I frequently visit construction sites to see first hand work in progress. As I strolled through this residential home it brought back all sorts of memories about some of the signs a good building contractor leaves behind each day after work is over and the workers had gone home for the day.
There were clues everywhere around and within the building site and I started thinking how most people might not even realize what they might be looking at if they happened to walk around and inside the building, for example, when I pulled into the building site, there was fencing erected in critical locations that protected valuable trees and kept people away from dangerous trenches and machinery. I couldn't find a scrap of waste anywhere. The building site was immaculate and even the rubbish were discreetly placed so they didn't detract from the curb appeal of the building in its partially finished state.
The temporary shed conveniently stored all sorts of building materials, all too often I have driven by building sites and seen exterior finish trim, lumber dropped directly on the dirt and left out in the elements.
Not here, the lumber was stored up off the wooden floor so air could circulate around them and it was neatly stacked so that you knew exactly what material was where, the dining room of the house served as the command centre for the contractor and his team, a large bulletin board was place on a wall and on it were all of the building plans, works schedule, phone numbers and all necessary notifications as required by all agencies, there was also a dry-erase board that allowed subcontractors to post messages for the builder and other subs.
A complete set of rules and guidelines were also posted on the bulletin board, consider these a code of ethics for all of the people who work on the job. The builder was communicating to each member of the team and their employees what was expected and what would not be tolerated. These rules are such a simple thing, yet I have rarely seen them on another building site.
A drafting table/storage box had a complete set of plans on it. This permanent set of plans allowed everyone who worked on the site to see what was expected of them. It is not unusual for a subcontractor or an employee of a subcontractor to forget to bring plans to a building site. Different plans have been substituted by mistake and utilities are installed in the wrong locations because a sub is simply working from the wrong set of drawings. That couldn't happen here as the plans for the building were in the open and easily accessible.
The inside of the building was swept clean and there was no rubbish to be found anywhere, this type of environment can be self-sustaining.
When a new subcontractor enters the building site, he/she can see it is spotless and he can't blame his mess on another tradesperson, glancing at the workmanship even a novice homeowner who knows little about construction methods could see that the cuts on the lumber were precise, the walls were plumb and the holes drilled for plumbing were centred and neatly done. Craftsmanship seemed to emanate from the walls like sound from a bass drum in a high school band. The message here is simple: visit your construction site often and unexpectedly, keep a report card with respect to what you see.
If you see disturbing things, discuss them immediately with your builder, from time to time people make mistakes, but if you see the same mistakes week in week out, you better start taking photographs to record the oversights, the photos may just come in handy if a dispute develops.