What ‘work’ to expect in an hour
My money pit is really turning into a money pit. My contractor charges by person per hour for their services. My neighbors stopped by my house a few times today and noticed that the workers were working like a state road crew, one guy laboring, four or five watching.
Should I expect them to work the entire time they are there? My GC is offsite most of the time. This is his crew’s second day at my house. My neighbor (who is retired from sales within the trade) suggested stopping by randomly and potentially putting video cameras to monitor work. Frankly, I could do that since I plan on following the work on the house on social media for my friends and family.
Thoughts? I don’t know what to think of this. I know that it’s hard work, but this project is extensive and 6 guys chilling for 15 minutes is… costly… after one day.
It could be true and it might be not. In the over 47 years in the trade both commercial and residential I’ve seen all sorts of things from looking busy to a graceful ballet. From quick and crappy to slow and crappy.
Time and material jobs can turn ugly, but not necessarily so. Depends on the contractor and crew and what myths they portrayed at the signing.
There’s something to be said to the saying, “good, fast or cheap.....pick two”.
How did your contractor respond when asked about it?
Many years ago I was running a crew and working hard and decided to delay lunch to finish a particularly difficult task. When the task was done, I told everybody to take a 30m lunch break, and everybody just sat, ate lunch and tried to catch their breath. 5 minutes into the break, I got a call from the office that a neighbor was complaining that all of my workers were just laying around the worksite doing nothing.
If your contractor wants to run the clock, there's no way to stop him/her unless you are there the whole time supervising, which defeats the purpose of hiring him/her in the first place. There are just too many opportunities to do busy work in construction.
If your contractor wants to do a quality job, expect to see crews/supervisors sitting, talking, measuring, making phone calls, and thinking before they start cutting and building.
This could go either way for you. Are the workers skilled and have they done this type of work before or are they learning on your dime? Did the boss give you an idea of how many hours he projects the job to take? Do you know the boss and his work? Bottom line is whether the final cost/quality are reasonable.
Quick related story.....union bricklaying job where according to union contract there was an hourly brick quota. One of the workers completed his quota in 45 minutes and got to sit and read the newspaper for 15 minutes of every hour.
Makes for a good story, unfortunately there is no such thing as "an hourly quota" in union work.
How do you expect your contractors crew to get anything done with your neighbors stopping by all the time? Also, some one who is in sales may not have a clue how things actually go out in the field.
My two cents worth is that the G.C. is not on-site enough. You're paying him to supervise the job as the foreman and all that entails.--quality work that is to both his and your expectation, timely work throughput, solving problems that arise and interacting with you, inspectors, materials delivery personnel, etc. I'd be very concerned about the cost and quality of the job that's going to be done. My guess is that he's out supervising a job for which he's given a firm quote. I'd start by reading the contract very carefully with regards to supervision.
A firm quote with a very specific set of measurable specifications written into the contract (framing to be level, plumb and straight within..., level 3 or 4 drywall finish, etc.) is the best way to go. Yes, writing those specs take time and require you to become knowledgable in every trade.--otherwise hire an architect to write those specs. There might even be "boiler plate" specs around that you can obtain without using an architect.
How is the job going? Did you talk to the G.C. about job production? What did you end up doing and how did it turn out? Hopefully well.