Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pictures of the Week: Grasshopper in a bind!

For those of you that are faint of heart and want to protect and save every living creature out there, then you will be really proud of me. Especially my wife.

This week's Picture of the Week takes us to the benches of Provo, Utah where my crew was doing a deck overlay for one of our clients. We do the deck in multiple phases and the base coat phases are really sticky and smell really sweet, which subsequently attract all kinds of insects.

When we showed up one morning to continue the process, we were surprised to find a grasshopper stuck in our base coat; obviously it had been stuck there all night.

So what did we do? Well the only humane thing we could do. We cut off its feet! I know that sounds groosom but there was no way we were going to get him out of our base coat. He had to sacrifice his legs for his life.

Well I am glad to say that we were able to get him free and he bounced off the deck and now I am sure his friends call him Hopalong Joe or something clever like that.

Well hope you enjoyed the pics, until next week, see ya lata!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tool Under Review: The Burke Bar

OK, here is a new addition to The Quirky Contractor. Each week I will post a review on a tool I feel is worthy to comment on. Hopefully through doing so you will be able to get a real overview of a tool that you can possibly use on one of your projects or suggest for your contractors to use. Or maybe the tool is just a waste of space and this will help you avoid a costly purchase.

There are so many cool tools out there. I continue to find tools that make my job easier and less painful to my body. There is always the right way and wrong way to perform a task, and most likely the tools you use define whether you do the job the right way or the wrong way.

This weeks tool is really the MVP of the job we did a month ago in Wyoming. We had to demolish an existing deck and recover it with a concrete overlay. The tool that made the demolition go by so fast was the Burke Bar.The Burke Bar is the yellow tool in this picture. The other two tools will be discussed next week. They were useful as well. The Burke Bar is a heavy duty demolition specific leverage bar to help bust up stubborn flooring like tile, wood, or concrete overlays. Here are the pros and cons:
  1. It is very, very heavy, which allows the bar to do most of the work. Just like a sledge hammer is heavy this tool is heavy on purpose. It allows the user to plunge the tool into the flooring and the weight of the tool alone will do some serious damage.
  2. The teeth on the end of the curved bar allows you to get up under the flooring and really pry it up. I haven't found another floor demo tool that can get up under difficult flooring like the Burke Bar. Other tools need a second tool like a hammer to help pry up under the flooring.
  3. The heavy nature of the bar does get you more tired then some of the other demo bars out there. We were exhausted by the time we were done demoing the deck but it was also over 1,000 square feet. That is a lot of flooring to demo in only 5 hours.
  4. The bar is shaped a little odd. You have to construe your body a little to get the bar to slide under the flooring properly. They really need to fix the shape so that you don't feel like the hunchback of Notre Dame when you are done.
Overall I would need to give this tool a 4 1/2 out of 5 stars for its effectiveness. Really the only downfall would be its awkward shape, but nonetheless we were able to get much more work done in less time. The translate into $$$ and that is what makes a good tool great.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Budgets Part Du: Understand the Process

Remember, Remember, Remember budgets, and understanding budgets are the most important skills a contractor or a homeowner can have. How well the budget is controlled, and understood dictates the level of happiness, peace of mind, and exceptional customer service that can be achieved on a construction project.

Out of the three crucial elements of the building process, budget, quality, schedule, the most difficult one to recover from is the budget. You see if the quality is poor, it can be fixed and improved. And if the schedule is off, its not the end of the world, now although schedules are important its not the end of the world of you loose a couple of days; things can be done to get the project back on track. But! if the budget if off, well then its a whole 'nother ball game.

For most people money doesn't grow on trees. It is hard to come by and even harder to part with. When a contractor comes back to a client and says, "Oh and by the way, we found the dead remains of a human in your basement concrete," it creates a level of anxiety in the client, not from the dead body, but from the amount of money it will cost to remove the remains. You see they only care about one thing.....what will it do to my bottom line.

The client is now playing defense. They are not on the team anymore, their sole focus is now protecting the basket of money. When this happens, the joy of building is gone. Feelings of frustration enter, and you will be lucky to get the client back on your team. Am I right, or am I right?

