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Owner Representative and Scope Development

Why is an Owner Representative (OR) so important?  Home construction and remodeling is an emotional, expensive, time-consuming and complicated industry.  But it can also be fun, fulfilling and a great investment.  The focus of my blog today is scope development.  

When someone considers a new home or remodeling their current home, what is the first thing their closest advisors (who most likely are not in the business) tell them to do?  That’s right; get three bids – which is great advice if you have already determined exactly what you want done to your home (scope).  In order to set this up, indulge me while I share what typically happens when someone wants to build or remodel:

1.    You schedule three builders to come to your house at three different times.
2.    You spend an hour or two with each one walking around, talking about your wants and needs (about 6 hours of your time in total).
3.    Maybe the contractor jots down a few notes, takes some pictures and even sketches a couple of ideas on a notepad.
4.    Two to three weeks later, the bids start to come in – though you probably had to call each one once or twice to find out when the bid is coming in.  This is more time you have to spend – maybe an hour total.
5.    Finally, a meeting with each contractor is made to review their proposal – again at least an hour for each for a total of 3 hours.
6.    I can almost guarantee that you will have three separate bids that look completely different from each other.  Now you have the task of breaking down each bid in order to get an “apples-to-apples” comparison.  Every allowance, assumption, specification, exclusion and note has to be analyzed.  This can take another 2-3 hours of your time and can be very taxing.
7.    At the end of the day, you throw your hands up out of frustration and choose the guy with the cleanest truck or nicest shoes and hope for the best.

To sum up, you’ve spent about 12 hours of your time (some of it time off from work) and sign a contract not really knowing what you are going to get.  In the end, you will endure endless questions from your contractor, change orders, extended schedule and a blown budget.  It may be a great product in the end, but did it really need to be this difficult?  No – but only if you engaged an Owner Representative first.

The OR is the single source for meeting with you and developing the scope of work that is clear, concise and most likely within your budget.  The best part is you have spent a fraction of the time developing it!  Now you are armed with one document you can send to all three builders.  Questions and comments are sent to your OR, who answers them on your behalf.  Once all three bids are in, the OR will analyze them and present them to you in a way that makes it easy for you to make a decision on whom to select.  As a side note – builders appreciate this service as well because it is less work for them, they are dealing with a professional who speaks their language and is readily available to answer questions.

You’ll find that the money you invest with an Owner Rep is well worth it knowing the 12 hours you would have spent is reduced drastically and results in a better end product – three proposals based on a clearly defined scope of work.

The Owner Rep’s work doesn’t have to end here; our services can be implemented throughout the entire build process.  I’ll write more on that another day.  In the meantime, please send me an email or comment on my blog for more information.  Better yet, contact Jonathan Caron Construction today to help you develop your next project.