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The term home improvement specialist usually refers to either a designer or construction contractor who focuses on modifying an existing structure. The purpose is generally to improve design or functionality and may increase the home’s value or make it more desirable to buyers. Such specialists may work with many types of improvements or may focus on one specific area, such as siding, cabinetry, or kitchens. Specific functions vary but often include assessing existing conditions, providing quotations and recommendations, and creating plans or drawings. The home improvement specialist may also complete the actual work or supervise a crew that does so.
A home improvement specialist differs from other construction or housing design professionals in that he or she focuses on modifying existing structures rather than building new ones. Project complexity can range from redoing a bathroom to building an addition to a house. He or she may be an independent contractor or may work for a home improvement company.
A wide range of job functions can be classified under a home improvement specialist's duties, but the most common include architecture, design, and construction. Architects usually focus on large projects, such as additions, but may also participate in smaller projects if government permitting is required. Designers can also help lay out new spaces, particularly if no major structural changes will be made. These professionals often work on jobs such as laying out the cabinetry and appliances in a new kitchen.
Construction home improvement specialists are generally those who complete the actual work. This can include structural changes, such as building on or knocking out walls, but can also include functions like rerouting electrical, plumbing, and ventilation lines. This category also includes installers, who are responsible for activities such as laying tile or other flooring, installing cabinetry, and connecting light fixtures.
Depending on the nature of the individual’s job and the scope of the project, duties can vary dramatically between one home improvement specialist position and another. In most cases, however, the specialist first analyzes existing conditions. This helps him or her provide the client with options and to determine the best method for achieving the client’s goals. Many such specialists also provide estimates for the work.
Home improvement specialists often create plans that show where everything will go in the new space. These plans may be quite complex, as in the case of architects’ blueprints, or may be relatively simple layouts used only by the installation team. This step is important to any project as it provides a common document from which all contractors can work. Once the plans are created and approved, designers and architects are often finished, and construction and installation professionals complete the remaining steps.