So whether you are the client, the general contractor, or owner builder, the first thing that needs to be done to protect yourself from budget destruction is to start off with the right budget from the beginning. You need to understand the process:
  1. The first part of the budget process is understanding the scope of work. Do you even know what the scope of work entails? Ya, you know that you want to remodel you master bedroom but do you know what it really takes to do it? And do you know what finishes you want? How do you expect a contractor to get the price right without all the details.
  2. Take the time to walk through your project on paper. Make lists, make material lists, make tool lists, make potential problem lists, make all the lists necessary to make sure you have not missed any details that may cause budgets to change.
  3. Walk through the lists with competent contractors. I really mean competent contractors. Not your brother who worked one summer on a landscape crew, not your grandpa who has been retired for 20 years, but contractors who are in the field working everyday, and who come highly recommended. They will be able to add to your lists and help you understand the full spectrum of work, tools, material, and time needed to accomplish the task.
  4. Use those competent contractors to get estimates, as well as using those lists you've made to help you get multiple estimates from other contractors. The more you get the better. It will help you understand the wide range of prices that will accomplish the same task, because all contractors charge different prices for things.
  5. Once you have a healthy pile of estimates you can then start to put together your budget.
  6. The one thing you will find is that this process of walking through the project several times on site and on paper will help you refine your wants and needs. It will help you narrow in on the best approach to take on a certain scope of work, and the most important thing it will help you do is get very intimate and acquainted with your plans. You will start to feel comfortable about the project and how it will come together.
  7. Make sure and address the unknowns. On every job there is an unknown price for a certain scope of work. Whether it is a remodel and you will be moving pipes that you cannot see, or you are excavating and you don't exactly know what soil you will be digging into, make sure and use the best historical data you can get your hands to help estimate the cost of the unknown scope of work.
These steps are crucial in obtaining a workable budget. Most people don't take enough time because they are too worried about a schedule, or are just anxious to get started. They take the first estimate and think its good enough. They don't take time to walk through the job and they don't take the time to really think things through. Please don't be one of those people. Take the time, lock in the budget and from the starting line you will have a great experience.

Good Luck!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Picture of the week: Dubai

So the pictures of the week showcase the coolest place in the world.......Dubai!

Besides being once of the fastest growing places in the world, they are also building things that few have dreamed about, including an underwater hotel, and developments that comprise of man made islands in the shape of palm trees and the world.

They also have the only 7 Star hotel in the world.

I wonder what they do for you in a 7 Star hotel.

I have also attached a link with video feed that you need to check out. Once you see the videos, of what they are daring to do in Dubai, you like me will want to move there.

I would love to work for the company building these crazy developments out in the ocean. I have also attached a link to there company's web page. Go to it and click on the video introductions and you will be blown away.

Well, have an awesome weekend and see you next week on the Quirky Contractor.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Budgets: Its what it all comes down too.

OK, let's be honest with ourselves. When going out and buying a home, or building a home or remodeling a home, or.....did I cover my bases, OK lets continue, all that matters in the end is the price. We can get all excited about what features the home has or will have but in the end we look at the savings account, or our lender and ask, "Can we afford this?" To which the answer is more then likely "NO!"

Come on, how many times have you gone out there and even on small purchases, if you had to be honest with yourself, when you get that item with all the extras and you look at the price tag, you have that pit in your stomach because your emotional side is saying, "YeS, yEs" while your logical more practical side is saying with an accountant like voice,"Nope, you can't afford this."

Now hopefully you have experienced both sides of the purchasing experience. The times when you have made the purchase emotionally, and you feel awesome until you get the credit card statement and ask yourself how you are going to pay for it, or the times when you were disciplined, smart, logical and turned down the urge to purchase. If you have experience both of these, then you are ready to build, buy or remodel your home. If not, then go out, experience it, and lets talk later. There needs to be an even balance of emotional excitement and logical reasoning to end up with the right project, done the right way, with the right price.

