Although no remodeling or building project is problem free, some hurdles can be minimized through sensible planning.

To make sure the project proceeds as smoothly as possible, Building Ideas Home Products Guide recommends allowing plenty of time to deal with these three common problem areas.Working Out the Design:

Good design can increase a home's value and livability. Take time to list the features wanted and make detailed sketches of ideas. Don't rely strictly on floor plans and elevations; a project that looks great in two dimensions may appear awkward in three dimensions.

If perspective drawing isn't possible, make a model with cardboard or illustration board or consult a professional designer. If the work will be done by the homeowner, an investment in architectural advice would be wise. Contact the local office of the American Institute of Architects for a list of professionals in the area or ask friends to recommend a reliable architect.

Estimating Time and Costs:

Take pains to anticipate as many costs as possible, including design fees, permit fees, loan charges, material costs and payments to subcontractors.

Little things have a way of adding up, so build a cost overrun factor into the budget (5 to 10 percent of the total figure) and arrange financing accordingly. Also, try to make realistic estimates of the time it will take to complete each stage. Again, it's best to have a professional check your figures.

Boning Up on Skills and Standards:

Whether the construction will be done by the homeowner or not, it pays to pick up as much additional information as possible on techniques that will be used. Talk to other do-it-yourselfers, read a few how-to manuals, confer with an experienced contractor or consultant, even take a class or two.