There's nothing unusual about a remodeling firm that has an employee handbook. But the one given to the field crew at The Remodeling Co., in Beverly, Mass., goes beyond establishing company philosophy and safety guidelines.

President Gary Moffie calls his handbook a “standard operating procedure manual.” In addition to the usual stuff, it contains approximately 30 techniques for tackling various problems out in the field.

The procedures are borne out of meetings that Moffie holds with his production manager and four supervisors. To take a recent example, when it was discovered that everyone was using a slightly different method for installing copper pans in a shower and that some people were having trouble with it, the group discussed it. If they agree that a certain procedure will work best, it gets typed up, put in the manual, and becomes company law.

Moffie is quick to assure that he isn't trying to cramp the style of his employees. “I don't expect them to do everything the same way,” he says of his four supers, who among them have about 100 years of construction experience. “But one might present something that the others hadn't thought of. If everyone agrees that it's the best way to get the job done, we'll standardize it.”

Because the manual is a “live” document that is always being added to, Moffie doesn't do anything fancy with the presentation; it's just sheets of paper stapled neatly together, protected by a plastic cover.