The prices of lumber and other building material have indeed gone up. Lumbers went up almost 50%, iron and steel 25% and plywood has gone up 19.2%.
Of course, homeowners are taking the hit with these increased prices and Change Orders are becoming an inseparable part of almost any home remodeling project.
San Diego based contractor Peak Builders wants you to follow these steps in order to facilitate your home remodeling project in 2022:
- Lock the price. Material prices are changing daily (mostly increasing). The price you’ve received in you estimate might be irrelevant in a couple of weeks. However, if you sign a contract with your contractor, your contractor will have to honor it. Make sure you sign with a reputable contractor - one that has good reviews and no complains on the BBB. Working with a reputable reputable will minimize the chances of them escalating the price.
- Don’t wait: Submit your plans. Yes, it is true that it can sometimes take up to six months for your home remodeling plans to be approved by the city. So if you are certain about moving forward with your project, submit your plans ASAP. You might get lucky and your project will be approved earlier than anticipated - it happens quite often. The sooner you submit, the sooner the chance your plans will be approve and the sooner you can start the job. The sooner you start the job, the less you will suffer price increases in labor and material in the near future.
- Lock the date the minute you signed a contract. Yes, you need get your plans approve and it might take some time. And yes, you do not have a set date for when your project will be approved by the city. However, make sure you set a date with your contractor on contingency that the plans will be approved. If they aren’t approved by the set start date, then re-schedule and lock the date again. Even with a set date contractors might delay you a bit - but.. just a bit.
- Don’t go with the cheapest contractor. I can’t stretch this enough. It might be tempting to sign up with a lowballing contractor. Don’t do it. Such contractors have earner a reputation for causing tons of problems once a project has started such as overly pricing change orders, no-shows, job delays and even last minute job cancellation. Find a reputable contractor, pay a bit more and avoid any possible problems. Good contractors who understand how construction works also understand that problems can easily occur as the job progresses. Hence, they bid their project a bit higher to minimize such risks and to keep you as happy as possible. That’s not to say that there won’t be any change-orders. However, if and when this happens, a reputable contractor will make sure to keep you in the loop about every additional charge and explain every additional expense accordingly.
- For larger projects, use a General Contractor. Employing subcontractors might hurt you.
Unless you are very familiar with construction, I suggest you approach a general contractor to do your home remodeling and not manage subcontractors on your own. Often times, homeowners will try to save money by running crews on their own (e.g. electricians, plumbers, framers, tilers, etc.). When remodeling, say a bathroom, there are various trades involved. You need someone to do the demo, another person to do the framing, plumbing, electrical and so on. General contractors, although they don’t alway do the work themselves, are very knowledgable about construction and know who are the best subcontractors to employ. They are also proficient in properly coordinating between the subs. For example, they’ll know exactly when to bring the electrician and framing subcontractor so they can work together simultaneously. General contractor will also meet with the city inspectors when necessary and explain to them all that is necessary in details.
In contrast, for smaller projects, employing a subcontractor might be a better choice. Platforms like thumbtack.com have a huge selection of highly rated subcontractor and handymen. So if you are looking to simply add a new backsplash in your kitchen, find a painter or someone to change the railing on your staircase, using such platforms can be an excellent choice. Make sure however, to employ a licensed and insured worker.
- Unless it is really necessary, try to keep the plumbing and electrical lines in place. Plumbers and electricians are considered a high remodeling expense, and now with increased prices on materials any electrical or plumbing relocation can result in a substantial project cost increase. Therefore, try to keep toilets, sinks, shower valves and drains in their current location.