Even if you spend months planning for your home remodeling project and have worked out the fine details well in advance, delays can still happen. Permitting, unforeseen problems with the house, weather conditions, supply chain issues, and equipment failures are just some of the typical reasons for delays, any of which can lead to increasing aggravation for both you and your contractor. Delays can cause setbacks for homeowners in their project calendar for completing their projects, as well as force them to incur additional expenses.

However, sometimes delays are simply unavoidable. If you’re one of the homeowners with a home renovation underway, here are several delays that could be holding up your project.

Permitting and Inspections

Nearly any remodeling project at your home will require you to obtain permits from your city’s building department. You probably will need more than one permit, too.

For many homeowners, waiting for permits and inspections to come through can be frustrating. However, they’re necessary and aim to ensure your house meets stringent safety standards, such as electrical, plumbing, and foundational.

Potential buyers will expect to see pulled permits for the completed remodeling work if you try to sell your home. Unpermitted work on your house puts you at risk of devaluing your home. In some cases, you may face having to pay a fine or undo the work and seek proper permitting.

Usually, permits can take weeks or even months to obtain, depending on the type of project you’re doing and how large it is. In some cities, you may also require an inspection, especially if you have an older home.

It’s possible you could luck out with shortening the permitting process if you hire a reputable contractor. Occasionally, building departments will fast-track project permits if a design is submitted by a professional with a history of compliant construction.

However, it would be best not to cut corners regarding permits and inspections. You should also avoid hiring any contractor willing to do the work without them, which raises many red flags.

Pre-Existing House Conditions

Throughout any home renovation, there is the potential risk of unforeseen problems with the house. Typically found during demolition, your contractor could inform you of the following issues:

  • Significant water damage
  • Pests and termite damage
  • Harmful mold
  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Asbestos
  • Deteriorating roof
  • Outdated plumbing or electrical
  • Old mechanical equipment such as AC units, furnaces, and water heaters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint that is hazardous and requires safe removal. Your contractor may find lead-based paint under fresh coats on walls, doors, windowsills, and railings.

While these problems could further tighten your budget and cause delays, it’s a good idea to address them right away before continuing with your scheduled remodeling project.

Equipment Malfunctions

Even with the best preventive measures, equipment malfunctions or failures are inevitable and could create setbacks in the project timeline.

Sometimes, workers may overload their equipment with materials, leading to breakdowns. Other times, equipment operations may be misused altogether. According to one study, here are a few common reasons for equipment-related project delays:

  • Shortage of advanced or appropriate equipment
  • Breakdown of machinery
  • Improper maintenance
  • Low-efficiency equipment
  • Poorly trained machinery operators
  • High costs of equipment

Although these types of delays are out of the hands of homeowners, rest assured that a good contractor will inspect their equipment regularly before daily shifts. They’ll also ensure their team is fully trained to use the equipment correctly.

Supply Chain Delays

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 90% of builders reported shortages of materials in 2021, including plywood, windows, doors, and wiring. This record number of shortages is attributed to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has negatively impacted hiring qualified laborers and driven rising material costs.

The supply chain disruptions have also trickled down to the shipping and manufacturing of custom design finishes and fixtures, such as tiles, appliances, lighting, cabinetry, countertops, and flooring.

If your remodeling project incorporates custom or special-order finishes, you will probably have a wait ahead of you.

It’s important to remember that certain design elements need installation in a particular order, too. Any supply chain delay could cause your contractor to hit the pause button on your project several times throughout the process.

Change Orders

You’ll want to know how much your remodeling project will cost you from the beginning, which is why it’s a good idea to negotiate a fixed-price contract for your renovation. Of course, any changes you make to your design will likely yield higher costs.

When you decide to modify the construction, your contractor will write up a change order reflecting the price differences. You’ll then need to sign the order to verify you agree to pay the difference.

While a change order is simple enough, it could set the schedule back due to having to order new materials and the labor involved in installing them. Try to clear away all the design decisions before construction to prevent change order delays.

Weather Delays

Depending on where you live, weather can slow the construction process down. Unfortunately, it also tends to be out of everyone’s control. For example, if the work on the exterior of your home is over, a rainy day could set the project back until the skies clear up.

Exterior renovations or house projects may be best suited for dryer, warmer months when your contractor and the construction team can work faster to complete the project.

If interior work also needs to be done, your contractor should look ahead at the forecast and move the work inside if unsuitable weather conditions are expected.


One of the main reasons for renovation delays – and a usually avoidable one – is miscommunication. Several people will be working on your project simultaneously, making it essential for everyone to stay on track.

When something faces delay, the entire process could potentially slow down. For example, if the flooring materials’ order was too late causing a delay in their arrival, the subcontractor laying them may need to move onto another project in the meantime. Then, your project will have to be rescheduled, setting everyone else back.

Communication, from scheduling to organization, is essential throughout a remodeling project. Choose a contractor who can present a formal timeline for ensuring project completion promptly. Make sure everyone – you, your contractor, and anyone else involved in the project – maintain excellent communication at all times.

Prevent Delays During Your Home Renovation

Preparation is key to preventing delays during your home remodeling project. Have your design plan ready to go, including having your samples picked out and ordered well in advance. Also, be sure to hire a reputable contractor or renovation company to avoid any setbacks in your project timeline.


In case you have any architectural, structural, and MEP design including fire sprinkler design requirements, or need your home renovation design including structure, and HVAC design, feel free to contact us.  We provide you with the full permit set design + T24 for your request.