Here are some things that will help you as you are trying to set budgets for your next project.
  1. Understand the Budget Process: Know what you comes next. There is no sense in trying to set a budget before you know how much the work will actually cost you. And there is no sense in asking a contractor for a bid if there is no plan, or complete understanding of the scope of work. Make sure you follow a logical path to find out what your budget should be.
  2. Understand how to correctly analyse your budget. Make sure you have dotted your i's and crossed your t's. To correctly analyse your budget you need to know how to read the contractors bids. Did they forget something. You better hope not, if they did, your budget has just been compromised.
  3. Find the right budget forms to use so it helps you throughout the entire building process. The right forms will help you at every stage of the project.
In the end, it comes down to really understanding what baggage that price tag comes with. It can be overwhelming but if you take it step by step, you should be OK......Good Luck.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pictures of the Week

See something wrong with this picture?

Take a closer look.

Wouldn't you love to wake up to a phone call in the middle of the night from your contractor telling you your beautiful custom home has burned down?

We were building a home for one of our clients just a block away.

We found out that one of the trade contractors had left a propane heater on in the basement over night.

I wanted to cry for them. I couldn't imagine the frustration and pain this created for everyone involved.

The home had to be completed torn down and it is still just a hole in the ground to this day.

Be Careful! don't leave heaters on! Oh ya, and make sure and have good insurance on your project.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Demolition: Its a Martial Art

If you are considering demolition, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. Look at the mess we got into as we demolished this 1600 square foot deck in Wyoming. It was crazy.

Here are some things you want to consider as you plan a demolition project.
  1. Know How: do you know what you are doing? If you don't, then do some serious research. There are tools and methods that professionals use to make their jobs as easy as possible.
  2. Time: Make sure and estimate how much time you think it will take......then triple it. Demolition projects always take much longer then you think. If you set your mind around a certain time frame and you go over it, mentally you can become frustrated, especially when you are exhausted and haven't paced yourself.
  3. Man Power: Make sure you have the right man power. Much of demolition is using your back and elbow grease. If you do not have enough man power or are not in shape to do the work, then pretty soon the project is then demolishing your moral and physical wellness. Many Saturday Warriors have underestimated the physical nature of a demolition project and have ended up throwing out their backs or worse.
  4. Disposal: Make sure you have figured out how to get the demolition debris to the landfill. You are going to have much more garbage to get rid of then me! Make sure and also check with local building officials to make sure whether or not you need a demolition permit for your project. There can also be harmful chemicals in the demolition debris that may need special methods of removal. You can get in big trouble if you don't take care of it the right way. So be safe and consult with city officials before you start.
Follow these guidelines and you should be able to get the job done right. Good luck and have fun!

Monday, July 27, 2009

An Ounce of Maintenance is Worth a Pound of Cure.

What a sad situation! This concrete deck overlay was installed in 2000. It has only been 9 years and look at what the lack of maintenance has done to it.

All they needed to do was to re-seal it every 2-4 years and check on potential water penetration zones each year, and this deck would have lasted them a lifetime. But instead, 9 years later, these homeowners had to replace the entire deck. The cost to re due the overlay was over $16,000. To re-seal the deck every 2-4 years, it would have cost $2,000. Now that maintenance cost may even seem like a lot to spend but you have to remember that the deck is over 1500 square feet......HUGE! No matter what you do to it, it is going to cost money.

You can see in these pictures how over just a short amount of time without care, the deck formed small hairline cracks, which allowed water to seep in. Once the weather turned cold and that water turned to ice, well we all know what ice can do to concrete with cracks in it.

Over just one season, those cracks allowed enough water and ice to penetrate the thin concrete surface and started a domino effect of problems. Once you have one season of water and ice, there is no turning back. The deck basically has a date with deterioration and disaster.

So if you are wondering if you have enough money to cover repairs like this, here are some recommendations for those that read this and are freakin' out about their homes and the lack of maintenance that they have received.

1. Remember, maintenance is different from warranty. Warranties can be void if the owner does not maintain the equipment or product properly. Home Owners don't quite understand this and then when they call in a warranty request, they get shocked when they find out the warranty is void due to a lack of maintenance.

