"Experience SBI" – The Remodeling Newsletter

Want to get free tips and hints for improving the appearance and livability of your home? Trying to sell a house and want to increase the value? Or are you looking for ideas on remodeling projects? You'll find all this and a lot more in Sound Builders' newsletter "Experience SBI".kk

Take a look at our current edition below, or visit our archives for previous editions. Then be sure to subscribe, using the form on the right, so you'll keep up to date in the latest in home improvement!

PRIVACY POLICY: We will never sell, rent, share, or otherwise give your name and e-mail address to anyone, period. We do not send spam and will always respect your request to unsubscribe at any time.

Changes

Speaking of changes, Fall is here, which means the leaves are changing from green to brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow and the grass from brown to a gorgeous green. I love the Pacific Northwest where we have the opportunity to experience the beauty of every season.

Another change happening is that Daylight Savings Time is ending Nov. 4th, so don't forget to "fall" back the night before!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Remodeling Success 101

Q: How are allowances structured?

A: An allowance assigns a budget to choices that still haven't been made at the time of contract signing. One example is the homeowners who need time to decide what cabinets they want but don't want to hold up the start date. The allowance would set a deadline for the selection and define the budget for those cabinets. A good allowance takes into account the homeowner's tastes as well as the value of the home and the other products they have selected.

Change Management

Post-contract changes need not be a problem, but they absolutely need a well thought-through process

Remodelers who do fantastic work for satisfied customers share some important traits. Two of these are an obsession with details and with clearly communicating those details to the homeowners. Great remodelers are great communicators, and part of being a great communicator is documenting every part of the job.

It takes a lot of work to craft detailed construction documents, but that work pays off by showing the homeowners exactly what they're getting and by helping the remodeler understand exactly what the homeowners want. They keep everyone working from the same set of expectations and ensure a smoother, more enjoyable project.

Critical documents include the contract, the plans and the specs. They also include change orders.

The usual definition of a change order is anything that alters the scope, schedule, or cost of the work after the homeowner has signed the final contract. Professional remodelers strive to minimize these by supporting clients to make product selections before work starts, and by writing detailed specs (product descriptions) for the homeowners to review and approve.

However, while this effort can minimize changes, it can't eliminate all of them. The building inspector may, after work has already begun on a new kitchen, decide that all the home's smoke detectors need be brought up to code; the remodeler may find a rotted beam during demolition that needs replacing; the homeowners may decide that they really want an additional window.

Such changes need to be carefully managed. That's where good change order documents earns their keep.

Know What You're Getting

It's hard to overstate the importance of detail here. Vague change orders are notorious for generating bad feelings; lots of homeowners have complained about contractors who present them with a bill for extra work they either didn't know about or didn't think was going to raise costs.

To be fair, most of these contractors don't intentionally mislead homeowners; they simply lack the needed management and communication skills. Take the example of homeowners who want a different master bathroom tile than the one originally specified. If the contractor orders the tile but doesn't tally the cost until after installation, if it adds an extra $500 the homeowners may feel like they've been gouged, even if that wasn't the intent.

The professionally managed company doesn't make such mistakes. It quantifies the cost of that tile, as well as its effect on the project timetable, presents the numbers to the homeowners on a standard change order form, and doesn't order the tile until the homeowners have signed off on it.

By the way, misunderstandings about products and specs can arise on even the best-managed job with the most detailed documentation. Fortunately, these are usually minor. Just the sheer number of products and decisions that go into a major remodel make it impossible to foresee every detail.

These issues are easily resolved if there's mutual trust between the homeowner and the remodeler, which is why it's so important to and hire a trustworthy pro in the first place. And one trait of such a pro is great communication systems.

Warm regards,

Jay DePhelps, CGR, CAPS
Sound Builders Inc.
(206) 246-7100

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It is important working with a company that is responsive and keeps open lines of communication. We won’t hesitate at all contacting Sound Builders for future projects.

– Marsha and Steve P.
(Newcastle)

 

 

Sound Builders Inc. - PO Box 568, Ravensdale, WA 98051 Phone: 206-246-7100 or 253-859-7978 Email:
Washington State contractor license number: SOUNDB*241K0
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