Hiring and Working with Green Building Professionals

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Hiring and Working with Green Building Professionals
Hiring and Working with
Green Professionals
Presented at
San Francisco, September 30
Jill Moran, Camber Construction
www.camberconstruction.com
David Arkin AIA, Arkin Tilt Architects
www.arkintilt.com
Marc Richmond, Practica Consulting
www.practicaconsulting.com
Most photos (except style comparisons and as noted) copyright Ed Caldwell.
Contact ATA for more info
Where to Begin?
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How to find the right professionals
How to interview them
How to know if they are right for you
Making the choice
Contracts
Rules of the Road
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How to find the right professionals
(Check the more common lists)
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Build It Green (www.builditgreen.org)
NARI (www.sfbanari.com)
USGBC (www.usgbc.org)
ADPSR (www.adpsr-norcal.org)
Green Home Guide’s Service Directory
(www.greenhomeguide.com/index.php/service/C155/)
Building Concerns, Northern California Resource
Directory, (www.buildingconcerns.com/nocal)
Splinter Group (www.splintergoup.info)
CA Straw Building Assoc. (www.strawbuilding.org)
(see handout for all of this information)
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How to find the right professionals
(Use networks & be a detective)
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Membership lists of professional associations (Build It
Green, U.S. Green Building Council, ADPSR, Green
Remodelers Guilds, AIA, NARI, CASBA, AIA-COTE)
Advertising and internet searches
Attendance at events (like this one)
Talk to friends, neighbors, colleagues
Green Home Tours
Take a construction walk about town
Spend time asking lots and lots of questions
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How to interview them
(Check basic business issues)
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Interview a few of them
Are they & their subs licensed, bonded &
insured? (Architects do not need bonding)
Check their license # at contractor state
license board (www.cslb.ca.gov). It will show
insurance history as well. Get copy of their
latest certificates from their insurer also.
Check out Better Business Bureau
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How to interview them
(Check basic business issues)
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Do they have and who are their long-term
partners and subs?
What do others say about them?
(competitors, suppliers, subcontractors,
building inspectors, realtors)
Do they run their business in sustainably?
(years in business, staff retention, quality of
tools & equip., green business practices, etc.)
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How to interview them
(Investigate the portfolio)
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Do they have a portfolio that includes
projects of the format, size and style of
yours?
Urban vs. Suburban vs. Rural
Design/Build firm vs. Architect & Builder
Custom vs. Production home
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How to interview them
(Interview past clients)
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Do they supply letters of recommendation
and at least 3 references from recent jobs?
Do they let you visit their past and present
projects?
Talk to their current/past customers diligently
What is the general atmosphere at the job
site among the clients and workers?
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How to interview
(Interview past clients)
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Ask clients how the professional dealt with:
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Children, pets?
Workers smoking on the job?
Clean up at the end of the day
Healthy workplace for workers and occupants
Site disturbance
Communication?
Delivering on Expectations
Conflicts or problems?
Warranty Issues
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How to interview them
(Questions to ask)
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Describe your experiences with sustainable building
and design
Comment on your interest in green building
Describe your areas of expertise (i.e. straw bale,
solar, resource conservation, indoor air quality, etc).
How long do you expect your projects to last?
What interests you about our project?
Can you recommend any other professionals to
participate in this project?
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How to interview them
(Common sense)
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Were they on time & prepared for meetings?
How will the architect or contractor handle
your input?
How do you feel about their input?
What is their overall level of professionalism?
Get to know them very well before you jump
into a contract
Be conscious and
listen to your gut
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Knowing if they are right for you
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How do they run their job communication?
Find out how they deal with conflict?
What about mid-stream corrections?
Ask about jobs that went well/badly, why?
Get bids and expect to pay for them
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What is their green experience?
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Education and Continuing Education
Field Experience and Rated Homes
Do they teach green classes?
How long? How much? What type?
Get educated on green building so you can
be a discerning buyer.
If it sounds too good to be true, it is!!
If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it
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Making the choice
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This is an important long-term relationship. Make
sure you have good communication and are very,
very clear about realistic expectations.
If you have an architect (or knowledgeable friend)
use their help in the selection process.
Know that green building is a collaborative process
Find out who will be running the job. That’s who
you’ll be living with for the next ? months
How often is the salesperson/owner on the job?
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Making the choice
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What type of Green Priorities do you want?
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Energy and Water Efficient
Durable
Healthy
Site and Landscape
Environment
Special Elements or Features (recycled materials,
solar, natural or alternative wall system, rainwater
collection, flexible use, super durability, etc.)
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Making the choice
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What type of Green Aesthetic do you want?
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Natural, Soft, Variegated
Mainstream, Understated, Simple
Modern, Hard, High-Tech
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Making the choice
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Discuss your particular Goals and see how
they answer:
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Green Building criteria
Aesthetic criteria
Budget
Process and timeline
If it sounds too good to be true, it is!!
If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it
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Contracts
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Your best insurance policy is to establish a
good working relationship and trust with your
architect and contractor
The contract is there to help spell out as
much as possible
Understand that you need to pay a down
payment to get the job started.
Withhold 10% until the final punchlist is
complete to your satisfaction and you have a
lien release.
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Contracts
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Make sure everything is spelled out in detail.
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Blueprints
Specifications (everything possible)
Payment Schedule
Your responsibilities
Their responsibilities
Arbitration/mediation clause
Change Orders
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Rules of the Road
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Building is always challenging
Blame will never fix a problem
Timing is everything, if you slow down the
project it costs everybody hassle and money.
BUT be honest about what you want and can
reasonably expect. This is still your home
and it should have what you want in it.
Understand that your contractor will be
marking up labor and materials. If they are
not making a profit they won’t be around to fix
things in the future
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Rules of the Road
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Remodeling is like a marriage, you have to be willing
to work things out
Be clear with every conversation, document and
sign a copy of all decisions
Don’t ask for extras or freebees
Keep the relationship with the workers professional,
don’t do special favors
If they do a great job add a little extra to the final
payment, you tip waitresses
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Rules of the Road
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Be emotionally prepared for the ride
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Rules of the Road
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Most importantly make every day an
adventure. Building can be fun if you are
ready and have done your homework
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