A few years ago I threshed out a summary of what clients might experience during the process of renovating their apartment...


1)  You will be furnished with an agreement. The agreement will be pegged to the labor estimate. The agreed upon labor estimate will become the “scope of work”. In the agreement, the payment plan will be broken out, and all legalese necessary for the protection of the client and VBDB will be listed clearly, with each page initialed and signed off on.

2)  VBDB will reach-out to your building’s co-op board, management company, etc., ASAP. Sometimes, we cannot reach out to the board until a walk-through has been performed to identify possible production issues, which can, in turn, effect the scope of work, which in turn effects when and how we reach out to your building.

3)  You will be assigned a designer, and likely, a design assistant. Feel free to email or call these people for any and all design related inquiries.

4)  There will be site visits for design needs, there will likely be site visits for production needs. It goes without saying that difficulties accessing the job site pre-production can delay things a bit.

5)  You will receive whatever drawings or elevation documents are needed to arrive at final design and layout decisions.

6)  The client will see “hard” samples of materials whenever necessary or requested.

7)  Delays in decision making with regard to finished materials can delay start dates or production in general.

8)  Your building may require permits or filings with city agencies that may delay the project and increase “soft costs”.  We will always let you know when buildings demand permits or filings, let you know what your options are in terms of avoiding said fees, and nothing will ever be charged retroactively for whatever services need to be performed to acquire building approval.

9)  There will be a pre-production walk-through , at your residence, prior to production, usually with a project manager, a project foreman, a designer and possibly some additional tradespeople. It is possible that this walk-through may result in recommendations or alterations to the scope of work. Again, nothing will be changed or shifted around without your approval / input.

10) VBDB will handle all forwarding of licenses, permits, filings and insurance to your building.

11)  Depending on the size of your project, VBDB might not be able to dive right into production the same day we receive approval. Since we sometimes do not know when building approval will be granted, it’s almost impossible to keep our tradespeople standing idle, waiting for a green light. That said, if your project is time sensitive, we –will—mobilize as fast as possible to expedite your project, however, sometimes it may take up to a few weeks for the right team to be available for your remodel project.

12)  As eluded to earlier, scheduling is a sensitive process. If your project is particularly time sensitive. It is imperative that you discuss time-parameters with your designer , to ensure that finished materials selections are available, in stock, and can be delivered in time for production.

13)  If VBDB is sourcing your materials, which is almost always the case, we charge 15%, on top of the cost of the material, to cover our  sourcing, procuring, ordering, scheduling and quality control services. This allows us to offer you transparent billing. When we are able to solidify trade discounts for certain items, we are more than happy to pass those along. Frequently, this form of billing results in overall material costs ending up somewhere right around retail.

14) Some material selections can tack on additional labor. For example highly sensitive or esoteric tile materials and layouts, flooring products that require specific treatment etc., please confirm with your designer if a specific material will add to the scope of work.

15) The best way to stay on budget is to tell the designer what your “overall budget” / total envelope for the project is. Take the labor agreement, subtract that from the total project cost you had in mind, what remains, is your budget for “soft costs” ( architects, permits etc.. ) and materials.

16)  We can provide you with an estimated work schedule, and are happy to do so, just bear in mind that changes can occur due to worker availability, material arrivals, building demands, etc..



1)  On the first day of production, our team will likely start with “preparation”. This includes moving items in the workspace to expand access to the renovation site. VBDB is not a moving company and we do not specialize in crating art or moving and storing priceless artifacts. It is highly recommended that items of high value, paintings, sculptures, rugs, sensitive electronics, upholstered items etc., be moved by professional movers, to a safe place, away from the job-site.

2)  There-will-be-dust. In the beginning stages of production, while demolition is occurring, VBDB takes great pride and extreme care in protecting your valuables, your home & all common areas, with Masonite, brown paper, dust protection measures including = wet / water tile cutters, plastic – zip – up wall and ceiling barriers etc.. Despite all of this, it is common for –some- amount of dust to land in areas we’d rather they didn’t. VBDB will cover closet doors, hallway entrances etc., to contain dust, but, it is still possible for dust to appear elsewhere in the apartment from time to time. ( we provide a thorough clean-up at job completion, more on that later.. )

3)  VBDB will treat everyone in your building, from porter, to super to doorman, and of course, all of your neighbors with the utmost respect and courtesy.

4)  VBDB will inform your neighbors that construction will be going on.

5) You will be given the names and contact information for everyone at VBDB that you’d need to get ahold of. Specifically, call your designer for any design related questions, call your projects production manager for any production related questions, contact our bookkeeper for anything related to payments, etc..

6) Demolition may uncover structural issues that need to be addressed in order to move forward. Once again. VBDB will always present you with a clear picture of what is happening, and your options, in order to move forward.

7) Delays in approving change orders, like delays in material selections, can delay the project. Please make sure that we have up to date contact info for you, should an issue arise on-site, during production, which requires immediate approval / attention etc.

