Renovating a Condo – A New Beginning or Starting a Nightmare?

 Are you a Condominium Owner, Potential Buyer or Investor Planning a Renovation? condo renovation, condominium renovation, condo livingKeep the Following in Mind!

The Appeal of Condo Living – Condo ownership and living has tremendous appeal and advantages for many people of all all ages and income brackets. One big draws to condo ownership is the freedom from maintenance! Your monthly Condo fee covers difficult and time consuming tasks like exterior painting, cleaning gutters, shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, repairing outside structures, etc.

Whether or not a condo is for you and your family generally depends on your lifestyle choices and economic factors.

One negative to Condo living is that within each complex most units have similar floor plans and lack personal design touches. Many individuals and families who like the location, amenities and ease of living would like to put their personal signature on their unit by making physical changes – Renovations!

Making a Condo Your Own – While in most cases the buyers/owners are satisfied with the basic external structures,condo renovation, condominium renovation, hurdles to condo renovation they want to make changes to the floor plan and interior design to make the Condo more livable to meet their specific needs and possibly add value.

Unfortunately, renovating a Condo is not the same as other types of residential renovations! Here’s what other leaders in th real estate industry have written about planning Condo renovations:

The Spruce (a home [Condo] focused website offering practical, real-life tips to help create better homes) points out —

With respect to remodeling, condos can be both wonderful and a nightmare.  

Wonderful: by living communally with others, you harness the power of numbers.  Collective strength is powerful when negotiating costs with contractors. Also, big ticket projects tend to cost less than the sum of their parts.

Nightmare: everything else. Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) tightly control all aspects of condo remodeling through the CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions), which all condo owners become legally obligated to follow when they purchase their property…”

Houzz Ideabook by Yanic Simard added, Renovating a stand-alone house and renovating a condo unit can produce similar-looking results, but the processes can be very different. Each renovation of a condominium space comes with its own limitations, possibilities and strategies, all of which you should consider before beginning a project — even before purchasing a space. To make sure you aren’t hit with any unpleasant surprises…

Before starting the Condo renovation it is wise to fully understand the Risks and the Boundaries!

What To Do When Planning a Condo Renovation – The renovating a condo, renovating a condominium, condo renovation project manager, project manager above mentioned Houzz article offers 10 recommendations on how to proceed with a Condo Renovation. They are worth your attention:

1. Know the rules. The first thing to understand before planning a condo renovation is the relevant policies of your condo board…

2. Know who you’re renovating for. Once you know what your board will and will not allow, you have to figure out who you’re designing for…

3. Know your limits. Many of the points in this article may seem to be about things you can’t do, but it’s important to know your project limitations before you fall in love with an idea that you won’t be able to turn into reality…

4. Move the eye, not your fixtures. Usually, bathroom fixtures cannot be moved any significant distance — at least not without a massive expense — which means you’re going to have to leave that toilet where it is, and you may not be able to add that second sink…

5. Lower your lighting. Speaking of moving fixtures and walls, you should keep in mind that many condos have cement ceilings, which means you won’t be able to drill into them much either…

6. Build up instead of tearing down. Richly detailed moldings are popular for traditional houses, but condo projects often include them as well to give a home in the sky the same richness and traditional elegance as classic earthbound abodes. However, getting this look isn’t as simple as just tearing down the old, plain molding; the door frames that your condo unit comes with are probably metal and not easy to simply remove…

7. Stay flexible. I find that clients often come into renovation projects with a lot of decisions already made about what they do and do not want, not just in a more general sense, but sometimes in very specific ways…

8. Don’t be afraid to paint. You may hate a dramatically dark paint job. Or you may love it but worry what the next owner would think. Ultimately, the risk in choosing an unusual paint color is overrated… 

9. Work with a third party. When working within the rules of a more strict condo association, it can benefit you even more than usual to work with a designer or tradesperson. These pros can go beyond just the essential contractor duties and help coordinate the many deliveries. That way, the arrival of furniture and materials is streamlined to fewer individual trips, with materials arriving only when needed…

10. Stay somewhere else. If at all possible, complete a condo renovation while you do not live in the space. Either do the work before you move in, or find a temporary residence for a week or so during the most intense part of the construction, such as when you won’t have a bathroom or kitchen for a few days.
Staying with friends, family or even at a hotel for a few days can turn your mid-renovation nightmare into a fun trip or staycation. You’ll experience much less stress, and you’ll enjoy the process more without having to see the ugly, messy in-between phases of construction when clients most often freak out…

From the above it becomes obvious that renovating a Condo has its hurdles! Taking your renovation from inception to completion requires planning, patience and diligence – It’s not for the faint of heart!

