By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon

If remodeling your home this spring is on your New Year’s resolution list, there are a few things you should know.

We hate to dash your hopes for a quick remodel, but it isn’t realistic to think you can see an architect in January and build by April — the design process takes times.

Realistically, you should begin working on the design at least four to six months before you want to start construction. Here are the steps involved and the time you should allow:

The first phase usually takes four to six weeks. This includes meeting with your architect to discuss your goals, with time for the architect to design several options, and meeting again to discuss the options and budget implications, with time for you to decide on a plan.

If you do not have existing plans for your home, plans will need to be drawn up, which can add another week or two.

Remodeling Resolution

Understand the steps it takes to remodel your home and make realistic remodeling resolutions.

Once you have considered all your options and made your remodeling decisions, the final floor plans and elevations must be drawn, and the construction/permit drawings executed. At the same time the architects work on the drawings, you will work on material selections (specifications). This involves choosing all the finishes you want, such as windows, countertops, fixtures and flooring. You’ll need to allow yourself anywhere from four to 12 weeks to explore magazines, catalogs, showrooms and the Internet.

If you have not already selected a contractor, you should interview several to find out if and when your project will fit into his schedule. It is a good idea to call references so you begin to get an idea of how he operates and whether or not you would like to work with him.

The contractor will need your completed plans and specifications before he or she can compile an itemized bid. Allow at least two to three weeks for the contractor to prepare a bid, and a week or two to analyze the bids and make your selection. We cannot overemphasize the importance of selecting the right contractor. You will be spending quite a bit of time with him over the next several months, not to mention paying him quite a bit of money!

When the construction drawings are complete, they are submitted to the contractor for bidding and also to the city for review to obtain a building permit. Depending on the jurisdiction, you should allow anywhere from two to 10 weeks for the review process and another one to two weeks for the architect to address any changes required. With your building permit, you are ready to begin construction. Construction time will depend on the size of your remodel.

This may seem like a lot of steps, but we promise that if you allow yourself plenty of time during the planning and design phase, the construction phase will run much more smoothly, and you will end up with the remodel you want.

So, when you set your remodeling goals for the coming year, remember to make your resolution deadline a reasonable one. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at

Have a remodeling resolution?