Why Gallery KBNY Is Different From Other Remodeling Firms

To help clients avoid stress, headaches, change orders & cost overruns, we make the NYC renovation process simple by handling everything.

August 17, 2023


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Why Gallery KBNY Is Different From Other Remodeling Firms

To help clients avoid stress, headaches, change orders, and cost overruns, we make the process simple by handling everything. Here’s what makes us different.

Table of contents

In a recent digital marketing trends survey, 86% of consumers said they’re willing to pay more for a product or service it comes with great customer service. About 65% said a positive customer experience is way more persuasive than the best advertising campaigns. Clients debating how to choose a contractor for a remodel value customer service as well, and it’s surprising to us as a full-service design and build firm that so few other firms have paid attention to that need.

Some firms fight for the lowest bid by leaving things out of their proposals — think board approval processes and Department of Buildings or architectural filings. Their clients are either left to handle these processes on their own or forced to pay more to hire an architect or other vendors to do it. Firms that leave out or don’t handle material purchasing and logistics don’t always explain that, either.

To help clients avoid stress, headaches, change orders, and cost overruns, we make the process simple by handling everything for them and making it clear what that means upfront. We start by asking several questions because we can’t do anything until we know the client’s goals, intended use of space, lifestyle, future plans, etc.

From there, we showcase a variety of contrasting projects and designs to see whether we can sense a pattern in what the client gravitates toward. We use that info to create a base design and build on it from there. With our digital design rendering software, we make it easy for clients to visualize their renovation and the entire home remodeling process.

Living space from pre-war co-op renovation on the Upper West Side. View the full renovation before and after.

[#Steps]Steps To An Apartment Renovation In NYC With Our Full-Service Design-Build Firm[#Steps]

We know there are several renovation firms out there to choose from for your next project, and how to choose a contractor for a remodel might not seem obvious at first. To help you sort through your options, here’s a look into what the process looks like when you work with our firm:

Phase 1 -  Introductory Phone Call 

The start of each potential renovation begins with an introductory phone call. In this phase we have a high level discussion to understand and determine: 

  • The Desired Scope of the Project 
  • Our Client’s Key Needs and Objectives
  • Building Rules and Requirements Contained in the Alteration Agreement 
  • Feasibility of the Renovation with Respect to Property Type, Building Rules, and Rough Timelines and Costs

Phase 2 - Site Meeting

To properly gauge the full scope of the project we perform a walk-through of the property to assess site conditions, making sure all considerations and potential obstacles are accounted for (think electrical loads, asbestos, load bearing walls, etc). This allows us to propose any necessary pivots to the client’s specifications based on unforeseen difficulties like an outdated electrical system or hidden columns, along with potential suggestions to enhance the renovation even further. As part of this phase we also provide a revised range of rough costs and timelines. 

Phase 3 - Concept Design and Project Budget

Beyond our preliminary site assessment, we also go a step further and consider any additional tasks needed to mitigate surprises along the way. Upon completion, we provide a risk management assessment that confirms all design, material and job site compliances are met before construction begins

Following the site walk-through is a more in-depth discussion of the project centered around the detailed scope and design concept (space planning and design aesthetic). 

Once the “big picture” design concept is established we present our client with:

  • Proposed 2D Floor Plans
  • Detailed Project Budget Containing all Timelines, Costs, and Allowances Needed in Order to Complete the Project in its Entirety. 

At the conclusion of this planning phase, our prospective client decides whether they want to formally retain us. At this stage a formal contract is entered into which details every aspect of the renovation including:

  • Full Project Scope
  • Material Allowances
  • Timelines
  • Design, Architectural, Project Management, and Construction Services
Dining area from pied-à-terre renovation in Manhattan. View the full renovation before and after.

[#Pre]Pre-Construction and Formal Design Phase[#Pre] 

There is no secret formula or magic bullet behind our success. The reason we deliver beautiful projects on time and budget is because we’re diligent in every aspect of our process.

Too many renovations go awry because of some unexpected condition discovered during the demolition phase. In reality, this is almost always a story about poor planning, or complete lack thereof. In every one of our NYC renovations, we aim for the most thorough pre-construction planning possible to anticipate and avoid any potential costly obstacles. 

Phase 1 - Inspections, Diagnostic Testing, and Risk Management. 