What To Do Next – Don’t Give Up! You Can Put Your Signature on the Condo! We at PPR hope that the above has not convinced you to:

  1. Start searching for another Condo that does not need renovations

  2. Abandon the changes you hoped to make to your current Condo and live with what you have

  3. Sell the Condo you have to find another with exactly what you want

  4. Move into a single family home!

If you like the style, location, neighborhood, neighbors, etc. of the Condo you live in, are considering buying or investing in, it may be worth your investment of time and money to move forward with the renovations. Many people have taken this route and are very pleased with the process and results! Our recommendation at PPR is “Don’t Go It Alone”. Work with professionals, and follow the three P’s – Plan-Plan-Plan!

OK – Let’s Get Started with Your Condo Renovation – The 1st Moves ia a Must! As you start putting your renovation ideascondo renovation management, project management, condominium renovation, renovating a condo together, interview and select a Project Manager(PM)The PM can mitigate the Systemic Risks and Stress Points involved in your Condo renovation.

The Project Manager(PM) vs a General Contractor(GC)? The General Contractor(GC) will have a much more limited role in your renovation process. The GC work tends to begin after the Architect and Engineer(s) provides designs and quotes/costs. The GC’s work ends when the physical renovation is completed. In addition, the GC is usually not trained or skilled in the compliance and negotiating skills required to work with the multiple entities involved in your Condo renovation. 

The PM will be at your side and acting as your eyes and ears – Your WatchDog – from the inception of the renovation until its completion. The PM will: (1) Work with you, Architect and Engineer(s) during the design/cost phases; (2) Assure that all appropriate documents are filed and approved; (3) Vet the required trades and suppliers to meet your specific requirements; and (4) Be onsight during the renovation to assure that your interests are well represented with a focus on Quality, Cost and Timeliness. The PM will be loyal to you and only you – not sharing loyalties with trades and suppliers.

More about the Project Manager:

  • The PM will work with you at each and every stage of the renovation and make sure all I’s are dotted ant T’s are crossed. The PM will handle the Boards, Associations, Committees, Regulators, etc. The PM will be your eyes and ears and substantially reduce your – and your family’s – risk and stress. The PM will be your WatchDog! 
  • The PM will help select qualified Architects, Engineers and required Trades not only to reduce your risk but also to expedite the entire renovation process. 
  • The PM will be sensitive to your and your neighbors needs throughout the renovation process to avoid inconveniences and complaints. 
  • The PM will take the time to align your – and your family’s – personal interest with the input and work of the Architect, Engineers, Trades, etc.
  • The PM will closely monitor all changes in Cost, Timelines and Situations that might have an impact on quality or your desired aesthetic.
  • The PM will maintain open lines of communications with you to assure transparency about the status of the your renovation project. 

While your Condo renovations will be challenging, the hurdles, stress and risks can be overcome by working with a Project Manager!

The Bottom Line. You can’t always make the renovations on your Condo you desire!

As HomeFixated stresses, “Being a condo owner often feels like living in the purgatory of real estate. On one hand, you’re an owner! It’s property in your name that you’re responsible for and have a say on. On the other hand, your property is within the confines of a condo corporation, and so, they too, have a certain responsibility and say over what happens within their domain.”

As the Condo owner, you – and your Project Manager – have to walk a fine line of what you want to do with your home and what you’re allowed to do.

The Good News is that it is your Condo and you can renovate within certain guidelines!

project manager, condo renovation watchdog, Are you a Condo Owner, Potential Buyer, or Investor Planning a Renovation?

Are You Interested In What a Project Manager Will Do For You? Tell Us About Your Condo Project –

PPR is a Good Listener!

We Will Be Your WatchDog! Email Phil Eide – Text/Call – 216.577.5579

Successful Home Renovations Are All About Decisions! Do You Have The Time and Expertise?

Do You Have the Time and Expertise to Vet, Schedule, Supervise and Coordinate a Team of Tradesman to control your Renovation’s Quality, Timelines, and Cost Outcomes? 
Even a limited renovation project can require multiple tradesconstruction trades, vetting trades, selecting trades working with several of your home’s structures and systems, ie. electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc. In addition, once a project is underway there can be costly surprises – Most Avoidable!
Expect the Unexpected – Recently we, Properties, Probe & Renovation(PPR), were called into a project that started small but was full of costly surprises for the owner! The owner’s original plan was for a new deck, fence and cosmetic interior improvements. The plan changed dramatically and the cost skyrocketed due to system failures that were uncovered as work began. The projects evolved into a need for mold remediation, system replacements, structural improvements and the need to fully redo the interior! The original plan evolved into a major renovation!
Note – A forensic inspection of the house prior to the owners beginning the home inspections, house inspections, property inspectionssmall projects would have made a tremendous difference in the planning process, the time required for renovation and have reduced the overall costs – as well as reducing the emotional roller coaster of surprises for the owner! Even though the inspection would have delivered bad news, the owner would not have been constantly facing unexpected surprises and the accompanying unexpected costs!
When the owner contacted PPR to be the Project Manager, we were able to work with him to: (1) Bring organization to the renovation project, (2) Create timelines (3) Establish a flexible budget (4) Begin the process of vetting the required trades, and (5) Bring the owner some Peace-of-Mind. PPR became the owner’s eyes and ears – His WatchDog!

