Making the Most of the Relationship With Your Construction Manager

Congratulations. You have decided to build your new home or major renovation. You have picked out your construction manager and you are finally ready to get started.

Building a new home or doing a major remodel is an exciting time. And the most important relationship you have during this time is with your construction manager and maybe primary contractor. Here in Panama, like most places they are usually the same firm.

If you do it right, your project will be a dream and your friendship will be a long one. But, if this relationship is strained, the venture could turn into a nightmare of never ending expense and bad feelings.

Here are 5 steps to keep a good relationship with your construction manager.

Set a Proper Budget

Your budget should be determined before anything else is done. This includes getting your initial quotes and estimates. Without knowing a budget, it is almost impossible to come up with a proper estimate. It’s possible to do a $5,000 dollar kitchen or a $50,000 dollar kitchen. Without a budget, it is impossible to proceed.

Also, when you are doing your budget, you need to allow for changes and over runs. 80% is a good benchmark. So, if you have $200,000 to allocate to your new home, your budget should be around $160,000. If you have it and don’t need it, you can use your extra 20% for furniture. But, if you need it and don’t have it, everyone’s schedule needs to go on hold while you find the extra funds.

Pre-Plan

The most important stage of any construction project is the pre-planning you do with your construction managers. A good plan will eliminate or reduce changes and problems along the way. But, not having a good plan is sure to result in cost overruns and bad feelings.

You should know everything in advance. The makes and model numbers of supplies, how they will be installed, everything. This planning will help keep everything on schedule and as expected.

Keep to the Plan

Wherever possible, try and keep with the plan. When you change anything along the way, schedules are interrupted and it is going to cost you. Probably more than the upgrade or change would have cost originally. So, if you change from a $20 door knob to a $40 door knob, it may end up costing you more than the $20 dollar difference, due to extra trips to the store, schedule changes etc.

This is a small example, but any change at this point causes a disruption, and any disruption takes time from the schedule. If possible, nothing should be changed at this point. If a change needs to be done, use a proper change order. This way all parties know exactly what is expected and what it is going to cost. It will save misunderstandings later.

Follow Up During the Process

Sometimes, no matter how well things are planned, there are misunderstandings during the construction process. Maybe you thought one thing, while the construction manager’s understanding is something different.

Regular follow ups through the construction process will ensure costs are kept to a minimum. If you wait until the project is done before telling the contractor that you wanted a different finish, it might mean ripping out some other finishing work later. And disrupting your entire schedule.

Do a Walk Through / Punch List

Finally, after the construction is completed, do a walk through with your construction manager. Waiting for 3 months to inform the construction manager that there is a problem isn’t going to help you resolve the issue. Get everything out in the open right away, so it can be dealt with.

Working with a construction manager is a process starting before your construction begins, and ending after it is complete. If things go well, the relationship could last for years.

The most important parts of the entire relationship are in the preplanning stages. So make sure that ample groundwork is done.

Make your next construction project a dream come true, and make your construction manager your best friend.

Combining Home Improvement Projects

Home improvement projects can be both large and small and both expensive and inexpensive. While making improvements to a home is rewarding for homeowners all projects, be them small or large, can become tedious, expensive, run over budget, and time-consuming. While those who take on large home improvement projects usually only do one at a time due to the cost and commitment required of such projects, homeowners facing a number of smaller improvement projects often benefit greatly from combining those projects into one mid-sized or larger project.

Handling many different smaller projects one at a time can be discouraging after the first one or two have been completed. Homeowners tend to lose their fervor and focus as small projects are started, completed, and then started again. By engaging in a little home improvement project osmosis, homeowners can get a better idea of the total cost, time demands, and completion time of all of their projects. It also helps homeowners stay focused by giving them a streamlined list of things that need to be done and a budget that encompasses everything and one that shouldn’t need to change during a project.

Combining home improvement projects isn’t always advisable but the process does work especially when smaller projects tend to have something in common. Take siding and window replacement for example. Separately these two projects can be daunting tasks that leave homeowners discouraged and/or frustrated at some point. By working closely with a contractor however and combining the two homeowners will save a good deal of time, hassle, and money. As replacing windows and a home usually involves removing parts of siding it makes sense that homeowners who want to do both at the same time by combining the projects. The same goes for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. More often than not the contractor a homeowner hires to remodel a kitchen or their bathroom will be more than capable of working on the both types of rooms. This can save a homeowner the hassle of having to find two separate contractors at two different times and from paying two different fees as well. Moreover, some contractors are flexible with their pricing and will offer a discount to homeowners who hire them to remodel two separate rooms at once. Other reasons it’s advisable to combine kitchen and bathroom remodel into one larger project is because they both involve plumbing. Buying parts and tools for plumbing is much easier on both homeowners and contractors when it’s all done at once rather than separately and at separate times.

The cohesive nature of combined home improvement projects, both small and large, offers homeowners an opportunity to take advantage of discounts, save time, and utilize one contractor for everything. Having all of their ducks in a row will give most homeowners peace of mind and allow them to be even more excited about completing all their home improvement projects.

4 Easy DIY Home Security Projects to Protect Your Family

Many people who think about home security immediately think that the first thing to do is install a wireless burglar alarm.

While home alarm systems are a major component when it comes to protecting you and your family, they are not the only things that DIY homeowners can do to improve security.

To stop potential burglars from entering your here are some easy to do tips and DIY projects that do not cost a lot and can help.

DIY Home Security Project # 1 – Improve Window Strength

Most burglars or intruders will tell you that the easiest way for them to enter your home is through your unlocked windows and doors. Unfortunately though, not too many of them are knocking on your door to share this info with you.

Safety locks on windows are easy to install. They work by only allowing them to open part of the way, but not enough so that burglars can fit inside them.

Another tip is to replace worn out window putty and caulking on older wood windows, and reinforce the wood with long finishing nails. You can also insert pins in double-hung windows. With the window closed, drill a small hole through the top corners of the lower sash part way into the outer sash slightly downward. Be careful not to damage the outer seal or drill through the outer sash.

DIY Home Security Project # 2 – Remove Outdoor Hiding Spots

If you have large shrubbery or trees close to your property you may be allowing burglars to hide out and watch your comings and goings. This allows them to stalk you to see the best time for them to break into your home.

Burglars can also access higher windows to your home if a tree is close to your home.

It is wise to eliminate or at least prune any tress that can be used as potential hiding places. Trees that are close to your home should be well pruned and cut branches within easy reach of upper floor windows.

DIY Home Security Project # 3 – Improve Lighting

Most burglars work at night. An ideal deterrent are large lights around potentially easy entry points.

Motion detection lights are very popular among most DIY homeowners since they are easy to install, affordable, and they have the option of staying on permanently or only when something triggers them.

DIY Home Security Project # 4

Wireless Vs Wired Burglar Alarms

For the average DIY home owner, wireless burglar alarms are much easier to install and affordable than the wired systems.

Many advantages come with wireless burglar alarms including ease of installation, the fact you do not need to install wiring throughout the home, and the sensors can be placed anywhere in the home easily.