How long will that renovation take?

“How long is my renovation going to take?”

It’s a question Spencer Dunstan-Adams hears often.

In fact, it’s really second only to one other question, says the Project Leader for Greater Victoria’s MAC Renovations: “How much will my renovation cost?”

When it comes to time, the truth is, it depends. It depends on things like the project’s scope, the municipality it’s in, and myriad other details reviewed during the planning process.

Just like it’s important to use quality materials for a renovation that will serve your family well for years to come, it’s also important to make time for quality planning. Rushing into the construction phase may initially bring visible results, but unplanned delays are also more likely as you uncover issues like permit issues, site challenges or the discovery of hazardous materials, Dunstan-Adams says.

First questions first

Recognizing that the timeframe can be particularly important for some homeowners, a key question Dunstan-Adams asks early on is whether they have a completion deadline in mind, or a hard deadline they need to meet – maybe they’re hosting an important event, for example, or need to finish a suite for parents downsizing from their home.

“It’s important to put as much thought into the time you’re going to invest in the renovation as you do the budget,” he advises, noting that being upfront about your timeframe will also help determine if it’s realistic. “We need to understand the total scope of the project.”

‘Measure twice, cut once:’ The case for quality planning

The renovation can essentially be divided into two sections: planning and construction. A larger project will take longer to start because of the planning involved, but solid planning also helps the construction phase move quicker with fewer headaches.

Comparing it to the carpenter’s adage, measure twice, cut once, “if you put the work in during planning, it prevents more work during the construction phase,” Dunstan-Adams says.

Considerations include whether the project requires a building permit, for example. A necessity any time structural work is completed, including changes to the building envelope or removal of interior walls, the time it takes to receive these varies by municipality, however the MAC team ensures the timeliness of their applications by ensuring submissions are comprehensive and complete, Dunstan-Adams notes.

“The 13 municipalities all have their own processes but we have relationships with all of them, which helps the planning process.”

Building the timeframe for construction begins with the areas that need the longest lead time, such as custom windows or kitchen cabinets, then working backwards, to ensure all the supporting infrastructure is in place and ready to go when those are ready.

The MAC team, sub trades and homeowners can then follow along in real time through the BuilderTrend program, which charts progress, budgets, communication and other essentials of a successful project.

While there’s no easy answer to how long a renovation will take, careful planning will help ensure it progresses both on time and on budget.

To learn how MAC Renovations can help make your renovation plans a reality, visit

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