As PPR working with the owner looked at the all encompassing renovation, it became apparent that a long list of integrated trades would be needed to bring the project to completion. Each of the trades would need to be vetted for quality, availability and cost. The owner of the property did not have the time or expertise to perform the vetting. This is one of the ways a Project Manager is valuable.

PPR need to vet ththe extensive list of trades below! This list should assist other owners in understanding the time and expertise required to select, manage, supervise and coordinate the tradesman and other professionals required to complete a project!
Note – the above owner’s home was only 1,400 square feet!
Here’s a Sample List of Tradespeople
Storage Facilities
Fence Installers
Landscape Designers
Floor Heater
Mudders & Tappers
Foundation Experts
Organizers & Packers
Garage Door Installers
Painters – Interior
Trench Diggers
Chimneys and
Geothermal Systems
Painters – Exterior
Trash Haulers
Closet Systems
Pest Control
Utility Line Locators
Counter Installers
Gutters & Downspouts
Wall Paper Installers
Day Labor
Hot Water Heaters
POD Providers
Window & Doors
Zoning Specialists
Insulation Specialists
Security Systems
And More!
Interior Designers
Siding Companies
Kitchen – Interior
Site Selection
Kitchens- Exterior
Stone Flooring
Do You Have the Time or Expertise to Vet, Schedule, and Supervise a Team of Tradespeople to fulfill your Project’s Quality and Cost-Efficiency Outcomes? PPR does.
 vetting trades. property manager

The PPR Mission — To Protect the Client’s Interests and Provide Peace of Mind!!

PPR will Safeguard the Quality and Costs of Your Forensic Inspection and/or Renovation Project by vetting expert tradespeople, efficiently scheduling project tasks, coordinating projects and providing onsight oversight. Our WatchDog Services!      

         Tell us about your Project…
            Contact Phil Eide . Email: . Call or Text: 216.577.5579 . Visit: 



Is There a Monster Living In Your House? Is Mold Making Your Family Sick?

Let’s Talk About Something That May Be Lurking In Your House – MOLD & MOISTURE!

Your home is generally a place to spend time with family and friends where you feel safe, enjoy living, eat and sleep. This pretty picture changes dramatically when molds begin to grow – most often due to an abundance of moisture!

About Mold – While for most people house mold is feared and a dirty mold, toxic mold, black mold, remediation, mold removalword, the fact is that mold in some form exists in every house. No matter how clean you are, it is there! Mold is a natural part of the environment in any home. Mold only becomes a problem when it is allowed to grow and spread – especially when fueled my moisture!

Excess moisture can turn your home into a petri dish! According to the EPA, “mold is considered to be the #1 indoor air quality problem in U.S. housing”. Beyond the health hazard of mold, water intrusion can lead to structural rot, cosmetic issues and poor long-term durability. Water can also contribute to other problems, such as pest infestation.

Note – The Myth of “Toxic Black Mold” – “The term “Toxic Black Mold” has absolutely no scientific validation. It is a term made up by the media. Unfortunately, much like a video that goes viral, the term has resonated with both private companies that use it to exemplify potential dangers, and public officials, who seek to regulate the industry.”

Affects of Mold – Mold can cause health problems that range from itching eyes, sneezing and coughing to serious allergic reactions, asthma attacks and even permanent lung damage. Because people do not know what to look for, the health problems are often noticed before the mold.

Mold can lead to respiratory problems for:

a) Children

b) The elderly

c) Pregnant women

d) People with suppressed immune systems.

e) People who suffer from allergies

f) People who have asthma

Extensive indoor mold infestations can affect otherwise healthy people. If you have observed mold in your house, it is important to have the seriousness of the problem assessed.

What Causes Mold In Your House? – Moisture Is the Problem! If mold, toxic mold, remediation, mold and health, black moldyour house is moldy, the real problem is water infiltration and/or prolonged humidity – levels over 60%. Unless you rectify the water and humidity problems, you’re never going to get rid of the mold.

Note — An inexpensive humidity gauge can be purchased at most hardware stores. Most of these stores also carry a pinless moisture meters for measuring the moisture levels of walls.

Types of Mold? – According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “…the most common indoor molds are cladosporium, penicillium, alternaria and aspergillus. Most of the molds are allergenic molds. Some people are going to be sensitive to it, and others are not. On the other hand, Stachybotrys chartarum – often called toxic mold is more rare. This heavy, dense, black mold is most often caused by a long-term moisture problem.”