2. Contact your general contractor. Have him compile a list of trade contractors and suppliers that worked on your home.

3. Once you have the list, call each one and ask for maintenance instructions. Compile all the information in a maintenance manual. Start then scheduling recommended maintenance.

4. If you didn't hire a general contractor, then make the calls yourself. Call all suppliers and laborers. If they don't have the answers, then another great resource is the Internet. Do google searches, or you can visit the National Home Builders website, there they have information specifically for those that are trying to keep up on their home.

Keeping up on maintenance is so crucial to the longevity of any project. Here is one more insight. When pricing out a project, make sure and look at the long term cost of maintaining the equipment or product being installed. Doing this can help you factor in long term costs and determine which product or equipment is right for you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tools of the Trade

Plain and simple, "the right tool is worth it's weight in gold."

That statement rings true with any construction project you try to trump. If you use the right tool you find the job to be fluid, effortless and almost fun, (if projects like demolishing a concrete deck can be fun.)

As for us and our Wyoming deck adventure, we found that we had some of the right tools and also some that did not work so well. These three tools you see are awesome for the demolition of a stapled or nailed lath deck. I thought we would be spending a day and a half on the demolition but instead with the right tools it only took us 5 hours.

On the other hand when we sheeted the deck with half inch plywood, we used cordless drills to screw it down. Big mistake!!!! We had a lot of down time when batteries needed recharging, and just the constant bending over while screwing in each screw was nauseating. It took two guys two days to screw off the entire 1200 square foot deck. I felt like an idiot because I left our self-feeding screw gun at home. That would have cut the work down to one guy and about 4 hours.

So let me enlighten those that need to find the right tools. Here is what you need to know.
  1. Any job that you are going to do, whether it be setting tile or running wiring for your theater room, there are tools that have been invented to help make your job easier. Honestly, whatever it is, they have the tool for you. My goodness, in Dubai they have machines called Trailing Suction Hopper Dredgers which build islands out in the middle of the ocean. So if you are in the middle of a project and saying to yourself, "this is taking forever," or your breaking your back trying to get the job done, you are probably using the wrong tool.
  2. Talk to the professionals. Contractors for the most part know the tools for their trade. They know what works and what doesn't. Most contractors would be happy to help a Saturday Warrior. Talk to several contractors who do that particular task on a regular basis, odds are they have figured out the fastest way to get the job done.
  3. Don't be afraid to use the right tool. We tend to get nervous to use pneumatic tools, or power tools because they seem like too much to handle, or we are nervous we might break the tool or maybe we think the tool is too involved and we won't know how to use it. We resort to cavemen tactics to complete the scope of work which cause us to hate life when you are tying to build a shed and you are using a hammer and nails instead of a pneumatic nail gun. Well let me enlighten you......most of the tools that you would even consider using for any household project are really very simple to use. Once you rent or buy the tool and read up on the instructions, you find out that taking proper care of the tool is more involved then actually using the tool.
In the end you will either look back and say, " man that was worth doing," or you will have tried to kill yourself with the very tools you are using to do the job.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Getting the Right People on the Bus

Ok, so a little off the subject of Construction Management Checklists here for a second. I wanted to just take a week and report on a cool backwoods adventure my deck and concrete overlay crew took this past week. I sent them to the backwoods of Afton, Wyoming to demolish and re due a concrete decking system that had failed.
We did not do the original system which had failed but we were sent up to fix the problem. It was a lot of hard work, and at times we wondered why we agreed to do the project, but when it was all done, it was worth the experience. We learned tons, and hopefully I can share some of the management systems we used to help us get the job done right. As well as some of the mistakes we made, so when you do a project you don't make them.

The picture you see is of my Superintendent Chris Abney standing on the log rail looking over the vast wilderness which is Afton. The cabin we went too was about 10 miles west of Afton. The cabin is so hidden by pine trees that you can't see the structure until you are about 500 yards away from it. Once we arrived we powered up the generator which ran on propane and then all of sudden it was like we were in the city again. The house lit up, and as we entered we found every luxury of life. Big screen TV, walk in showers, soft beds and plenty of room for relaxing after a long hard day of back breaking work.