The pre-construction phase is where we formally test and assess for problematic conditions, including those identified in the initial walk through. These tests often require probing walls, cutting out pieces of existing floors and walls to test for asbestos, and in depth electrical tests. Because of their intrusive and costly nature, these tests can only be performed once our client is the formal owner of the property and has formally retained us. While initial walk-throughs are where we typically identify site conditions that have the potential to cause problems for the desired scope and design intent, it is in this phase that the actual diagnostic testing is performed. These tests typically consist of:

  • Electrical Load Test: Determines whether the existing electrical amperage is sufficient for the proposed load or whether an upgrade of existing amperage (or reduction of electrical demand) is required
  • Asbestos Test: Determines whether proposed areas of demolition contain asbestos that either needs to be remediated or planned around
  • Wall Probes: Determines whether unforeseen obstructions exist inside walls that are proposed to be moved or removed

Phase 2 - Formal Design and Material Procurement

The most hands-on aspect of any interior renovation is finding the right materials for the chosen design style. That entails paint color, accent walls, flooring style, mouldings, fixtures, countertops, and more. As a full-service design-build firm in NYC, we take on the design, sourcing, and procurement of every permanent fixture in your home.

That overarching expertise also allows us to accommodate every architectural and interior design adjustment that may arise amidst an interior renovation, whether that’s an adjustment to the kitchen traffic pattern, a specific archway into the bathroom, or turning an unused closet into a washer/dryer room. We handle all architectural planning plus filings on your behalf via our award winning in-house design team and architects.

Once we have identified all site conditions, we build on the earlier phases to finalize all details of the floor plan and present material selection options to choose from. This phase typically includes:

  • Design Meetings at our Design Studio and Outside Showrooms
  • Review of Detailed 2D and 3D Lifelike Renderings 
  • Review and Client Approval of All Material Options and Design Plans
  • Procurement of All Selected Finishes and Fixtures
  • Receiving and Inspection of All Ordered Finishes and Fixtures

Phase 3 - Building Submission 

Much of this phase runs parallel to the design phase and although we start the building alteration submission process early on in the planning phase, it is once all architectural plans are finalized that we can complete the submission process both to the building management company along with the NYC Dept of Buildings. 

In this phase we work with the building management company and building-hired reviewing architects to satisfy all requirements needed to obtain formal approval by our client’s building. In the case that our client lives in a private home, this step is skipped. 

Upon approval from building management is obtained, we submit the plans to NYC Dept of Buildings for approval and permitting. 

Phase 4 - DOB Submission, Approval, and Permits

Navigating co-op boards, management companies, and city agencies can be quite cumbersome. That’s why we take on the production and filing of all architectural plans along with obtaining all building, plumbing, and electrical permits from the NYC Department Of Buildings. At times this also includes handling landmarked-related approvals with the LPC.

Phase 5 - Production Calendar & Logistics

With all specifics accounted for, our project management team builds a full, detailed timeline and production calendar. This means scheduling all aspects of the renovation, from client meetings and inspections to delivery, demo, and installation dates. By adhering to a strict timeline our seasoned project managers can properly coordinate all parties involved and accurately meet milestones throughout the project’s entirety. 

Kitchen from BellTel loft renovation in Brooklyn. View the full renovation before and after.

[#Production]Production Phase[#Production]

During the construction phase our build and project management teams bring the entire vision to life, following the detailed roadmap we’ve diligently spent months putting together during the design, planning, and pre-construction phases. In this final phase of the project the process always consists of:

  • Demolition 
  • Initial Inspections
  • Framing & Rough Carpentry
  • Electrical & Plumbing
  • Delivery of finishes and Fixtures
  • Finish Carpentry & Installation of Finish Fixtures
  • Final Inspections & Walk-Throughs
  • Close Out of Permits and Sign-Offs

[#Work-With]Work With A Design-Build Firm In New York City[#Work-With]

Tackling a home renovation is no small undertaking. We’ve carved out a niche for ourselves with busy professionals in New York City who are looking for a trustworthy, reliable firm to partner with for their renovations. If you’ve got a renovation on the horizon, it pays to find a full-service design firm that not only has the infrastructure to take over your entire home remodeling process, but also cares about your project enough to see your vision through. Ready to renovate? Learn more about Gallery or contact us today to see why our full-service approach makes most sense when choosing a home renovation contractor in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

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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