SLS Construction: The HTRC (Homeowner’s and Trades Resource Center) — Best Construction Blog competition

SLS Construction Blog

estimating sls lintowSean Lintow Sr.’s SLS Construction-HTRC blog reflects his knowledge, skill and intelligent application of social media best practices. Lintow’s blog combines some curated content with much original material; he discovers worthy ideas and images from a diversity of websites, blogs and social media and shares these thoughts with his own experiences — with proper source credit for third-party materials — in succinct and easy-to-follow posts.

Consider, for example, his observations about estimating practices — a topic of relevance to every general and sub trade:

If there is one thing that throws many new construction companies for a loop (and even some more established companies), it is estimating. Just last week on one of the forums an owner was asking; who should eat this cost? The issue, he dropped a set of plans off for his supplier to estimate not only the price of the materials needed but the quantity. The issue as I recall was they were off by at least 4 squares (100 SF = 1 square), forgot ½ the vents & numerous other issues resulted in him doing the job at a loss.

While one might think that it is the suppliers fault or issue, they were covered with a little stamp & some fine print which said; hey while we do our best to be accurate, we are not liable if there is an error.  On the flip side of the coin a few weeks before that I was at another companies site & there was over a pallet of shingles (42 bundles to a pallet aka 14 squares) still sitting on the ground & the roof in question was essentially complete.  While one would hope that the supplier would take those shingles back, they might not be able to if they were special ordered. As many of us know, being just a bundle short can cost you 3x times the amount when you factor in materials & time, but having a ton extra costs can cost you as well.

Lintow observes the best approach to managing this sort of challenge is to “trust, but verify”:

So how might one avoid getting taken for a ride? The best advice come from Ronald Reagan who simply said that while one can trust, one should also verify. I know, for many of us who wear so many hats, just where do you find the time to do that? I essentially use the spot check approach. For example, I may look at the plans & count outlets in the case of an electrician. If the code requires at least 30 & they only have 25 listed, well then we need some clarification & I will send it back to them asking them to recheck the numbers & remind which code we are using. For roofing & other materials, I will typically check the square count, & look at the numbers for a few other items – if those look good it is probably good to go. If one or two items then I know I need to tear into it more &/or double check my counts.

SLS Construction Wacky WednesdayLintow frames his posts within some regular schedules, such as “Safety Sundays” and Wacky Wednesdays,” where he shows some, ahem, less-than-inspired construction techniques. (The image here is from one of his Wacky Wednesday posts; he also includes a comment observing the contractor corrected this rather inefficient ventilation system before closing the job.)

In a recent posting I learned about some rather unusual sales tax holidays in different U.S. states, which would presumably allow for some creative purchasing if you know where and when to go.  (Want to buy a gun?: “Got to love South Carolina (Nov) for its “firearms” tax free holiday & if you really want to get ready for hunting season… Louisiana’s “Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday” in September is definitely for you.”)

Lintow also uses his blog to outline other distinctions and state-based requirements, and softly shows readers the difference between true, quality workmanship (the sort that his business practices) and, well, the other stuff you can find if you don’t look too hard in the marketplace.

His blog shows how you can combine your own personality with the gathering and sharing of others’ thoughts — making it relatively easy to keep the blog current, without trying to be an expert on everything, all the time.

Best Construction Blog competition voting continues until April 1.

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