Have you ever heard the phrase “project scope” while doing a design or construction project? Have you wondered what exactly is a “project scope”? Well here are a few answers to some common question.
What is the “Project Scope” and why is it important?
The project scope is basically a term used to define part of the project management of any project. It is the part of the planning of your project, that involves creating a detailed list of everything that your project will include. This includes projects that our homeowners would like to do, everything that would be needed to complete those projects. This list is clearly defined as to what needs to be done to complete the desired project, what it will look like at the end and all materials used to create this project. This will include everything else that must be done in order for your project to be done.
Think about how you put together a jigsaw puzzle. This is the best way to illustrate the process by which your home is put together or renovated. You can’t put in the last piece of the puzzle unless all of the other pieces are in place, exactly where they need to be to accommodate the last few pieces. If you want to take out a piece of the puzzle that is not on the outer edge, you must remove the necessary pieces in order to remove the piece that you want to be removed, and then replace the puzzle pieces.
This is how it works with a renovation. Let’s say you just want to replace your kitchen cabinets. Well in order to get them out and replace them, you also must remove the countertop, the sink, and faucet and most likely the backsplash. So, for someone that just wants to replace kitchen cabinets, the scope of work would actually have to include removing countertop, sink, faucet and backsplash and in most cases replacing those items as well. Reviewing this in the beginning stages of a project with a homeowner will ensure that they truly understand what the project that they desire would entail.
There are many other reasons why clearly defining your scope of work up-front is so important, as we discussed above.
1 – Process- many design and construction elements affect each other and knowing the full scope of work from the beginning will prevent backtracking in the process.
2 – Backtracking- causes additional construction costs and adds additional time to your project. Homeowners adding additional projects is common when you are in progress with a project and we certainly can add projects if the homeowners budget allows. But what we are talking about here are actual changes or deciding on something mid-project due to poor planning, lack of a clear design plan, or changing your mind. These changes definitely affect your scope of work and could certainly add additional costs if backtracking, re-doing or re-building something is necessary. These problems almost always happen when a homeowner begins a project without a clear design plan as the design plan is what is needed to thoroughly develop a scope of work for the project.
3 – Budget- the only way to develop a comprehensive quote for a design or renovation project is to have a clearly defined goal. This is your design plan. This is what specifies everything about your project in great detail. The measurements of everything in the space, the exact placement of everything, all materials to be used in your space. For example, if you are planning a bathroom project and you do not know what size bathtub you are using, then you are just guessing as to the amount of space, fixtures, and money needed for this bathtub, and you are not seeing how it affects everything else you are planning in the bathroom. If you have an exact bathtub, and you know it’s exact placement, specification, etc, then you can more accurately quote not only the bathtub but the rest of your bathroom project. Yes, there are sometimes unforeseen things involved in construction, but that doesn’t mean that you just wing it. In fact, going in with no clear plan often ends in disaster, especially when it comes to your budget.
4 – Timeline- Tradesmen and contractors run on a schedule, if you are not prepared with a clearly defined design plan or scope of work developed by a pro, your contractor will move on to the next project until you are ready. Or they will jump in and rush you to make decisions as they need them so they can get to work. This is not a great way to design a space. Contractor input is vital to developing the full scope of work for a project as they are construction experts, but it is not their job to design your space, choose your tile and materials or teach you how to manage your own project. Tell them what you want to be built and they will build it, if you do not know how to communicate design elements properly, the outcome might not be what you were expecting. The extra time added to your project for changing your mind midstream, or re-building things over and over because of poor communication can be eliminated with a clearly defined design plan and scope of work. Any of these delays will affect the total project timeline as once your plumber moves on to start another project, he can’t just drop everything because you are now prepared with a decision to move forward. This causes further delays.
What is “Scope Creep”?
Surely you have heard the term “scope creep”. Scope creep is something that can happen easily on a project. Scope creep is when the project increases little by little and is not managed properly. We see this most often when clients attempt a renovation on their own without the assistance of a designer or an experienced project manager. Often homeowners don’t know that if you do one project, it might affect something else. Or “while you are it” you may as well add this or that. All of this is fine if you have the budget and timeline to accommodate these additional things. Working with a professional will help to eliminate the project expanding beyond your means.
