Archive for March, 2007

Project Leaky House Update – March

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

This month I have concentrated on preparing myself for the decisions involving the engagement of a building contractor. I wanted to do this prior to detailed design work, as the type of contractor I use will most likely dictate who does the final design.

I admit that progress this month has been slow, as I have arranged finance for the rebuilding project and done a lot of background work to ensure I make the best possible decisions going forward.

During this process I have researched and documented for you:

  1. Typical remodeling project tasks
  2. Types of building contractors
  3. How to choose a building contractor
  4. A contractor screening process
  5. Types of building contract agreements
  6. Benefits of using your designer as project manager
  7. Project management tips
  8. Managing remododeling project relationships

By going through this process I am now ready to commit to using a large building company to contract for the work. I am using a relatively new construction method technology to give the best possible weathertightness to my home.

Although I have yet to complete the due diligence process, my decision to go with this type of company is based upon:

  1. This company are the experts in this type of construction, most used today on commercial buildings.
  2. They have their own in-house team of designers which are familiar with the construction technology and materials I plan to use
  3. They have a large team of builders so I will be less likely to be left standing if my building contractor is not able to complete the task.
  4. They cannot hide behind a shell corporation if they don’t complete the job satisfactorily, so have more of an invested interest in doing a good job – their brand depends upon it.
  5. I was impressed with the professionalism of their initial sales person, and their style of communication suits my personality and needs

So next month – the aim is to complete the engagement process. At the end of the month I intend to have a contract signed and the building work scheduled.

The Key To Avoiding Building Failure

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

How many of us expect high quality construction at a cheap price? I mean, really,
is it too much to ask for a job to be done professionally at the best possible
quality, and for a reasonable price. Well, it seems the answer is YES!

The saying ‘You can have it good. You can have it cheap. You can have it quick.
But you can only have two of the three any time’. In other words, a good and
cheap building will not be quick. A cheap and quick building will not be good.
Or a good and quick building will not be cheap.

As the owner of your home remodeling and renovation project, you need to decide
right up front which combination of these three elements you want to base your
project on. It is very easy to be very economics focused at the start out phase
of design of any remodeling project, but as construction proceeds and quality
starts to become an issue, suddenly, as building owner you are not happy with
the quality of the workmanship – but often it is too late.

So think very carefully about the cheap and crappy approach – it is what you
are asking for, and it is what you are likely to end up with. Our recent article
on ‘What Causes Building Failure‘ may give you cause for reconsideration before you start your next home remodeling or renovation project.

10 Critical Considerations Managing Your Home Remodeling Project

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

When planning your home remodeling or renovation project one of the main decisions you need to make is who will manage the project. Your Designer, the main builder or you may decide to take on the project management role yourself.

But be warned, it’s not as easy as it may sound. In a recent article we reveal the detail of the 10 most common mistakes made by homeowners acting as remodeling and renovation project managers are:

  1. Insufficient Planning – the success of your project is probably 80% based upon good planning.
  2. Poor Materials Management – Time and Materials planning is a big task but it can be very costly not having the right materials in the correct quantity at the right time.
  3. Not Planning Sufficiently For Contingencies – materials can become unavailable due to warehouses burning down, transport strikes, import problems and even short supply being given to a more valued customer. Labour can become unavailable due to illness, injury or overrun on previous jobs.
  4. Poor Record Keeping – keep and file everything, and keep records well organised. You need to know exactly where you are in terms of time and dollars against the plan specification.
  5. Not Managing The Worksite – there are a number of regulations and workplace safety items that need to be covered during any building project.
  6. Slack Quality Assurance –QA is one task that should NEVER be rushed through or passed over when under time pressure. The downline impacts are too great.
  7. Poor Subcontractor Management – a full home renovation, there can be 30 -40 subcontractors. You need to use a well planned system for engaging, qualifying, contracting and managing your subcontractors.
  8. Poor Communication – Act professionally, and get to know building lingo.
  9. Poor Change Management Control – ensure that any remedy or changes resulting from those errors is agreed, documented and charged to the appropriate party.
  10. Not Keeping Check Of The Budget – projects generally overrun their initial estimate.

Sound scary, read these building project management tips and make an informed decision on this important role. For me – I am a qualified project manager, have architectural design training and experience, but for the sheer convenience of being able to continue a full time consulting job, I am leaving to the builder to manage the contract; but will ensure that key QA points are independently assessed.