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to tell what kind of mold you have by looking at it. Mold is colored by what it eats more than what it is; therefore, it is indistinguishable without testing by a professional.

Sources of water infiltration – Often nurturing the growth of mold (Excerpts for the of Toronto):

1) Basements – Basement water can come from several sources: eavestroughs, foundations, sewers, pipes.

2) Bathrooms – If you spot the ceiling under a bathroom starting to bubble and flake, chances are you’ve got a leak in your bathtub, shower, toilet or sink.

3) Condensation – If you find water on the floor or dripping from your pipes.

4) Downspouts – Blocked downspouts can back up your eavestroughs and these can spill down the walls into the house.

5) Eavestroughs – Generally, the one of the most likely culprits in the event of water leaking into through the basement walls is your eavestroughs and downspouts.

6) Foundation Walls – Concrete walls crack! When a house settles and the concrete hardens, cracks appear and water can enter.

7) Grade and Landscaping – Ensure all landscaping around the perimeter of your house slopes away from the foundation and that no dirt is piled above the level of your first floor.

8) Plumbing – Water pipes can and do leak, seals in fixtures wear out. Sink drains can spring a leak and toilets can shift off their sealing gaskets.

9) Roofing – A roof leak is a big issue, because, not only will it damage any fibreglass insulation in the walls and attic nearby, it’s also the most likely place to get mold. It will also weaken the home’s structure with rot.

10) Sump Pump Failures – Some homes sit on top of underground waterways and have chronic issues with the water constantly flowing around or under their home and it finds its way inside. Other houses are in low-lying areas which may not drain as quickly after a storm. In those cases, a sump pump is a solution.

11) Weeping Tile Failures– Weeping tile is a system of small pebbles and perforated pipe laid along the perimeter of the house at the footings. If your basement is constantly leaking from the bottom of the foundation, it may be the weeping tiles have failed, because they’re blocked with debris or have broken.

12) Basement Windows – Basement windows can leak if they are old and rotten or if the caulking at grade has failed. A common cause of basement leaking are window wells.

13) Sewer backups – Sewer backups are the worst of all leaks. A big storm simply overwhelms the system with a tsunami of rain water. If it’s not a storm, it’s usually a blockage emanating from the house.

Water damage to your home could be more costly than you think — Whatever the source of the water, the EPA cautions “that if damp or wet building materials or furnishings are not cleaned and dried within 24 to 48 hours, the moisture can lead to mold growth. So if it takes a couple of days to notice that leaky faucet or the rainwater that seeped into the basement, mold probably exists”.

When is a mold inspection needed? – According to MoldManUSA – an inspection and removal service, there are 8 signs that you may need a mold inspection:

1. You are experiencing allergic symptoms, such as stuffy head, headaches, scratchy throat, runny nose and not sure why.

2. You think you see mold but are not totally sure it is mold.

3. You smell a musty odor but don’t see any obvious mold.

4. There have been plumbing leaks or water issues in your home or office.

5. You want or need air testing after mold removal has been done by you or a professional to check whether mold levels have normalized.

6.You are a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction and need evidence whether airborne mold levels are not normalized.

7. You a landlord or tenant and need evidence whether there is a mold problem.

8. You are looking for a general assessment of your indoor air quality to make sure your family is breathing high quality clean air in your home.

In addition to an inspection for mold, an assessment for the sources for water infiltration is essential. The inspector should go over the house from top to bottom with a moisture sensor, and show you exactly where water was infiltrating the framing of the house and causing mold.

Home Advisor suggests, “If you suspect the presence of mold but aren’t sure or know you have mold but don’t know what kind or how much, you should immediately call a professional to consult your situation and the best approach to removal. These professionals, also known as certified Industrial Hygienists (IH), will charge an average of $300 to $500 to test your property and home for mold levels.”

Home Advisor further notes, “If you ignore the mold [and water] problem in your home, it will grow. The more mold there is, the more costly the removal, so address your mold problem as soon as you suspect you have one…”

Note — In some situations small sections of the wall and ceilings may need to be removed to determine the extent of the mold. It is essential to have the mold completely remediated by a professional utilizing approved equipment.

Mold Remediation (Removal) & the Cost – Mold remediation can be very dirty, tedious, and sometimes even dangerous. It is essential to wear the proper protective equipment – including a quality, well-maintained respirator. If you are not educated on the proper mold removal and remediation guidelines as provided by OSHA and other state and federal regulatory committees it is best left to professionals.

Note — Don’t forget to find a safe place for your pets during the remediation process!