When working with clients from the design phase right through to the construction phase, we have processes in place to define the project scope as much as possible before construction or installation begins. Aligning the overall project with the homeowner’s overall goals.
The extra time taken to go through a well-developed design process and plan will always pay off in the end, as well as
- Create a finished project that addresses all of your needs as far as function, design, and your budget.
- A project that is well planned will have no questions as to material selection and design details because all of this was clearly defined in the early planning of a project.
- So our contractors and tradesman know exactly what they are building, what materials are being installed when all specified materials will be on site when they arrive. Allowing for smooth project implementation from start to completion.
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Until next time,
When you design kitchens and bathrooms for a living, you can’t help but notice design issues wherever you go. Including, improper material selections, finishing errors, sloppy finish work, and design mistakes causing safety issues. If I have dinner in a restaurant I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that notices the size and height of the light fixture above the table that is unproportioned or shining the light right in your eyes and not where you need the light on the table. Or the tile threshold that is going to cause everyone to trip because of the height.
Or inevitably I see space planning errors that don’t allow for the necessary maneuverability, causing opportunities for tripping, falling, or putting people at risk for injury. This is the way it goes. I am sure if you are a professional writer and you are reading my blog, you will notice more than a few writing errors. Unprofessionally designed spaces look and function like unprofessionally designed spaces.
Most of the time I don’t mention noticing these issues to my family and friends when I see them while I am out and about, being an optimistic person you just learn to notice and move on. Most of the time homeowners or proprietors are doing the best they can and often think that design only involves mixing a few fabrics and colors, so anyone with fairly “good taste” could design space.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
Time, money, and resources are wasted every day on “shot in the dark” design approaches. But there is one area that you will be risking more than some extra time and money to re-do those design mistakes. That would be the area of safety.
On a recent weekend getaway with my family, when I first saw the hotel bathroom I immediately noticed that the tile on the floor was in fact not a floor-rated tile but was actually a thin ceramic glossy wall tile, a product that should never be used on a walking surface. I made a mental note of this and knew that all of the severe cracking that I saw on the floor tile was due to this and I wondered why such a nice hotel would make such a severe design error, I wondered if every room had the same severe cracking, I knew that it most likely did and that it probably cracked shortly after it was installed as this type of tile was never meant to be walked on.
Later that weekend my two-year-old granddaughter who walked into the bathroom with wet feet slipped on the extremely slippery glossy tile and took a bad fall slamming her head on the floor. She is fine, thank goodness, but this goes to show how important it is that not only you know what materials are beautiful for your home or a commercial project but you also need to know what materials to use where and when not to use a material if it could be a safety hazard. Surprisingly we see this type of issue all the time in homes, homeowners fall in love with a beautiful piece of tile or a specific type of floor but they don’t know the ramifications of using these materials improperly.
Unfortunately, the money saved by this hotel by using this inexpensive wall tile as a floor will cost far more to replace as every bathroom floor surely has or will have issues with extensive cracking and is definitely a surface that is dangerous to walk on for all hotel guests.
This is just an example of the many design details that affect a bathroom or kitchen design, and an example of just one of the safety issues that can come up when you are unfamiliar with what you actually need to know to design a space that is not only beautiful but functional and safe for everyone that uses the space.
Until Next Time,
As an interior designer and renovation specialist, I love working with all of our clients, whether that be our full-service clients, our consulting clients, or our social media followers and email list subscribers for whom we provide free resources like our information-packed blog articles. I love helping all of our clients by providing services that meet all of their design needs.
When I first meet with a client they may or may not have a budget for the project that they are desiring, or be willing to share their thoughts about the budget. If they do have a budget, that budget may or may not be realistic for the project that they are thinking about completing and the desired scope of work. Homeowners may look into the cost of cabinetry, fixtures, and counter-tops and then make a guess as to what the overall project might cost. This is a very inaccurate way to determine what the cost of your project might actually be.
