8 Helpful Tips to Avoid Costly Condo Renovation Delays

Renovating projects in Condominiums, Cooperatives and Home Owner’s Associations (HOAs) can be an overwhelmingly large project to undergo without professional guidance and expertise. Not only do you want to ensure your contractor is going to provide you with a quality renovation, but you also want to ensure that your timeline is not delayed or over budget.


If you are considering a condo renovation but have a tight deadline for completing the project, here are 8 helpful tips to avoid those costly renovation delays before your project even begins.


1. Select a committee to provide clear direction

Choosing a committee or project manager to provide clear direction for your renovation project can be a great way to prevent delays and confirm your expectations are met. You will want to ensure the committee can provide clear expectations on your mandates to the contractor and design team, so every item is completed timely and correctly.


Having a singular point of contact (or an appointed committee) streamlines the communication, resulting in a smoother path to your desired result.


2. Eliminate or minimize contractor allowances

Contractor allowances are when contractors provide an estimated cost within proposals or contracts, as the exact cost amount may be unknown. Estimating is commonly used when the exact price of materials or supplies may not be able to be fully determined.


Contractor allowances can be disputable and hard to manage. It is best to avoid or minimize these, not only to protect your project budget, but also to protect your project’s timeline, too.


3. Vet all prospective contractors

Before signing any contract with a prospective contractor, you will want to vet their experience by checking references. You should also review their past projects to get an idea of their quality of work to ensure it will align with your expectations.


If you choose not to vet prospective contractors, you risk the result of your condo renovation not meeting your expectations. Ensure the professionals you allow into your property are truly professionals and experts in their field. This will protect your assets and business and ensure the probability your renovation timeline is on track.


4. Provide the team with necessary records

You will want to provide your renovation team with all records that may aid them in their process. These include all existing building plans, environmental reports, and any record of past improvements or past projects. This documentation can be instrumental to your contractor’s ability to provide you an accurate timeline and to ensure your renovations are up to code.


5. Think ahead and futuristically

When designing and discussing your renovation ideas, be sure to think futuristically. Do not only renovate for the needs of today but instead plan for what is to come. This way, you will not need another renovation for your condominium for a long time.


Consider asking yourself the following questions when considering a condo renovation:

  • How will the needs of the community change?

  • Are there any value-adding amenities to include?

  • Should you add an EV station?

  • Should you update to LED lights?

  • Is water conservation a concern?

  • Does the fitness center need updating?


By thinking progressively about the future, you can stay ahead of market trends, while continuing to attract prospective tenants or buyers for now and then. Thoughtful and futuristic planning can impact your resale value for years to come. [HW1]


6. Ask for a coordinated design plan

Before signing a contract, be sure to ask (and in some instances demand) coordinated design plans that include architectural, interior design, Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) and with proper detailing and appropriate schedules.[DD2] These coordinated design plans should be very detailed and contain an associated schedule with long lead-time procurement items. Coordinating efforts will ensure that the timeline and your expectations for the project line up with your contractor’s expectations, too.


7. Plan for delays

Delays are typically caused by events out of a contractor’s control. These include events such as severe weather, hidden conditions, quarantine restrictions, etc. These types of delays are common in renovation projects and are typically di minimis if you are working with an experienced renovation contractor. They are bound to happen at some point in the renovation process, so it is important to plan for them.


An inexcusable delay is a delay caused by the contractor. Such delays can happen if the contractor, for example, did not start a project on time or ended a day of work earlier than contracted. Issues that arise from these types of delays should be the contractor’s responsibility.


Unfortunately, both kinds of delays will happen occasionally. Planning accordingly, establishing working hours at the onset, and providing adequate access during those hours, can protect your project’s timeline.


8. Select a respected design firm

Be sure to do your research to ensure the design firm you choose is respected and has the necessary credentials. This firm should be able to manage the entire process, provide a scope outlining the budget, and offer a single person of contact for you and your project committee to work with.


Look for a design firm that has your best interests in mind. Finishing a project under budget and ahead of schedule is ideal for any contractor and renovator, but it should also be a goal for the team.


At CLEAT Design + Build, we pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations, especially when it comes to beautiful condo renovations that save them money and time.


Check out some of our client testimonials below:


"Cleat Design + Build exceeded all our expectations with regard to quality & customer service. Not only was the product superior, but they were also able to come in $100,000 less than on original budget! I highly recommend and endorse Cleat Design + Build as a partner of ours and look forward to working with them on any future projects at our co-operative."

Josue S., Co-Operative President


"Heath and his team delivered our space 3 weeks ahead of schedule and 6% under our budget. His team of architects and subcontractors were top-notch and truly delivered on all their promises. They set a franchise record for opening a new studio by negotiating the lease, navigating the Arlington County permit process, and building our space in record time."

Kelly W., Studio Owner


Ready to kick off your condo renovation project? Give us a call today to get started on your proposal.