Checklist for a Home Construction Project

Beth Asaff
House formed of tools

Home renovation projects frequently encompass a lot more detail and planning than many homeowners realize. From the initial planning stages to the final finishing touches, having an outline of what steps to take can help ensure that your project comes in on time and remains under budget, without missing any crucial details.

Checklist for a Home Construction Project

Every home improvement project is different. Some will be small jobs tackled by DIY homeowners, while others will be full scale renovations involving the whole home. Use this checklist as a starting point for your renovation, and modify it as necessary to suit your needs. The goal of using a checklist is to help you navigate the project smoothly and easily.

Planning Stages

□ Determine whether the project is classified as a home improvement or a home repair

□Visit your town or city hall to learn what the regulations are for what you plan on undertaking, and if permits are required.

□Gather ideas for what you are planning including:

  • Magazine photos
  • Color samples
  • Material samples

□Make a list of all areas of the home you plan on renovating

□Contact a design firm and have plans drawn up for more major improvements including:

  • Whole home renovations
  • Kitchen renovations
  • Bathroom renovations
  • New additions

□Approve and sign off on plans

□Locate a general contractor, builder or design firm to oversee the project

□Draw up and sign contracts with the GC to include an understanding of:

  • Total project cost
  • Material allowances
  • Time frame from ground breaking
  • The party responsible for pulling permits
  • The party responsible for purchasing and acquiring all building materials, including fixtures and finishing items
  • Payment schedule and terms
  • Hiring of subcontractors, plumbers, electricians and carpenters
  • Waste disposal

Arrange for financing

□Select materials including:

  • Floor coverings
  • Countertop materials
  • Cabinet materials
  • Crown molding and trim
  • Baseboard moldings
  • Type and size of windows
  • Wall coverings
  • Paint colors
  • Cabinet hardware
  • Door hardware
  • Light fixtures
  • Appliances
  • Shutters
  • Roofing materials
  • Decking materials
  • Bathroom fixtures and faucets
  • Kitchen fixtures and faucets
  • Fireplace surround tile or mantel and hearth

□Ensure all fixtures, plumbing and electrical appliances are code compliant with your area, and get documentation from the manufacturer if necessary

Managing the Project

□Oversee purchasing of all materials and get estimated lead and arrival times

□Schedule work on the house to begin as soon as all materials have arrived at the house

□Open all boxes of material as they arrive to double check color, material and quantity

□Clearly label all boxes containing specialty items such as shower tile or backsplash materials and move them to the relevant rooms

□Arrange for alternate sleeping, eating, bathing or cooking arrangements while renovations are taking place

□Arrange for dumpsters, trash removal or removal of debris

□Walk through the project with the contractor one last time, explaining plans, materials and placement

□Check in frequently with the contractor to ensure the project is moving on schedule and everything appears as it should

□Inspect each finished stage of the project as it is completed and sign off with the contractor if acceptable

□Take photographs of any problems so that you have documentation in the event of a conflict

Finishing the Project

□Take a final walkthrough with the contractor

□Inspect all finish work, check for gaps, missing finish work such as baseboards, ungrouted tile, chipped or uneven floors

□Check all light switches and faucets, flush toilets and go to the lowest level of the home to check for leaks

□Check to make sure all debris has been cleared away

□Schedule state or town inspection if permits have been pulled

□Sign off on the project with the contractor and make final payment

Tips for Smoothing the Job

Keep in mind that a home renovation takes time. Lead times on materials can be upwards of 12 weeks, while the actual construction of an area may take up to 6 weeks from demolition of existing fixtures to finishing. Do your research ahead of time, and be sure not to schedule work to begin until all materials have arrived and all plans have been finalized. By taking your time and making sure to check each item off your agenda, you will ensure that your new home renovation goes exactly as planned.

Checklist for a Home Construction Project