The price of growth is great if one doesn't do it carefully," reflects Chuck Green of Four Corners Construction (Big50 2003).

The Westborough, Mass., contractor learned that $55,000 lesson in what would have been his best year in 18 years, had it not been for five degrees of a wrongly dimensioned foundation.

Green reversed his self-admitted controlling tendencies and left a new lead carpenter to figure out a complicated layout -- a $74,000 foundation set in peat for a $435,000 addition. Late-December, single-digit weather put the hurry on to get the foundation in. But because of the cold, the lead didn't set up a transit to verify all the plan's dimensions. And the architect had mis-dimensioned the layout.

Green, distracted by other projects, realizes now that he let go of too much too soon. "I was trying to let go of my control freak tendencies and I swung a little too far," he says.

"He quit after the first pour," Green says of his lead. The lead miscalculated the framing takeoff, too, by $18,000 worth of additional lumber. And, the subcontractor who excavated the job claims $39,000 in additional charges, yet he didn't fix the error. In order to get back to square one, two-thirds of the newly poured foundation had to be removed, and a new foundation wall was scabbed and pinned to the faulty section.

Now dimensions are always verified in the field (as was indicated on the plan, which absolved the architect of liability). "And we watch what we give away in responsibility," Green says. "If we make changes, we don't do it so abruptly."