What better time to create the outline for this story than while I’m waiting to be called in for my annual doctor’s physical checkup?

When I look around the waiting room, I’m reflecting on this, on time: how it never stands still, even in a waiting room.

I’m reflecting on the 10 years that have passed since the inception of this amazing magazine, Ottawa Renovates. Ten years of powerful renovation information. Priceless!

I’m reflecting on our own business, and the 35 years that have passed since its beginning.

Time! Where did it go?

When I look around the waiting room I think about our Doctor’s process. Besides poking and prodding, he asks many questions. Depending on the answers I give, he asks – often with a slight raise of eyebrow – many follow-up questions. Will he want to take tests?

Imagine if our doctors didn’t take the time to find the real issue. This has me thinking. Is renovating is that much different?

Wouldn’t a professional – Architect, Designer, RenoMark™ Renovator  – need to understand our needs, our family’s needs, our home’s needs? Should we really add an addition if, instead, optimizing the existing space solves our needs?

Tip: When you’re interviewing professionals, are they listening and understanding you?

Process? Our doctor sure has one – registration, a record of weight, height, blood pressure; questions, requisitions, follow-ups.

In the same way, it makes sense for your professional renovator to have a proven, repeatable process. Maybe it’s okay for some of us to be interrupted at our work to make snap decisions. Are you okay applying for permits? Are you okay not knowing what your project costs until a month after completion?

Tip: Ask professionals what their process is. Does their process make sense for you?

Doctors have their areas of expertise. I’m not sure I would be comfortable with a knee specialist performing heart surgery. Likewise, a renovator who specializes in bathrooms may not be the best to add a second level to your bungalow.

Tip: Ask your professionals about their area of expertise and what experience they have.

Unlike medical situations, renovations usually are not emergencies. Why rush to construction – only to have the project grind to a halt? The tile needed today, chosen yesterday, is in Italy? The electrician ready to do his work says the service is not adequate? After moving in, the light over the table is nowhere close to where it should be?

 Tip: Don’t rush for the sake of rushing. Take the time you need to make decisions. Ask questions!

Just like that, as I reflect in the waiting room, my name is called.

Tip: Life can be fast paced. Appreciate every second. Smell the roses.

Before we know it, Ottawa Renovates will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary. Time!

Tip: Enjoy the ride.

Herb Lagois is the owner of Lagois Design-Build-Renovate.