July 14, 2024

Friorida Home Design

Innovative Spaces, Timeless Designs

Amidst the conflict: This renovation season will be different

4 min read

The events of October 7 have caused significant upheaval in the housing market and the local renovation sector. Now, nearly nine months into the conflict, many who chose to wait and understand the best course of action are deciding to move forward at the start of summer. Industry sources report a notable increase in renovation starts over the past few months, though with some differences from usual trends. The composition of the workforce has changed drastically, labor shortages are still felt in both small and large projects, and renovation costs are soaring. Before making this crucial decision, here’s an overview of the renovations you can undertake in the near future and in which cases you might need to wait until after the holidays. Additionally, we provide key points to help you navigate the process with minimal obstacles and challenges.

Architect Boaz Snir, whose office is located in Herzliya Pituah and specializes in construction and extensive renovations, explains that home or apartment renovations should start with proper, professional, and efficient planning: “The planning process takes time, and many property owners try to shorten it as much as possible. From years of experience, this is a mistake, and in most cases, small errors and inaccuracies start to surface during the process. Gradually, details that were not accounted for during planning are revealed, and these can be costly and cause significant distress.”

(credit: Valerie Ziouz)
(credit: Ran Arda)

According to Snir, “It’s better to invest in the planning process and in preparing a detailed set of plans: “Attention must also be paid to the bill of quantities and the demolition phase, during which it is crucial to consider every detail and prepare in advance for cases where structural engineering planning is required. This involves a structural engineer whose role is to conduct a preliminary inspection of the structural elements that need to be demolished. In his work, he ensures that no seemingly innocent wall or partition that we wish to demolish is a non-demolishable structural element. These detailed engineering plans are very important before starting the execution as they form the basis for pricing steel frames or other elements required for structural support.”

“Remember, almost every renovation reveals unexpected issues, and our goal is to minimize them as much as possible through detailed planning and thorough ‘homework’ regarding the property,” Snir adds. “We Israelis tend to cut corners, rush, leave various issues to the last minute, and rely on on-the-fly solutions. In reality, these are exactly the things that make the process more expensive and cumbersome. True, not every detail in a renovation can be foreseen, but we must minimize deviations and handle the solutions that must be made on-site within the framework of supervision by skilled professionals.”

(credit: UZI PORAT)

According to Snir, it is advisable to work with a contractor or renovator with whom the architect or designer responsible for the project has previous experience and is familiar with the quality of their work. Conversely, it is important not to be tempted to work with contractors who offer significantly lower quotes compared to others: “It is recommended to compare two or three contractors or alternatively choose a contractor based on a strong recommendation from the planner or project manager, preferably professionals who have completed at least two or three projects for them. Unfortunately, many clients are tempted to choose a contractor based solely on a significantly lower quote. Usually, these are professionals who price low just to get the job and then, during execution, charge for additions and changes, which are, of course, passed on to the client. Thus, in the end, the client who tried to save ends up paying more than the higher quotes they received, accompanied by unnecessary arguments, tension, and stress. Additionally, I recommend avoiding working with contractors who tend to delay submitting a quote and similarly with contractors who push to close a deal under the pretext that if they are not secured soon, they will not be available for future renovations.”

According to the architect, another common mistake clients make is meeting with contractors before finalizing the set of plans to get a rough price: “In reality, they do not save anything by doing this. On the contrary, they waste valuable time for themselves and the contractor, and from here, a chain of errors and misconceptions about an inaccurate and low price can start, which naturally does not fully grasp the scope of the work. From experience, closing a meeting with a contractor without an architect or a supervising professional is fundamentally a mistake, and the professionals are the ones who need to finalize the scope of the project and the boundaries in advance; the terms of delivery and completion of the work, especially in the challenging period we are experiencing – it is important to agree on an expected completion time that also takes into account unexpected scenarios that might halt work, should the conflict escalate. The client must be prepared for a longer renovation than usual, especially compared to routine times.”

(credit: BINYAMIN ADAM)

In complex projects (i.e., beyond small apartment renovations), Snir recommends hiring a project manager or supervisor whose role is to oversee the contractor and the quality of work: “For example, they are responsible for ensuring standard specifications for waterproofing in bathrooms, which, in many cases, if not sealed correctly, may result in significant future damage. Such issues may not occur because contractors intentionally try to deceive but due to a lack of professional knowledge and failure to adhere to technical specifications – these are usually the reasons why problems happen,” he concludes.




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