped in when a subcontractor dropped the ball. He also provided recommendations for work that was not covered by insurance.......that reminds me, I gotta post the names on The List

Answered 9 years ago by tessa89

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