Thursday, May 6, 2010

Listening Is Really An Important Part of Communication

There was an article in Remodeling Magazine about a contractor in Illinois who took on a client who wanted a new, custom home built. He was very proud of his work and took many photographs throughout the job.

From the onset the plans were disturbing to him and he went to the client with his concerns. The designer wasn’t a licensed architect but was a friend of the new homeowners. The contractor expressed to the clients that he felt the second and third story framing wouldn’t support the weight of the roof structure, especially if the roof came under any kind of dense weight.

His gut told him to stop but he didn’t listen. He proceeded with the plans as they were drawn since the designer assured the client that “it would all come out OK”.

One month after completion of the project a foot of snow dropped on the new house, followed by shifting temperatures, which caused the snow to melt and then freeze again. Two weeks later he got a phone call that there was a “problem with the shingles buckling”.

Soon everything from a leaky attic to crumbling drywall was occurring and the contractor was being sued for $310,000.00.

This was not only a nightmare for the homeowners but for the contractor as well.

If you are going to have a friend draw up plans for a new home, room addition or remodel make sure they are qualified. If your contractor comes to you with this drastic concern - LISTEN!!

This is where both the listening and honest, open communication is necessary. Always talk about something like this. Call a meeting between all parties and talk about it. Is there really need for concern? If so, get it solved before you go any further.

The other aspect of this project is, why did this homeowner “hire” a friend to draw up plans? Perhaps because they couldn’t afford to hire a licensed architect as well as have the remodel done.

This is where the open, honest discussion about money comes into play. Plan ahead for the cost of a large project and if it needs to be done in segments to be affordable – do it in segments.

The contractor needed to be able to honestly discuss this with his potential clients and, if necessary, say no to the job.

Reva Kussmaul
CEO – Eye For Detail Inc.

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