The cost of remediation can vary significantly per the size and extent of the mold. Generally, initial inspections are free enabling the company to provide an estimate. According to HouseLogic, “When you find mold growing in your home, sound the alarm and get rid of it fast. Delay can mean extensive and costly remediation and repairs. On average, professional mold remediation costs $500 to $6,000 — but the price can soar into the tens of thousands if the problem is severe.”

Note – Don’t Fall for a Quick Fix or Gimmicks: Ozone generators, chemicals and other mold-killing (or covering) measures can be more toxic than the mold itself. They don’t actually kill the mold at its source. Remember that mold has to be completely removed, the moisture problem fixed, and the wet materials either dried or replaced. Any other mold killing services are a waste of money.

Does Home Insurance Cover Mold Remediation? – Maybe! It is important to immediately contact your agent and/or insurer upon the detection of mold. You will also want to be able to explain to them the source of the moisture contributing to the growth of the mold. Don’t presume your homeowners insurance will pay to fix your mold problems. Insurance typically pays if the problem results from an emergency already covered on your policy, like a burst pipe, but not if mold resulted from deferred maintenance, persistent moisture, seepage, or from floodwaters (unless you have flood insurance).

Conclusions – Mold in homes can be a costly and dangerous problem, particularly when infestations of so-called toxic black mold occur. The symptoms and health effects of mold exposure and toxic mold poisoning cover a wide range of health problems Understanding how to detect moldmold, mold and health risks, black mold, toxic mold and the negative health indicators can help keep you and your family safe by having a professional inspection and the appropriate remediation.

If you have questions about the above – or about Properties, Probe & Renovation’s 5 Services, Let’s Start a Discussion!

The best way is to send us a brief email – – describing your project, location and any questions. You can also call or text Phil at 216.577.5579.

Don’t forget to visit our website –

Caution – Home Renovations With An Expectation of an ROI?

We at PPR found this great article about renovating a home before selling  – with the expectation of an increased ROI!renovations, home improvements, renovations, remodeling

Here’s an excerpt – “Basic infrastructure upgrades could prove valuable, though… The best improvements a home seller can make are replacing the roof, HVAC, electrical and plumbing. The reason for this is that most home buyers will have a professional inspection and most homes require homeowners insurance, and if the aforementioned items are not in good condition, it may increase carrying costs for the new buyer or an immediate out-of-pocket burden that is too much and break up a deal.” Harold Tribune Article – Chris Wille, Real Estate Editor

It should be noted that only a thorough forensic inspection will uncover the need for these types of upgrades – whether planning to sell or not!

Visit our website or give me a call – 216.577.5579 or Email – to discuss your project and PPR’s 5 Services!

Seriously…You can Avoid the potential Dark Side of Home Renovation…

Horror Story or Dream-Come-True? The PPR 24-Item Home/Condo Renovation “Must-Do” Prevention/ Preparation Check-List!

 Making the Decision to Renovate.

home renovations, renovations, remodeling, renovation disasters, project managementDeciding to renovate your home is one of the most important decisions you can make as a home owner. We all have heard the horror stories associated with a renovation project. Despite this, we embark on a home renovation because we have high hopes and huge dreams about creating satisfying, even luxurious living spaces.

 Renovation Equals Messy.

Regardless of the most exacting planning, a renovation process creates disruption and is messy…

          –messy in the design planning with its multiple ideas and final decisions you, your family, your architect/designer, and Project Manager must consider and agree upon;

          –messy during construction with the basic flow of every-day-life put in disarray despite the best efforts of your Project Manager to control the construction process;

          –messy in the furnishing choices, wait-time, and coordination until the final outcome is achieved!

 The Knight in Shining Armor: Your Check-List (and your Project Manager!)

To prevent the excitement of your new space turning into an escalation of frustration, an out-of-hand budget, and a disappointment of epic proportions, reno prep is mandatory. And your 24-Item PPR Home/Condo Renovation “Must-Do” Prevention/Preparation Check-List must now become your newest, most-important best friend!

 If you take the Check-List to heart, the process and stages of your renovation can be reasonably orderly and achievable with the least amount of stress for you and your family. The 24-Item PPR Home/Condo Renovation “Must-Do” Prevention/Preparation Check-List which follows is a guide; you and your Project Manager will custom-tailor the List to meet your renovation requirements.
The PPR 24-Item Home/Condo Renovation “Must-Do” Prevention/Preparation Check-List

  1) Thoroughly discuss the project with family. Agree on the details of the renovation: Type, Time, Style, Budget, Design Details, etc.

