We recently tackled the largest project in our firm's history, the renovation of an 11,000-square-foot house. The challenge: to condense a project with a 6-month design process and a 14-month construction process into 9 months.

Two important items helped us complete the project in time: a commitment of first priority from our trades and suppliers, and our clients having the budget to support the additional effort.

Construction began before the final drawings were created. This was challenging, as the project consisted of gutting the entire house and upgrading with new HVAC, custom built-in cabinetry, smart lighting, and audio and video controls.

To expedite the process, we obtained a demolition permit before the plans were drawn, completing that work while the plans were being created. The benefit of this was that it took any guesswork out of what we would find behind walls and floors.

We worked closely with the owners on design and specifications, ordering products with long lead times as soon as they were selected.

The minute we completed the city's requirements for a building permit, we submitted our plans. This was done while the finish details were being created.

To make the process work, we created a detailed schedule for trades, suppliers, and the owners to live by.

There were glitches along the way, such as a delay in delivery of a European stone shipment for a fireplace surround, and the client adding to the project scope. Our primary source could not handle the late addition of millwork the clients specified, so we immediately substituted another vendor so the homeowners would only see a seamless process and a successful delivery.

Andy Poticha is a principal at Design & Construction Concepts in Chicago, a full-service company spanning architecture and construction.