Volume 46, Issue 7 - September 2007

Under Roof
Building Professionals Respond

Remodelers Sound Off
Can Your Remodeling Customers Top Some of These Scenarios?

Being that this issue of Shelter is focusing on remodeling, we asked remodelers from around the country to tell us about their most challenging projects. Here’s what some of them had to say.

Not Your Average Water Leak
“Our most difficult remodeling project was a water restoration job, where essentially the entire house was flooded from a third-floor water leak. It was so saturated that even much of the subfloors had to be replaced, and mold had formed in many areas.”

Pat Broom, president
Phoenix Restoration
Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

Get Out of Dodge
“The most difficult job we ever completed was a $350,000 remodel/addition we finished this spring. The tough part was that the owner had a home-based business and never left the job or stopped talking to subs/employees. That really exposed all of our communication and scheduling shortcomings. We currently are trying to implement scheduling software and find more ways to manage communications in the field.” 

Jason De Bold, 
president De Bold Built Homes Inc. 
Versailles, Ky.

Get it in Writing
“My most difficult jobs have been, and always will be, when expectations aren’t properly set or adjusted (to reality), and then acknowledged by our customers.

We seem to get one project every year involving a customer with whom we just can’t achieve mutual satisfaction. Some get to be ‘OK, but never happy,’ and, once in awhile, we end up wishing we just hadn’t gone there. It happens. Those who say that every client loves them and would refer them are either just plain lying or very limited in their exposure. For example, I have had clients who were aghast when I told them I intended to make a profit on their jobs! They couldn’t understand the difference between my costs and the selling price.”

Gregory A. Miedema, 
Dakota Builders Inc.
Tucson, Ariz.

Too Big of a Job
“I took on a huge, but poorly organized, $1.75 million whole-house renovation project. It was (and still is) a nightmare. We plan to finish in two more months, God-willing, and we can’t wait! The job will have taken more than a year and a half. Our average job size is about $40,000. Although I have successfully completed projects in the $300,000 to $500,000 range, this was way bigger.”

Dan Bawden, 
president, CGR, GMB and CAPS
Legal Eagle Contractors Co.
Bellaire, Texas

More Sensitive Insurers
“[Our hardest job was] a water pipe that failed, causing a flood and subsequent soil stability, foundation and structural damage, which was further complicated by extensive termite damage in the framing. None of this would have been so challenging save the interference and inexperience of insurance claims adjusters. Insurance companies are less interested in proper restoration and making the insured whole again than in focusing on minimizing their exposure.”

G. F. Sunny Zimmermann III, 
president, CGC, CGR, LID, PBD, CGB, GRI, CLS and CAPS
Zimmermann Associates Inc.
Lakeland, Fla. 

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