"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!

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Sound Builders would like to be the first to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Remodeling Success 101

Q: What are covenants and how do they differ from zoning and code requirements?

A: Most planned communities have legal covenants—formally known as "codes, covenants, and restrictions"—that regulate home design and construction in that community. These civil contracts are not enforced or monitored by the city or town. The restrictions imposed by community covenants are in addition to local zoning rules and building codes, which still must be followed.

Who You Gonna Trust?

This is an important question for everyone involved in a home project.

The internet will tell you to be skeptical when searching for a remodeling contractor. That's good advice: skepticism is wise at the beginning of your search, just as it is when comparing surgeons, car dealers or other service providers. But remember that the ultimate goal is to find someone you can trust and collaborate with.

The vetting process is actually more complex for the remodeler. That's because all successful projects are high trust environments. The remodeler needs assurance that everyone working on the job—from carpenter to electrician to painter—will correctly perform their assigned roles at the appointed times and for the agreed-on price.

This is a tall order, especially on big, complex jobs. A major addition can require that hundreds of details be completed by independent subcontractors. Lots can go wrong. The reasons more things don't go wrong are that professional remodelers have great management systems and that they work with subcontractors who keep their promises and who they trust to do high quality work.

Trust obviously has to be earned, and earning it can take a couple of years. The remodeler needs to know that the trade partners will be fair in their pricing, that their work won't require a lot of re-dos, and that they will promptly respond to warranty requests. Because the remodeling business has a heavy customer-service element, the remodeler also has to trust those subcontractors to treat homeowners right.

Once a sub earns that trust, the remodeler will give them first choice on the best projects, even if they're a bit more expensive than the competition. In return, the subcontractor will send their most skilled crews to that remodeler's jobs. And when the unexpected happens—a weather delay, termite damage that becomes apparent after an old wall is removed, or the wrong tub shipped by the plumbing supplier—those subs will pull out all the stops to get the job back on track.

Suppliers also have to earn a builder's trust. The best remodelers use suppliers with a proven track record of standing behind the products they sell. The occasional order mistake is forgivable; an unwillingness to fully honor warranties is not.

Of course, trust is a two-way street. The remodeler also has to earn it, and not just from trade partners and suppliers.

One place where a reputation for trustworthiness really pays off is with permitting authorities. Complex remodels or large additions can require approvals from the zoning board, the building inspector, the health department and even the fire department. We all love to gripe about bureaucracy, but the truth is that these offices are usually short-staffed, and their employees are under pressure to reject any project that breaks the rules.

Given the workload, these staffers will usually put less scrutiny on permit applications from professional remodelers who have proven themselves to be diligent about following zoning and code requirements. Such remodelers make their jobs easier, so their projects move through the system more quickly.

It can take multiple projects over the years before officials fully trust a remodeler to be honest and to do good work on a consistent basis. That's one big advantage of working with a professional remodeler with a solid reputation and longstanding personal ties to the local community.

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.



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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