The Renovation “Hump” Phenomenon

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After being involved in the renovation industry for more than 20 years, trends and designs change but one thing always stays the same. The renovation “HUMP”! It’s an interesting phenomenon. It doesn’t matter the size of the project, big or small, it’s still there. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a commercial or residential project. It always rears its ugly head.

Very similar to “hump” day, the Renovation Hump is that point in time when clients just want to see the work completed and move onto settling into their new space. Just like most of us see “hump day” as the point in time when the weekend is closer than it was before and we just want Friday at 5:00 pm to roll around, clients get frustrated and just want the project to conclude.

The initial stages of any project are both exciting and at times, frustrating, and often full of anticipation. First comes the planning and design phase. Everyone loves this part – new possibilities are always exhilarating. Long before the first hammer swings, we need to know what we are doing and ensure it will work with the space. Once the design and floor plan are approved, we order any items that have a delivery requirement and purchase any other items to ensure they are available when the work commences. Once we have confirmed the delivery of items, we coordinate the demolition phase to ensure we minimize down time/disruption in your space. Then we begin demo. This is often where we find any surprises that we were not aware of previously, as they were hidden from everyone’s knowledge behind the walls, especially if the client doesn’t have the original architectural plans for the space. We may need to make some modifications to the initial plans, or we may find we do not have to do something we thought we might. This is also where we can experience delays, waiting for other trades to complete what they need to so we can move in and complete what we need to.  

Once the work is in full swing and we start to see a good portion of the work completed, everyone gets so excited to see the design and new layout begin to unfold. Seeing the colors come together, then the lighting and the flooring go in, then tile, vanities, fixtures, furniture and the floor plan comes alive and the excitement is thick in the air. Then the Renovation Hump hits!

Suddenly the end is in sight, but still seems so far away! Clients and sometimes even the contractors get frustrated. The fine finishing details that honestly are not obvious on first quick glance begin to take a tremendous amount of time! Detailing is one of the most important and under rated parts of a renovation job! It can make or break a good project if it is rushed! However, doing a proper detailing job simply takes time. Trim, touch ups, sealing tile, attaching door pulls and door stops are all things that you really do not see at a quick glance, but go in for a good inspection and you will sure notice the difference between a top notch job and a shabby one! Depending on the job, I usually tell the clients to allow 20 – 25% for the detailing work time wise. It is very finicky and time consuming to do it right and to a high standard of quality!

Unfortunately, installing doorstops or sealing tile isn’t something that is quickly visible when someone walks into the rooms. It can be frustrating when you “see” little change over the course of a day. However, this is time when the finishing touches are all being completed with the greatest attention to detail. This is also where we go through the space with the client and ensure they are completely satisfied with the space! 

Unfortunately, the “hump” is as real as part of any renovation project as the materials or the design! I always tease my clients when the “hump” hits and let them know it’s perfectly normal and part of any job! They will be free to enjoy their new space soon and we will be out of their hair and onto the next project before we all know it!