Setting Your Kitchen Remodel’s Scope of Work

By Sean Walsh

You know you want to re-do what you consider your outdated kitchen. And, you have been going through websites and kitchen-design magazines for ideas. You are at a point where you generally know what you want and don’t want. And, of course, you know what you can afford.

Now it is time to move on to a key task that needs to be determined early in the project: the scope of work. This term is used to define the magnitude of the work to be done, helping to prevent budget overruns by setting the scope of your project and what you can afford. Your possibilities may range from a full demo and remodel to keeping the kitchen footprint and changing the layout or it might be only new cabinets and countertops. Some homeowners have the scope firmly in mind when contacting a kitchen designer. A good kitchen designer will help decide on/polish the scope of the work and provide you a realistic idea what can be done within your budget.

Scope Decision

It is very possible you have a good idea of what you want, but not such a good idea of how to get there. That is, you may want to relocate wall ovens and cooktop, which would require relocating the gas line to the other side of the room. This will add substantially to the cost. Or, you may want to move the sinks and add a pot filler at the cooktop, necessitating a complicated plumbing manipulation, complete with further costs. Whatever your decision, determine it early on. Here are keys to success:

Set a rough budget for the work

List what the project involves, i.e., electrical work, plumbing, gas lines, etc.

Build a wish list

This will include new appliances, cabinets, tile backsplash, countertops, flooring, lighting, and so on. Be as detailed as possible, which will allow you to settle on just what level you can afford.

Be prepared when you visit the designer

This is where your photo file of examples is far more explicit than trying to describe something by only waving your hands. The more precise, the easier it is to determine the budget, and if you can afford it. The good designer will be able to provide you many great options, with the perspectives of usability, how it will look, and budget. Remember that you must remain flexible until agreement is met.

Contractor or DIY

You may want to handle simple projects yourself, particularly if you have some experience. RTA kitchen cabinets (ready-to -assemble cabinets) may well be within your ability to handle, which will save money and allow something else to be added to the project, i.e., new appliances or a neat backsplash. Build all of this into the scope of work.

One step at a time, your kitchen remodel project will develop. It begins with solid planning. From that comes the kitchen of your dreams.