TIPS & PREPARATION
PERMITS, PLANS, & THE DESIGN PHASE
Depending on the scope of the project, an architect and/or designer maybe needed to complete the design. Karma’s smaller size enables our high caliber team of experienced craftsman and skilled professionals to take a unique pre construction approach with a particular focus on the Design phase of our projects. Once we have been contracted it is important to pull the proper permits for the project at hand. The permit process varies with the size of each project. A small project that only needs a postcard permit can be pulled the same day online (post card permits cannot be pulled for projects in designated historical or art zones). Bathroom and kitchen renovation permits can also usually be pulled the same day.
Once the proper permits have been submitted, transition to the design phase begins. The client’s schedule and availability to work with our experienced architects and designers is important at this juncture. The process of developing the drawings can take up to 10-45 days depending on the scope of project versus the level of client coordination. Karma’s approach to putting such a focus on this phase permits clients to become more involved and better informed during the design and construction phases of their project. This allows greater attention to detail, better customer service, and a more personalized experience.
Finished Plans for larger products can take up to 45-90 days to get approved through the various departments at the given regulatory agency. Using a Building Permit number, our team show clients how to track their Building Permit online through the agency’s website. Homeowners can pull Building Permit themselves, however it never hurts to let the experts lend a hand.
Once a client’s Building Permit is pulled, certain projects may warrant additional permits. These permits can include, but are not limited to, Plumbing, Electrical, zoning, BZA and mechanical. These permits must be pulled by the various tradesman, master electricians, plumbers, and HVAC specialists. Karma’s experts have the decades of diverse experience needed to start building any type of project the client wishes.
Don’t worry! No need to sit around and wait during the permit process. During this time, clients will be meeting with vendors to select design materials that can transform a house into a home, keeping the client’s vision within their ideal budget. Karma will include a full list of vendors in the Welcome Package and set up an initial meeting. Please note you are not required to use our vendors, but it is recommend to start there.
Below is a general guideline for the Design and Permit Phase.
CONSTRUCTION PHASE & PERSONNEL
When the design has been finalized and all materials have been selected and ordered, the construction phase can commence.
Project Manager is the person who oversees and orchestrates a project from start to finish. The Project Manager is intimately involved with the design of each project and completely familiar with every aspect of the construction plan. The Project Manager is also the client’s single-point contact for the lifetime of the project, available at all times during working hours to address questions & concerns until project’s completion. Our efficient team of Project managers have decades of experience.
The Project Manager is responsible for:
Marshalling the day to day labor and material resources necessary to complete the project
Ensuring any specialty trade contractors required are scheduled appropriately
Inspecting and verifying that work was performed correctly to highest standards of workmanship
Certifying that completed work is in compliance with all building codes
Karma ensures effective communication with its vendors, crews, and clients over the course of any project to keep a tight adherence to the project timeline and provide clients with important details on who will be working at what hours.
The Sales Manager is the point of contact that clients meet during the initial appointment and also who provides the estimate. It is not uncommon for the Sales Manager and Project Manager to be the same person. This helps a seamless transition from the design phase through to the end of construction.
CONSTRUCTION PLAN TO CONSTRUCTION PROCESS
The construction plan is a static blueprint that specifies what must be built. The construction process outlines the specific methods and means to accomplish that planned blueprint. This requires the Project Manager to appropriately divide labor, necessary materials, and their construction into logical steps and determine an appropriate timeline and schedule for the project. Finally, the Project Manager will work to minimize the disruption of the client’s household, consulting with the homeowners to align project progress with everyday schedules and upcoming events. Converting the plan into a viable process is the first job of the Project Manager.
MATERIAL ACQUISITION AND DELIVERY
The coordination and scheduling of material deliveries is a big part of project management. By the time the project formally begins, all of the materials, especially those items with long lead times, will have already been ordered. Ideally, these materials will be delivered and on site before the project begins. The Project Manager will make arrangements for the short-term storage of materials until they are needed if there is the occasional delay on any materials integral to starting construction. Karma has worked tirelessly to foster great relationships with our vendors and to stay current on the newest, cutting edge materials that will give our clients the homes and value they desire.
