A construction walkthrough is the best way for you and your team to get a thorough understanding of the project you are considering. It ensures more accurate cost estimates and minimizes the risk of unexpected surprises during construction. Every remodeling firm’s process will look a little different, but it’s important that the team you are considering includes a construction walkthrough as part of their upfront process.
WHO WILL BE THERE:
You can expect your designer, estimator/scheduler, and any specialty trades necessary for your project, such as an electrician, plumber, HVAC, drywaller, and architect (if necessary) to attend your construction walkthrough.
DO YOU NEED TO ATTEND YOUR WALKTHROUGH?
It is important that all decision-makers for your project attend the walkthrough. The walkthrough is a great time to ask construction-related questions to your team, meet many of the people that will be working in your home, and get a better understanding of the scope of the project you are considering. You will also have peace of mind that your team is taking every measure to minimize surprises down the line.
HOW LONG DOES A WALKTHROUGH TAKE?
A construction walkthrough typically takes between 30-60 minutes depending on the size and scope of the project. For example, a small bathroom walkthrough will go quicker than a potential second-floor addition walkthrough. If you’re working with a tight schedule, let your team know before scheduling your walkthrough and ask how long your specific walkthrough may take.
HOW TO PREPARE:
You don’t have to do much before your construction walkthrough, but there are a few ways to prepare for success and ensure you and your remodeling team feel confident with the construction required before your remodel even begins.
1. ACCESS TO PROJECT-RELATED SPACES: The main objective of a walkthrough is to get an accurate understanding of your home. Messes, toys, and dust are a part of everyday life, as long as the construction team has easy access to fuse panels, water meters, well tanks, under-sinks, and any sprinkler systems (if you’re considering an exterior project), there’s no need to deep-clean your home. Prior to your walkthrough, you may want to ask your team which areas of your home will need to be accessed so you have time to clear those areas.
2. PREPARE ANY MAJOR QUESTIONS: If you have any specific construction-related questions for your team, take time to sit with your spouse, partner, or any decision-makers for the project and write these questions down. If there are any questions that need to be addressed before the walkthrough, reach out to your designer. Feel free to ask your team any questions before or during your on-site walkthrough. If any of your questions aren’t addressed during the walkthrough, your team can make note of them and find answers for you so you feel confident moving forward.
3. TEMPORARILY REMOVE DISTRACTIONS: While the construction team would love to get to know your family and pets, the priority of a walkthrough is to get all the details needed to prepare for the successful construction of your project. If the main decision-makers and/or contractors are distracted by children or pets during the walkthrough, important details regarding construction could be overlooked. While your pets may be sweet and friendly normally, having multiple strangers walking throughout your home can cause animals to become stressed and even territorial as they rightfully protect their safe space. It would be best, if possible, to temporarily sequester pets away from the areas involved in the walkthrough.
Down the line once the project begins, feel free to introduce your pets to the new people and scents that will be in your home if that feels right for you- it may make both the team and your pets more comfortable around each other during the duration of the project. Our team loves pets, we even have a pet corner on our blog!
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE WALKTHROUGH:
You should expect your designer and the rest of the team to walk throughout your home. Their walkthrough checklist will vary depending on the size and scope of your project. They may look at fuse panels, count plumbing fixtures, look at your water meter and its location, and the condition and size of your furnace.
Occasionally, a small hole may need to be made in a wall or soffit to better understand what the team is working with to minimize surprises later. These holes typically range from the size of a drill bit to around 6×6 inches so photos can be taken. If your home was built prior to 1978, a lead test is likely required for the area that is being renovated. This does require a slight cut in the surface of the wall or trim. Other repairs or work will not be performed, as the team is just there to examine your home and take notes.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
After the walkthrough, your team immediately gets to work finalizing your analysis based on what was found during the walkthrough. If anything is discovered during the walkthrough of your home that is not currently included in your project analysis, it is noted and discussed with your designer to be updated in your project estimate. For example, if a fuse panel is damaged or too full to complete the work as requested, the electrician on-site during the walkthrough would note this, and pricing adjustments would be made.
Your designer will reach out to you after the walkthrough to schedule your next meeting together. In the following meeting, you will go over your final analysis and discuss any price adjustments that occurred based on the walkthrough. Finalizing your analysis typically takes around two weeks, as materials and labor estimates take time to procure accurately. The wait will be worth it, as this process gives you confidence moving forward with an extremely accurate project cost.