January 4th, 2010 Show: How To Build Green And Find An Honest Builder

January 5, 2010 at 4:04 PM | Posted in Build Green Save The Planet, Conscious Lifestyles Radio Show Blog | 2 Comments
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How to Find a good builder who will care about their quality [and you] and know how to implement “Green” methods and materials?

It’s easy when you have the tools to know WHAT to look for….

“Conscious Lifestyles” broadcasts live every Monday, on 1490AM WGCH, Greenwich, CT.

All shows are available on Podcast thereafter via http://www.wgch.com

Notable Quotable:

“The moment one gives
close attention to
anything,
even a blade of grass,
it becomes a
mysterious, awesome,
indescribably
magnificent world in
itself.”

–Henry Miller

This Monday, January 4th, 2010, I interviewed two great custom builders here in Greenwich who both have a long track record of repeat customers and high quality work:

Pat Kirkpatrick
Kirkpatrick Construction
Old Greenwich, CT
Phone: 203.637.0199
Web: http://www.kirkpatrickconstruction.com

Mike Rosa
MMR Construction
N. Stamford, CT
Phone: 203.322.8883
Web: http://www.mmrconstructioninc.com

My interview on the show gives much-needed information to any homeowner who is looking to remodel or build new.

Green Building is the ONLY way to build today!

The social and environmental issues that plague our world today can have a measurable impact by the SIMPLE choices a person living in any town anywhere in America decides to make as a consumer….

BUT BUYER/HOMEOWNER BEWARE! The many pitfalls that the consumer MUST be aware of before hiring just anyone are many…. Especially when they advertise using the word ‘Green.’

Do they just want your GREEN MONEY? Or are they truly qualified, and have a stellar track record in producing quality service and workmanship?

The Homeowner can easily get confused by all of the marketing and hype and ultimately get duped….

1.) Understand what a good, honorable builder looks like because the ‘bad guys’ can easily confuse the customer and paint themselves to look like ‘good guys.’

2.) Do your homework and background checks on the builder…. check out Dun and Bradstreet and your State Home Improvement Licensing Offices for credit worthiness and any past complaints.

3.) Check out the public records for any past law suits.

4.) Search the web to see if any complaints were filed on line.

5.) SEE the workmanship and TALK TO the homeowners they give as references.

6.) Remember, a builder is not going to give you references of the people he screwed over.

7.) NEVER hire someone who is more than “two towns” away [1/2 hour maximum driving time] from your home. This is a BIG issue to be aware of, especially if you live in an affluent town.

8.) Get at least 4 bids for your project in writing. Look at ‘apples to apples’ comparisons and pay very close attention to what is NOT in your bid.

9.) Before you do anything, hire a competent, qualified Construction Attorney to represent you on the FRONT END so that you will not get bamboozled. You need this qualified Attorney to look over all bids, and to draft ALL contracts so that you, the homeowner, are protected from day one…..It is amazing how many ‘boiler plate’ looking contracts are very sneaky in how they take away the power from the Homeowner… don’t let this happen to you.

10.) Insurance Information. Never hire anyone who will not obtain “Errors and Omissions” Insurance for this project. Mistakes are NOT covered by General Liability policies.

11.) Big one to watch out for: Who is the builder’s office staff? Do they have a full-time staff and an office that is friendly, happy, and well managed? Do they have Project Managers/other professionals on staff who are long-term employees? ….If someone has their wife, cousin or other such person working from home in a home-office and acting as the “staff” DO NOT HIRE THEM. Sorry, but I have had too many bad experiences with such entities that are not qualified, professional, nor remotely honorable.

12.) Know the differences between a Homeowner-oriented Builder/Remodeler and a “Spec” Home Builder…. There is a BIG difference between the two. If you are a homeowner looking to hire someone, do NOT ignore this major detail! I learned the hard way the canyon of differences that they offer to a Homeowner.

You, the homeowner, will– without question– be inadvertently paying for some other spec home that a spec builder is trying to build, sell, etc., and your own remodel will suffer with the “B Team” staff and lesser quality workmanship.

Spec home builders, in general, tend to not choose such high end products as radiant floor heating, solar, geothermal, or anything “Green” because it is simply too expensive for them— and the underhanded methods they use against the homeowner in disrespecting their desire to “go green” will make the project unbearable.

Save yourself the agony. Gee, I wish someone had told me that when I bought my first home and decided to remodel. Very simple, common sense advise that is not so common to find.

Careful of anyone who talks a good game, and has all of the glossy brochures [and empty verbal promises] to lure an unsuspecting homeowner into their web…. but they simply are not set-up to be customer/homeowner service oriented.

Books that every homeowner MUST HAVE prior to starting any project:

1.) “Green Building Products: The Green Spec Guide to Residential Building Materials”, produced yearly by http://www.buildinggreen.com, based in Brattleboro, VT.
This book is THE major ‘reference’ book for GREEN Building! Do not start any project, large or small, without this amazing, annually updated reference book that quickly tells you WHERE to get the green materials you need!

2.) “Green Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a Time” by David Johnston and Kim Master, LEED, AP
Great Book on “how to” do stuff. David Johnston is also available for consulting before you start.

3.) “What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You: The Essential Guide To Building and Renovating” by Amy Johnston
An army of information to protect the homeowner. A quick read and great to reference. Get it.

4.) “In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People.” by George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D.
This book is also invaluable in life. To understand and decode the many tactics a Sociopath will use to “set-up” the victim is astounding… but a manipulator can be seen for who they are when you learn the tricks. If you will be dealing with painters, roofers, flooring and tile installers, various contractors, and a General Contractor…. you NEED this book!

I will also be publishing a book on Green Building/Methods and what to watch out for later this year….

The building industry is fraught with dishonesty and manipulative game players primarily because it happens to be an industry that attracts some of the very worst in society, and it was a harrowing experience for me to be abused by such wretched characters.

You don’t want to find out later, as I did, that some of the characters working in your home have “Armed Robbery” and “Drug Dealing” in their past records with the Law! Yikes!

Luckily, however, there are some good, solid people who truly care about their craft. You just need to dig very diligently to find them.

Throughout this year, I will be highlighting good builders/contractors who are, indeed, honorable.

The advise they give on my shows are invaluable to anyone who owns a home.


2 Comments »

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  1. Hi I was searching for this kind of information.was simply checking out this blog and I really admire the premise of the article and this is really informative. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same.Thanks!

    • Hi and thank you so much for visiting my blog and Archives of my radio shows. I am blessed to be able to bring ecologically honorable information to my listeners, and to help make it EASY to be eco-conscious and to take action in our daily lives with the choices we make.

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog. God Bless.


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