Identify Potential Issues Before They Are Problems

My recently deceased father’s home is currently undergoing several renovation projects being coordinated by a residential general contractor. It’s an older home but it has been updated with high-end finishes and is still fully furnished including artwork. As the overseer of this project, I am considered “the client”. Since my day job is leading the satisfactory delivery of commercial contracting services, it is from this somewhat unfamiliar “client perspective” that I have been (too often painfully) reminded of what not to do related to providing construction services.

When asked by others to summarize my experience with this general contractor, I describe it as “loud, messy, and careless to the sensitive nature of the interior contents of the home”. Now, if you were considering hiring a general contractor and asked a current or previous customer what the experience with this contractor was like and they described it as: “loud, messy, and careless”, would you hire this contractor?

A prime example of my experience was arriving at the home after the general contractors’ sub-contractors had left for the day to a broken water line that had flooded the kitchen. Thankfully, there was someone else at the property who saw the situation, turned the water off at the source, and arranged for a plumber to repair the broken line. No way around it—we got lucky that day. Had someone (not related to the general contractor) not come by the property that evening, the broken water line would have run until at least the next day and flooded the entire house. What was the general contractor’s only comment related to the situation? “I sure am glad you found that issue when you did.” Do you find anything wrong with that being all that was said related to what could have been a catastrophic loss?

This situation is a perfect snapshot of how not to treat customers. A contractor should always consult with the owner before any work begins and discuss any sensitive property or finishes. Then, a walkthrough with the owner should be undertaken to identify possible issues, before a problem develops. And, if there is a problem, every effort should be made to investigate the situation, provide an explanation, and outline a plan to help mitigate future problems.

Proper safety, planning, execution, clean-up, and attention to a customer’s property is a practice taken very seriously by Standard and by every associate approved to work on Standard projects. Our supervisors walk the project several times during workdays to make sure everything is in order and at the end of every workday to make sure that the project site is tidy and secure.

There is no excuse for anything other than striving for perfection in all undertakings on Standard projects. As to other construction service providers an owner may be considering, never assume anything and try to consult with legitimate references that are NOT supplied by the contractor.

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