MANAGE YOUR PROJECT

OVERVIEW
The keys to a successful construction project are good planning and good communication with your team. The planning phase – everything that happens before anyone bangs a nail – is the hardest part of any project. With good planning, the “sticks and bricks” part of the project goes smoothly and quickly with few surprises. You get the project and quality you want at the price you’ve agreed to without cost overruns, delays,disputes, or disappointment. Sound good? Then read on about how to effectively plan and manage your project.

PLANS AND SPECS
Your building plans and specifications are your primary tools for communicating to everyone on the building team what you want built, and how to build it. The visual plans and written specifications work together — with the plans focusing on what to build, and the specifications focusing on the how to build it  read more

ESTIMATING
Estimating is part art, part science, and is the lifeblood of any small construction company. It is often the biggest challenge of companies starting out and, if never mastered, will result in a short-lived firm. Whether you are an owner-builder performing your own estimate, or need to review the estimates of contractors bidding your project, good estimating skills are essential  read more

BIDDING
Once you’ve got a detailed plan for your project, described in accurate drawings and written specifications, it’s time to put your project out to bid. Whether you are hiring a general contractor to perform most the work, or you are an owner-builder soliciting bids from subcontractors, the same strategies apply. The goal is to get the best work at the lowest price  read more

FINANCE
Unless you are paying cash for your project, you will need a construction loan to pay for the materials and labor, and you can use it to buy the land as well. Construction loans are a little more complicated than conventional mortgage loans because you are borrowing money on something that doesn’t yet exist. The bank wants assurances that you (and your contractor if you are hiring one) can get the house built on time and on budget  read more

CONTRACTS
A new home or large remodel involves a lot of people with different interests who need to work cooperatively to complete your project. The three main tools for communication among this group are the plans, specifications, and contract. Without a written contract, the plans and specs are of little value as they only describe what is to be built, but not who is responsible for what tasks, and how you will handle payments, changes to the plan, hidden conditions, delays, construction quality, defective work, warranty issues, and disputes  read more

SUBCONTRACTORS
Many larger construction companies employ very few tradespeople and do all or most of their work with subcontractors. As an owner-builder, you are also likely to hire a number of subcontractors to complete phases of the job that you cannot or choose not to handle yourself. On many jobs, the quality of the final project depends heavily on the workmanship of the subcontractors. So it is important to find and hire good subs and to manage them effectively read more

DOCUMENTATION
Despite your best efforts to nail down every detail prior to construction, there will always be loose ends to tie up at the start of the job and during the course of the project. This may involve costs, design details, job-site issues, contract procedures, or concerns about quality and workmanship. You don’t have to document every little item that comes up for discussion, but anything that is important to you – or that involves a lot of money – should be documented in writing read more

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