  2) Determine what you can afford allowing for 20-40% in cost overages. You may want to consider checking with your financial adviser(s) to line up any necessary financing which will be involved. At this stage of early planning, keep in mind that renovation projects are synonymous with unexpected costs due to changes in required or desired material and/or construction.
  3) Check with Governmental Entities about Codes, Permits, and Scheduling Inspections.  Note – Your Project Manager (PM) will do this for you. Your PM will also assure that each of the trades is fully aware of the regulations and that the materials used meet the codes. Inspections  often must be scheduled and approval obtained before walls go in!
  4) Consider how to manage living arrangements for you and your family during the renovation. Availability of power, water and heat may be limited at times during the renovation. Remember that among other problems there will be dust, muddy areas, loud noises and a constant flow of unfamiliar work people.
  5) Consider the Living Arrangements for Your Pets and Animals. Remember that among other challenges, there will be dust, muddy areas, loud noises and a constant flow of unfamiliar workers.
  6) Check with all related Home Owner Associations to assure that your project is in compliance. Each and every association has its own set of restrictions. It is best to understand the regulations to avoid delays, required changes and unnecessary litigation.
  7) Let your neighbors know about your renovation plans. Note – Your PM will do this for you. Projects create noise, dust, mud and traffic. It is best to keep peace in the community.
  8) Determine your ideal time to start the renovation. Note – Your PM can assist you in determining the best availability of skilled trades and to get the best prices. Realize that the house will need to be organized and storage may be required. Generally allow 30 days for the organizing process.
  9) Initiate the planning stage by working with a Project Manger (PM) – not a General Contractor (GC). There is a startling difference between the services of a PM and a GC. Follow This Link to read and understand which of the two professionals best represents your real estate interest from project inception to project completion and which offers the most comprehensive project onsite oversight.
  10) Find the right renovation Professionals for you and your Family. Interview and vet the parties to make sure there is a good fit for your project:

            Project Manager (PM)


            Structural Engineer

            Interior Designer(s)

  11) Get a Floor Plan for the entire house: The measurements and location of Structures/Systems. Knowing the measurements and structures of the entire house and sharing them with the various trades as necessary will save time and per-hour-costs of tradespeople on your project. Look to your PM to accomplish this task. Your PM should check with each of the trades and suppliers to assure that they have the exact measurements before ordering, cutting, installing, etc.
  12) Check for and mark all utility lines – Gas, Water, Electric, Sewer/Sump- located in areas affected by renovation. Note – Your PM will make these arrangements. This is extremely important! Your PM will also guide the trades as they work in the areas where utilities are located to prevent disruption of service and added repair and construction delay costs.
  13) Assure that the Electric Service is adequate for the new renovation. Note – Your PM will do this for you. Most homes built before 2000 did not anticipate the electronic load required to energize the multiple devices we use in our homes today. Your utility and your PM can determine your needs working with the Architect and Engineer(s).
  14) Discuss the renovation project with your Insurer. During and following the renovation you will want to make sure that your coverage meets your needs. This is not a good time to be under-insured!
  15) Focus on Quality and Durability as well as Appearances. Given the multiple number of suppliers, products and price points, it is extremely important to take into consideration the quality, durability, price, and appearance when comparing the construction materials you are choosing.
  16) Choose Designs that will provide lasting value – Avoid trends and fads! The renovation and design should enable you and your family enjoyment and comfort for years to come. Suppliers and the shows on TV feature ideas that are designed to sell products which excite an audience…but what is made popular today may not be good for you in the longer run or to a potential buyer in the future.
  17) Plan the organizing, decluttering, packing and storage required to get the renovation underway. On average, it takes at least 30 days to prepare the home or condo for the renovation. At this stage, working with your PM or a trained Organizer is essential to assure that the items discarded as trash really are trash items and not valuable to you. It is essential that you and your family’s possessions are protected and that moving back into the house goes smoothly based on an orderly method of boxing and labeling your household goods as part of the preparation process. Reminder: You or your PM should make arrangements for delivery and location of a dumpster.
 18) Carefully protect your possessions that are valuable, sentimental or fragile. There will be a constant flow of people in and out of the house during the renovation. Nothing is safe!
  19) Work with your PM and the other Professionals to assure that they thoroughly understand Your Goal. It is essential that you, your family and all of the professionals involved in your renovation project understand all of the nuances of why you are renovating. Every family they work with has a different set of motivations and desired outcomes. Make sure your PM schedules regular “Pulse Meetings” so that all parties are aware of the current status of the project. If you have selected the right professionals, they will share in your vision and do everything possible to make your Dreams Come True!
  20) Schedule a Forensic Home Inspection for the entire structure and property. While the renovation itself may only involve a part of your home, the systems and structures are inherently tied together. It is essential to have a forensic inspection to understand the condition of all structures and systems as well as to limit unfortunate and costly surprises.
  21) Schedule the times that you want to be on site to tour and inspect the renovation’s progress. You or your family’s presence can be extremely disruptive to the trades in getting their work accomplished. This will create additional clock hours with additional costs to your project. Let your PM represent you!
  22) Avoid making unnecessary design changes after the PM, Architect, Engineer(s) and Design firm(s) have finalized a renovation plan and budget. Changes cause the overall costs to skyrocket and timelines to become extended. In addition, work that has already been accomplished by the trades may need to be replaced at your cost.
  23) Check all deliveries of materials, fixtures and supplies— Discrepancies are often the norm rather than the exception. Your PM should check all invoices to assure accuracy plus open all boxes and check that the delivery matches the ordered material, quantity, quality and condition. Your PM should reject order discrepancies. The new invoice will need to be adjusted, a new delivery date scheduled, and the trades involved in using the product notified about the delay. The PM will then adjust all timelines involved and provide them to the trades.
  24) Expect the Unexpected. You’ll Sleep Better!
In Conclusion – When embarking on a renovation, the more you plan, the luckier you get and the more rewarding your project becomes! A strategic plan initiated at renovations, renovation goals, renovation expectations, construction dreams, property managementthe beginning of your renovation project is one of the most significant contributing factors to a successful project! As you can see from the above Check-List, a successful project depends in part on being well organized, working with the right people, and              constantly being aware of your surroundings.
 Either you or the Project Manager (PM) needs to be omnipresent – a condition which PPR calls “Onsight Oversight”. You or the PM must have the ability to creatively solve problems and communicate with parties from a multitude of backgrounds who offer diverse skill sets while being constantly aware of Time, Quality and Cost. In addition, the focus must always be on obtaining the desired results.
 Who will be your Project Manager? From inception to completion, a renovation should be a full-time job. It is, in fact, a very big job!

