By Craig L. McAllester
All across North America are shelters in need of a face lift; big or small, RENOVATIONS are nearly always a PAIN!
No matter what you are renovating, it seems that there is always something that goes wrong… even on the smallest of projects. Last week, I had a door replaced in my home office. It seemed simple enough, someone came, measured the existing door and took note of the door swing. But, when the new door showed up, they found it was too big for the existing opening!
Accept the hand your dealt, and move forward.
With a little investigation, we found that the patio floor was not level. When the height measurement was taken, it was measured on the low side. This made the new door taller than it should have been. With a few creative minds, and a bit of work, we made it all come together.
Kennels & Shelters; to Renovate or Start New?
The larger the project, the more chance for renovation trouble. So, what to do. Some think they should just start over. When I do a site visit, I’m often asked, ‘should we tear it down’? Honestly, the best answer is not always ‘yes’!
When this question comes up, more often than not, at first look, the answer seems obvious. But once you break the building down into its parts, many times it can be renovated.
A few questions to consider when choosing:
- Is the current location of the facility desirable? This might help to decide whether to renovate or move.
- Is there sufficient room on the existing site to allow for future growth?
- Will the local zoning commission allow for expansion and/or a new building on the same site?
- Is the existing building structurally sound?
- Is there sufficient electrical power for a newly renovated building?
- Is the existing sewer or septic system sufficient for the new building?
- Could the existing building be used differently on this site?
- Where will all the animals go during renovation and construction?
- What are the associated costs, of renovation vs building new?
Every project is different. Once a direction is established, then a new design can be developed.
A few things to consider when starting a renovation:
- Make a flexible budget, don’t cut yourself short of money. A 10% buffer is a good starting point. For extensive renovation work, a 20% buffer is not out of line.
- I recommend building in phases rather than trying to build everything at one time. Doing so allows many to start a project sooner, but it requires some careful planning. Phase one must have what you need to run the business, but it must also be flexible enough to reconfigure that space in a future phase.
- Plan your construction schedule to be just as flexible. Ensure you allow more time than each trade estimates.
- Make notes of any change orders, once billing time comes, you may have forgotten what took place.
- Once complete, having a set of as-built drawings prepared will get the next project off to a good start.
To renovate a kennel is always a process, and it starts with planning. Hiring a kennel designer or architect who works in the animal care industry every day. It will pay for itself, in short order.
So, what is on your renovation list for next season?