The Project Manager oversees the selection of specialty contractors, interweaving the schedules of their various trade disciplines so the project proceeds in an organized and efficient manner. These specialty trades can include everything from structural metal working and plumbing, to painting and window installation. The Project Manager determines necessary labor requirements and oversees the performance of all crafts on the project, specialty trade or not, and is responsible for ensuring that work is completed to the highest standard, hiring additional help if needed
SAFETY & CODE COMPLIANCE
If building permits or special licenses are required, the Project Manager is responsible for seeing that they are acquired and that all building and fire codes are complied with. Houses built before 1978 have special requirements for lead containment. The EPA's rules on the safe handling of materials containing lead are both complicated and strict. Certifying a safe work environment, and safeguarding the residence is an absolute. Karma Home Designs follows all Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements for a safe and injury-free work site.
The project will be examined by code inspectors at least once, and in some cases up to ten times. Inspections are required for structural components, insulation, plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning. In most instances more than one inspection is required for each installation. For Instance, an electrical inspection is required of all wiring before the walls are enclosed, followed by an additional inspection when the final wiring is completed. The final product is looked over one last time for code and safety compliance upon completion. At the end of the project, the Project Manager will conduct a final walk-through with the client and supervise any remedial work that needs to be done before the project is formally handed over to the homeowner.If there is a small checklist, Karma reserves the right to request the final check, minus 10%.
Project Administration involves handling the volumes of essential paperwork required to complete a remodeling project. This paperwork includes:
contract agreements with specialty craft providers
payments to subcontractors and suppliers
purchase orders for materials
material approval checklists
203k loans & Bank documents
To ensure the project is built as specified in the client’s design, the Project Manager will regularly review the project drawings and specifications, and meet with the client for status updates. The project manager is responsible for all administrative tasks during the construction process and the final paperwork upon completion. This includes preparation and delivery of warranties and documents to the client when the project is completed.
WORK OUT THE RULES IN ADVANCE
The Project Manager will sit down with the client and go over the "ground rules." The Project Manager is responsible for giving clear direction on the client’s do’s and don’ts to workers and contractors. This is accomplished by giving every subcontractor a copy of the rules in addition to posting a visible copy on the premises for reference. Clients are required to sign the Supplement and Damage Form before construction is to begin.
Here are some tips and information to help clients prepare for their project and formulate a rules list:
WORK HOURS: Typical work hours are from dawn to dusk. If the client has special requirements or needs a brief break, the client simply needs to communicate that to the Project Manager so that they can adjust the work schedule. However, it is normal for clients to make occasional exceptions, especially where critical tasks have to be completed to meet deadlines for the project timeline and budget. Karma is also responsible for following condo & HOA guidelines. These should be provided by the customer
SMOKING AREAS: We understand the plethora of issues associated with smoking. Nevertheless, the odds are that a few craftsmen on any project will smoke. If a client has special concerns about smoking, they should make the Project Manager aware when making the initial rules list. Karma works with its clients to figure out the solution that best fits their needs.
ENTRANCES: Generally workmen will use an entrance closest to the project site. Where possible, we prefer an entrance not frequently used by the client to avoid inconvenience and to minimize the spread of work debris. Depending on the scope of the project Karma’s professionals can build a temporary entrance if necessary. No matter the final decision, the craftsmen will use only the designated entrance. If possible, to avoid mishaps, we ask homeowners to use these work entrance as little as possible.
KEYS: Unless a client insists being on site at all times when work is being done, our Project Manager will need a key or access the worksite. Except for very unusual situations, the Project Manager will keep the key in a lock box and is responsible for handling its use. If it is necessary to give the key to another person on our team to finish a task, the Project Manager will make every effort to let the client know. We ask that clients do not give keys to any workman unless it has been approved by the Project Manager.
