11/18/2014 05:27 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Considering a Remodel Project? Don't Forget the Extras

In the midst of three recent project management remodel jobs, it became quite apparent that the homeowner may not understand the logistics of the contracting and remodeling process when it comes to the actual job commencement. When entering into a renovation, remodel or building project the homeowner must keep their eyes wide open. Being educated on the possibilities of unforeseen costs is so very important. In the bidding process, the lowest bid may not always be the best bid. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
After details and the scope of work to be performed are discussed with the contractor, it's time for approval and signing the contract. It is crucial to review the contract in order to make sure that every detail of the job is accounted for. Unforeseen costs can arise once the job begins that aren't listed on the original contract. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing what mysteries may lay behind a wall that's to be removed. Outdated wiring may be hidden behind walls that will need to be updated. After a wall is removed for example, or a tile floor is ripped up, discoveries such as leaky doors and windows can cause water to seep down the walls and into the sub-floor. A rotten sub-floor which can't be seen until the existing tiles are removed means an increase in materials and labor in order to make the repair prior to installation of the new tile. This is an extra. Another unforeseen extra to be aware of a sub-floor is cracked due to the home settling. If cement board wasn't quoted for the flooring job, this would be an extra. These costs are called extras. They incur extra labor and extra material costs.

Most often extras occur because the contractor is on site and little changes are asked of them, which are not included in the original contract. Hanging a large decorative mirror, installing appliances that were purchased from a home improvement store instead of an appliance dealer are all extra costs. Some contractors won't even touch them where as depending on the appliance; the delivery technician for the appliance dealer is trained in the installation of these appliances. In turn a plumber or electrician may be needed for the install of which the remodel contractor does not want to take the risk or liability on the installation in case a malfunction occurs.

When changes occur, either a change order or detailed description of the scope of work need to be noted and approved by the homeowner. This process adds more time on the project completion end but covers everyone involved. Extras are not included in the original scope of the project incurring additional costs. A contractor is on the project to do the job for which they were hired. A good rule of thumb to remember, budget an additional 10% - 15% of the contract price quoted for extras.