When looking at what is actually involved in doing your project the cost of professional services is not usually talked about much on television design shows or in publications, but it’s a big cost when it comes to your project. Professional services include everyone from the designer or architect, structural engineer, contractors, plumbers, electricians, installers, and painters. Additional costs may include all building permits and delivery on all products. So much is involved in putting a project together and there is a cost to that above and beyond products and materials purchase cost.
So in the beginning stages of a project, I try to discuss budget early on to be sure that my client’s budget and scope of the project are in alignment. If the client is prepared with an idea of their budget for the project that they’re looking at doing, this gives us the ability to know this early on and to prepare design elements or suggest a scope of work that’s more reasonable for their particular goals and budget. Or to determine the costs of the projects that they desire and then schedule the project when they are thoroughly prepared for the cost. This helps the homeowner be more prepared later when estimated costs and quotes for projects are higher than with the customer thought they might be.
This is very successful when being lead through this process with a professional. Sometimes when homeowners attempt to go through this process on their own they quickly wind up in trouble by underestimating expenses or even starting a project before totally figuring everything out with regards to design, professional services, and labor cost. Another issue might be not having planned any contingency funds available for unexpected construction issues, or for things that you might want to add to the project scope. The end result is always spending more money than planned and putting the client over budget.
Preparation and planning is the key here. Just because you think a kitchen might cost $20,000 doesn’t mean that this is realistic considering the desired scope of work, the condition of your existing home and it’s systems, the desire to take down several walls to expand the space, and the professional services needed to accomplish to your finished project. The biggest way to control the cost of your project is to prepare the scope of work that you can afford after accurately investigating costs.
Until next time,
If you’ve ever imagined a luxurious master bathroom in your home, you might enjoy this classic master bathroom that we recently designed for one of our lovely clients. This bathroom was part of a large design project involving a kitchen, butlers pantry, mud room, several bathrooms, and of course this beautiful master bathroom. This long narrow space designated for the new master bathroom created several design challenges, but it also allowed us to use the length to create a dramatic focal point in the back of the bathroom featuring a freestanding tub with classic lines.
We designed a custom shower with dreamy white tile, seating, rain head, and a custom glass enclosure. We also included 2 separate vanity areas which we topped with beautiful gray and white stone. The homeowner’s beautiful chandelier was the starting point for this elegant bathroom. The black and white color scheme really gives this bathroom a timeless feeling, with the drama of an old classic black and white movie.
There are many ways that you can add luxurious, classic touches to any bathroom. If you are ready to undertake a renovation or new build project, it’s best to work with a design professional as the bathroom is one of the most difficult rooms to plan and design, issues involving space planning, safety, and comfort as well as aesthetics must be addressed when designing any bathroom. There are a few easy ways that you can add a bit of luxury to your existing bathroom if you are not quite ready for a renovation.
1 – Add Artwork
Black and white artwork can look great in a bathroom. With a few complimentary pieces of inexpensive art, you can create a classic or modern look in your existing bathroom. Expensive art should be placed strategically to avoid moisture damage.
2 – Add Plush Cotton Towels
Plush towels create a filing of luxury. Choose solid black and white and mix stacks of towels together. This gives a clean look without adding more patterns to the room.
3 – Add Unexpected Storage to the Vanity
Use a mirrored or glass tray or collection of small vases to store makeup and organize other small items. This looks better than plastic make-up organizers.
4 – Storage
Store larger necessary items in baskets, vases or cabinets. If an item is going to be visible and necessary, be sure it looks nice and is stored in a way that complements the space.
5 – Add Candles and Fresh Flowers
These small touches can bring a touch of luxury to any space especially the bathroom.
You’ve spent the last few months searching for a new home. You’ve re-calibrated your wish list several times before finally deciding that in order to get into the neighborhood that you like and stay within your budget, you had better consider a fixer-upper. It looks easy enough, so how hard could it be? Besides, it looks like fun. You know that you would like to add or change some of the features in your new home, so how hard could it be? Well, if you are a first-time homeowner or a first-time renovator, stay tuned, this article is for you!