STORAGE: It is necessary for proper storage on site for tools and materials. If possible, our team will store tools inside the house. Where not possible, we will bring portable tool storage on site. A location where materials can be safely stored, with minimal disruption to the homeowners, also should be discussed. Keeping materials dry and undamaged saves money and time
PARKING: Karma will only park vehicles at the client’s house that are necessary for the job at hand. This could mean up to five or more vehicles on rare occasions. Due to the possibility of pavement damage, our professionals will not operate heavy trucks on client driveways. Generally during a project, vehicles are not allowed to be parked in the driveway at any time unless necessary. If special parking permits are required, Karma will obtain them from the governing entity. If a neighbor becomes upset by trucks in front of his or her house, please let the Project Manager know. If possible the client should provide parking pass.
CHILDREN: Children must be kept out of the construction area for their safety, the safety of our personnel, and to minimize disruption on the job site.
PETS: Household pets must also be kept out of the construction area for their safety, the safety of our personnel, and to minimize disruption on the job site.
OFF-LIMITS AREAS: All parts of the house not involved in the project are off limits to all personnel and workman unless the client specifies otherwise. The exception often being bathroom facilities. Any of our personnel in an unauthorized part of the home should be reported to the Project Manager immediately.
BATHROOMS: A portable toilet can be brought to the site for a large job expected to last several weeks. Otherwise, toilet facilities will have to be established for crew during the remodeling process. There is a charge for this service
MUSIC: The playing of radios or recoded music on the project site is not allowed, except through personal earphones.
CLEANUP: The site will be picked up and swept each day; trash will be removed, and tools and materials properly stowed. Our workmen constantly work to keep the jobsite clean and professional, but it is impossible to avoid all mess when remodeling. Our team will work out a plan for handling waste materials so they are routed away from sensitive areas, such as gardens or porches. Trash is hauled away on a regular basis.
SIGNS: Karma asks clients for permission to post one sign in the front yard during the remodel, two signs if it is a corner house. This has proper contact information for inspectors, as well marking the house for special tradesman trying to find the jobsite. Karma coordinates with clients and their preference for sign placement.
PLAN FOR EVERYDAY LIVING: Clients do not often consider that stripping their homes down to the bones may cause them to lose a bathroom, shower, or an entire side of the home. We remind our clients to have a plan for continuing life as normally as possible during the remodeling. The best option might be finding a hotel for a couple of nights.
MOVING OUT: Karma recommends if the client can afford to stay at a local hotel, or stay with nearby friends or family, that these are great options to save peace of mind. Being removed from the commotion of a remodel, even if only for certain phases, can preserve sanity. Commonly clients move out for specific parts of the job, give themselves periodic weekend breaks, or sometimes even camp out in a recreational vehicle on the property.
LIVING IN: If clients decide to, or must, live at home during remodeling, Karma asked that it be thoroughly planned for before work begins. Here are some tips that might help!
To prepare for a kitchen makeover, moving the microwave and refrigerator to a place where they can still be used is a great idea. Set up a makeshift kitchen. Be sure to keep a can opener, coffee maker, microwave, utensils and other such items accessible. Stock up on disposable plates and cups.
If the water needs to be turned off for long periods of time, order bottled water and scout out a place for showers — the health club, for example.
A bedroom can serve as combination of a living room/kitchen for the duration if need be
Plan some meals at a favorite restaurant, or take the opportunity to try out new restaurants!
Spend the occasional weekend at a romantic bed and breakfast inn.
Don't try to keep an immaculate house. It's just not going to happen during construction, so don't lose peace of mind. Keep up with normal cleaning and tidying up, but realize that there will be constant clutter and particulate matter until the project is complete.
Remove pictures from walls and store fragile items away from the work area.
Lock up or remove valuables.
We will tape plastic sheets to doorways, windows and air vents to seal off rooms during the project.
