How long will my project take? That is typically the second question that comes up on any project. Normally right after “How much will it cost?”. I am not a politician, so I don't like to dodge questions, but these questions are nearly impossible to answer in initial meetings. 

Asking how much a project will cost is about like asking how much a car will cost. 

Buyer: I want a car. How much will it cost?
Dealer: I don’t know how much it will cost. What type of car are you looking for? 
Buyer: You know any old car with wheels and stuff… Now please tell me how much it will cost.
Dealer: I can’t tell you how much it is going to cost until we go through what options you want.
Buyer: But I don't know if I can afford it if you don’t tell me how much it is going to cost.

Sadly I have almost this same conversation with someone about how much a project would cost.

A similar conversation can be had in regard to how long as well. There are many variables that affect the schedule, and without some in depth conversations it is nearly impossible to know how long a project will take to complete. It depends on how much information you as a client bring to the project as well as many outside variables.

One of the variables that has been top of mind for me lately is the time it takes for cities to review drawings. From my experience, this can vary DRAMATICALLY from city to city. One of our recent remodel projects only took 2 days for review in Cottonwood Heights. The project came back with a couple of comments that were dealt with over the phone and we had a permit. Then the contractor was ready to build. 

This experience can be contrasted to two different projects that went into Salt Lake City for review. Each of these two projects were similar remodel projects as the one in Cottonwood Heights, but in SLC the wait to get comments back was over three months for each project. And the list of items requested seems to be above and beyond what should be required for a project of this complexity. It seems like SLC has started treating all projects like they should treat large complex projects.


Luckily The Harvard House is one of the projects that finally crossed this milestone of getting a first set of review comments returned. There are some minor corrections that need to happen to the drawings, then it will go back into SLC to be reviewed again. Hopefully, soon we will have our permit in hand and will be ready to start construction