In my Opinion it is worth making sure your living conditions are amazing. It made the difference for my guys as we ended up working about 14 hour days. When they were done, it was awesome for them to just be able to relax and unwind in a comfortable setting. Good food was also essential. It is amazing what good food can do for the moral of 3 hungry men.

Now who were the 3 hungry guys? They are one of the best crews I have been able to put together. From left to right you have Thomas Unga, a Construction Management Major at Brigham Young University. He is amazing with management systems and has been a great addition to the team. Next is Chris Abney, a Business Management Major at Utah Valley University. He also has several years of painting experience under his belt which has given him the eye for detail to make sure every job is done with perfection. And lastly is Tyler Nelson, he is a senior in high school. He is a great utility man. They are each over 6 feet tall and strong. Their brute strength was crucial in getting the job done.

These guys worked 14 hour days. The sun was out and bright, and even though the temperatures were only in the upper 80s, the deck surface got much hotter then that. We were reaching temperatures of 95 degrees plus on the deck. They didn't complain, they didn't make excuses, they just got to work, and with every challenge they met, they put a plan together and saw it through.

So here is the lesson for the day. There is no substitute for the right crew. They will make or break your project. Whether you are looking at hiring a general contractor, managing the project yourself, or doing the work yourself, make sure you hire the right man for the job. Don't let price get in the way of picking the right guy. If you let price take precedent, you may pay countless times more in headache and frustration from missed deadlines and unmet expectations with quality and service, not to mention warranty.

So to emphasize, I take the liberty of stealing a line from one of the greatest books written on building a business, Good to Great.........."Get the right people on the bus."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My first two homes!

When I was first brought on to Arthur Lewis Fine Homes, my Boss Dave Lewis did the coolest thing a boss could do, he just threw me into building custom homes from start to finish. I was responsible to bid out the house and then work with the client on decisions as well as oversee the construction. My first house was this 10,000 square foot Tuscan style home. Crazy Huh, my boss was crazy but smart. We did a great job on this home, and it ended up winning us alot of awards.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Iron Clad Contracts: Better for Everyone

Ok, so have you ever heard of a friend or a friend of a friend tell their daunting tale of being taken to the bank by some contractor who did some work on their house and then came back and asked for more money. Or did the contractor not perform the work to their satisfaction and they had to settle?

I got so tired of hearing these stories. It seems that 90% of all the construction projects end with unsatisfied clients and frustrated contractors. Ya that's right, the contractors are frustrated too. Even though it may seem in these situations that the contractor is at fault, the blame sits with both sides. The problem...undefined responsibility and accountability.

In any business venture between partners you better bet there is an iron clad contract. The contract defines who is responsible for overseeing certain actions, and who is accountable if something goes wrong. And who makes what money.

Why would you go into a project of any scale without having a contract, or clear understanding of what is expected and who will make sure it happens. Having a contract will help everyone sleep peaceful at night and allow the job to turn out right. Here are three points that should be addressed when putting together any construction contract:

  1. Define who the deal is between. Clearly define the relationship between client and contractor. Whomever is defined as the client will be responsible to sign off on all decisions, and the contractor will be responsible to oversee the implementation of those decisions.
  2. Define the Scope of Work. What work is actually being done? During a sales pitch a contractor can make is seem like he is giving you the whole world. Well if he is, then have it in writing before the job starts. That way there is no confusion between the warm and cozy sales pitch and the actual work that he performs.
  3. Define payment method and payment schedule. Don't make the mistake of not defining how payment is handled. You don't want the contractor coming to you at the end of the job bringing a huge change order to the table leaving you opened mouthed and speechless. Nor do you want the contractor demanding final payment when the job is not 100% complete to your satisfaction.
DO NOT go into any construction project without a well constructed contract. If you do you are just asking for headaches and bad karma. While working in construction for the past ten years I have consistently used contracts. Some have been good and some have been......well lets just say costly. When they have been costly, it was due to a lack of consideration for the details. Remember success is all in the details.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

7 Habits of Highly Effective Scheduling

Scheduling is the most important part of a project. Before anything is done, a schedule should be put together. Working around a timeline helps everyone stay on track and focused toward a deadline.

