Bring Professional Plans & Specs to the Table
Any successful construction project starts with an accurate plan to assure that everyone is “reading from the same sheet of music,” Hoots says. Too often, that is not the case. "I would say 90% of the plans that we get, that we don't produce, don't have all the details on them," he says. “Bad plans, and bad specifications lead to a bad experience overall with the vendors and the clients.”
At SawHorse, Hoots reviews every plan he receives from external professionals i.e. designers, architects and engineers. “I call myself the ‘plan whisperer’ because I feel like as a general contractor I need to look at (the plan), even if it's a well-qualified architect.”
Too often there’s an assumption that some items will be noted once on the job site, he says. “Literally, they say, ‘Just go around with a can of spray paint and mark where you want the light fixtures,’” he says. “The clients have high expectations when they hire me, so I need to make sure that everything they expect is on the plans and we follow through because if we're just making stuff up as we go along, at that point we cannot control the price."
Creating plans should be a team effort that includes the lighting designer, the cabinet designer, the electrician and the many others with a stake in the project, Hoots says. “You've got like 10 different people that give input to create a set of plans.”
As plans are shared with other subcontractors like electricians and plumbers ensure that all your key specifications are in place before they are moved to execution. Review the plans in advance for feedback and potential improvements.
And, if there is an area where you need help, get help, Hoots recommends.
“When you're in the design and specification phase, don't always assume that you have all the answers,” he says. “Sometimes you might want to run it by five people that are executing in the field.”