Fixing up an old or run down home has been a way of life for me and my family for as long as I could remember because I grew up with my parents being fixer-upper renovators. As a child coming home from school and walking through the front door, I was sure of one thing, somewhere in my path, there would be wet paint or freshly poured cement with piles of stone ready for stacking, electrical wires hanging from the ceiling, and of course, the furniture would always be in a different place. The perfect environment for this designer in the making.
Years later, I took it to a whole different level. As my children grew up amidst a full-scale major renovation in what was their childhood home, a 200-year-old historical beauty, and a thriving Interior Design and Renovation business operating at full force by their mother, whose first office was in that home. Now that they are adults, I wonder if this must somehow be in the genes as I see my 3-year-old grandson building “staging” as he climbs carefully with his hammer in hand and my 1 1/2-year-old granddaughter standing in her pink tool belt, smiling as I teach her how to retract her tape measure as they help with the next family project. Future renovators in the making, for sure. Needless to say, after 20 years of renovating clients houses and many more years of living in numerous fixer-upper projects, I do have some advice for anyone who has found themselves head over heels for their vision of what this is going to be like.
1 – Be patient and Listen to the house
I know you want to get into the exciting stuff right away. The kitchen, the bathrooms, taking down walls. But allow yourself a little time to access the property close up. Take your time, go through the details of the house slowly. Allow the house to show you what needs your attention first. Believe me, it will! Sometimes new renovators go right at it tearing into everything on their wish list, only to find, a few days or weeks into the project, that house had other more pressing issues that really should be addressed first. Usually, these are the less exciting projects, like the roof, the furnace, electrical, or plumbing issues. And my personal favorite from past experience in 2 of my own homes, water well or main water line issues. Many issues can be brewing that you are unaware of even when you’ve had a thorough home inspection. So be prepared with your budget to address some of these issues, should they come up sooner than anticipated in your renovation project.
2 – Really access your goals for the house.
Are you hoping to be living in the home for a while? Or are you going to be fixing it up and selling in a few years? Both of these scenarios should be approached very differently with regards to how to approach your plan, renovation, and budget. Be clear on your goals before you start. This will keep you from over-investing in design elements that only you think are great and might hinder the sale of your home if that is your intention. If you are here to stay, then you can create a plan of action based on your goal for you and your family.
3 – Have a detailed plan.
After accessing the house thoroughly addressing any immediate issues, now it’s time to develop a detailed plan. This is a great time to involve a design professional who knows the ins and outs of transforming your home with a renovation. An experienced designer will be able to review your plan and assist with creating a phased plan of action. This is important because you don’t want to find out later when you finally get to do your bathroom renovation, that the adjacent rooms, which you renovated first, will now be affected in order to run plumbing and electrical for your new bathroom project. You certainly don’t want to spend time and money backtracking because you didn’t do things in a logical order.
4 – Life during a renovation.
If you have the opportunity to do some or all of the work on your fixer-upper before you move in, then great. Plan those projects strategically. It’s much easier to address any floor work before you have a house full of furniture unless this doesn’t make sense for your timeline or project goals. If you are going to be living in your home and fixing it up as you go, really think about ways that you can make our life easier by progressing through the house and thinking out the logistics. This is something that I review with every client before a renovation. Even in the best of circumstances, your projects will cause some stress and logistical issues when your lifestyle is disrupted with a renovation.
5 – Don’t try to be your own contractor
Don’t try to be your own contractor unless you have the additional time and money needed to correct expensive errors that you might make by learning as you go. Pick and choose the projects that you know you can compete and that are within your skill set, if you want the hands-on experience. Remember that a poorly done renovation can cost just as much money as a professional renovation, usually takes much more time, and can actually decrease the value of your home if it doesn’t look great in the end. Hiring the pros will ensure you get the desired results without all the stress, guesswork, and endless hours trying to figure it all out.