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Lori

Lucy, I disagree. The people here who stay in their houses are probably not underfoot. They probably go to work and just monitor progress at night. Also, you can do all the due diligence you want, but mistakes can be made no matter how good your GC is. And what’s this about “trust.” GC’s are not like doctors—someone that you see regularly. People are usually exposed to a GC once or twice in a lifetime, and are chosen based on recommendations. Even a “trustworthy” GC is not infallible (or the subcontractors working for him). Also, a GC can’t be held responsible for what he finds when he starts tearing things out. The two GC’s we have used over the years like to be able to reach you, talk to you, and show you what’s going on. For example, we remodeled the kitchen of an old beach house. I wanted extra electrical outlets added to the 14 foot island that spanned the length of the kitchen—there were only two (one at each end). When the GC tore out the counter, he found that the island had originally been built with no electrical outlets and the outlets were added later and rigged in such a way to avoid having to tear our existing woodwork. GC had to do a ton of work to add extra outlets as well as redo the original to make it safe. We were lucky that the house had not burned down.

In my opinion, a GC that doesn’t want the client around is a poor contractor who is only interested in getting the work done and getting paid as opposed to one that wants both of those things AND a happy client that will recommend him to others.

PS-the GC we used for our last kitchen remodel was so great that he called us at work to come home and discuss the tile kitchen floor we were replacing with travertine. He had just torn out the tile floor. When we got home, he showed us that under the tile floor were the supporting beams showing that the builder originally planned to put hardwoods in the kitchen, but then changed to the tile floor. He wanted to give us the opportunity to change from travertine to hardwoods since that was the trend these days despite the fact that he had already ordered and received the travertine and even though it would delay the project. We weren’t sure what we wanted to do. He was so good and told us “no rush—think about it and do what you really want.” We ended up keeping to our original plan.

I know this is long, but this also brings to mind an office rennovation that I was overseeing. I was the Office Manager of our law firm (I have since retired). We were adding space and remodeling our existing space. We decided not to move out during the renovation but instead have the new space renovated and then move everyone into the renovated space while the old space was renovated. As a result, several times during the day, I did a walk thru. We had built in file cabinets lining the hallways. The niches were to be built to exact specifications of the file cabinets—no space whatsoever between the side walls and the file cabinets or between one file cabinet and the next. Some of the niches housed 5 lateral file cabinets, others 3, and some 2 depending on the length of the hallway and the spacing of the offices. During one of my walk thrus, I started assessing the number of file cabinets needed to confirm I had ordered the correct number I came across a niche that was supposed to house 3 cabinets. I kept looking at this niche thinking it didn’t look right. Turns out it was 3 inches longer than it should be. That means there would be 1.5 inches at each end which may sound minor but would take away the “built in” look. While the GC tried to talk me into leaving it, I insisted they correct it which resulted in tearing out and rebuilding the niche. The GC was not happy, but I didn’t care. This is something that would never have been caught if we were not on the premises and monitoring the work.


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PRO
Owen Homes LLC

If we are just doing a kitchen remodel, our clients will move to the basement or other level of the home to separate themselves from the construction. We've had a couple clients specifically wish to do their kitchen remodel from Thanksgiving - New Years so they can plan on the holidays elsewhere and minimize their time at their home and other clients wish to begin their kitchen remodel in the spring when it's warm enough to grill. It certainly takes a lot of pre-planning for both parties; as the professional, you want to minimize surprises during construction and keep a tight schedule to get the clients back in; as a homeowner, you want to be overly prepared for the weeks ahead so you're not forced to eat out for most meals.

   
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donnaandtim

This is obviously a very personal and logistical choice. And saying stress levels were this or that assumes cause and effect. Perhaps people who moved out entirely are people who are more easy stressed and so moved out entirely, not that moving out caused more stress. We stayed put during massive kitchen/dining/bathroom remodel which involved relocating those rooms, so a big project. We has a small space walled off with plastic sheeting in what had been living room. I had movers take all the big furniture and boxes of stuff to storage. We made do with a little table, frig, microwave, coffee maker and hot plate for 6+ months. Had to schlep the dishes upstairs to the one functioning bathroom. Our GC was very accommodating. I can imagine others might not be. I stayed out of the way of the workers and was not micromanaging at all. 3 years later I can't really remember how I lived through it.

   

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