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  • Writer's pictureEmily Renze

Navigating Design Project Lead Times

Have you ever known someone who seems to be in a perpetual state of home renovation? Many of you may have a friend or family member whose project has been plagued with constant delays, and it feels like they’re stuck in a renovation time loop with no end in sight. This example perfectly illustrates why it’s so important to understand project lead times before you take on design work. 

Whether you're envisioning a new build, a full-home remodel, or a luxury kitchen renovation, understanding timelines will empower you to set clear expectations, make informed decisions, and anticipate potential hurdles throughout the process. Keep reading to learn more about estimated lead times for common project types, the factors that influence them, and how you can avoid never-ending design dilemmas for your home. 

Navigating design project lead times


Estimated Project Lead Times

Every project is unique, and as such, timelines can vary significantly. It can help to have a solid understanding of lead times and the factors that affect them before you begin your project. This allows you to plan accordingly and feel more prepared to tackle unexpected issues when they come up. Throughout the process, open communication with your design-build team is also key to managing expectations effectively.  

Below is a breakdown of estimated timelines for some of the most common types of projects. Keep in mind that these ranges are meant to serve as a general guide, and they may fluctuate based on the specifics of your project:

  • New Build, Custom Home: 18-36 months

  • Full-Home Remodel: 12-18 months

  • Partial-Home Remodel: 8-12 months

  • Luxury Kitchen Remodel: 4-6 months

  • Luxury Bathroom Remodel: 4-6 months

  • Light Kitchen Renovation: 3-4 months

  • Light Bathroom Renovation: 2-3 months

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Factors Influencing Lead Times

While these estimates are meant to give you a general idea of project lead times, the timeline may actually be longer or shorter depending on the specific requirements of your project. Lead time is influenced by a variety of factors, which all play important roles in the design process. 

The size and scope of a project are perhaps the most obvious factors in determining how long a project will take. Larger projects naturally tend to require more time for completion, due to their complexity and scale. 

The availability of materials and specialty items, as well as delivery, are a common disruption to construction schedules. You may find that some items you had planned to purchase are on backorder. When this happens, you have two options: you can replace it with a similar item that has a shorter lead time, or you can wait for the backorder item. If you choose to replace it, it’s crucial to make sure that the specifications of the replacement item - especially size and color - will still coordinate with your intended design. Because custom items are made to order, the lead time is typically much longer than in-stock or backorder items. 

Navigating design project lead times

The availability of tradespeople and professionals, such as contractors, electricians, and plumbers, can also affect project timelines. The design process is very much a collaborative effort, and it involves excellent coordination skills to make sure that each professional is available during the right stage of a project. 

Another factor to consider is the permitting process. The bureaucratic process can delay a project significantly, which is unfortunately out of the control of you and your design-build team once plans have been submitted. If you are required to make changes after the city reviews your project submission, this may extend lead times even more. In spite of this, permits are a necessary step for most new construction and renovation projects to ensure compliance with city and state regulations. 


Tips for Streamlining Lead Times

Navigating design project lead times

Given the many moving parts and pieces of a design project, some unforeseen delays or issues are to be expected along the way. But with careful planning and seamless management, there are steps you can take to be proactive and avoid delays. These tips will help you ensure that the process stays on schedule and runs smoothly from start to finish:

  • Plan Ahead: Finalize design choices early to avoid delays during the construction phase.

  • Collaborate with Professionals: Work closely with your design-build team to stay informed during each step of the process, and rely on their expertise to help you navigate potential obstacles.

  • Consider Alternatives: Explore alternative materials or suppliers to expedite procurement if necessary.

  • Remain Flexible: Be prepared to adapt to unforeseen challenges and changes in the project timeline.

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Understanding project lead times is essential for a smooth and successful home renovation. By considering the factors that influence timelines and setting expectations from the start of your project, you will be better equipped to navigate the process with confidence. 

However, if you need some support during your design journey, our team at B Street Design would be happy to help. Honed over our 15+ years in the industry, our design and build process ensures that your project is organized and efficient. Get in touch with us to learn more about our service offerings. With our professional guidance, you'll be one step closer to realizing your vision for your home!

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