An interior condo renovation is an exciting opportunity to make some big changes to some of the most common areas of your building – changes that affect your whole condominium community.
Whether you are considering a lobby makeover, corridors, party room, or all of the above, it is important to communicate effectively and plan accordingly.
Without proper communication and plan in place, a large interior renovation can cause a lot more frustration than necessary.
On the other hand, working together with a trustworthy and communicative team (including your contractor) will help keep everyone’s concerns in check throughout the process and ultimately deliver a better result.
To help you along, we have created a list of things to help guide you before your next interior common element renovation.
While it might seem simple, there are many different aspects and components to an interior condo renovation.
Who brought the project to the forefront?
Maybe a board member mentions the need for a new look in the lobby.
For some, that could mean a new wallcovering, or floors. But it could also mean a full-on renovation including new walls, floors, furniture, and lighting.
So if a project is around the corner, it would be a good idea to start taking notes on which aspects of the interior will change and which will stay.
Not only will this start to make the project more real, but it will also help when it comes time for budgeting.
2. Is The Project Documented?
To continue from the last point, it is a good idea to keep documentation of the project as it changes and progresses.
If it is a reserve fund project, how does your current proposed project compare with what is scheduled to be changed according to the study?
Your project document will be a living document in that things may be changed as you gather more information.
Keeping track of this will ensure things do not get missed along the way and will help avoid surprises.
3. Do The Property Manager And Board Have The Same Vision?
In our industry, we find that sometimes there can be a disconnect between what the property manager thinks the project involves versus what the board wants.
It is important to sort these details out early so that everyone is on the same page.
Imagine going into a meeting with a designer where both the property manager and board are asking for different things.
This type of unpreparedness can make meetings take longer than they should, cause confusion between parties, and potentially strain the relationship that a property manager has with the board and residents.
Get everyone on the same side, and you can eliminate a lot of future problems.
4. How Does Everyone Involved Feel About The Project?
This is important to know early on, as it will give you a good understanding about what everyone’s priorities are.
Board members change and so do property managers and their companies. It is entirely possible that when an interior project needs to be done, all (or most) members will have different comfort levels and ideas on how things should run.
You might have a long-standing board member who has been through a few renovations and is comfortable making bold decisions that affect the community.
On the other hand, you could also have a group of individuals (including property managers) who may be new to this and are petrified at the idea of having to make such a big decision that will affect the whole building for years to come.
Getting the board unified with a cohesive idea for the project can help minimize problems down the road.
Again, it comes down to proper communication.
5. What Is Your Process?
What type of plan do you have to get the work done?
Are you going to hire a designer or consultant and tender the job to multiple contractors for quotes?
Or would you rather work with a design-build firm and get a fully customized solution for your building?
Each option has its own advantages and the right process for your job really depends on what matters to the board at the time.
This is why it is important that everyone is on the same page here as well.
If you are interested in finding out which option is better for you, click here.
6. Where In The Process Are You?
Once you are familiar with the main two processes for a large interior renovation project, you can begin to figure out where along the process you fit in.
This is good to know, as you will know what information you need in order to move the project along and what the next steps are.
Is this budgeted for in the reserve fund?
When was this project originally scheduled to be done?
These are good to know in order to gauge the feasibility of the project and its proposed timeline.
Maybe the timing for this is now, but an unexpected maintenance expense the year before affected the amount of money in the reserve fund. At this point you have to consider either doing it now with the money you have, or spending more later and doing it better.
8. What Other Projects Are Coming Up?
If you have multiple projects coming up in the future, it may be wise to consider those as well when thinking about your interior condo renovation.
Functionality is usually much higher on the priority list than aesthetics, as I am sure residents would rather have an outdated lobby than a leaky unit. So if you know your building needs its sealants redone in the next year or so, plan to have enough to fund that project as it comes.
If you know roughly when you want to begin the project, you can begin to work backwards and establish a timeline of when certain decisions need to be made.
When this is known and everyone involved is aware and informed, it contributes to the flow of communication and helps keep the project moving smoothly.