Back to Back Issues Page
Remodeling Success Tips, Issue #001 -- Starting Off on The Right Foot
February 01, 2008

Welcome & Happy New Year

Thank you for signing up and welcome to the first edition of Remodeling Success Tips and for your patience as it has been a long time in the making. It is amazing how ironic life can be.

As most of you know from my website, I have been in the construction industry for the past 25 years. There are so many good tv shows and websites for do-it-yourselfers that I figured the world didn't need one more from me so I decided to focus my energy on educating homeowners about the process.

In this industry as with many, what you the homeowner don't know really can hurt you. Mostly in the wallet but sometimes at the expense of your families safety.

Table of Contents

Issue #001 - January 15, 2008

In this issue, we will be looking at the importance of starting a remodeling project off on the right foot.

  1. The Irony - Lifes twists and turns
  2. The Legal Avenue - Where a bad project ends up
  3. The Solution - Ways to avoid litigation from the start

The Irony

About 9 months ago I started to write this newsletter. The saying better late than never was not lost on me.

The irony of this story is that right about that same time, the company I work for was contracted by a homeowner who needed our help to remediate his brand new mulit-million dollar home.

What you say? Brand new....multi-million....what remediate? How sad but true; that I have spent the last exhaustive 9 months tearing apart this brand new home. This experience, has only furthered my resolve that there is a need for education on how and why things happen.

So after completing this the most stressful and mind-boggling of my career, I have decided that the best place to start ironically is in the end.

Taking into account that over 60% of all remodeling projects end up in dispute, it seems prudent to start here. Although many of these get resolved through compromise between contractor and owner, many end up in some form of legal resolution.

The Legal Avenue

The three basic types we will look at are mediation, arbitration and litigation.

  • Mediation usually entails one person (the mediator) working with both sides usually resulting in a concession based mutual agreement similar to what some are able to achieve on there own.

  • Arbitration (usually binding in construction cases) will have an arbitor who unlike a mediator will listen to both sides and their witnesses and come to a descion and make a monitary award based on that descision.

  • Litigation is a full blown-out lawsuit that ends up either being decided by a judge or jury. In this type of case both sides present arguments and sue for specific dollar amounts of damages.

So who starts a remodeling project thinking they are going to litigation in the end? The answer is simple.  You should!

The Solution

There is a one common bond between having a successful project and winning a successful litigation. That bond is called documentation.

We will be discussing documentation as an ongoing theme however there is no better place to start that process than in the beginning.

The key to proper documentation is to get it in writing. Although I know most of you are saying duh right now; this means everything.

The following 6 tips will help you get started.

  1. Written scope of work as clearly defined as possible.
  2. Written contract including scope and pricing.
  3. Change orders priced and executed.
  4. Conversations documented.
    1. Email vs. phone conversations where possible.
    2. When not possible, document phone conversations in writing.
      Example: As per our telephone conversation on ...
  5. Regular billing cycles with statements of account.
  6. Complete closeout process.

We will cover each of these in sequence, but for those of you who have started the process, these are critical to protecting yourself.

In our next newsletter, we will review the "Scope of Work" and how it sets the tone for your success.

If you liked this e-zine, please do a friend and me a big favor and "pay it forward."

If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you have read, please subscribe by clicking here to receive your own FREE copies in the future.

Until then, Happy Remodeling!

Back to Back Issues Page