If you assume that it's OK to put a heat register under a window, inevitably your client will say, ‘I want to put a big plant right there,'” jokes Chris Withers about the hundreds of moments in a remodeling project when decisions must be made. And they're best made upfront.

Withers and his partners at Old Greenwich Builders, Denver, spent a year creating a detailed series of checklists for quality assurance — more than 1,200 items —that supervisors bring and tailor to each job. Much of the 60-page book, with 30 categories from estimating to permitting to HVAC to flooring and final inspection, is filled with questions the supervisor needs to ask the client.

“Whenever a new trade comes on the job there's a walk-through with the contractor and the homeowner to see if their work will affect another contractor down the stream,” says Withers, who wanted a way to systematize the business. He imagines every supervisor a franchisee of Old Greenwich.

The system has been running for three years, and Withers says that it's been invaluable. “It gives us a record of what has transpired on every job, and it's a huge selling tool. We show prospects an existing job with an existing binder. Once a homeowner understands how much effort they'll have to put in to make decisions, they fall apart. The checklists help them to not fall apart.”