Proper scheduling is the number one tool to help create a clear expectation with everyone involved.

I know a lady who decided to build her own home. She started with a "lick my finger and stick it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing" scheduling technique and needless to say, two years later she is still waiting for things to get done in her home so she can move in. The home at the most should have taken 12 months.

So where do you start when trying to put together a schedule?

  1. Well first you need to consider the scope of work you are undertaking. Is it a remodel, addition, new construction, small renovation? is it a landscaping project? or are you just refurbishing a bathroom? If the project is small enough, you probably don't need to use a construction scheduling software but if the project is going to take more then a month and involves more then 5 decisions then you should definitely consider using scheduling software.
  2. The scheduling software you choose can range from a simple calender found on My Yahoo, or iGoogle to more large project oriented scheduling software such as Fast track, Surtrak or Microsoft Project. The reason a computer based calender or scheduling software should be used as opposed to the old school paper calender is because you can enable certain features within these calenders such as daily, weekly, and 3-2-1 Outlook updates. These updates help remind you what is coming next.
  3. Once you have chosen your mode of scheduling you need to create a critical path. A critical path is a set of tasks that need to happen in sequence. One thing cannot happen before the next. In this respect the critical path really dictates the timeline of a project. You can't poop in a toilet before it is installed. The sequential events from installing plumbing, installing the wax ring, to installing the toilet and using the toilet would be considered a critical path. One thing can't happen before the other without disastrous consequences.
  4. Once you put this critical path together you can then schedule in all those other tasks that can happen at anytime during he project. By following this process you can really get a big picture of what is pushing the schedule, and what will hold up your project if decisions are not made. This is key as many rookies and do-it-yourselfers can get caught in the thick of thin things that really don't matter, while they ignore the tasks that will really hold up the schedule.
  5. OK you have your schedule, now make sure that everyone agrees with that schedule. Get trade contractor/supplier feedback from those that will be doing the work. Make sure they feel they can accomplish the scope of work or deliver the material needed under the time frame you have allotted. If they don't feel they can, then work with them, but make sure that you are in control. If you have a crucial timeline to meet, make sure and find someone who can get the job done in the time frame you have set. Any schedule can be met, it just means you have to get more people or work harder, or both. Don't be afraid to get aggressive with the schedule.
  6. Once you have a solid schedule you can start, but remember a key to making a schedule succeed is follow-up. We call this follow up 3-2-1 Outlook. 3-2-1 Outlook is the process of looking down the road 3 weeks into the future. Based on the schedule you put together you should know who will be on the job and what material needs to be on the job 1 week, 2 weeks, and 3 weeks down the road. Phone calls and arrangements should be made to insure that it will happen. Each week this 3-2-1 Outlook should take place, preferably on a Friday or sometime at the end of the week. Don't back down for a second, even if you feel it is redundant to call that person 3 weeks in a row, its not and I will tell you from experience that subcontractors and suppliers love the communication and they do not get bugged. If you do the 321 religiously you will succeed and be happy with the progress of your job.
  7. Remember to always make scheduling a priority. It is so easy to let the schedule get pushed to the back of the bus when other issues come up like decision making, accounting or trade contractor/supplier management. Don't let it happen; the success of the project and your stability of your sanity will depend on how well the schedule is maintained.
If you or your hired general contractor are not using these principles of scheduling stop right now, re-read, understand and apply these simple steps. You will be happy you did. Til next time be safe and good luck.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Pre-Con Checklist

All right, so you have decided its time to start this . Are you sure you want to do this? You know, they say that outside of getting married, the most difficult thing to get right is building a custom home.

I don't know how many home owners, and potential clients that I have talked to have said,"I have heard so many bad things about building a custom home, we aren't quite sure we want to do this."

