For every home it remodels, JW Bratton Design/Build, Renton, Wash., creates a “notification board” containing all the information a field employee or a subcontractor might need in the event of questions or emergencies. The board — typically a corkboard or an artist's easel, depending on the job —fills a basic but critical need, says John Bratton, who founded the company in 1994. If anything goes wrong, “you want to make sure you have some control over what's happening. If you don't, you're exposed to so much liability.”

Among the board's contents:

  • Safety notice
  • Project permits
  • Jobsite policies including smoking ban
  • Job-start notice with client's name and address, job number, water and gas shutoff locations, computer circuit location, and security system information, if applicable
  • Location of the nearest emergency room or walk-in medical clinic
  • There's also a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher. Every field employee and subcontractor knows to study the notification board on their first day at the jobsite, Bratton says. “The worst possible scenario is for someone to get injured on the job and not know what to do.”

    Above all, the board is “really a confidence-building thing for the homeowner,” Bratton explains. “They see it and go, ‘Whoa, these guys are actually thinking about what they're doing.'”