How Long Will My Construction Project Take
(and Will It Be Finished on Time)?

How Long Will My Construction Project Take?

This is an important question. After all, you have to figure out a lot of things about your life that are time-dependent. If you are moving out of your home and renting a place to live temporarily, you need to know how long a lease to sign. If you are moving in with relatives, knowing how long you will be with them is really important for everyone's sanity. If you are living in your house during the project, it is important to know how long you will be dealing with dust, noise and strange people walking around before you have even had your morning coffee. While providing an exact amount of time down to the day is not possible with any construction project, it is very feasible to provide a realistic range at the beginning and then tighten the range as the project progresses.

Many sophisticated construction companies use project management systems, such as Builder Trend and Co Construct. These systems have scheduling components that track deadlines for ordering materials and identify critical path connections among the various aspects of the project. For example, if it rains for a week and the roof schedule is delayed, a click of the button can update every item that follows the roof, such as gutters. Utilizing systems like these tends to be an indicator that the contractor is capable of providing a realistic time frame for completion and sticking to it. Contractors who not only use such a scheduling program but also give their clients access to the schedule are typically highly organized and confident enough in their company’s systems that they are able to actively engage the client in the construction schedule.

So how long will it take? Here are some examples of projects and their associated time frames. Keep in mind that these time frames do not include the design and permitting stages that occur before construction starts.

  • A full kitchen renovation typically takes 60-90 days.
    • Due to the short time frame of this type of project, we strongly recommend that all materials be ordered and onsite prior to the start of the project. This will prevent the extreme inconvenience of having your kitchen gutted and then waiting six weeks for the cabinets to arrive.
  • A mid-size project consisting of 1500-2800 square feet will typically take 6-9 months.
  • A large renovation or new construction project consisting of 3,000-5,000 square feet with high-end details can take 9-12 months.
  • Projects over 5,000 square feet are typically highly specialized and can easily exceed 12 months.

Good contractors have well defined processes in place that ensure delivery of a project on time, on budget, and with great quality. As with any relationship, everyone has to follow the process in order to achieve success. If the person in charge of selecting finishes, such as the owner or interior designer, is meeting all of the predetermined deadlines provided by the contractor, then the contractor is able to maintain the schedule. However, if selection deadlines are not met, then there may be nothing the contractor can do to keep the project on schedule.