The role of the renovation consultant is to provide advice and guidance to their clients, who are typically homeowners involved with a renovation or repair project. The renovation consultant supports the owner in many ways, and empowers them with knowledge to achieve positive outcomes.
A renovation consultant, in effect, offers multiple mini-services from which an owner can select. Some may require just a few of the services offered to assist in the project while others may require guidance from the planning phase to completion.
The renovation consultant should be introduced to the contractor as an owner’s advocate, with a focus on improved communication and understanding between all parties. The contractor should be made fully aware of the owner’s wishes with regards to the role of the renovation consultant.
During Initial Planning Stage
Involving the renovation consultant (RC) at the beginning of the project will provide may benefits to the homeowner. Budgeting, goal setting and risk management are all tasks that the RC can assist with. The RC should also be involved with reviewing any project documents relating to the project to ensure the expectations of the homeowner are met by the proposed design and specifications.
During Bidding and Negotiations
The RC can act as the owner’s representative in the preparation and supervision of bidding documents. The RC can also manage changes to be made to the project documents, if necessary. They will also assist the owner by reviewing and comparing competitive bids that have been received.
Construction Progress Oversight
During project execution, the RC confirms that the contractor follows the terms of the contract, and that the work adheres to the agreed-upon specifications. Typically the RC reviews the work through on-site inspections.
a) Progress Inspections
The RC should visit the work site during all major phases of the project, or as requested by the homeowner. Many jobs can only be reviewed before the start of other tasks and sequences, so the RC should evaluate these timelines accordingly.
b) Change Work Orders
The RC can assist or act as the homeowner’s advocate with regards to changes or additions made to the project. As they are familiar with the overall plans, the RC can determine if such changes are necessary, and can assist in explaining the rationale and cost to the homeowners.
c) Dispute Resolution
Should any dispute arise between the homeowner and contractor, the RC is an invaluable resource. Contracts may even include a specific clause stating that involving the RC be the first step in resolving conflict. The RC will devise solutions that are in the best interest of the project, with both the owner and contractor in mind. With their extensive knowledge and impartiality, giving the RC the authority to find acceptable solutions will benefit all parties involved.
d) Payment Approval
Most contracts will have progress payments built in, in accordance to the various construction phases. The RC should review each phase to ensure that the agreed upon work has been completed before the owner releases funds to the contractor.
Upon project completion, the RC should review all work to ensure that the contract has been fulfilled. This will require not only a visual inspection, but inspections of structural, electrical and mechanical elements. Working with the owner’s legal counsel, the RC will assist in confirming there are no liens registered against the property. Only upon the final approval of the RC, should final funds be released to the contractor.
Renovation consultants provide a vital benefit to the owner during the construction process. By improving communication and understanding between all parties, renovation consultants help projects progress smoothly. To maximize their benefit, RC’s should be used from the initial planning stages of a project, to the substantial completion phase, before release of final funds.
Services Performed by a Renovation Consultant
Act as owner’s advocate in all aspects of project.
Assume many aspects of client’s role in the event of absentee owner.
Review plans, contracts and other project documents.
Review proposals from contractors and sub-trades to ensure they comply with owner’s objectives and help evaluate competitive bids.
Recommend cost-effective changes and additions to project that will help achieve owner’s goals.
Inspect work at various stages of project, in accordance with owner’s directions before the release of funds.
Provide a final inspection before the release of final funds.
Liaise with owner’s legal counsel to ensure property is not subject to any liens.
Other Related Services Provided by a Renovation Consultant
Problem solving/repair solutions to single issue defects such as a leaking basement.
Quality control consultations such as helping to plan, execute and inspect a single item home improvement such as replacing roofing shingles.
Renovation coaching for small renovation projects or for the do-it-yourselfer.
Services Not Performed by a Renovation Consultant
Professional design advice such as architectural, engineering of interior design, (unless the RC is licensed to perform such service).
Production of architectural drawings for the purpose of obtaining a building.
Arranging for inspections with authorities having jurisdiction and performing similar inspection services.
Becoming engaged in any aspect of the project whereby their impartiality is compromised.