Pump up your Home Remodel with a Renovation Coach

Browsing the news, a phrase caught my eye – “Renovation Coach“. What a marvelous idea! Personal coaching & training has been all the rage. So now you can get a coach for your home improvement projects?

I imagined a “Renovation Coach” as someone who calls you early on Saturday morning to get you back on the renovation horse when you’ve fallen off or have an unpleasant maintenance job to do. Or gets you up at 6am to go to Home Depot for those needed materials. Or trains you with that nifty new nail gun before you hurt yourself.

Well … not really. A Renovation Coach is the same as a “Renovation Consultant”, which although less catchy is every bit as useful. In 2007, the Renovation Coach or Consultant is an idea whose time has come.

Previously, I wrote posts about the rising number of DIYers needing to be bailed out by professionals. And interviewed online “Electrical Coach” Wayne Gilchrist. But it’s not only the DIYer using and needing this type service. People who are going to hire someone to do the job are also discovering the benefits of a little “renovation coaching”. This Old House goes so far as to call them “a new breed of therapist “.

“The thing about home renovation is that very few people have been able to practice for it,” says Irving, who honed his skills working on 33 whole-house projects in his 17 years with the show. “They get wound up and ner­vous, facing this potential money pit, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”

I second that emotion. An experienced Renovation Coach can help with …

  • setting goals or developing a vision for your large home renovation
  • determining the return on your renovation investment – Cost vs. Value or Move vs. Remodel – to help you decide
  • identifying the professionals you will need (like an Interior Designer) for a quality renovation
  • giving you a ballpark figure against which you use in evaluating quotes from contractors
  • navigating the building permit maze
  • a wealth of experience about products & approaches, pros and cons
  • negotiating or communicating with contractors during the process
  • planning and project management
  • Quality Assurance to ensure a job well done and up to code
  • mediation in disputes with contractors

And yes, he or she can even go shopping with you for building materials and supplies if need be.

Although they work on an hourly rate, and they usually don’t come cheap, the benefits of using a Renovation Coach or Consultant are numerous. They bring planning, project management and experience to both flesh out and ground your renovation ideas. The result? More understanding for you the homeowner. More control over the process and your budget. A successful project. An empowering DIY experience. And of course, a beautiful renovation. All you need to be “home improvement happy”. And put in that context, well … maybe they are therapists after all.

The case of the “Wrong House” Roofers

Ever wonder what happens when contractors show up at the wrong house and start ripping stuff up?

Read Typo in address leads to home-improvement nightmare by the Old House Handyman.

What your first home really costs

For first time home buyers:

The True Cost of Owning a Home.

The #1 source of Home Improvement related injuries?

Your trusty lawnmower. Although nail guns are in the news, ladder falls and lawnmower-related injuries are far more common. So while spring means getting your home improvement projects off the ground, it can also mean an unexpected trip to the hospital emergency room.

Lawnmower injuries tend to be foot and hand related.

People slip on a hill or on wet grass and their feet slide underneath the lawn mower … lawn mowers can shoot out projectiles. Especially for children, playing in the yard is not a good idea if you’re out cutting the grass.
Dr. Jon Olsen via Patrick Kampert, Chicago Tribune

Ladder injuries tend to be fractured legs and feet, with 10% of the people injured needing hospitalization.

Nail gun injuries are in the news because they’ve tripled in the last 15 years, reflective of an increase in DIY activity and the greater availability of nail guns to the general public; contractor and construction worker rates have stayed about the same. The nail gun seems to be a manly thing too, with men accounting for 96% of the injured.

According to other researchers:

Injuries included puncture wounds on hands and fingers, eye and nerve damage, fractured bones, and in severe cases, nails embedded in the head. Few were hospitalized, though.
Tracy Wheeler, Beacon Journal

Why the increase? In addition to the usual suspects (DIYer inexperience), researchers point to nail gun safety as a major factor. They say better safety mechanisms (such as a sequential trip trigger meaning you have to press the trigger for each nail “shot”) would have prevented about 50% of the accidents.

From the Consumer Reports blog:

The study suggests that the increased number of injuries stems in part from the design of the dual-action firing mechanism — in which the manual trigger and nose contact element are both depressed for a nail to be discharged to allow for the rapid fire of nails and speedier production.

The study urges consumers to buy nail guns that use a sequential-trip trigger, which requires the nose contact to be depressed before the manual trigger, rather than simultaneously. Thus, it’s less likely for unintentional nails to be discharged. If you already have a gun, the study suggests you buy a kit to convert the nail gun to the safer sequential mode.

Read the original CDC Report on nail gun injuries.

Read Toolbox Talk: Hammer Home Nail Gun Safety, a good article on general nail gun safety from the National Association of Home Builders.

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