Carl Seville, former owner of Sawhorse, in Atlanta, and now a consultant to the remodeling industry, developed 26 trade partner checklists — everything from cabinet installation to concrete flatwork, demolition, HVAC, and electrical — to “get people to set expectations and manage performance,” he says. “You decide what you want your trade contractors to do and you hold them to it. This set of documents is an attempt to keep it businesslike and to give guidelines for doing it right.” (All 26 checklists are available for a fee at www.sevilleconsulting.com.) The checklist creates a paper trail: The trade contractor signs off on the checklist and submits a copy of it with an invoice to the project manager who double-checks against the list and will retain money if needed.

The example here is for the building envelope, which includes framing, siding, and windows. “Sometimes the building envelope is an afterthought because there’s no single installer,” Seville says. “Dealing with those products as a system and giving a single trade the responsibility for it leads to a higher-performance house.”

-Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.

A: “If you tell me before you do the work that thereís a problem,” consultant Carl Seville says, “I will fix it. Or if you find an issue while on site and decide not to do the work, Iíll pay your trip charge. But if you do the work and it looks terrible, then I wonít pay you. Trade partners need to tell you if the existing conditions arenít acceptable.”
A: “If you tell me before you do the work that thereís a problem,” consultant Carl Seville says, “I will fix it. Or if you find an issue while on site and decide not to do the work, Iíll pay your trip charge. But if you do the work and it looks terrible, then I wonít pay you. Trade partners need to tell you if the existing conditions arenít acceptable.”
B: Seville canít stress enough how important this is. “Often a trade contractor will let you know that he or she has run out of materials at 4 p.m. or, as they are about to leave, will tell you that you have to reframe three openings. People should check that they have the right amount of housewrap and flashing before they start. And they should call you well before they run out.”
B: Seville canít stress enough how important this is. “Often a trade contractor will let you know that he or she has run out of materials at 4 p.m. or, as they are about to leave, will tell you that you have to reframe three openings. People should check that they have the right amount of housewrap and flashing before they start. And they should call you well before they run out.”
C: “This issue goes beyond this checklist,” Seville says. “The industry is terrible about keeping houses dry. Trade contractors will do a good job of putting on housewrap, but then theyíll punch holes in it and flash windows and doors but not plumbing and electrical penetrations. Water gets in and the house rots. By having this on a checklist, people pay attention to it.”
C: “This issue goes beyond this checklist,” Seville says. “The industry is terrible about keeping houses dry. Trade contractors will do a good job of putting on housewrap, but then theyíll punch holes in it and flash windows and doors but not plumbing and electrical penetrations. Water gets in and the house rots. By having this on a checklist, people pay attention to it.”
D: If something isnít done, thereís a dollar amount for retainage. Accounting can hold back $500, for example, and everyone knows why and what is still owed. The paper trail improves communication and cuts down on questions.
D: If something isnít done, thereís a dollar amount for retainage. Accounting can hold back $500, for example, and everyone knows why and what is still owed. The paper trail improves communication and cuts down on questions.