Owner-Builder Advantage
Working with Professionals February 2008
As an Owner Builder Contractor, you'll plan and organize your project using every business--consultant, architect, engineer, trade contractor and supplier--as much or as little as you deem necessary.
Here are three different points-of-view from within the construction industry that'll help you better understand your Owner-Builder Advantage when Working with Professionals.
AIA Integrated Project Delivery 
AIA Integrated Project Delivery
The American Institute of Architects has very recently developed the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) approach for the design/build process that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results.

IPD principles can be applied to a variety of contractual arrangements and IPD teams can include members well beyond the basic triad of owner, architect, and contractor.  Go to Page 44 (7.1) of the AIA's guide to read how integrated projects are uniquely distinguished by highly effective collaboration among the owner, designer, and trade contractors, commencing at early design and continuing through to project closeout.

Clearly Defined Specifications 
In Remodeling Magazine, Les Cunningham recently emphasized that the very best way to handle project selections is to have all the products chosen prior to the start of the job.  Les should know! He is president of Business Networks, a respected consultant to the construction industry.
It is the Specifications that break down the interrelated information shown on drawings into organized product selections.  As you develop written specifications for your building project, here are 100 product search engines that will be very helpful for locating manufacturers and/or determining industry standards.
Excel Interior Concepts & Construction 
Excel Team
Here is a case study of Excel, a design/build company specializing in kitchen and bath, sunrooms, home offices and family rooms.  For the third straight year, Excel has been voted favorite "Kitchen and Bath Experts" in Harrisburg Magazine's "2007 Simply the Best Reader's Poll."
At the top of the Excel page, click on THE EXCEL PROCESS.
Follow each phase of the Excel Process to view how the design process centers on a homestyle to match the owner's lifestyle, especially budget parameters.  From the outset, product specifications are included in conceptual plans.  All product selections are made before construction begins.
In pre-construction, a lead carpenter is assigned and trade contractors and suppliers are integrated into the delivery system.  Materials and labor arrive onto the jobsite under the guidance of a production manager, and quality, cleanliness, and communication receive top priority   
Final payment is made ONLY after project completion and the punch list is finalized.  A five-year warranty period begins as you move into the completed project. 
I sincerely hope the Excel case study lends to your understanding of the design/build process.  It indicates the importance of an Integrated Project Delivery system and Clearly Defined Specifications.
Tom Landis
Consumer Advocate
In This Issue
Integrated Project Delivery
Clearly Defined Specs
Excel Interior Concepts
Featured Article
Working with Professionals

To determine whether you have what it takes to be an Owner-Builder Contractor, ask yourself these questions before you begin your project:

 Do I have the time to dedicate 10-20 hours to my project each week?

Am I tenacious enough to communicate effectively with professionals when we disagree?
Can I make decisions quickly and confidently when working with professionals?
Am I a good planner who remains organized from the beginning to the end of a project?
Quick Links

Tom Landis
Vist News Archive 
Personal Service Agreement

View PSA
If you decide to work with your local General Contractor as a Construction Consultant, here is a sample Personal Service Agreement to provide a better sense of the conditions you may want to incorporate into your Agreement.