5 Reasons Why Condo Remodeling Will Take Longer Than Home


    Living in condo means you are closer to top locations of the city or possibly even to shoreline. These condo apartment buildings are new in house market. Therefore most of units are in good or at least decent condition.

    Typically remodeling is done just to cover up minor problems and damages inside condo apartments and if there is a major issue, home owners would just move to another place.

    However damages can be extensive to the point where you have to remodeling entire unit. Alternative cause of full condo reno is when you purchase high end place and want to change everything completely with designer and styles that appeal to you.

    In condo apartments the whole process of remodeling is entirely different from upgrading older home. Contractors that work in residential single family homes are not used to condo work and you will need to find companies that specialize in construction at multistory buildings.

    You cannot compare same costs and time schedules of work in condos and regular houses. In apartments costs may be higher, but you are defiantly looking for extended schedules because of:

    • Approvals from Condo Corporation
    • Restriction on Time to Work
    • Access to the Unit
    • Disposal of Waste
    • Smaller Working Space

    Professional teams know all the tricks how to plan faster renovation process in condo and can help reduce overall time for the job. Trying to find cheaper company can lead to hiring workers that are not less knowledgeable and it can increase the time of work.

    1. Approvals from Condo Corporation

    Home owners of condo apartments are almost never actual owners. Technically they are corporation stakeholders that represent the building with specific rights to their unit and common elements.

    To make any significant change to the interior of the unit you will need approval from the management or from board of directors. Your specific building would have rules on how to apply and notify about your remodeling ideas. Some areas are not allowed to touch and your request can be denied.

    Even if renovation project you are acquiring for is not that big and is allowed for the rules, management still needs time to approve it. Be open with all the details of work and do not try to hide anything. If you are caught doing work that only building has right to fix, the entire project may be stop and penalties laid. Good examples of that is moving central duct system or removing support wall.

    When everything goes well building office approves your job with giving your contractor access to elevator, loading dock and possibly parking spot. Your neighbors are notified about possible noise due to remodeling work for condo upgrades.

    Larger buildings sometimes have waiting list for apartment units remodeling because they cannot allow multiple contractors to constantly wonder through the building and use their access area with service elevator.

    2. Restriction on Time to Work

    To keep an order in the building, condo corporation with board of directors establish specific working hours. Within these hours your contractor may work inside apartment and make noise with their tools.

    The rules apply to everyone and if you ignore them, there will be consequences. With noise complaints the work can be stopped immediately even with help of police. Further on more penalties can be applied if you do not cooperate. Entire project can potentially be shut down and police can write a ticket for disturbance.

    In most condo buildings expect working hours to be between 9:00 am and 4:00 PM. Saying that we see variety of different hours and to be exact, we recommend asking someone from management office of your building.

    This includes not only physical work with tools inside, but also preparation for the work and delivery upstairs. Because of this restriction and longtime preparation, there is not that much time for actual work and the entire job drags for many more days.

    Working time restriction rules are based on when residents are less disturbed. We understand that some people work during night and try to sleep during the day, while contractors are working next door, and some condo owners work from home.

    3. Access to The Unit

    In comparison to houses, the third reason why condo remodeling takes longer is the access to the unit. It’s quite the path just to the door of the apartment that requires different level of access, keys, permissions and other assistance from security workers.

    Premises are protected with some sort of locks that only residents have. For remodeling work in condo apartment contractors will have to ask security to either escort them or give temporary keys for access. Make sure to introduce them before the job even starts to avoid delays when they come to work.

    Instead of getting to work as soon you walk in the front door of the house, condo jobs require contractors to go up and down using the elevator that takes time. Elevator is inspected prior to use and at the end of the day for potential damage with tools and materials brought to the jobsite.

    Unlike wide open streets with tons of parking space, condo buildings almost never have parking available. Remodeling contractors will be lucky to get even paid parking near the building. This increases traveling to the job much longer for all workers that come on site.

    4. Disposal of Waste

    All the waste that accumulates from demolition and project cuts needs to be thrown out and disposed somehow. In house contractors simply put disposal bin in the driveway and throw garbage there as it comes. In condo as we explained previously the elevator is used to go up and down.

    Keep in mind that garbage always has to be in construction bags to avoid debris from falling out at any time and damaging carpet, tiles or other flooring.

    Newer condo buildings can even request protection of the floor surface from elevator apartment door. You can purchase durable ram boards that protect floors and hard enough to drag on dolly cart.

    Also the bin near the condo building is never an option. One option, contractors use for garbage is live load disposal. They collect everything in bags throw everything out within 30 minutes while driver is waiting on the street.

    Other way is to collect garbage in company trucks and drive it off the jobsite. Its time consuming and companies that work in condos charge premium for their work.

    5. Small Working Space

    Small working space in apartments
    Tile installer struggles in tiny apartment bathroom.

    Major remodeling requires many different trades, materials and tools to be used. Of course in ideal world you can schedule back to back trades and have only two people working at the same time, but if one gets delayed you have to push back next worker that comes in.

    Getting your apartment crowded with many workers doing things at the same time will only delay everything and get them mad at each other for being in the way. That’s why hiring company that will do exact scheduling is crucial for success.

    On Point Remodeling helps design all sorts of project with takeoff for materials and trades involved. Our document will lead you in faster completion, explaining step by step process and getting the best price for fixtures.

    Due to lack of space remodeling company is not able to stack and preorder materials. Even slight delay on flooring, doors, vanities or any other product has domino effect on next steps of work.

    Dealing with suggested suppliers and having trust in them makes a big difference. They need to perform on time, because time is money and delaying contractors can cause you extra costs as well.

    If you are looking for trustworthy company to perform remodeling in your condo, our team can suggest reliable contractors to finish everything on time.


    In conclusion of this article we encourage all condo owners who plan to hire contractors for full remodeling requesting strict schedule process. In ideal world you would agree to sign addendum to contract that specifies start and end dates of work with daily price reduction as penalty on each extra day work.

    Exceptions can be made due to city strikes, lack of materials from main suppliers and few others that construction company cannot control. For projects around $100 000 On Point Remodeling recommends $100 – $200 daily penalty. This will encourage workers to complete everything on time.

    On our website you can find more information on how to schedule remodeling in houses and in condo buildings. On Point Remodeling provides services in design and take off material for any renovation project with complete list of materials with sources to purchase from and detailed schedule of trades.

    Steven H.
    Steven H.
    General Contractor and Home Builder with over 20 years of experience. Write and Edit educational posts for several Remodeling Blogs. Specialize in trade management and technical construction details.

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