What You Can Expect from Your Aging in Place Contractor Estimate
Thinking about remodeling your home for aging in place? If so, you’ll need to understand the importance of an accurate contractor estimate. This means becoming familiar with the terminology contractors use and ensuring the estimate includes every detail of the scope of work you want completed.
What follows is an explanation of how you can work with a contractor to prepare an estimate for your project, with a goal of meeting your cost and scheduling requirements.
Scope of Work
When you begin planning your aging in place project, one of the most important steps is to find a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) contractor who has the expertise to get the job done right. The next step is working with that contractor to develop a scope of work that details your needs, requirements, and your style selections.
A detailed scope of work ensures that the estimate is not only accurate, but also clearly defines what you can expect from your contractor and what the contractor should expect from you. Eliminating confusion right from the beginning helps to make sure the project stays on time and on budget.
By including thorough, written descriptions of the scope of work, you can expect a document that provides:
- A clearly outlined scope of work articulated in layman’s terms
- Cost breakdowns and contingencies
- A plan for handling project modifications in the event of a health change or unforeseen job condition
- A detail of finishes, including grade level and/or brand name or model number to be used
- An orderly timeline for project benchmarks and completion
With most home renovation projects, the estimate and scope of work should contemplate the need for extra time related to special site conditions or project conditions. For example, it is important to understand that the following situations could adversely affect the cost, and/or the timetable for project completion:
- Small or narrow doorways and hallways which may require modifications to the home or property to improve access to the work site
- A long financing process that includes loan qualifications, appraisals, and proposal approvals can extend the project timetable
- Schedule conflicts due to performing work in an occupied space
- Frequent job site procedures for cleaning, safety, dust protection, and debris removal may cause productivity slowdowns
Other considerations that can add time and cost to a project, include remodeling in an occupied space, which usually interrupts a homeowner’s daily routine, which requires work crews to spend time and attention on cleanliness, climate control, and accessibility.
In this regard, if your project is much larger than a simple renovation, you might want to consider leaving the premises for a period of time to ensure your own comfort and safety. If you’re unable to make accommodations elsewhere, your contractor is required to create a safe space(s) within the construction site. Bear in mind, however, that this may come with an increased cost and could extend the duration of construction.
Be sure to speak with your contractor to understand how the job scope, schedule, and cost can be impacted by the need to have:
- Portable rental solutions to provide a functional bathroom during remodeling
- Electrical, water, phone, and internet services
- Creation of an alternate entryway during construction
- Solutions for mitigating any health risks to you
As you’re working with your CAPS contractor to define your job scope and prepare your estimate, be open to alternative solutions that can benefit you in the long run.
You may want to ask your aip contractor to provide you with an estimate for design solutions that are aesthetically pleasing instead of a hospital-like design. For example, if your abilities permit, you may want to forgo installing a ramp and instead install an attractive, code-compliant set of stairs with extra wide treads. These stairs are much more attractive, affordable, and easy to navigate by someone who needs this modification.
Note: An experienced CAPS contractor should know how to provide a homeowner with an estimate that includes alternative solutions that address challenges to all senses – visual, tactile, and auditory.
Your aging in place contractor should suggest a wide variety of product options to choose from for your project. Be sure to work with your contractor and conduct your own research on products. Not only will this help with your cost estimate, it might also help you find products that are less expensive or more desirable. Remember, a credible cost estimate should include the make, model, style, and color of the product you want used in your project.
Your estimate should also include a schedule that forecasts the project completion date. This schedule is critical, because it will ensure commitments made by the contractor and subcontractors will be met in a timely fashion.
Make sure to ask that the construction schedule is attached to your final construction agreement. While it may not be exact, it can give you a rough idea of when project milestones should be completed. Active construction sites can appear to move slowly, but having a document detailing what subcontractors will be working on and when makes it much easier to spot the progress.
If you have vision, cognitive, or hearing issues, this summary schedule can provide a great level of comfort when work is happening in your occupied home. It will inform you of who will be entering your home, the approximate times they’ll be there, and why. It also gives you plenty of time to rearrange your space for optimal workflow.
When you’ve established the scope of work, schedule, and material and finishes list with your contractor, your estimate should have a bottom line cost for the project. However, don’t panic if your contractor gives you a wide range; each job is different, and it can sometimes be difficult to provide an exact estimate, especially when the homeowner doesn’t provide the contractor with a set of plans or a list of the specific finishes the homeowner wants for the project.
One suggestion to address this issue is to have the contractor bid the job as a cost-plus project. That way, the homeowner knows exactly how much the job costs and what the contractor will earn for the work he or she performs to complete the project.
Experienced certified aging in place specialists can provide other suggestions for pricing the job.
One other option is to get a fixed price contract, which would give a homeowner a list of every improvement along with a description and price for every aspect of the job. This would include labor, materials, trade subcontractors, and equipment.
By working with closely with a CAPS contractor to establish a detailed scope of work, construction schedule and finishes list, a homeowner can ensure that their aging in place project is completed on time and features all of the details for them to live safely and comfortably as they age.
Reach out to us today if you have any questions regarding your aging in place project or cost estimate.