If you’re looking into remodeling your home in El Segundo you’re probably going to hear renovation horror stories. One of the most common tales of remodeling woe focuses on projects that spiral out of control and end up costing more and taking longer. Nobody plans for this to happen – and it doesn’t happen all at once. It begins with what some builders call “scope creep.”
What is scope creep, and how can you avoid it? Scope creep can rear its ugly head when you begin adding “small” items to the contract you’ve made with your builder. Often this begins with what seems to you to be a little deviation from the plan. You may just want to move a wall six inches to the right. Unfortunately, those little changes often lead to other changes. Moving the wall six inches also requires moving the outlet that used to be there. After moving the wall (and the outlet) you may notice that with the wall moved, the natural light that used to brighten the room is blocked. Because natural light is important to you, you want to add a skylight.
You can see how this goes. Of course, not every change brings about a cascade of other changes, but you can see how quickly the scope of a project can change. What makes it so insidious is that it happens in small increments so it’s not as noticeable right away. The cumulative impact, however, may cost you considerably more money and significantly extend the time it takes to complete your project. And that can be a real problem if you have a firm deadline you’re trying to hit (for an event like a wedding reception or a holiday gathering).
How can you avoid scope creep? Begin by paying close attention to the plans you and your builder have created before construction starts. Then, if there is something that really needs to change needs to change, tell your builder about the problem. Tell him what you don’t like rather than dictating a solution. Your builder may be able to suggest a solution that doesn’t cause your project to creep out of control. When you take that approach your builder will likely respond in one of the following ways:
- No problem! Here’s the new estimate that reflects the increased cost.
- Absolutely! We can make that change, but the new finish date is now X.
- Sure! We can tackle that change for you, but it’s going to cost you an additional $X and it’s going to move the completion date back by a week.
- No! If you don’t want to spend any more money and if you aren’t willing to extend the amount of time it will take to complete, we can’t make this change for you.
You and your builder can work together to end scope creep and turn renovation horror stories into happily-ever-after stories!