Answering the question “How long does a home renovation take to complete?” is a little bit like answering the question “How long does a math problem take to solve?” It depends on who’s solving the problem, and whether the problem is basic arithmetic or advanced calculus. There are so many factors that influence the length of a renovation that the surest way to estimate your timeline is to speak with a specific contractor about your specific project goals.
That said, renovation timelines don’t have to be a black box problem. Estimates are available, and just as importantly, there are easy explanations for the factors that lengthen or shorten your renovation timeline. Today we’ll look at a general overview of the process, and we’ll also cover the causes of delay.
While so much depends on the size and scope of your project, as well as the contractor managing your renovation, the quick answer to how long a major renovation takes is: usually between nine and eighteen months. Here’s how the process works:
As a general rule of thumb, fleshing out the design for your whole home renovation takes one to three months. SevernWoods clients typically begin with an architectural design. This timeline is dependent on the Architect you select and the architectural complexity of your vision. If you have a clear picture of what you’re looking for, the process will be expedited. If you are using the design phase to explore your preferences or innovate an unusual space, your design phase will take longer. One way to expedite the design phase is to choose an Architect with the connections to partner with an expert contractor early in the project. This collaborative design approach can help address construction-related design considerations and prevent later design changes due to building factors.
If you don't have an existing connection with a builder you will need to find and approach several remodeling contractors first, then choose the one whose specialties align with your needs. This process can take weeks but if you are shopping for the lowest bidder, it could take longer. Take your time and be sure to verify all certifications and insurance.
Once you have chosen the best builder, they will need to coordinate with multiple subcontractors, including electricians, plumbers, HVAC installers, specialty carpenters, masons, etc. Elite builders like SevernWoods know and work with the best and most professional subcontractors but this part still takes up to 4 weeks. After your builder gathers competitive bids from subcontractors they should create a detailed and accurate cost estimate and construction schedule.
In Toronto, zoning approvals can be a challenge and time-consuming. If an owner is planning to add even a modest amount of floor area to their home an application is made by the Architect to the zoning department for approval. In most cases, the existing home is too large for the current zoning by-laws for the property and an increase in floor area will require an application to the Committee of Adjustment for a minor variance allowing for the desired changes to the home. The initial application for zoning review will take approximately one month and the wait time for a Committee of Adjustment hearing will be from 4 to 6 months. Once approved by the Committee of Adjustment a Building Permit can be applied for with the Building Department after a 20-day appeal period. Building permits will usually take about one month to be issued after the application is received. If you anticipate needing a minor variance for any aspect of your project it’s best to work with an experienced local contractor and Design Professional.
Construction is the phase most people are thinking of first when they ask how long a renovation will take. Again, the answer is largely dependent on the size and scope of your renovation. House Beautiful lists the following estimates for various area remodels: six to sixteen weeks for a room addition, three to twelve weeks for a kitchen renovation, and three or more weeks for a bathroom renovation or basement finish (click here to see more). For a major whole home remodel, we estimate that this part of the process generally takes four to thirteen months, and in some circumstances, even longer.
However, with recent supply chain shortages, shipping times taking significantly longer, and companies being back ordered, the actual time it will take for a Toronto home renovation can take much longer. For example, the current lead time to get windows in can be up to 30 weeks, if not longer. This is why we stress if you want to get a renovation done within the next year, you need to get started as soon as possible in order to finish when you intend.
See this video to learn how the team at SevernWoods works together to keep renovations on schedule.