renovation phase 2 getting underway

We are embarking on Renovation Phase 2. Renovation Phase 1 put a new basement under the house. This included new plumbing below the midband, and new electrical panels for the basement and the house above the midband.

Renovation Phase 2 tackles issues on the main and second floor of the house. These include completing repairs to the front porch, moving the laundry upstairs and renovating the bathroom on the second floor, and removing the old kitchen and numerous additions at the back of the house to build a new kitchen, bathroom, mudroom, and deck.

Husband and I are going to act as our own General Contractors on this project as we now have five years experience working in renovations and are pursuing our red seal qualification as carpenters. We will use our original general contractor as a consultant and hire him at mission critical moments when our technical expertise needs a boost. The architect and engineer have submitted drawings to the City for approval. When the permit is issued we will use these drawings to guide our installation. We will consult with the architect and engineer as needed to clarify terminology and resolve any discrepancies between their drawings.

We have electrical and plumbing/gas contractors that are familiar with the house. They will pull the permits for the project and oversee the work. We will work them to map routes for electrical, plumbing and gas lines. We will provide them with semi-skilled labor to complete bulk tasks for electrical and plumbing/gas installation, they will complete mission critical installations of circuits, fittings, and panels. All our work in these areas will be under the oversight of these ticketed professionals.

The fact of the matter is that this house needs a lot of renovation and repair. We do not have the funds to simply hire a General Contractor to complete the work on our behalf. Our mission is complete the work using our own labor as much as possible. We will accomplish this by working evenings and weekends while we continue to work full time as carpenters. In this way we hope to draw down the renovation funds as slowly as possible, while maximizing the amount we can accomplish toward fixing this old house.

I am going to serve as the Project Manager. I have taken the introductory course to project management at BCIT, and I have both of the industry standard references for structuring project management methods and practices. In addition, after taking the course, I realized I have decades of project management experience, going all the way back to my days as a tree planter, when I worked my way up to Contractor Assistant. In those days I worked as Quality Checker and Trainer, as well as organizing deployment of workers and trees across numerous sites.

We are excited to begin this phase of the renovations. At the outset of Phase 1 we did not have the experience or knowledge to know when or where our renovation funds were being squandered due to contractor inefficiencies. Since then, after working on fourteen different properties, and observing several styles of management, we are confident we can do a good job with both the project-related aspects of the various construction tasks, and also the project-management related tasks of stewardship over the renovation funds.

At present we are wrapping up pre-permit tasks in preparation of beginning Renovation Phase 2. A key task for this phase has been de-commissioning and removing the storage shed that was built for Phase 1. This shed had become a clutter catch-all of both useful and useless equipment, tools and materials. The process of de-commissioning has forced us to examine our inventory and make some hard decisions about what is worth keeping and what needs to be removed from the property. The process of removal has resulted in harvesting lumber that will be used to build 300 lineal feet of tree barrier fences required by the City. It feels good to re-use these materials and move the project along rather than leave the shed standing and deal with the irritation and inefficiency of not having our resources properly organized.

For project management software I am using the Omni Suite of applications: OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, OmniPlanner, and OmniFocus. I am also using Filemaker to develop my own management apps for tracking planned vs actual costs.

I admit I have fallen behind in the tracking app development because I have done so much of that and I am very interested in learning the planning software. However, it is simply a matter of devoting time to what is needed.

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