Remodeling, Repairs & Problem Solving
Construction Consulting & Inspection Services
This is an area where our services used to be concentrated when we were often called in on what I call rescue missions where owners have had proverbial problems with both their homes as well as those who they have had working on them with less than ideal results. I will document cases here where I have witnessed other constructors who have blatantly ripped off the owners prior to our arrival as well times when the owner bowed out due to lack of confidence in the competency of who they had either hired or were considering to do so. I find it quite inexcusable where the first problem exists and I most certainly do not mince my words when I witness clear and obvious abuse of the owner and their funds. The second is relatively excusable from a standpoint that many in this industry do not have both the experience to resolve problems or the necessary education to do so. Sadly this often comes along with a closed minded in their approach to different as well as often more modern and worldly methods that the client may be seeking or demanding.
I quite frequently have clients commenting that their contractor wants to do everything his way and won’t listen to the fact that the client possible has more unusual or exacting standards than what they are accustomed to delivering. Often the guilty parties fail to even recognize that in construction there is usually a multitude of ways to skin the cat even when those may not be in the contractor’s repertoire of both imagination as well as skills. It all comes down to listening and learning. This is not an age issue it is a mental attitude one. I have often run into guys much younger than me who know it all and since they know it all they cannot learn anything new.
Michael and I have over 65 years of combined construction and architectural experience which far from makes us new kids on this block. Yet even with that experience behind us one thing we pride ourselves in is our flexibility and constant quest to keep learning and progressing with the times. Materials and methods are inevitably changing as the industry and times progress so to be on that cutting edge we MUST ALWAYS be open to new and creative ways of working. Besides life is a whole heck of lot less boring when you are constantly learning, changing and evolving. This attitude is our single greatest asset not our experience in reality although it sure helps to sort out the fact from the fiction when you combine both of these.
When I go out and inspect homes of clients I am constantly in a world of wonderment as to how and why a lot of work was ever done. Let’s first understand remodeling is a beast of its own, it is not easy nor simple in fact it actually challenges the builder a great deal more than building new. It is way harder to fix problems long after they came about hence it often demands way more know how and a lot more imagination and a way bigger bag of tricks to find workable solutions. This is particularly so when you approach any renovation with my mindset and end goal in mind. I am always looking to make a renovation never apparent. I never want anyone to be able to take a look at one of my projects and say in an instant this was a remodel job. The entire intent is for the repair/remodel to blend into the home and appear as original as close as is possible.
It somewhat puzzles me as to why construction work is so often obviously flawed when you know anything about the subject. I constantly see this in work that I can only describe as stunts. Like how did they ever think this would work? But I think this is rooted in a fundamental concept to where those working in this industry seldom take a long term view. In truth they do something that they full well know will never survive the test for long however I suspect such is done with a “create work mindset”, in that they secretly delude themselves into thinking that the owners will have them back in a few years to fix what they screwed up the last time. Personally I think this concept seldom ever works but I guess it helps keep me quite occupied when I am the one asked to come in to clean up such messes and fix them once and for all as well as making the final result blend into the home as best as possible.
We no longer offer active service in this area as to be honest this climate has made what is normally quite difficult to predict virtually impossible. Aside from that to be honest I got tired of constantly fixing others errors whereas it is so much easier to do it right in the first place hence our concentration on new homes. I had made this decision over this past year however I had one final job I had committed to prior to this decision that only proved the wisdom behind this decision. It was to be simple deck change over however once we removed the actual 8 year old deck and were able to see the structure we found out that there wasn’t one. The dear doctor’s wife was right pissed at me for not knowing this fact and was informed “we work hard for our money” to which I responded “and you don’t think we do?” When I have to be builder and psychic my fees have to go way up. In essence I was getting tarred and feathered for being the one delivering the bad message which was, “your original builder broke every rule in the book hence you have to do the work all over in just a few short years.” Sorry I just don’t need the aggravation.
A Pagoda Roof is Born in Santa Ana
A client contacted us and wanted to cover in her back terrace with a pagoda roof.
I showed her what laminated acacia rafters would look like for such an application and she fell in love with the style of the beams. As a builder I love them because they come straight and true and stay that way forever. They will not crack as is often the case with solid timber which also all too often will twist and crown on you as well plus the laminated ones are twice as strong. Elephants could dance on this roof if you wanted.