As one who has gone through the building process, I would like to suggest a checklist for the benefit of others contemplating construction.

1. Be sure your plans or drawings are detailed and that they meet your desires before submitting them to the Department of Building and Safety for permit approval. Permit modifications are time consuming and expensive.

Do you have something in mind? Check it out. Provide make and model number. The contractor, if left to his own choice, may provide something totally different. (And cheaper.)

2. Be sure the plans are of sufficient detail to give specifications and location of each electrical outlet, telephone, TV and cable TV jacks. Give considerable thought to these locations while they are still on paper. They are costly to change once installed.

3. Specify cabinet and hardware quality and/ or specifications. There can be a world of difference in quality and cost. Reach an understanding with the contractor beforehand.

4. When choosing a contractor check references, check license with State Contractors' License Board, don't pay more than a token amount in advance and keep 10% retention on all payments until completion of the contract. The contractor should have sufficient resources to finance initial cost of contract.

5. On any change orders, discuss them in advance with the contractor. Agree on a price before work commences.

6. If you have an architect, arrange for him to review work under construction. Contractors tend to cut corners for expediency, and an alert architect will enforce diligence to the plans. Unless one is very knowledgeable about building codes and construction techniques, it is easy to be misled.

7. Cooperate with your building inspector. It is your advantage that all construction meets local building and safety codes. Be sure that all necessary permits are obtained. Be sure to keep all approved permits and the approved set of plans.

8. Have full and complete discussion on all phases between spouses. It will ease the tension on the bonds of matrimony.

Be reasonable, If you expect perfection, you are certain to be disappointed. In the construction field, it is not achieved this side of heaven. You can expect "perfection" from the architect but "expediency". from the contractor.


As JOHN LAUTNER said, we do real architecture.