Do you have the time, expertise and patience to oversee the project from start to finish – every day? Or do you think the renovation project would go more smoothly if you worked with a full-time Project Manager (PM), thereby allowing you to attend to your regular work, travel, or leisure schedule while providing you and your family peace-of-mind?

PPR, renovation oversight, your property watchdog

If, upon consideration, you would like to explore the option of hiring a Project Manager, feel free to discuss your Project with PPR at no cost or obligation! Our PPR WatchDog will protect your Real Estate interests and point you in the right directions! 

    Email or 

  Call Direct: 216.577.5579

How To Avoid the Renovation Nightmares You’ve Heard About!

Choose a Project Manager (PM) – OVER – a General Contractor (GC)

You’ve Heard the Horror Stories..And I’ve Been There Myself! Many years ago I depended on a GC to oversee a large renovation project only to find myself in the midst of continual project delays, inferior materials and installations and as a result, a project completed at a lesser quality Using a Project Manager - Making the right renovation decision!than the overall design had dictated plus many lost dollars. The GC made claims and promises he did not keep and I had virtually no recourse. I learned then how important an Owner Representative Project Manager is…one who provides onsite oversight to meet the owner’s objectives from project inception to project completion. Choosing a PM over a GC makes it possible to survive a renovation so that planned outcomes are realized with a minimum of unplanned disruptions, stress, sleepless nights, problems with partners, and financial losses!

Choose the Smoothest Renovation Project Experience: Hire a PM, NOT a GC! The common wisdom is that a residential and/or commercial real estate renovation project requires a GC to head up the construction, which is only one phase of the project . Unfortunately, especially in the residential realm, most owners are not aware of the more comprehensive role which a PM plays in a renovation: managing a renovation project from design, through construction to completion. In other words, the PM oversees the entire project as the owner’s representative; the GC only operates during the construction phase representing his/her staff of trades and vendors supplying construction materials. The use of a PM is more common to commercial projects, and high-end construction and renovations. They are utilized by top architectural firms.

Unfortunately, most owners planning to begin a renovation project begin the construction process by interviewing and asking for bids from GCs only after working with architects and engineers during the design phase. The wiser course is for the owner to seek out a PM at the start of the design process who then moves into the construction phase understanding, visualizing, and executing the overall project design through onsite oversight.

Here’s Where Many Renovation Nightmares Begin! Not realizing that they have the PM choice, many owners try to find a GC thinking the GC represents their interests and will therefore work to meet their specific needs, complete the project on time and stay in budget. Most owners who have undertaken a renovation, however, encounter the following problems as a result of working with a GC because a GC is NOT the owner’s representative, but rather represents their staff of trades and their materials vendors.

