Installation is where great design and craftsmanship come together. Great kitchen design can be marred by less-than-perfect woodworking, tile setting and fabrication skills. And not surprisingly, the quality of project management often plays a major role in determining how well the trades do their job.
Kitchen Remodeling Project Management
There are two general methods of project management when it comes to installing kitchens. One method is to have the designer hand off the project to a construction or project manager. The thought is that carpentry, rather than design skills, are needed to see the project to completion.
The alternative method, and the one that we prefer, is to have the design team serve as project manager, overseeing installers and any other craftsmen who will perform the mechanical work and installation. To be successful, project management by a designer requires training and experience that not all kitchen designers have. However, we believe that if the designer is up to the task, having them oversee the trades insures that the details are executed as designed.
Completion, Punch Lists, and Sign-Off
Seeing your kitchen renovation come to completion is a wonderful experience. There will be a sense of excitement and relief, but don’t relax just yet. As the work inches to the finish, your project manager will likely walk you through the features of the installation. Take careful note of small details that might be missing or perhaps not quite right. Rather than mentioning each item as you notice them, add each item to a list and share it periodically with the project manager in an email. This will insure a record of everything you’ve noticed and a common frame of reference for discussion.
A thoughtful project manager will also create their own punch list of items that need attention. Don’t hesitate to ask them to share their list with you from time-to-time.
Once punch lists are compared and each item addressed, you’re going to be asked to sign-off on the completion of the kitchen. Your signature means any final payment is due and that other than warranty items, the kitchen remodeler’s obligations have been fulfilled.
Customer Service After Project Completion
More often than not, a month after the installers are gone, you’ll notice something that you missed during the walk-through and on your punch lists. If your kitchen design firm is smart, they won’t hesitate to come back to your home and remedy the situation. Remember, referrals and online reviews are important sources of new business, so your kitchen designer should see this as an opportunity, not a burden.
Here are a few resources to help you through the kitchen remodeling installation and completion process.