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Who is in Charge of Your Construction Project?

Nov 18, 2020 8:00:00 AM / by Don Magruder, CEO RoMac Building Supply posted in Job Site Tips


Whether it is a remodel or new home construction project, many times the homeowner is not completely satisfied at the end of the project. In fact, disappointment is somewhat commonplace. After the finger pointing and blaming, it usually comes down to the homeowner saying, “I did not get what I paid for.” When asked why, if the homeowner is being honest with themself, it is because they allowed a builder, contractor, subcontractor, or material provider to take charge of their project and talk them into something they did not want.

Who is in charge of your construction project? It should be you.

In my view, the person who pays has the final decision. Whether you hire a builder or act as your own contractor, hundreds of decisions (both large and small) must be made. If you allow others to make these decisions for you, there is a 100 percent certainty that you will be disappointed.

There is one point in every construction project that many people do not understand—the small decisions on construction projects are just as impactful and noticeable as the big decisions. For example, a poor choice for a trim color in a room can make a magnificently built room look ugly.

Why do so many homeowners allow others to take charge of their construction projects?

First, it is in their DNA. There are people who do not like conflict, struggle with making a firm decision, and they do better with others who will assume the hassle. This is how their brains are hardwired. The only problem with this type of personality is they blow up when so much of the project ends up being a disappointment. If you hate or avoid making decisions, you should purchase a pre-built project and instead of constructing a custom project.

Next, about 60 percent of the homeowners are too nice. These are the homeowners who do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings or be direct because it may seem insensitive. In the construction industry, following details by builders, contractors, and subcontractors is hard enough without someone beating around the bush. Most would rather you just tell them what you want in an unvarnished manner. If you make decisions or give directions in an ambiguous nice way, most will interpret that as leeway to change the decision. You should be direct and firm.

Technology is great. Details and instructions should be sent via email and/or text message followed up with a discussion. All conversations and written communication should be memorialized for the time when something is done wrong and people try to pull out the old, he-said-she-said card. I hate this, but it is true. Women are particularly tormented by this and many men will claim they just did not understand. Although it is sexist and wrong, it happens every day. Unfortunately, women are forced to document more.

The final reason why others take charge of your construction project is because of your poor planning. The failure to plan your project as to what you want with the corresponding details will lead to chaos. Chaos is simply an absence of leadership. Some builders and subcontractors will take advantage of those who fail to plan and use the chaos to blame them for everything that goes wrong on the project—even their mistakes. Before you start any project, plan out the details. If you cannot, do not start the project.

On every construction project there must be someone in charge who is the ultimate decider-in-chief. If you are paying for the project and it is not your or your spouse, then expect disappointment. Do not be afraid to take charge—it is not as hard as you think.

Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House, which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.

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Guard and Protect Your Construction Job Site

Sep 16, 2020 8:00:00 AM / by Don Magruder, CEO RoMac Building Supply posted in Job Site Tips


Recently, there was a controversial shooting in Georgia. One of the justifications pushed for this attack was that the victim was caught on video snooping around a construction jobsite in a neighborhood. This justification holds no merit because an unwanted visitor snooping around a construction jobsite is commonplace and a daily occurrence. For that reason, builders and homeowners should take tangible and passive measures to guard and protect their construction jobsite to prevent theft and vandalization without shooting people.

The other aspect motivating unwanted jobsite visits is the current price of building materials. With lumber, plywood, and other construction materials at record high prices, people who have projects of their own would love to stop at your project to find building materials. “I thought it was trash,” is the excuse most thieves use when caught stealing things from a jobsite. Have a firm policy for all contractors and subcontractors working on your jobsite—nothing leaves, including the trash, without your permission.

The first thing a builder or homeowner should do after putting up the permit box is post “No Trespassing” signs throughout the jobsite. Prominently posted signs with strong language about pressing charges for trespassing will discourage honest, nosey people from walking onto your jobsite. Do not be stingy with posting them—make the signs prominent and plentiful.

When the construction process starts, guard and protect all building materials. Thieves understand pricing better than you, and currently the prices of many building material items are at record levels. During the foundation and framing stages of your construction project, do not ship out more material in a day that can be nailed down or locked up. Unemployment is high, building material prices are at record levels, and many items are hard to get with extended lead times. This is not the time to have building materials stolen—only have on the jobsite what can be installed or used that day.

Prioritize the completion of the outside shell of your new home or remodel project quickly so that windows and doors can be locked. While this will not keep a hardened criminal out, it will generally keep most teenagers, vandals, and wild critters out of your project. Do not make it easy for just anyone to walk onto your project.

Modern motion sensor lights and cameras are very affordable and provide a real deterrent if the homeowner or builder advises would be trespassers that the premises are under surveillance. Some people have a misconception when it comes to using a surveillance system. Security cameras and surveillance systems are not designed to simply catch people doing bad things on your property—they are also installed to deter them from making the attempt. In my view, installing a security camera and surveillance system without prominently posting a warning sign is a waste.

Do not store expensive tools or materials inside your project. Also, if you are doing a remodeling project while you are living in the home, lock up and secure all your valuables. Labor is very tight in the construction industry and many companies have been forced to hire employees and subcontractors with blemished backgrounds. While most contractors or subcontractors are extremely honest, it only takes one dishonest person. Until work is completed on the project, secure all your valuable items.

With the price of plywood currently over $20 per sheet and 2x4 studs nearing $6 per piece, it only takes a few pieces of each to lose $100. Guarding and protecting your construction jobsite can save real money. However, please do so peacefully—do not be alarmed when you find out that your neighbor wandered onto your jobsite simply being nosey while it is under construction.

Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House, which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.

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