Steady wins the (design) race, when we can’t control the pace – When to avoid reactivity in the process of building your dream home
There are always delays experienced in home building – with careful planning some can be avoided, but some are outside of anyone’s control. This past year especially, we have all had to learn to have a little extra patience, as “supply chain issues” became a recurring problem that affected nearly every sector … these material shortages, shipping delays, and in the worst-case scenario discontinued products or services, can certainly slow down the progress of your home, but don’t allow them the power to sacrifice your design.
Of course, scheduling is a big part of planning your project, and every well-planned project will have a construction schedule as part of its documents set; however, in the best-case circumstances this schedule serves as a well-intentioned target, with ‘wiggle-room’ to accommodate the intricate dance of trades people who must coordinate their installation of their services in sequence of each of the other trades working on the same house build. So, you can imagine, any holdups that come along during the progression of the build (such as delayed materials or running into surprises during a renovation) have the potential to throw a bigger wrench into this schedule, creating a domino-rally of inconvenience and re-scheduling. Naturally there is some reactivity to come of this… and sometimes the forces that think it best to keep things on schedule at all costs will encourage changes to the plan. While there is merit to being reasonable when it comes to the possibility that changes may have to be made (such as in an instance where delays will be excessively costly or the item in question may be unobtainable) there are also scenarios where patience will pay off, and here is where it makes sense to wait on…
MATERIALS & FIXTURES
When it’s something that you LOVE – if during the design process you have worked with your interior designer to discover and source something that is just tops of your wish list – your number 1 absolute favourite feature, finish, or fixture of your home, that is really going to make a difference to how you feel about it – it is worth waiting for! Recognizing that this element could be large or small, discuss with your designer and your contractor to see what kind of ideas they have to put into play. The clever professionals that you have hired to help make your dreams come true, likely have problem solved before, and will be able to come up with suggestions to lend, on a work around or a temporary solution to bridge the gap until you can get what you truly want.
When it’s something that could compromise the bigger picture of the design – making changes during construction, or even very late in the design process, can cause more upheaval to the overall design than you may realize. Certain material changes may cause a chain reaction, as the new selections won’t work with the established specifications for a variety of reasons. The colour or texture of a new flooring may compromise the vibe of the design overall, or the new selection is a different dimension or thickness causing the entire plan to be out by inches, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but to have that perfectly polished custom feeling when your project is all done, inches matter more than you can imagine for it all to fit together just right.
When it’s something that could end up having costlier repercussions down the line – If you go to the lengths of finishing your home with a satisfactory product or element, simply to have it completed, and then in a year or two you change it out because what you really wanted becomes available, you may have been better off waiting. This is an example of putting good money after bad, and it can also have a detrimental impact on the environment, depending upon the disposal of the original purchase. This scenario is prevalent with appliances, due to increased wait times caused by shipping delays. It can also present in scenarios of permit hold-ups, such as waiting for city approval to build an addition or larger outdoor living area that you want, but you don’t feel like waiting so you build something else in the meantime. Renovations and new construction that will have to be undone or redone to accommodate finally receiving the elements of the original plan may be good reason to practice patience. Hold onto your old fridge until the one that you really want arrives or live in the space that you have a little while longer until you are granted the permit to accomplish what you have planned for… it will all have a better outcome when it is put together as it was designed to be from the start.
When the delay doesn’t affect overall progression of the schedule – sometimes the wait isn’t really that detrimental to your overall project picture or timeline. If the item in question is simply cosmetic and doesn’t cause delay to you living in your home, it seems like a no-brainer to us that it will be worth the wait. If the statement backsplash tile that you and your designer ooohed-and-ahhhed over at your materials presentation meeting is the thing that you are waiting on, just wait a little longer… you can still move into your house and use the space; it just won’t be finished. When the tile is back in stock, and your contractor returns for installation, it will be like perfectly icing the beautiful cake!
PROFESSIONALS & CIRCUMSTANCES
When you know who you want to work with – this could apply to your designer or to your builder. Chances are one of the first steps that you took when planning to build or renovate your home was in selecting a designer whose style resonated with your personal taste and who you could see being able to achieve bringing your vision to life. Sometimes designers, like any other professional, have a wait to get started working with them, but if they are who you trust most to bring your home to life, they are worth the wait… the alternative could be starting down the path with another designer to then have to re-start or have regrets that you didn’t get what you wanted or settled for something that feels like less than you know in your heart you could have had from that designer who you truly wanted. The same things can happen with your builder. As you interview potential contractors, you are going to naturally like and trust some over others. It is important to select a builder who you like and trust, maybe more-so than you realize, as this relationship becomes rather intimate with this person in your life for an extended amount of time, as they build your house… the most important space in your life that your family will call home. The aspects vital to making the decision to wait on the right professional in this case include determining your standards for quality, communication, and construction process.
When factors at higher levels are out of your control – Sometimes making changes to move your plans along will not actually result in expediting the outcome of your project; this can be the result of a few different scenarios. There can be holdups resulting from not doing all the proper investigation into what is required when planning your home, having all the drawings and design documents in place to get your plans through the city permitting process, resulting in multiple back-and-forth failed attempts and time lost and wasted… or it can be the fallout of not waiting on the right professionals, as discussed above, to find out that who you hired doesn’t have the expertise or experience to get you through some of those trials. If in the haste of wanting to get started, you make compromises and start down the wrong path, you may end up completely starting over from scratch when you aren’t happy with the results of the compromises that you have made.
Sometimes it can be smart to put things on hold… if you determine to do this, so that you can, in the long run, get what you really want… there are still things that you can do to work on achieving your dream home…
DESIGN – If construction could be delayed, there would be no harm in continuing with design. There are a lot of documents to be created for building a house, there is no harm in working to fine tune your construction drawings, ensuring that when you are ready to start building the map is laid out to get it exactly the way that you want it…
PLANNING – many parts of the process take longer than people anticipate, get educated on the steps to take and the timelines associated with things like permitting and preparations like demolition, so that you know what you are really looking at for timing…
Many people have a preconceived notion of timing that is shorter than what is required to do a great job – being a bit savvier when starting down the path of building your dream home never hurt… and you just might find that with this mindset, and preparation, the wait doesn’t seem too unreasonable.
Be prepared to make decisions on what you are willing to wait for, and where you will find a substitute, bearing in mind that sometimes the time spent sourcing a consolatory option (by the time that you research, make a choice, and order again) might only lessen the wait time minimally – so if the item was something that you had your heart set on, it might indeed be worth the wait.
AND be prepared to be flexible enough to make new choices and changes to the plan if necessary… some things truly are out of our control, so maybe the most important decision that you can make is in the team you choose to work with, as with the right team behind you, you will end up with a house that you love even if some things about it evolve throughout the process… it becomes part of your story.