Samples from the Book
We want you to get a feel for the level of detail and quality of the material in Working With Your Contractor, as well as the presentation style. Below are some typical excerpts from the book.
Sample Text from Chapter EightThe chapters are a "user manual" or coach to guide you through your construction project.
What to do if you dont like confrontation
Many people dread confrontation and may feel that it is easier to give in than to risk being in such a situation. In a construction project, you will be involved with a decision making process that will have negotiations of some kind. Be prepared for this, and do not be afraid of the process.
We recommend that you not label this confrontational; instead, call these types of discussions information gathering sessions. If this is your approach, most of the elements that would possibly lead to dispute will be softened. Instead of having to disagree with someone, simply say that you had a different understanding and need to have more information in order for you to better understand how to address the issue fairly. This approach will almost always defuse any type of tension.
Please remember that it is your time and money. Do not cave in to demands you are not comfortable with. Most quality contractors would not want you to do this either, because these types of decisions will introduce distrust in a relationship that will not be helpful in the long run.
Sample Tip from Chapter One
Throughout the book, the author offers tips and procedures to help your designing and building process proceed more smoothly. Here's one, excerpted from the first chapter:
Chapter Three SummaryAt the end of each chapter is a summary of the main points of the chapter- this serves as a review of the material and will help you retain the information better. Here is the end of How Contractors Actually Work.
Sample Appendix Excerpt
There are a large number of appendices that expand the chapter text from concept to practice, offering details and concrete examples of actual projects and experiences.
What You Need to Know About Specifications
In this appendix you will find:
Specifications are generally organized in a format based on an industry standard, set up by an organization called The Construction Specifications Institute, or CSI for short. This organization is made up of contractors, architects, specification writers, and even some construction librarians. These people have worked together over the course of many years to arrive at an industry standard that works for many different types of projects.
The way the specifications are organized is quite important, as it provides you with an organizational format for your entire project. As architects, we typically request that the contractors provide us with pricing using the same organization (see Appendix C), and we typically use the same to track project costs (see Appendix J).
Actually, we generally use a modified CSI format for most of our residential and small commercial projects. Most architects and contractors modify the CSI format for their particular purposes, so do not be alarmed if a contractor wants to work on your project using a slightly different approach than what is described here. Regardless of the way the work is defined, make sure that you have provided all of the information.
Your specifications should be written in as simple language as possible so that everyone will understand what it is that you require. The specifications need to include information about:
We explain not only the basic definition, but expand to inlude the context & usage of the term, and how it might affect your project. Our goal is to have these definitions prep you so you can:
What kind of allowance is it? The allowance can be a material
allowance (meaning that installation is included as a separate number
in the contract), or if it is an installed allowance (including all related
costs, including labor and materials), at the time of the contract agreement.
Webpendix(TM) Consumer "Bill of Rights" - a different approach
The Webpendix will supply a variety of supplements and goodies to augment your understanding and skills. Here's one concept presented in a different light...
In our culture
in the United States, we have been trained to believe that we have certain
rights, and this is certainly true in the way contractors do their work
and interact with you. The issue not readily acknowledged is that
You have the right to:
You are obligated to:
There's just too much information to print in one book, plus we want you to have easy access to extract and modify for your own needs all the lists and forms we offer you. Each table or chart is downloadable in your choice of formats: Acrobat PDF, Microsoft WORD(tm) .DOC, or plaint text (.txt). Some spreadsheets are available in Microsoft Excel format. Plus we present a large number of useful links for additional internet resources.
Here's a brief example of the Webpendix's goodies - an example of a progress (mid-project) payment request made by the contractor.
A requisition is an industry term for an invoice. It is a request by the contractor for payment from the owner. These requisitions are typically made on a regular basis and indexed by number and date.
For this example, this requisition is the first after some of the work had been completed in the first four weeks, in alignment with the payment schedule agreed-on in the original contract. Note that the contractor is a bit behind the original schedule as shown in the book's Appendix E, mostly due to weather-related issues.
The contract had a $5,000 down payment at the time of contract signing.
Sample Webpendix(TM) Excel Spreadsheets Excerpts
You'll be blown away by the thoroughness and detail included in these spreadsheets throughout the webpendix. Perhaps the most valuable one is the Bid Pricing Blank Template to help you list all possible items that might come up for contractor line item costs. But "Blank" it is not! In addition to the lists of line item topics, the spreadsheet has the columns linked with formulas, and a plethora of comments explaining what each line item includes and references similar items that are to be placed in other categories. You add (but this has most everything including the kitchen sink) or delete items to fit your project and the contractor fills in the prices.
Although its intended purpose is for bid pricing, you can easily make use of it as:
Here's just a tiny portion of the bid spreadsheet (ready for you to download and fill in):
Punch List Steps Excerpt:
If these samples have convinced you that this jam-packed book and Webpendix is for you, click here:
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