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Blog: Setting Project Ground Rules

As a parent, I learned I had to set rules that my son was required to follow as a member of our household. I had a wonderful breakthrough in my remodeling business when I discovered I could set similar ground rules for my remodeling clients to follow regarding the day-to-day management of their project. I also learned from practical experience that I couldn’t set these rules after the job had already started—they had to be agreed upon beforehand.

This simple agreement allowed me to address specific concerns that are present in every remodeling job. Here are the questions that made up my project ground rules: 

For one-day jobs, please answer the following questions:

1. If there are pets, where will they be kept during construction?

2. If there are children, which rules apply to them around the jobsite during working hours? 

3. Which dust-containment procedures will the contractor employ? 

4. What kind of cleanup will take place at the end of each day? 

5. What restrictions, if any, are there for contractors’ use of your bathroom?  

6. Is there a designated eating or smoking area? 

7. Are there any parking restrictions the contractor should be aware of? 

For jobs longer than one day, but less than two weeks:

8. What time will daily work begin and end?

9. Can work be scheduled on weekends? 

10. If weekend work is an option, are there any special restrictions? 

11. If there is an after-hours emergency, whom do you call? 

12. Whom will you talk to about change orders? What is the best number to call? 

13. To whom do you take day-to-day comments and suggestions? 

For jobs of more than two weeks:

14. When do you want the weekly homeowner meeting to occur? (Homeowners meetings bring the remodeler and homeowners together at regular intervals to address questions and review progress.) 

15. Will any work areas need to be completely cleared of furniture? (Note: Most contractors will state in their contracts that they shall not be responsible for any valuables left in any area under construction. The possibility of accidents is too great.) Specify.

16. Where will workers store their tools and building materials? 

17. Which outside area(s) will bear the brunt of construction activities, and which protective measures can be taken?

18. Does any landscaping need to be moved or protected? 

19. Is there any way to lessen the impact of construction? 

20. If necessary, review the location of the dumpster and portable toilets.


______________________________            ________________________                          
Signed:     Homeowner                                   Signed:     Contractor


The key is using an agreement like this to review and agree on the questions above before construction begins. This provides clear direction and puts you in charge of on-site construction management. This allows both homeowners and contractor to review potential problem areas before these problems can ever become an issue. This also demonstrates professionalism because you proactively address the daily project management concerns of most homeowners. They want these questions answered. 


David Lupberger has been in the remodeling industry for more than 20 years and is author of “Managing the Emotional Homeowner,” “The Remodelers Turnkey Program” and “The Home Asset Management Plan.” He can be reached at david@davidlupberger.com or 303.442.3702.

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