Shall we Skip the Drama? or Will Your Construction Project turn into a Goat Rodeo?

I just love the image of someone trying to get control of these critters and making them behave. The analogy of course, is the players who contribute to a construction project: The Owners, Builders, Architects, Engineers, Inspectors, Vendors, Neighbors etc.  Each party convinced they are doing their part perfectly… So then, what’s needed to […]

Retain This! …A primer to retaining walls.

“Hey, I just want to flatten out my backyard so the kids can play” was my customer’s reason for initiating a recent project. One way to achieve that level yard is to re-grade (move the soil around )  the yard and add a low wall that retains the earth to create that more usable level […]

How to Interview Architects

Let me suggest an approach that starts with easy questions then get into a few tougher ones.    Just to get the conversation going you may start- 1. Like,”Tell me what you think of our project?”  or “Can you tell me a little more about the ___project that we saw on your website?” 2. What […]

House & Home Selection

OK, we’re cruising around with a real estate agent, checking our potential home locations, the time is, what factors come into play when we assess the “go , no-go”? Hopefully you’ve already done the school research, commute comparison, tax shudder-dance and you’ve narrowed it down to a target area. The final answer is based […]

Value Engineering- (not a political discussion)

The bids start trickling back and , oh snap, they are too high!. What should we do?  Value Engineer it!…We’re not talking about those good values we learn as little kids. But many clients have that puzzled look when we start the  conversation, so here goes…It’s more than just reducing costs after thumbing through the […]

Appliance Buying Strategy

I love saving my customers money and hassle.  Shopping for their own appliances is no exception. 3 little nuggets: The best advice I can lend is to use Consumer reports-which is what I did here.  Here’s the link When you buy matters most across all brands.Lowest prices for TV’s: July 4th and Black Friday […]

Your guys, my guys, those guys? Who is going to build the project?

After months of design, municipal approvals, and funding questions- we often get to the question “Who is going to build it?” Many customers are convinced they know somebody…because the guy down the street had a good experience with some builder.  Or their brother in-law’s friend is just starting out and eager to gain traction and […]

Avoid these 7 rookie mistakes before you start construction!

As the saying goes, ” Those that fail to plan, plan to fail”.  So it is with the need to prepare before construction begins.  There is no way to go back to a point in time when you should have taken these suggestions to heart- so please consider them as gentle nudges. 1. Do you […]

Low Bidder Blues

For most construction projects,  we send out our drawings and specifications along with a bid form to 4 or 5 builders. The bid form is a chart that helps itemize in line by line format so we can understand the various trades like electrical, plumbing, tile, framing etc. In an effort to remain competitive, many […]

What’s Not Included- and why

Among the most frequent questions that I get asked is ” What other costs should I know about?”.  These are among the most common: Property Surveys- When one builds on a property , there is a need to understand the size of the property and the location of the building or improvement in relation to […]