What Your Contractor Can't Tell You : The Essential Guide to Building and Renovating

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1/1/2008
  • Publisher: Atlasbooks Dist Serv
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What Your Contractor Can't Tell You is a comprehensive guide to getting the best results while building or renovating a home. Most homeowners spend about 20% of their time on the plan and 80% of their time on a messy, traumatic, expensive construction phase. Pros spend 80% of their time on the plan and 20% on a smooth construction phase. But the homeowners can't know what goes into a solid plan unless someone tells them. This book is based on a simple premise...if homeowners knew even 10% of what the professionals in the construction field know, they could avoid 90% of the problems. Creating a dream home shouldn't be a nightmare. Hiring a contractor is an enormous investment and a high-risk endeavor involving decisions that will last forever. This book equips homeowners with the information and strategies needed to turn their vision into a home or a renovation that can be built on time and within budget. Chapters give detailed coverage of critical topics: design; selecting and supervising the architect and contractor; cost estimates; budget; plan specifications; contracts; dealing with town officials; and keeping track of everything along the way. For each stage of the project, there is detailed information on common pitfalls and how to avoid them, as well as insiders' tips which reveal what most contractors can't tell you. This book was previously published by Warner Books (2004) and titled What the "Experts" May Not Tell You About Building or Renovating Your Home.

Author Biography

Amy Johnston is a Construction Manager and Owner's Representative based in Burlington, Vermont. She grew up renovating homes with her family and went on to build and renovate several of her own. For her clients, she has spent the last twenty years managing the design and construction or renovation of residential homes, affordable housing projects, historic downtown restorations and commercial spaces, totaling over a hundred buildings. As liaison between the parties on so many projects, Amy enjoys a unique perspective on the dynamics of successful design and construction. She is also the owner of Dreamhouse Institute,(dreamhouseinstitute.com), offering training seminars in construction management for both professionals and homeowners. It was her students in these seminars who insisted she write this book. Amy also speaks publicly on the topic and appears regularly on CNN's Open House.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Building from Smart to Finishp. xiii
Ready, Set, Think: How the Savvy Owner Starts a Projectp. 1
The Mind-Set: How to Approach a Projectp. 1
The Players List: The People Who Will Be on Your Teamp. 4
A Gleam in Your Eye: Can You Build?p. 8
Don't Bank On It: Is Your Loan Officer Your Ally?p. 9
The Scary Money: Down Paymentsp. 13
The Plan Is the Thing: Making a Successful Projectp. 14
Task-Oriented: Your To-Do Listp. 14
Getting What You Need: How to Approach Your Designp. 15
Sneaking Up On Your Design: Do's and Don'ts to Get You Startedp. 18
What's It Worth to You? Money and Designp. 20
Beyond Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo: A Formula for Balanced Choicesp. 21
A House United: Working Together as a Couplep. 22
Design as a Noun: Refining and Conveying Your Visionp. 24
Decisions, Decisions: Your Designp. 24
Conveying Your Decisions: Construction Documentsp. 24
Building In Flexibility: Allowances, Unit Pricing and Alternate Pricingp. 28
Help with Your Vision: When and How to Employ an Architectp. 30
Do You Need a Professional? Considering an Architectp. 30
The Yin to Your Yang: The Right Architect for Youp. 36
Everyone Pick Up Your #2 Pencils: Working with an Architectp. 42
Bang for the Buck and the Sixteen Divisions: What Can You Have and What Should You Worry About?p. 45
Divide and Conquer: The Sweet Sixteen Divisionsp. 45
The Devil's in the Details: Where to Focus Your Attention and Moneyp. 46
And Another Thing: Considerations When Determining Materials and Scope of Workp. 68
And the Grand Total Is...: Cost Estimating and the Budgetp. 72
Follow the Money: How It Works on a Construction Projectp. 72
Where'd You Get That Number? Four Methods of Cost Estimatingp. 73
Crunching Their Numbers: Assessing a Cost Estimatep. 76
It's Alive! Your Budget as a Living Documentp. 78
Setting Up Your Deal: Contract Structuresp. 83
Who Knew You Had a Choice? Options for Contract Structuresp. 83
The Second Oldest Profession: Selecting and Working with a Contractorp. 90
He Was Such a Nice Guy: Choosing More Wiselyp. 90
Welcome to His World: Working with a Contractorp. 96
To Protect and Serve: Protecting Your Project and Serving Your Contractorp. 98
How Low Can They Go? Bidding the Projectp. 104
You Talkin' to Me? Should You Bid Your Project?p. 104
Package Deal: Getting Your Bid Package Together-the Four Elementsp. 105
Going Out: What You and They Need to Do-the Four Stagesp. 108
Cover Your Assets: Contracts, Insurance, Liens, and Other Commitmentsp. 116
If You Only Knew: Where Laypeople Go Wrongp. 116
Whose to Use? Construction Contractsp. 117
Don't Build Home Without It: Must-Havesp. 120
It Couldn't Hurt: Optional Additional Protectionp. 129
Believe It! Time Really Is Money: Schedulesp. 132
Tick Tock: How Time = Money on a Construction Projectp. 132
More Than One Way to Tell Time: Types of Schedulesp. 134
What Was That Other Thing? Additional Things to Trackp. 138
Mother, May I? Getting Through the Permit Processp. 139
Nothing to Fear: Knowing the Process and Its Playersp. 139
People Pleasing: The Steps for Permit Approvalp. 142
Good to Go: Once You've Got the Permitp. 147
Step Lightly: Making Changes to the Neighborhoodp. 148
Ready to Build?...Not So Fast: Pulling It All Togetherp. 150
Just Like Santa: Make a List and Check It Twicep. 150
Long Time No See: The Preconstruction Meetingp. 151
Ensurance: Make Sure These Things Are Donep. 153
When Are They Leaving?! Renovation Tipsp. 154
Let the Games Begin: Managing the Construction-Phasep. 158
Who's on First: Establishing the Roles and Rules for Allp. 158
Watching the Store: Monitoring the Projectp. 164
For Richer or Poorer: Budget Managementp. 170
The Homestretch: Project Closeoutp. 181
Conclusionp. 185
Talk the Talk: A Glossary of Termsp. 187
Inspirations: Other Resourcesp. 197
Indexp. 200
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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