Aiming For A Summer Renovation? Here’s The Best Time To Hire A Contractor

Don't underestimate proper planning when aiming for a summer renovation.

September 12, 2023

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Aiming For A Summer Renovation? Here’s The Best Time To Hire A Contractor

We all know timing is everything, but that's especially the case if you're trying to renovate your NYC home while away for the summer.

Table of contents

Summer is peak season for those planning large-scale renovations in New York City. Whether looking to upgrade a pre-war apartment you’re about to close on, overhaul your current co-op, or embark on an ambitious apartment combination, there are various reasons tackling these ventures when the days are longest is optimal. But before formalizing next year’s renovation plans, remember that timing is key, and so is the team you choose. In this article, we'll explore why summer is a popular renovation season, the importance of early planning, and how to find the right firm for your NYC renovation.

[#Why-Summer]Why Summer Renovations Are a Top Choice[#Why-Summer]

Flexible Schedules

Summer offers greater flexibility for homeowners. With kids out of school and vacation plans on the horizon, it's often easier to coordinate a renovation that doesn't disrupt your daily routine from June to August. However, remember you’re not alone with this request, so don’t expect to lock in this priority window without others vying for that coveted summer slot.

Building Regulations

In some exclusive buildings, renovations may be restricted to the summer months when most residents are away. Co-op and condo boards often require larger renovation projects to be completed during this season to minimize disturbances. When considering a renovation, we recommend speaking with your board as soon as possible to understand if any stipulations are in place that may dictate your timeline.  

Ideal Weather

Good weather is conducive to large scale exterior projects. Contractors can work more efficiently and you won't have to worry about weather-related delays (think extensions, roof decks, cement work). Plus, longer daylight hours in summer boost productivity and reduce the need for artificial lighting. For townhouse and brownstone renovations requiring exterior work, this consideration can be crucial. 

Living area from loft renovation in Manhattan at 466 Washington. View the full renovation before and after.


[#Importance]The Importance of Early Planning[#Importance]

Planning ahead is crucial when aiming for a successful summer renovation. Here is a rough timeline, based on the gut renovation of a 1,700 SF apartment in Manhattan. 

Planning & Contractor Considerations (One Month | October)

Allow a generous timeframe when choosing the right contractor for your renovation, as the process involves several crucial steps. These include everything from reviewing the portfolios of various firms and building baseline rapport with those who make sense to taking the necessary time to make adjustments and finalizing budget decisions. More on this process below. 

Design, Planning & Paperwork (Six Months | November - April)

Once contracted with a firm you’re comfortable with, the planning process starts. When working with a full-service design-build firm, this includes interior design planning, architectural accommodations, material selection and sourcing, and all that falls in between. This period is also when we would be handling all the architectural design approvals with the DOB on your behalf, along with all permits. For large renovations, you're going to spend at least four to six months planning. When encountering more exclusive buildings or difficult management companies, the expectation should be at least six months. 

Demo To Completion (Four - Six Months | May - Sept)

Once design decisions are determined and all permits plus approvals are in place, the production phase of your renovation can begin. Demolition leads the way, clearing space for a fresh start. Initial inspections ensure everything aligns with standards. Framing and carpentry establish the structure, while any electrical and plumbing updates are accounted for while walls are open. Updated finishes and fixtures transform the space, while finish carpentry and fixture installation add final touches. Inspections and walkthroughs ensure everything meets code. Finally, permits are closed and sign-offs obtained, ensuring compliance and readiness to move in.

Additional Factors That May Extend Timeline

With any large scale apartment renovation in NYC, there are potential outlying factors that may extend the timeline. 

  • Extremely Complex Projects: For particularly intricate projects or those involving structural changes like cutting through cement or installing staircases (EX: a vertical apartment combination), give yourself an additional 3-4 months up front in the process if trying to lock in a summer renovation. 
  • Consider Building Requirements: Some buildings, especially those with challenging management companies, may necessitate extended planning periods. Consult with experienced professionals to navigate time extensions required for these complexities.
  • Account for Landmark Status: If your building is landmarked or if your project involves exterior or structural work, be prepared for potential timeline extensions. Landmark approvals are handled on a first come, first serve basis so working with a firm that will handle this process promptly is essential to staying on schedule. For more, read Everything You Need To Know About Landmark Renovations.
Sunken dining area extension from a recent Brooklyn brownstone renovation. View the full renovation before and after.

[#Choosing]Choosing the Right Contractor[#Choosing]

Selecting the right contractor is perhaps the most critical step in your renovation journey. Here are some tips to help you make an informed choice:

Due Diligence

Take your time to research and interview contractors. Begin by thoroughly researching various firms, delving into their portfolios and past projects to assess their capabilities. Look for companies with a track record of success, positive client reviews, and a commitment to collaboration. Follow this by conducting interviews to get a deeper understanding of their approach, expertise, and compatibility with your vision. 

Communication

A serious contractor will spend time with you to understand your project's unique requirements before issuing a proposal. Do they come visit your home or potential purchase and get a first-hand feel for the project? They should. This initial interaction sets the tone for the entire renovation process and a strong willingness to help you assess the feasibility before signing a contract should confirm their commitment. 

Client Involvement

If you haven't lived in the space you're renovating, consider that no one knows your family's needs and preferences better than you. Collaborating with your contractor to incorporate personal insights into the design is integral to maximizing the footprint of your dream home.

Design and Planning

Be prepared to engage in thoughtful discussions and entertain proposals, fostering a collaborative environment where ideas are exchanged, refined, and tailored to your specific needs. Take the necessary time to make adjustments and finalize decisions, ensuring that the chosen contractor aligns seamlessly with your renovation goals.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Be ready to pivot if necessary. Delays, unforeseen challenges, or changes in your vision can occur during a renovation. A skilled contractor should be adaptable and able to find solutions.

Office from pre-war classic 8 apartment renovation in Manhattan. View the full renovation before and after.

[#Conclusion]Conclusion[#Conclusion] 

In conclusion, if your goal is to renovate during summer, start vetting contractors the prior September-October to give yourself ample time for the extended process and any potential delays. Choose a reputable contractor who can guide you through the process, and don't forget to incorporate personal and unique insights into the project's design. With careful preparation and the right team by your side, your summer renovation dreams can become a reality.

Considering an apartment renovation in New York City and aiming for summer 2024? View our portfolio of NYC apartment renovation before and afters, learn more about Gallery, or contact us today.

We are an award-winning design-build firm in New York City with a full-service approach to renovations in Manhattan and Brooklyn that includes everything from interior design and architecture services to filing permits and construction management. We’re experts in pre-war apartment renovations, apartment combinations, room creations, full gut renovations and all that falls in between. 

Managing Partner/CEO

Avi Zikryhttps://www.gallerykbny.com/authors/avi-z

Avi Zikry is the CEO and managing partner of Gallery KBNY, a full service design-build firm specializing in the design and interior renovation of apartments, townhomes, and lofts in NYC. Under his leadership, Gallery KBNY has earned the reputation for delivering exceptional service and beautiful homes to our select group of clients. Avi's strategic positioning extends beyond the brand. He has strategically cultivated a network of industry partners and suppliers, forging strong alliances that allow Gallery KBNY to access cutting-edge technologies and materials. By staying abreast of industry trends and technological advancements, Avi ensures the firm remains at the forefront of innovation, consistently offering clients the latest design solutions and construction methodologies.

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