We might lose a job – !
I’m just a laborer at my company, but even I’m discouraged to discover that we might be losing one of the custom houses we’re building.
I’ll add that it’s for no good reason at all. The client has managed to get control of the project, and now that he’s got a taste for that, well, we’re hooped.
He’s convinced that we’re cutting corners. He refuses to believe, for example, that the the 3/4″ premium OSB subfloor (similar to Advantech) we use isn’t cheap junk. He wants all the subfloor over-layed with plywood, now, which I’m assuming we’ll do – if we aren’t fired first. That’s actually the least absurd of his complaints, but I’m not here to complain about him.
Somehow, the trust is gone, and he won’t let himself be educated any more on building practices. So now instead of the inspector or project manager being the judge, he’s the judge. Too bad.
The company is successful. The owner’s been at this for twenty years – I’m sure he’s seen it all. I wonder how this happened.
Edited 5/5/2009 8:35 pm ET by Biff_Loman
He didn't understand the customer. If I were custom building I would have my customers throughly personality tested. A small investment to reveal what you are really dealing with.
Too late now.
You gotta let him hang himself or walk.
Did your boss pull the permits does he(HO) have a set of back up subs.
If he takes over immediately get him to sign a disclaimer saying you are no longer responsible in any way for the warranty of work done.
Does he have liability and workmans comp setup for his now employees.
WHY DO I HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY THAT BEING A SOLE PROPRIETOR IS A REAL JOB?
sometimes they start off nuts ...
sometimes they go nuts somewhere in the middle.
dollars to donuts he's got a brother in law or neighbor or coworker who's suddenly a building expert. 9 times outta 10 someone got into their ear and they decided to listen.
Hope it was all signed and contracted.
I was "fired" from one job years ago, about 3/4 way thru, and had the pleasure of knocking on their door the very next day to demand payment in full. I made more money by leaving that I would have by staying ...
but her kids convinced her they could do it cheaper.
She paid me my $3k to just go away ... then had to spend around $5K to wrap things up. She let my electrician finish his stuff so I got the inside info.
Loved hearing how much she ended up saving!
her husbandhad his company lawyers review my simple contract, they said if she wanted me gone ... she had to pay me to leave. Happiness is a tight contract.
Artistry In Carpentry
Doesn't just happen on residential...there's a large institution in this province (or another similar province that isn't this one, in case certain people are reading)where the president has a relative in the millwork industry, so he's an expert, and makes everyone's life miserable....like changing the colour on wood when everything is already installed.
Cabinetmaker/college woodworking instructor. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Years ago, on an insurance repair job, the h.o. had acx subfloor because the flooring was originally sheet vinyl. But the vinyl had been carpeted over. So, knowing that carpet and padding was going back, we were using a standard plywood subfloor, but not acx. So a neighbor comes over, and tells the h.o. he's getting screwed, because the orig. subfloor was acx.
To placate this guy, we had to tear out our newly installed subfloor, and put acx plywood down. Then, believe it or not, he tried to get us to put sheet vinyl down under the padding and carpet, because that's what he had originally. Thats where my boss drew the line.
People can sometimes be such a$$monkeys!
"...craftsmanship is first & foremost an expression of the human spirit." - P. Korn
Not fired yet. We've overlayed all the subfloor with 3/8" ply, added completely pointless LVL blocks along the rim joist in all joist bays, and doubled/tripled dozens of studs unnecessarily.
I'd be stoic about this except the client likes to hang out at the jobsite and micro-manage us. He has no problem with just watching me for 30 minutes at a time. "More nails. . . I want to see more nails." Every day he cooks up some more random hoops for us to jump though.
And I'm stressed. Sure, I'm paid by the hour and don't have a lot of responsibility. . . but my boss is on edge, and that's not great. I'm also tired of removing framing that doesn't exhibit "craftsmanship" because I whacked it into place and left some hammer marks on it.
From time to time, I've been accused of being a whiner. Well, here I go again. ;-)
I think I can give you some helpful advice for this situation.
1) Use lots of nails.
2) Don't put hammer marks in the lumber.
I hope this helps.
While he is standing there doing nothing but criticizing, say, here, hold this for me while I get more nails - and give him one end of abeam to hoist.Then walk away.
Welcome to the Taunton University of Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime. where ... Excellence is its own reward!
Ha! We had one of those that I started to let put the
last couple of nails in things. From then on any thing you put down was nailed to the deck.
No, while he's sitting around, get him to go clean your truck!!!
something I picked up somewhere, probably Nolo Press:
5. Independent Contractor Status
Homeowner and Contractor agree that Contractor will perform the specified work as an independent contractor. Contractor<!---->
Maintains his own independent business.
Will use his own tools and equipment
Will perform the work specified in Clause 1 independent of Homeownerâ€™s supervision, being responsible only for satisfactory completion of the work.
Edited 5/25/2009 9:16 am ET by byhammerandhand
I give you a lot of credit for your patience.As an employee, I always kept my mouth shut when it came to dealing with difficult customers.......That's the bosses job, and it wouldn't be right to chime in with my input.Having said that, if I were the boss, I'd be having a hard time resisting the urge to bury a straight claw in this guys forehead. I'd fight it, but it wouldn't be easy.Good luck.Bing
I'm dealing with one like that now. I'm not the builder -- don't do that any more -- just sit on me tired butt and draw it. This guy did his own CAD drawings, sent them for informal structural reveiw, and was told something like "no effing way". Still, he's the expert and the builder and I are a bunch of yahoos. We're the fourth design/build team he's hired so far.
