How to Prepare for Contractors Working in Your Home
Tips on what you need to do to get your house and family ready for a home repair or restoration job.
No matter the type of home repair or restoration project, there are a number of things you can do around your house to make the entire process easier for everyone involved. Before work begins, it's important to consider a few major factors. These include whether or not you'll need to temporarily relocate while the work is being completed, how to coordinate access to the home and making arrangements for family members and pets.
Doing Your Part
Before your general contractor and their crew arrive, you'll want to make sure your home and belongings are protected and that your family and pets are safe. This is especially true if there will be any major demolition that requires walls coming down. If you're not sure exactly what you should (or shouldn't) do, contact your contractor for instructions. And, if you aren't able to perform any of the precautionary measures—such as sealing off rooms with plastic—let your general contractor know. He or she can either perform these tasks or refer you to an individual or company that can.
In general, you shouldn’t try to help do any of the work during the course of the project (like on weekends when the contractor and crew aren't there). This could hinder the progress and slow down the schedule. You should, however, be in charge of protecting your belongings. Move fragile items such as electronics, artwork, china, and breakable objects to a room or area that won't be disturbed while the work is being completed. Remove valuable items such as jewelry and cash from the home completely and secure them in a safe deposit box for safe keeping.
STAY OR LEAVE?
First and foremost, you'll need to determine whether or not you can stay in your home during the repairs. If your general contractor will be completing a major project that will take weeks to finish and make certain parts of your home (like the kitchen or bathrooms) inaccessible, then you'll probably need to stay with friends/family, a hotel or some other form of temporary housing until your home isn't a construction zone anymore. If you have pets, be sure to make arrangements for them, too. Not all hotels are pet-friendly and sometimes asking to bring your furry companions to a friend or family member's house for several weeks could be a bit of an imposition, which means you may have to board them.
CLEAR THE AREA
In addition to removing valuable items from the home and moving fragile items out of the construction zone, you should also clear out as many large items that will be in the way or could get damaged such as furniture, area rugs and curtains/drapes. It's also a good idea to take down any shelves, paintings or anything else hung on walls to avoid them from becoming loose and/or falling off if there will be hammering or a lot of commotion during the repairs or restoration. If you’re not sure about an item, go ahead and ask your contractor just to be on the safe side. By clearing large areas, you'll also be helping by making space for the contractor and work crew. Remember that they might need to keep some of their equipment and supplies on site for easier accessibility and in order to complete the work more efficiently.
PROTECT YOUR BELONGINGS
Once you know which areas of your house will be affected by the work, you can take preventative measures by sealing off the entry points and doorways with plastic sheeting and blue painter’s tape. This will help make other areas of your home less likely to experience dust accumulation, exposure to chemicals, or any other treatments used during the project. Plus, it will designate which rooms are accessible and which ones are construction zones.
ACCESS AND SECURITY
Make sure your contractor can enter and exit your home every day even when you aren’t there. You may choose to give them a key, access to a lockbox (with a key), or a programmable lock with a code. Designate one person (most likely your general contractor) to be the main person in charge of opening and locking up every day, to avoid letting too many people have access.
Working With the Right General Contractor
If you have a home emergency or need restoration or repair help, it's imperative that you work with a trustworthy, reliable, (and most importantly) licensed general contractor. Keep the lines of communication open with your contractor and keep in mind that while sometimes unforeseen obstacles may delay the proposed schedule, they will do their best to make sure the job goes according to plan and get you and your family back into a fully-functioning home as soon as possible. Before any of the work begins, make sure you and your contractor go over your expectations for the project, budget/costs and timeline to ensure everyone is on the same page.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.