The plans are drawn up, the paint and flooring has been selected, you’ve hired your custom home contractor and the start date for your renovation is circled in red on your calendar.

Before the work begins, sit down with your contractor and hold an on-site pre-construction meeting. This will ensure you are both clear on the scope of the project, but also on its timeline. You will find that you’ve got a lot of other things to discuss at this meeting, including:

Work, parking, and trash pickup schedules

Most construction companies have standard hours, but sometimes evening and weekend work might be necessary to finish the project. Sometimes neighbors will worry about parking, so map out where construction vehicles can park in advance. Also, advise your construction team about when trash and recycling pickup occurs in your neighborhood so they won’t block the road on those days.

Keep your property secure

Talk with your contractor about how workers will get into your property during the project. Share where a spare key for their use will be kept and make sure to set up a temporary alarm code for one person on the team to use if you have a security system.

Contact Information

Exchange telephone numbers and email addresses with the construction crew so you will always be able to get in touch with them.

Determine how you will be debriefed on the project. Do you want an e-mail summarizing the work that’s been completed on a daily or weekly basis? Weekly in-person meetings? Those details should be ironed out at your pre-construction meeting.

Photo by Alair Homes SquamishMore exterior home ideas

Map out the construction zone

Walk around your home with your construction lead so you will know exactly where the renovation zone is. Determine where tarps, zip walls and temporary walls will be located. Walk around outside as well, so you will know where the dumpsters will be located and construction material staged. Figure out what plants and trees you will need to protect.


If you have not told your neighbors that your home is going to be undergoing a potentially noisy renovation, now is the time to do so. No one wants to be surprised by construction noise or vehicles. Let your construction team know if you have any neighbors likely that may get upset during the project. That way they will be ready to tread softly if necessary when working near your neighbors home.

Utility shutoffs

Make sure your construction team knows where the shutoffs are to your water, gas, and the location of your electrical panel. Let the team know if there are appliances such as deep freezers, a fish tank or pool that can not be shut off.

Don’t forget Fido

If your dog or cat will be home during the renovation, discuss with your builders the best location in your home for them. Remember, construction can be a stressful time for animals. Discuss your pet situation before construction so that it won’t slow down any of the project.