Murphy's Law ... "If anything can go wrong, it will" ... was coined at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949. Its namesake, Captain Edward Murphy, was an engineer working on a project to determine how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash. Upon finding a transducer wired wrong by a technician, he remarked, "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it." The project manager added this to his list of "laws," referring to it as Murphy's Law.
So, how is Murphy's Law connected with remodeling projects? Like the Air Force project, you can expect to have some aspect of a remodeling project go wrong. This can even include items outside the area being remodeled.
For example, in one of our kitchen remodeling projects, electrical work was required for the relocation of appliances and lighting, and the addition of undercabinet lights. In the process of completing this work, it became apparent that during a previous project in the home, shortcuts were taken with the electrical work. Breakers and wiring were overloaded creating a significant risk of fire. Not a pleasant or inexpensive surprise for the homeowner. As you would expect, the electrical issues were corrected before continuing with the kitchen renovation.
As you get ready for your remodeling project, here are a few "surprises" you should prepare for:
- Products delivered late, damaged, or with missing parts
- Incorrect products delivered to the job site
- More dust than expected
- Mold/moisture from plumbing leaks
- Finding termites or carpenter ants
- Structural issues including insufficient support for load bearing walls
- Need to remove asbestos or lead paint
Preparing yourself for project surprises will help minimize your stress and frustration when they occur. Including a budget item in your project for contingencies and surprises will allow you to deal with the problem without feeling like your budget is busted.