My response to them and to all of you who have the same sentiment is this, "Building a custom home is the art of bringing together a thousand different details. If you go into it without a plan you plan to fail, but if you have a plan centered around details that allow you to see the end from the beginning then you will have a good experience."

That is where we are going to start. We are going to break this home building experience down to the very core and find out what makes a successful project flow from concept to conception.

Lets get started.

Below you will find a Pre-Construction Checklist. A useful tool that I used as a general contractor to help make sure everything was in place before we started a project. I will present it in its entirety.  Then over the next few months I will break it down so that you can understand the details behind the checklist.

Now there are other details before this like where to build, house plans, and the bidding process, but I have decided to start here at the Pre-Construction Checklist, because this is where trouble can start if you are not prepared.

  1. Schedule
  2. Contracts
  3. Budget
  4. Complete Architectural/Mechanical Plans
  5. Specifications
  6. Building Permits
  7. Change Order procedures and fees
  8. Back Charge procedures and fees
  9. Transmittal/Submittal
  10. Purchase Order 
  11. Quality Control 
  12. Daily report
  13. Warranty and Service procedures 
  1. Home Base
  2. Office Supplies
  3. Information Binder
  4. Communication plan
  5. State Notification
  6. Builders Risk Insurance Policy
  7. Relationship strategies
  8. Trade Contractor/Supplier selection
  9. Project Goals: individual, team, financial
  10. Holiday/Vacation schedule
  11. Construction Meetings
  12. Site Cleanliness, Protection, and Security Plans
  13. Site Signage Plan
  14. Long lead items
  15. Project Funding
  16. Manpower
  17. Travel arrangements-vehicle, housing, subsistence
  18. Out of town payroll
  19. EEO/Affirmative Action
  20. Inspections
  21. Budgets and Cost Codes in place
  22. Equipment mobilization
  23. Supply Drop off/Pick up plan
  24. Utility Sources
  25. Construction waste disposal
  26. Human wast disposal
  27. Official land survey
  28. Seasonal implications
  1. Safety Plan
  2. Crisis Management Plan
  3. Safety Challenges
  4. Job Site Safety Meeting
  5. Job Site Safety Report
  6. Fire Prevention Plan
  7. Emergency Evacuation Plan
  8. Job Hazard Analysis
  9. MSDS Book
  10. Asbestos Survey copy
  11. Special clothing requirements
  12. Special training
  13. First Aid Kits
  14. Fire Extinguishers
  15. Hospital/Instacare facilities
  16. Hard Hats
  17. Safety Glasses
  18. Gloves
  19. Noise protection
  20. Dust protection
  21. Rebar caps
  22. Safety signage
  23. Fall protection/exposed openings
  24. Drinking water
  25. Special hazards
  26. Traffic/Pedestrian routing and protection
  27. Storm/Waste Water Plan (SWPP)
  28. Site/Project Dust Control (Air quality permit required)
  29. Certified Equipment Operators
  30. Tools and equipment needed
If you have any questions before I start breaking this down feel free to leave a comment and I will help you out.  Until next time good luck and keep swinging.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In the Beginning there was LIGHT!

In the beginning there was light!  Couldn't have said it better myself.  That simple little phrase packs such a huge punch.  You see when God decided to create the earth he didn't create candy first or Britney Spears (Although I am sure if you asked her she would think differently).....He consciously created light first.  But not just "light" as in the source of energy that helps us see in darkness, but "light" in terms of clarity, vision.  He created a clear vision, a plan of action to be followed.  

God didn't wing-it, He had a clear plan, that was followed, and out of it came the perfect creation.....the earth.

Now isn't that what you want to create as you are getting ready to build your custom home....the perfect creation?  Yes and I am going to give you the tools that you need whether you are going at it yourself or whether you are going to hire a contractor.  My guess is that you don't have the tools you need nor does your contractor (even if he says he does).  Just wait I'll show you what I mean.

So my next post will have a Pre-Construciton Checklist of things that you need to get lets create that clear vision and get started on that perfect creation.

Oh and feel free to ask me questions before hand, don't wait, I've got answers to anything you need to know about managing your custom home project, or managing your general contractor.