Common GC Nightmares

                                  Lack of Communications                                                             Systems Failure

                                  Attitude Problems w/Subcontractors                                        Unfinished Projects

                                  Starting & Quitting Times w/ Workers                                       Missed Deadlines

                                  Worker Cleanliness, Attire and Language                                 Lack of Invoices and Documentation

                                  Lack of Craftsmanship                                                                  Project Cost Overruns

                                  Substandard Materials and Installation                                     Delayed Completion Dates

                                  Lack of GC Project & Worker Oversight                                     Lack of Transparency

                                  Unfinished Projects                                                                        Lack of Ongoing Accountability

                                  Lack of Oversight                                                                            Inferior Materials

                                  Inferior Installations                                                                       Expensive Litigation

Need More Info on the Difference Between a PM and a GC? Here are Some Details… 

The Project Manager (PM) becomes involved in the owner’s renovation process during the planning/ pre-construction phase and continues to work on behalf of the client by overseeing the construction project on a day-by-day basis from start to finish. The PM vets the best of workers, trades, and subcontractors to complete each individual phase of the project with a concentrated effort to streamline project scheduling among the trades to keep the focus on quality, cost and time. By involving PMs early in the development process, the pre-construction design team is capable of making more informed decisions and the construction team is capable of deriving more precise cost estimates, thereby saving the client time and money. The collaboration between the client, construction Project Manager, architects and engineers results in a better-informed and more efficient project process, further strengthens relationships, and yields specific and overall project outcomes which best meet the client’s plan design.

The General Contractor (GC) becomes involved after the architects and engineers have completed the plans and is responsible for only the management and coordination of the construction phase of a project. GCs are typically hired on by the client through a bidding process that integrates the advice from the client’s consultants, namely the architects and engineers. Often the lowest qualified bid is selected for the job. The GC uses his own staff, trades, subcontractors and materials vendors with whom he/she has a working relationship. Once the construction process is underway, the GC primarily interacts with the client through the architect. There is little to no effort made to foster an environment of cooperation and collaboration between the GC, client, and architect. Often, this results in misunderstandings, confrontations, hostilities and less than planned-for project outcomes.

                           Item-by-item Comparison Between a PM and a GM

Project Manager (PM)

General Contractor (GC)

Works with Architects & Engineers at the beginning of the Real Estate Renovation project– Assists with design and purchasing

Bids on project after architectural & engineering plans are drafted – Not involved in the client, architect, or engineer’s design vision so execution can be compromised

Has the capacity to manage multiple types of projects

Often has expertise and workers focused on specific types of construction

Vets and hires the most expert trades and professionals to construct each job associated with the renovation, researches the best solutions for the design, and oversees materials quality and installation

Utilizes own staff, trades, and materials vendors with whom they have an ongoing relationship, often with cursory regard for the expertise needed for a given project

Trades and subcontractors hired by PM as the Owner’s Representative

Trades and subcontractors work for GC – Client has little or no say

Works with the client, architect, and designers to select materials compatible with the owners specifications

Generally works with the materials provided by the client through the architects and designers, and/or the materials vendors with whom the GC has a financial relationship, with minimal, if any, client input

As the Owner’s Representative, works with Architects, Engineers and specific trades to assure that all permits are obtained, work is to code, and that inspections go smoothly to protect the owner

Generally expects the Architects, Engineers and Subcontractors to handle permits, code violations and inspections with the responsibility for meeting code requirements left to the Client.

Works with client on paying trades and subcontractors when projects – or parts of projects – have been inspected for quality and approved when the job specifications have been met. Provides the client with invoices and daily work logs

Client pays GC who pays the Trades and Subcontractors and materials as agreed upon with client, most often without critical materials and/or project quality inspection and approval…GC may or may not itemize expenses and hours for the client

Communicates with the client on a daily basis – or as agreed upon. Total transparency re: the concerns, progress and costs of projects

Generally have limited communications with the client – unless there are major problems, delays or when more funding is required

Provides onsite oversight whenever work is being done on projects associated with the renovation, inspecting projects for quality as work is being done

Is on site only as needed by the trades and subcontractors with cursory oversight for quality of materials and installation specified by the project design

Here’s a Second Opinion About the Value of a PM vs a GC

From a Leader in the Construction Industry…

Watchdogpm is an owner representative firm for large commercial and industrial projects and is not related to PPR. Watchdogpm says that before you decide whether to hire a Project PM or a GC for your next real estate project, you should

…know the difference. And if you can’t decide, do your project a favor: hire a project manager who will manage your full project scope, not just construction.”

Here’s the PPR Conclusion – If you want a strong foundation for the real estate renovation project you are Project Manager, construction manager, home renovations, remodeling, real estateconsidering, it’s time to take the 1st Steps by putting together your management team: Architect; Engineers and Project Manager. Then your renovation project will be completed with a minimum of fuss and bother and a maximum of satisfaction and pride!

We’re good listeners at PPR and if you and we agree that the fit is right our PPR WatchDog is ready, willing and able to protect your real estate interests by managing the full scope of your project through onsite oversight–from inception to completion!

Want to discuss your project? Contact PPR by email or call 216.577.5579