Construction projects can seem overwhelming. You’ve heard the horror stories and don’t want any of that. You may need some guidance and expectations. Let’s break it down. Here it is:

1. Get the information first. Let’s start with the basics:

How big?

Where should it be?

How much can you afford? This will determine the “scope” of the project. (How big it is, what quality, bells and whistles)

What are your priorities?   When do you need it?

What happens in the building and property? Any future considerations?

blueprints-they better be bulletproof!

Who can you ask? /What resources are available?

Keep track of the answers and ask more questions!

Contact a mix of friends who have done this before, ask architects, builders, websites, municipal officials- get their input.

Plan, Plan and Plan! Stay organized- folders whether digital or manila are critical. Here is a link to a chart that helps with the planning tips and reminders related to your project.

2. Make construction /  design plans / blueprints with a professional.   Vet them.fully.

Ask about expectations and their record of delivery. Do contractors value their plans? Are they easy and clear to build from?

How will you be meeting? How many times will you meet? what will you discuss and when? The project can vary and the professionals involved will vary too. You will save yourself countless headaches, money and time using a professional who has been through it before and knows the ropes. Do not consider them as a vendor-they are your partners.  Be clear and concise when possible with your objectives, schedule, budget and priorities.

3.  Keep asking questions.

4.  Speak to folks in the area you are doing the work– are there any local issues you should be aware of?

5. Check your assumptions, create a schedule.


6.  Get a written agreement with your professional. Read it carefully, does it cover everything? contingencies?

7.  Meet regularly , take notes, be mindful of the decisions and move forward.

8. Get your records together: frequent documentation needed includes: surveys, deeds, home-owner association rules, landlord  regulations, restrictive covenants, municipal rules, ordinances, etc.

9. Pay attention! Don’t let a professional bog you down with fancy industry jargon. Ask  and keep asking until you fully understand what you are designing.

10. Get qualified builders– see our blogpost

11. Check those references.

12. Keep good records.  Get everything in writing including contracts, schedules, notices, invoices.  See no. 8.

13. Respond to questions promptly.

14. Pay promptly

15. Communicate more often than you think is needed.

16. Keep a sense of humor and keep your eye on the goal.

Please let me know if you have any questions….call now 914 980 5532 and ask for Steve



Article by Steven Secon