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Permitting: Who is Responsible?

It’s time to remodel your home, and you’ve locked in your designer and your contractor. You’ve done your homework and provided them with everything you need. Now, who does the permitting and what does this look like?

Electrical and Plumbing permits are typically handled by the Electrician and the Plumber. Phew, that’s off your plate. Additional permits are technically the responsibility of… you. Woah, wait, what? It seems silly to put this in the hands of the owner, but in the end, the home and what happens to it is the liability of the owner. If permits aren’t pulled, the owner is the one held responsible. Let’s add some really good twists to this because after several of my go-to contractors let me know that they are washing their hands of the permit application process, I decided to do some research…

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Hiring a General Contractor

One of the biggest problems we face with employing a General Contractor, an independent contractor, or a design firm is simply the misunderstanding and miscommunication of expectations. It is easy to see how this happens, because renovation projects are a discovery process as the project unfolds. Sometimes we just don’t know that we want a custom item until we realize that the items on the market don’t match needs, or the opportunity arises in the budget that was not expected.

So, how do we protect ourselves and develop realistic expectations?

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General Contractor Red Flags

When working with a designer and a general contractor, it is important that they work well together. How does an owner ensure this if the pair have never worked together before?

I LOVE General Contractors. I have many that I work with happily and truly enjoy every interaction. I can name at least three that I talk to regularly just to catch up and talk about work. Most contractors I work very well with and am very impressed by their knowledge, experience, and professionalism.

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Interior Designer vs. General Contractor

Sometimes it is hard to know whether an interior designer or a contractor is the best fit for your project. The advice I am going to give in the following post is specific to Washington State, so please check regulations for licensing, testing, etc. in your own state before following this as a guideline.

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Interior Design Services to Contractors

I had the very rare opportunity in college of being a part of an interdisciplinary program, which allowed me to do studio courses and projects with students of architecture, landscape architecture, construction management, and of course other interior designers. Learning how to collaborate with the different fields gave me a unique viewpoint that often results in people in these fields saying that it's a "breath of fresh air" to work with me. I do not demand control of a project but work as a team player, gleaning knowledge from these different perspectives. I am proud of how well I work with others in the field and look forward to opportunities to have fun collaborating together.

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All the Contractors are Booked At Least a Year Out!

After a year waiting list, your number one contractor even responds two months early, saying they have an opening. Yay!!! Day one: they come onto the site and ask for the plans so they can put together a team and schedule. 

... blank stare... The plans??? After composing yourself slightly, you simply describe the work in complete detail. It's not a tough project- just a little update. No plans needed, right? Wrong.

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