8)  We will ding your floors, get paint splatters on walls and floors. There might be fingerprints on walls, footprints on a tile etc. Remodeling can get a bit hectic. In the middle of production, even the most meticulous foreman will leave evidence of construction from time to time. That said, VBDB keeps as clean a work site as possible. Our workers will not smoke on the job, litter, leave food or anything unnecessary in the work space. We will do our best to keep the job site as clean as possible, and, in the end, we will leave you with a flawless, pristine living space ( “close and clean” is already built into your estimate )

9) If you are living on the job-site during construction, particularly during demolition, expect a rather noisy, sometimes dusty environment.

10) Depending on the scope of work in your project, people with severe allergies, some infants and some pets might want to limit exposure to the job site during the height of production.

11) If we are renovating your bathroom, depending on configuration and location of your waste pipe, we may or may not be able to get you access to that toilet during the days of production in which the toilet is removed. In other words. You might not have access to that toilet for a few days. The same goes for the shower area. Depending on tiling demands, plumbing scheduling etc., it is possible that you may need to make alternate plans with regards to showering for a few days.

12) Demolition may reveal, or, fixture selections may necessitate, additional plumbing.

13) Remodel projects require a lot of moving pieces, material orders and scheduling, bookkeeping, various trades coordinating with your building etc, etc,. It is extremely helpful to direct questions, and concerns to the right channels from the start, thus avoiding redundancies and the crossing of lines. For example, asking your project manager about a specific tile order might not result in the fastest or clearest answer possible. Similarly, asking bookkeeping about how we’re going to replace branch lines back to the riser, for your new sink, can result in a less than seamless reply.

14) Tradespeople, at the job-site might not be the best people to ask about production issues. In fact, any production related question should really be directed to your project manager and your project manager only. Worst-case scenario, if something emerges that you feel needs immediate addressing, and your PM is not available, reach out to your designer. Our skilled laborers are very focused on addressing technical implementation of the scope. Anything strategic or dealing with the project itself, pricing, change orders, material issues, questions pertaining to level of execution or specific aspects of execution, should all be directed at your PM or designer.

15)  If you need any assistance finding accommodations during major remodel projects, feel free to inform the VBDB team. Several members of our staff maintain close ties to Real Estate professionals who may be able to assist you in finding short-term, furnished, convenient housing.

16) VBDB designers and project managers will refrain from ringing you, on weekends or late-nights, unless there is an emergency, which requires immediate attention. We humbly ask for the same in return.  Our designers and project management team work extremely hard during the week, and keep very long hours, in order to meet client demands. If a project manager or designer gives you their personal number, so as to expedite communication, please show restrain in using it and keep communication on weekends or after business hours to a minimum if possible. We’ll greatly appreciate it.

17) If you decide that you are going to purchase your finished materials. You will be responsible for scheduling in home delivery, lining up delivery with production flow, performing quality control on ordered items, returning them if necessary, etc. Any delays in delivery of needed finished materials may delay the project.

18) There are hiccups in every single project. VBDB does not shy away from challenges. We do not walk off of projects or leave clients in the lurch. When hurdles arise, whether it is a vendor sending the wrong item, something unexpected emerging in demolition or a building management related obstacle, VBDB will maintain its professional demeanor, we will be calm, patient and understanding, we will focus on how to solve problems, knowing that there is always a solution, we will keep our eyes on the prize, the finish-line, which, in your case, is a beautiful living space. We simply ask that clients, during what can be a stressful time, try their best to do the same.


1)  Upon arrival at substantial completion ( all scope of work has been executed ), we go into what is colloquially referred to as “punch-list” items. It is often the case where this is the stage at which our tradesmen have left your dwelling, and we’re just waiting for a few finished materials, cabinet handles, a light fixture etc..At this point, you are entitled to a walk-through to “close out” the project, identify any “punch-list” items which are outstanding, arrive at a time table to finish the last few items etc…A percentage of the total project labor cost is always set aside for the client to hold onto until all punch-list items are completed.

2) VBDB will always come back to take care of absolutely anything related to installation. Finished materials and appliances have their own warrantees, it goes without saying that if your dishwasher breaks down because of mechanical reasons, that’s likely beyond our technical capacity to remedy, if however, something like a tile for example is loose, by all means, give us a ring…

3) We will leave the work area clean, broom swept and vacuumed. If more extensive cleaning is necessary, let us know and we can likely line up a more comprehensive clean-up.

4) If you’re open to it, we’d love to send our industrial photographer to photograph the finished product. Your anonymity will be protected and we will not list the exact address where the work was done.

5) VBDB aims to ensure that every project results in a referral, reference or recommendation…If you are so inclined, we’d love it if you threw us a positive review on Google / Houzz etc…

6) Once we have performed a project for you, we see you as part of the VBDB family, if you should refer us future work, we’re more than happy to set you up with a referral system whereby you would be remunerated at an agreed upon percentage of the prospective project.

Rafi HopkinsVBDB