Planning a Kitchen Renovation- Pandemic Edition

Wedgewood Cabinetry
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Like most industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the construction industry hard and in many ways. For many companies, the increased demand for their products and services, coupled with challenges of navigating safety protocols, has strained their communication and service times. In the kitchen cabinet industry, the main constraints are Global Supply Chain Disruption, Skilled Labour gaps, COVID-19 Health and Safety protocol compliance, and increased demand. The demand for kitchen renovations has never been higher, so if you are planning one here are some things to consider before you grab the sledgehammer when planning a kitchen renovation during a pandemic.

INCREASED PLANNING TIME

Getting your project planned is taking much longer than previously. This is mostly because of increased volume and demand for products and services. The pandemic inspired many homeowners to look at their spaces in a different way, and many have taken steps towards renovating and improving their homes.

Another factor that is slowing down the planning cycle for a kitchen renovation, is restricted access to kitchen and bath showrooms. Many are open by appointment only and have needed to restrict capacity, which is causing constraints during the planning cycle, an important thing to keep in mind.

IMPROVED PREPARATION

One way to move through the planning cycle a bit quicker is to have more of the discovery and preparation requirements done before you book your consultation with your kitchen designer. This process mostly consists of gathering the essential requirements your professional kitchen designer will need to either provide you with the general numerical estimate or a comprehensive design package, whichever service level you end up choosing. See the Superior Cabinets Getting Started Information.

If you’re not keen on gathering those requirements yourself, it is recommended to hire a professional Interior Designer or a licensed General Contractor, as this is typically part of their scope of work. If you are curious as to what it means to act as your own General Contractor, here are some things you’ll want to consider.

PLAN YOUR APPLIANCE NEEDS SOONER, RATHER THAN LATER

The appliance industry has been facing extreme challenges with fulfilling orders as well. That said, it is recommended to consult with your appliance professional about their lead times and product availability in advance. Most professional kitchen designers would recommend having a guideline of what appliances you would like to incorporate into your new kitchen, however most are recommending reaching out to establish a dialogue with an appliance professional beforehand. Knowing their lead times in advance, will help you build a better timeline for an ideal flexible completion date.

PLAN FOR A FLEXIBLE COMPLETION DATE

For most renovations, setting a final completion date will now be a moving target. Extended lead times on initial product orders, product delays, needing to reselect on a product that is no longer available after selected (common with flooring, tile, and appliances), delays with the availability of trades and sub-trades are what will also lengthen your schedule. While it is not ideal, if you embark on a major kitchen renovation, have an open timeline on your completion date. Be prepared for the unexpected and plan for the extra time you will need to deal with challenges as they arise.    

Before the pandemic, a kitchen remodel project could take 5-7 months on average. Most professional kitchen designers would tell you that it could take 8-11 months with the current conditions we now face.

Also keep in mind that certain jobs or tasks may take more trips to complete, which can also stretch completion times. With optimal success conditions, kitchen cabinets typically take 2-3 visits, first a job start and then 1-2 job completion trips to install toe kick, exposed light valance (if required), and to resolve any deficiencies reported from the initial installation.

Currently, some firms and sub-trades are needing an extra visit or two to get the job done. The timeframe between those visits is dependent on the production time of any required parts or pieces needed, and those parts can also take a bit longer with current conditions. Job completion times, from start to finish, will take longer than normal.  

ESTABLISH A REALISTIC BUDGET

Establishing a budget for a major kitchen renovation has always been a bit of a challenge for many homeowners because of the varying material qualities, finishes, features, and services one could choose. See what does an average kitchen cost for more info. Most products and services have faced price increases over the past 18 months. Cost of raw materials, logistics, and fuel surcharges are some of the heavy hitters that are impacting this. That said, it is recommended to align your budget higher, and professionals are recommending adding 20%-30% to a normalized budget to cover the cost for any additional cost increases.

STRETCHED COMMUNICATION

For most firms, communication response times have been stretched. As mentioned in our article Peak Moments of Happiness During Your Renovation, someone will probably let you down at some point and gaps in communication are often the root cause. This is even with optimal conditions, and it can be as simple as a supplier or trade missing making an important phone call they promised you or missing a scheduled trip due to an unforeseen event.

In some industries and with some suppliers, gaps in communication to schedule completion trips, after a job has started is quite common. This can be a bit bothersome to some homeowners, understandably so. This gap may be caused by lagging systems information and communication for parts date availability, which can be due to the volume of orders. Keep in mind that no one intends to purposefully under communicate or to have gaps in their communication. Any mistakes here lead to learning opportunities for everyone.

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