Construction dust is insidious and inevitably will travel to other areas of the home.
Computers, electronic equipment, and furniture should be covered or removed when necessary .
Keep expensive telephones out of the remodeling area.
Roll up area rugs and store them out of the way.
Seal clothing and linens in plastic bags.
If we are building an addition, we will not break into the main house until the last possible moment so the mess will be outside for most of the project.
If floors need protection, we will see to it that they are covered up.
If there are special protection requests, communicate these with the Project Manager.
If the project is in close proximity to a garden or shrubs, the plants may need to be removed to avoid damage. Before the start of a project, Karma asks that clients decide which plants to move or save. This could mean digging up plants and potting them. If repotting is not an option, please communicate concern for which plants might be damaged. Karma will do its best to protect them, but keep in mind if a project requires digging a foundation three feet from a clematis arbor, some damage is almost inevitable.
Karma recommends informing neighbors about an impending remodel as soon as possible. It is important to mention that a major remodel may create noise, congestion, and traffic problems. It also might be worth mentioning the expected length of the project timeline. It is always recommended to occasionally invite them over and look at progress. Karma has found that neighbors become curious, especially if their house has the same layout. Our team will strive to disturb neighbors as little as possible and promptly pick up any trash that blows over into any nearby yards.
AVOID AIR POLLUTION
When working with the Project Manager to determine the timetable, they will identify the project periods that require glues and finishes, or other noxious, odorous, or toxic materials. Karma makes certain the premises are properly ventilated during these periods, but this may be a time that the client would want to escape to a motel for a while. If anyone in the household has asthma or a severe allergy to dust, mold or fungus, it is recommended that the person is not present during the duration of the renovation. Using green material, which are often more expensive, can be beneficial in reducing air pollution.
PREPARE FOR AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER
Initial excitement tends to nose dive once the mess, noise, and organized chaos begins. It is perfectly normal for feelings to go up and down, expect it to happen. This is why we work with our clients to help them seriously prepare for process start to finish and to proactively minimize inconveniences.
DON'T RELY ON THE TIMELINE EXCLUSIVELY
We will give as accurate of a timetable as we can. With dozens of variables over the course of any project, don't rely on it exclusively. It helps to check on the progress frequently. Project Managers will give update as frequently as possible, but their first priority must be the proper progress on scheduled work. Weekly updates are common; this also makes measurable progress easier to quantify. Many factors impact the length of a project, some of which Karma has little or no control over. Weather, delayed factory deliveries, out-of-stock materials, and myriad other things can cause humps even in the most careful of plans. We ask for clients to prepare for unforeseeable hiccups, and their patience while they are resolved
EXPECT LOSS OF UTILITIES
At times it might be necessary to turn off the electricity, gas, or water in a home during a project. The project manager will make every effort to coordinate with the client appropriately. Nevertheless, it is not unusual for some lead-times to be very short. Fortunately, some outages are also likely to be short — just a few minutes in most instances. Long outages will be noted on the timetable so proper planning can be set in place.
A major remodeling can be a constant source of little irritations. Patience is key, the end product will be worth it!
The Project Manager should have a contact number so that the client can be easily reached throughout the project. Karma provides pagers for clients without cell phones. Even with Karma’s extensive design and planning process, there are still certain contingencies that may need to be decided upon throughout the process.
Task Time frame Notes
Signed contract and deposit
Meet with Designer or Architect Up to 2 weeks after signed
contract and deposit
Meet with vendors Up to 2 weeks after signed
contract and deposit
Finalize construction plans 10-45 days on revisions and
meetings based on project
Order Materials 1 week after finalized plans, Payment is due immediately
lead times range from immediately after purchased
1-6 weeks for delivery
Pull Building Permit 1 day to 90 days based Permit fees are not included
the individual project in Karma’s price and
are due immediately
Pull Trade Permits 1 day to 1 week
Begin Construction Total time: 2 weeks to 6 months