Construction Takes Time! Set Better Expectations For Your Home Construction Project.

construction construction process design Jan 24, 2023

‘How long is this going to take?’ seems like an easy and justifiable question to ask about a home construction project but in this time of material and labor shortages, housing booms and busts and general uncertainty of the world - politics, wars, pandemics, recessions, climate change and the weather in general - it’s actually an extremely loaded question with variables, unknowns and factors we have absolutely no control over.  You might be living in your own local bubble but the world of construction requires a global view and what is happening in the world will affect your little corner of the world.

So when you ask ‘How long is this going to take?’ just know that this is an estimate at best and not something to set in stone.  Change your expectations and save yourself the stress along the way.  I always give myself at least a few weeks of grace for a smaller project and I tend to speak in seasons when it comes to large projects.  'Your new build will be finished in the fall of 2024'  and don’t even get too caught up in that!  It’s going to take as long as it takes.  Look at a project in phases and celebrate each one.  This is your dream space and works of art take time.  Give yourself that and enjoy the process.  It can definitely be part of the fun, personally it’s my favorite part.  Why else would I continually do this to myself?  

I had a client ask me that once.  I came to them in a dark hour, their project was not going well and they had been struggling for far too long before they reached out.  He asked ‘Why would anyone regularly do this?  Why would you make this you job?!’  I laughed but seriously, why do I keep doing this to myself?  It’s because I love the process of watching a dream come true.  Something I dreamed up in my head is now a space I live in and it’s exactly what I wanted it to be.  I am not afraid of the process because I know there is always a way.  I changed my mindset and expectations, so instead of being thrown around in a storm, I learned to ride it all the way to the rainbow and you can too.

Let’s start by setting realistic expectations around the home construction process by breaking down an average kitchen remodel. 


Existing kitchen remodel, rearrange layout slightly, new cabinets, new countertops, new lighting, new flooring.

It’s the phone call I get all the time, the project a lot of you are thinking about and seems relatively straight forward, right? 

Come along with me on this journey, it's going to look something like this:

- Come up with a general plan and style, either on your own or with a professional.

- Meet with the cabinet company to confirm cabinet design will work, get an estimate.

- Meet with a general contractor, plumber, electrician, flooring installer, etc. as necessary for your project.  

If your sink is moving, you will need a plumber.  Walls, windows or doors changing?  You will need a framing and/or drywall contractor and probably an electrician too.  Changing electrical needs or lighting?  You will need an electrician.  You might need more or less, one professional might do multiple jobs or you might do things yourself.  How you organize your team is up to you.

- Finalize cabinet layout with cabinet company.   

- Finalize material selections and construction plan.  Place orders, pay deposits.

Review eta’s regularly.  Keep this in mind when scheduling demolition and construction.  Prepare yourself that there will be delays.  Give yourself flexibility and a longer than you think timeline, that’s one thing you can control - your expectation.  

- Once the stars have finally aligned, your materials are here and your crew is available - construction can start!

- Prepare the site.

Move everything as far from the construction zone as possible.  Anything you don’t want covered in dust needs to be moved.  This makes cleaning the site throughout the project easier as well.  Tape off adjoining rooms if you can.

- Demolition happens hard and fast and usually only lasts a day or two.  This might be your same construction crew, a separate demolition subcontractor or you.  

You need to have something to do with all the demolition debris, old cabinets and/or old appliances.  This might be coordinated by a general contractor if they are handling the whole project or you need to take care of it.

- Clean the site.  Change your furnace filter.  Change it often throughout this process.

- Any wall changes, window or door changes get framed and/or installed.

This might be completed by a general contractor, framing contractor or window/door installer.

- Space can now be officially measured for cabinets, production can begin. 

- Electrical and plumbing rough-ins are placed meaning the wires are run for electrical, boxes for outlets and new fixtures, pipes for plumbing - anything that happens inside the wall happens now.

- Clean the site.  You won’t believe how messy it gets after each tradesperson.  You will definitely notice the ones that care to clean up after themselves.  

- Drywall goes up on the walls and/or ceiling.  It’s tape, mud, sanding, mud, and sanding again.  

This is a MESSY process!  Do not show up on site with your new black suede boots.  If you are living in your space, make sure the area is taped off as much as possible.  

- Clean the site.  Change your furnace filter.

- Walls and ceilings are primed, textured and primed again.

This is often done by your drywall professional, not your painter, and is sprayed on.

 - Cabinets are installed.

Your cabinet company might include this.  The way a cabinet is installed can affect a lot, make sure it’s someone who knows what they are doing.  

Countertop fabrication can now BEGIN.  Countertops do not get installed immediately with cabinets, this throws a lot of people off.

 - Flooring is installed.

 - Walls are finished with paint, tile, wallpaper, etc.

 - Plumbing and electrical is finished.  Your outlets, light fixtures, faucets, etc are installed.

 - Kick back and enjoy your new dream space!  Clean the site.

 As you approach the end of the project, some phases can happen simultaneously or in a different order but this is roughly the kitchen remodeling process.  As confidently as I say that, I will also say every project is unique.  Something about your project will be different, that’s one thing I can guarantee.

Looking through the list, that’s a lot of line items and I didn’t go into detail for each item, so believe me when I say it’s a lot!  In the previous post, Living in Construction, I talked about leaving space in your brain for this project and I am saying it again.  It’s totally possible to complete a home construction project like this in 4 - 6 weeks but you have to have the focus and mental space to make it happen.  Otherwise it won’t.  You need to be prepared to schedule, reschedule, manage and actively participate in each of those phases.  This is not something you can passively watch happen.  TV show before and after's aren't real, this process takes work and it needs YOU to make it YOUR home.

If you need help preparing yourself, that’s where I come in.  Design YOUR Dream Home, my online course is this blogpost times a million and I HIGHLY recommend it if you are building your own home or thinking about a large scale remodeling project.  DYDH provides the framework and space to get clear on your vision, lays out the decisions you need to make while providing the background information necessary to make those decisions along with the confidence and clarity to know that what you want is valid and you can absolutely have it! 

This is your project, your home and your life - you get you want!  I will show you how.  


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