Thursday, 30 June 2016

Our newly renovated bathroom is environment-friendly

Even if the outcome of the finished bathroom project was not as I was expecting, I will try to be positive about it.  Well, we achieved our goal, we have a new bathroom to enjoy and the total cost was within the budget. I will enumerate what we did right and will focus on what is interesting for the readers. I am happy to say that we were able to get water-saving faucets and shower heads.  The Moen faucets and shower sets we purchased are in spot-resist brushed nickel finish.  That means it will not require too much cleaning thus saving water, soap, time and effort.  I also am able to install the auto-sensor attachment to our faucet on the main floor washroom. We used to spend hundreds of dollars for a months consumption of water and i hope with this installation, it will be lesser.  The water will only start flowing when the unit sense a hand under it.  So I hope to save water when we are brushing teeth, washing hands, face etc. Our share in saving water and being good to the environment.  Here is the video of the EZ Faucet after installation:

I was also able to get a good deal in Kijiji for an Umbra brushed nickel flip hook that complements the brushed nickel theme of the bathroom.  I met with someone who had the extra hook and sold it to me at half the price. The niche on the wall also saves some space and money for buying a shampoo and soap caddy.  It looked more organized and modern.  I know these pictures are not worthy to be in glossy home renovation magazines but I want to share how the bathroom looked like now.  You should find the "before" pictures disgusting so these pictures show a better "after the renovation" look.  To top it off, the kids are happily singing while taking a shower and they are helping with cleaning, organizing the drawers and using the squeegee on the glass doors after each shower.  To me, the ROI was already achieved because the real stakeholders are my kids and as long as i hear, "I like our new bathroom Mom" my issues are no longer important.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Learnings from our first renovation project - bathrooms

We have been praying for the bathroom renovation for a long time. Finally, it has been answered. Thanks to God for the financial provision and for giving us the contractor who can understand us on our needs because we can communicate on our first language (or so I thought).  There were lots of items in the exit criteria that were not met or corrected from our end or Lito's because he did it himself. Well, the problem was, it was not clear on the scope, it's unfair to the contractor to be adding or changing order (CHANGE MGMT) for the quote he gave (ESTIMATION in SCOPE MGMT) but he should have told us (COMMUNICATION MGMT) and not let us suffer on the quality (QUALITY MGMT) of the project. You've noticed that I highlighted some items here. These are the concepts of PROJECT MANAGEMENT that I learned in my continuing studies at U of T.

Before the project started, Lito and I and the kids have conceptualized and envisioned how our new bathroom should look like.  We wanted it to look modern and at the same time meet our small budget. We started buying materials when they are on sale and have been looking on the Internet and PInterest for ideas. I printed out the look of our future bathroom and gave it to the 2 contractors who gave the quotes. Both were recommended but we chose the Filipino. In a project, there is always the Stakeholder (Me), the Project Manager (Lito) and the contractor. It is the project manager's goal to always meet the project objectives and please the stakeholder.

Issue no 1: The tiles we bought was the big 12x24 tiles. We also bought the accent mosaic tiles to give it a modern look. The first quality check that Lito made was after the tiles installation, they were installed vertically instead of horizontally, supposedly aligned to the accent tile to give a continuous look and make the room look larger. It should have been checked at the start so the contractor can correct but he was already done with both the tiles and accent tiles that made the project manager and stakeholder argue and later made stakeholder succumb, cannot do anything but cry.  Well project manager was able to check at the start of the tile flooring installation and they finally met the requirement.

Issue no. 2: the drywall and painting was not completed to the stakeholders liking. After they finished painting I had to stick post-its to indicate where they need to do more sanding and smoothing. The paint we chose was in satin finish, because the semi-gloss was not available in the colour and brand we chose for a mould and mildew resistant finish -> Behr Ultra satin paint and primer - Manchester Gray. Imagine if the finish was semi-gloss and the quality is like what we were seeing at the time of inspection, the flaws are more visible and more unacceptable. They did some repainting after we called their attention but Lito had to do more sanding and repainting for some spots missed. We even have to remind them that the color of the door is the same as the wall and they had to change it last minute.

Issue no 3: the picture I've shown has the example of a niche in the wall where the shampoo and soaps are to placed. The accent tiles should be installed inside the niche, well, they installed it but only half was accent and the other half was tile. The outcome was not bad but it was not what we initially wanted. Again, the contractor just made the decision without asking the project manager and stakeholder.

Issue no 4: we bought an electric towel warmer and specifically showed them where and how to install it but when it was finished, Lito will have to move the hooks to be able to hang towels.

Issue no. 5: all the complains above are quality issues, manong contractor didn't meet our standards, it was a mediocre job I must admit but because we paid cheap, we get cheap. That's the concept that I couldn't make my partner believe, that higher value means higher quality.  At least aim for value for money, you always don't choose the cheapest, you find the value added.  If the budget is not yet enough we will wait - delayed gratification to get true satisfaction.

Issue no. 6:  time management - the reason why we couldn't choose the other contractor is because he is not available. The factor we consider was the timeline. Manong contractor said he can finish it in 4 days, but it actually took 10 days.

Issue no. 7: scope management - there were many added items that were not part of the initial plan. The led lights installation to both bathrooms, the towel ring and towel bar, etc.  What's important for manong before he accepts a new job is to clarify the scope of work and give an estimated added cost and time.

I was sad  because I knew these project management concepts but didn't apply them in this project that I consider myself a failure. The issues could have been lessened or resolved right away if these were in my radar at the start. I have an alibi - I am not a PMP yet and will probably wouldn't become one.

Stay tuned for positive outcomes of the bathroom project.