My drawings come back marked-up for things like moving a non-critical wall an inch or so to get on-module, make room for mechanical, get cabinets to work, etc. I've worked with the builder (top notch) a lot, and know how his guys work most efficiently. If I cave to all the client's peccadillos, and somehow still get the project approved (with my name on it, no less), the builder will probably try to do it their way anyhow, since they actually know what they're doing. I've taken to leaving off all but critical dimensions, hoping that the client won't notice little changes, and that the builder can figure it out. But the guy catches every friggin' thing! I see lots of grief in this one, but times is tough.
this is a serious suggestion....
give the HO some thing to do...
or have him do things that would that would set the example as to how he wants it....
like wash trucks...
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming<!----><!----><!---->
WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"
maybe he just likes looking at your a$$
Are you guys redoing this stuff just because the HO is demanding it based on nothing? Or does he have a valid point? Sounds like you guys lost the initiative here. And it's your fault.
You and your boss need to gain some confidence in yourselves and your work. And charge him for unnecessary redo's Get your ducks in a row with paperwork and product spec sheets. As long as you are using good products and installing them to the manufacturers specs then the guy shouldn't really have much to say about it. If he comes up and starts telling you what's wrong with what you are doing, and you can't answer him with a straight forward and practical reason then you have no business building a house for him.
As far as driving more nails if you are indeed driving enough tell him you like to leave a little wood for the nails to hold on to.
Gangstas don't dance. We boogie.
I'm just a foot soldier in all this. . . But there's no logic whatsoever behind the extras.And yeah, he's paying for all the extra work.
If he's paying then you might as well get used to smiling a lot. One negative about this is if he starts telling potential future clients about having to take over and show you how to build a house.
Gangstas don't dance. We boogie.
A few bean burritos at lunch might clear the room.
Maybe it's a T&M job........
"If you have enough energy you can solve a lot of other problems." - Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway.
We have an abundant supply of domestic natural gas. Let's get busy solving problems.
It is now.
Had a good laugh today.
So, this guy's house has a LOT of steel in it, owing mostly to two cantilevered decks that will project from the back of the house.
Anyways, a number of post/beam connections were accessible from the back of the house, so they were welded from the outside. Seemed logical at the time. . . then they were bricked over.
Problem: homeowner can't see the welds. Doesn't believe that they're done. Ok - fine - so I drill and bolt those connections. Whatever.
Second problem: homeowner doesn't believe that bolting the post to the beams is sufficient, and demands welds. So my boss gets the welders back.
The one welder is from Eastern Canada, and they have a pretty distinct accent when they speak. He shows up, sees the connections he already welded and which I bolted, and which he's to weld again.
"Laird Jaisus tunderin'!! This guy's a fockin' idiot!" And he went on and on.
Had me chuckling all afternoon.
What a loon! Still, as long as it's T&M, I'll do push-ups if that's what they tell me to do. (I assume your boss feels the same way, or he would have dug out the passed inspection for the welds...)
Think of it as job security, kind of like the winchester mystery house.
I'll take a wild guess and say the guy is an engineer of some sort.
then he should have pills that'll help his condition ...
I'm thinking either would be good ... just be careful on the drive home!
Jeff Buck Construction
Artistry In Carpentry
The thought's crossed my mind a couple times.Man, I haven't even shared the half of it, here. Heh.
on one job years ago the guy amde a habit of wearing his "Border Patrol" coat home and around the house ...
aside from being curious what border he guarded ... this was way before 9/11 ...
all we could come up with Ohio ... maybe he worked up in Erie and guarded us from the Canuks ...
anyways ... one day he comes home and as usually puts his jacket into the hall closet ... and locks it ... as per the norm.
My buddy Joe walks over ... looks at the lock ... them him ... then looks at me ...
and says ... "Ahhh .... That's where he hides all the good border patrol loot!"
Joe had wanted to be pulled from that job for a while ... the very next day he was!
Jeff Buck Construction
Artistry In Carpentry
You have to understand there are at least 2 generations that have been told that "now that they have an education they are capable of asscessing anything by themself and arriving at the correct conclusion" Don't bother them with facts they will believe what they think.
A framer I knew showed me first hand how to deal with an overbearing client (or project manager for that matter). Have a list of 5 or 6 things to bitch him out for every single day... Go at him before he can go at you. It will set him off balance and likely have him backing off...
When a HO feels uncomfortable he will back off. He feels comfortable in the bully role, so he is beating up on your boss... who just wants to keep the peace in this economy and keep you guys busy.
Here's an illustration of how I used to deal with overbearing clients (before I grew up).
When I was 16, I had a part time job in a muffler shop. (Balding middle age Volvo drivers would always come in for a sleeve--they never wanted to fix anything properly..but they would gladly pay for 100 patches).
A guy insisted on watching me cut the shocks off his Lincoln... I gave him 3 warnings... please wait in the waiting room... it's much safer.
The chief mechanic gave me a wink as he went by, which was giving me permission to do what he knew I would anyway.
I started heating the top of the shock.... cut it off clean...very little spark. Next thing I knew I could feel that customer's hot breath on my neck.
When I cut off the bottom of the shock I lifted the car up a little higher than I normally would and there he was again...breating on me.
I poooooled the molten metal and got my angle absolutely perfect and hit the air full....(Hooper had dialed up the pressure on the air unbenounced to me). Molten steel sprayed back over my shoulder about 15'.
His Armani Suit...
Had about 20 holes in it.
He's in there shrieking at my boss to pay for his suit... I walked in and said if he gave that guy a dime I'd quit.
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