How to avoid the impossible renovation schedule

An impossible renovation schedule is any schedule we make for practically any project we do. On our biggest completed project to date, I remember being asked by my brother how far away we were from getting done.

time flies

We had been in the midst of  a complete rebuilding of a 1900 square foot house that was destroyed by fire prior to our buying it as a project. At that point we had been on the job for 7 months.

So I sat down, listed all the remaining projects along with the time needed to complete each project. I then built an impossible renovation schedule. Only I didn’t know it was an impossible renovation schedule. As a result, I estimated about 4 more months left. It took 9! And what’s worse is that that kind of scenario has played out repeatedly !

So, why so easy to build an impossible renovation schedule?

I’m naive.

1) Plain and simple, because the work we do is so varied, I don’t have a huge well to draw from. We do similar projects and unique projects. But in reality there is so much I don’t know. When situations are varried, so is the time to get the work done.

I’m an optimist.

2) I’ve been listening to a biography on Elon Musk – famed Tessa and SpaceX executive. That’s exactly what he said about his schedule difficulties. He’s an optimist who is trying to recalibrate toward more realistic time frames.

Its hard not to look forward and see things complete in my minds eye. Sometimes it just seems so straight forward. But usually, those estimates stream from days when things are going as planned. But in the end, not every day is like that. It is one thing to see it done in your minds eye and completely another to see it really done in real life.

Surprises always happen.

3) Our current project was purchased as a bank foreclosure. No inspection allowed.  It was a gamble and we readied our budget for surprises. We did NOT appropriately ready our build schedule! One week into our new endeavor, we decided the plumbing was so far gone ( multiple burst pipes ) that’d we’d re-plumb the house. We opened walls, tore out ceilings, and ripped out countless pounds of useless coppper.That change impacted our optimistic schedule dramatically! Most renovations have contingency funds for surprises. Schedules need the same kind of consideration!

Miscalculations abound

4) One bad calculation that we made had to do with siding. This house had 3 stories not including a walkout basement. We calculated the amount of siding. Then, we had experience siding a previous ranch. We knew exactly how long that took. However we overlooked how much slower we moved as each story increased. Important fact – the higher you renovate, the slower you move! The higher you side, the longer it takes to get a single piece of siding way up high. We moved slower by a factor of 2 or 3 as we climbed. Live and learn. We learned the hard way on this one!!

Can’t predict the weather

5) We are builders and renovators. Not weather forecasters. And speaking of them, certainly you’ve seen how they struggle on occasion to be accurate predictors of weather. We have a running joke about them ( fair or not). Who else can be wrong so often at work and still have a job? It’s them AND us. And by the way, the weather doesn’t make scheduling easier either. Rain, snow, cold and heat can all play havoc with a schedule. It’s probably worth adding a weather contingency as well.

Take time & plan well

Finally, I said all that to say this. If you want to avoid building the impossible renovation schedule, then be sure and consider ALL OF THE ABOVE factors as helpful doses of reality. An accurate schedule can be such an advantage. But constructing such is not easily accomplished. A little extra time here will save hours of wondering later!

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