NYC co-op and condo buildings have multiple days when work is not allowed. The winter holidays—Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s—all impact construction schedules.


Winter is when many New York City owners embark on a renovation. It makes sense: Lots of people want to begin a new chapter in their lives with the start of a new year. While there are many different types of properties, there are a few common mistakes to avoid when renovating in the winter.

If you’re planning a major gut renovation in NYC, the best time to start your renovation is now. That’s because it takes on average four to six months for the design process, and another six months (at least) for the build process. There are many things to consider and navigate, depending on the property type you are renovating: Landmark rules, permits, approvals, paperwork, filings, and so on. In other words, you can plan for your renovation as best you want, but it’s somewhat unrealistic to say, “I want to break ground in X months,” given all of the unknowns.

However, if you have a general understanding of the season in which you’re going to be performing the build portion of your renovation, there are some things you should look out for.

“There is a season for every sport, hobby, and any major vacation. Not unlike these lifestyle choices, renovations also have seasonality, each with its own unique challenges and opportunities,” says Anna Karp, CEO and co-founder of Bolster, a data-driven design-build renovation firm in NYC.

Bolster has experience renovating in all seasons. Here are some top tips and pitfalls to avoid when planning your renovation in the winter.

Winter renovation mistakes to avoid

Weather patterns For major renovations on townhouses and brownstones, it is best to avoid doing any extensions or major structural work during the winter or with below-freezing temperatures. OSHA also requires construction workers to build in suitable temperatures.

Holiday and vendor closures NYC is multi-cultural and as such, co-op and condo buildings have multiple days when work is not allowed. The winter holidays—Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s—all impact construction schedules. Not only do buildings close, but deliveries and the supply chain overall go into a lull, thereby further impacting construction schedules.

Neighbor complaints With more neighbors at home during the holiday season, you can expect complaints or a great deal of neighbor management if there is work that creates dust or noise during the holiday period.

Winter renovation opportunities to consider

“Not every scenario is bad during the winter—like life itself, a bad situation always comes with a silver lining. There are plenty of upsides to renovating during the winter— and even the holiday season,” Anna says.

Black Friday and other holiday promotions Homeowners would do well to look for Black Friday deals because sometimes major retailers offer limited-time discounts on fixtures, fittings, and/or appliances.

Current year pricing Prices for materials typically increase year over year, and many vendors send notifications to snag current-year pricing to avoid hikes later. A good renovation firm should alert their homeowners about locking in pricing.

The New Year push The construction industry uniformly observes a winter holiday break so workers and field crews tend to be refreshed after spending time with their family. A well-rested, revitalized crew results in a better flow of work.

Bolster views the holiday season as an opportunity to show the construction workers in their project that they care about them.

“At Bolster, we make a point of closing down for a week during the holiday season because we believe our teams should have that time during the year to spend with their families,” Anna says. “After all, our focus is on custom residential renovations—we take families seriously.”

The Bolster Smart Renovation Zero-Risk Guarantee

How can a design-build firm guarantee a Zero-Risk renovation?

Bolster has pioneered Smart Renovation. We apply quantitative analysis along with our proprietary technology solution to identify and quantify the performance risk on every renovation project. The result is a personalized strategic approach to each renovation that allows us to absorb 100 percent of the homeowner’s risk. Your home will be beautifully designed, and delivered on-time and on-budget. That is our guarantee.

Smart Renovation & Zero-Risk means that Homeowners are now free to dream.

To start your major home renovation project visit

The Bolster Promise video


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