“Andrew – so many questions when building my home and you always have the answer just when I need it!” -Anne I., Australia

“A no nonsense, step-by-step approach to making your dream home achievable.” -Melvis P., UK

“It has given me, a novice, the confidence to build my own. Your videos and expertise are 2nd to none!” -Marc C., Colorado

“If you’re thinking of doing it yourself…..start here.” -Rick K., Texas

Here are just some of the topics I cover in the Program:

Avoid the Most Common Mistakes People Make Before They Even Break Ground

It is very common for people to feel overwhelmed and confused right before they are about to begin their construction process. I’ll teach where to put your focus so that you can start off on the right foot, from the very beginning.

Know Precisely What to Do and Say During Any Board Review Hearing

Working with code approval boards can be extremely challenging and intimidating. The board can make or break the success of your project before you’ve even broken ground. It’s important that you understand the board review process well and that you know what to expect, what to say and when so that everything runs without a hitch.

Get the Most Out of Your Relationship With Your Building Inspector

In your construction project, building inspectors can be your greatest allies or your greatest foes. It’s important to know how to create a positive relationship with them from the very first moment you make contact. If you don’t follow the steps I outline, you run the risk of setting up a project full of frustration and delays.

Read Construction Plans Like a Pro

Reading plans well is perhaps the most important skill required when you are your own contractor. I cover, in great depth, how to read a set of plans. Without a fluent understanding of how to read them, you won’t be able to make sure your home is built well. Reading plans can be very overwhelming if you don’t know what to do. I’ve taken the mystery and challenge out of it so that you can feel confident in doing it yourself.

Working With Subcontractors 101

There is a lot to cover here. Subcontractors will be the ones actually doing the work on your home, assuming you are not also planning on physically performing each aspect of the construction as well. Follow the Be Your Own Contractor Training and you’ll be in the best position for managing your crews so that everyone is happy and progress on your home runs like clockwork.

 Saving Money: Banks/Loans, Staying On Budget, and Proper Estimating

After viewing this module, you’ll be able to estimate the project cost and track your budget for the length of the construction. You’ll be able to immediately know if you are over budget, on track, or ahead of the curve. You’ll be able to make adjustments to your budget as necessary as the job progresses, ensuring that you end on budget and happy.

I have a very simple promise to make to you. If the Be Your Own Contractor Training Program is not everything I’ve said it is, or if you’re not satisfied with it for any reason, you can let us know within 30 days of your purchase and we will issue you a full and complete refund.


My name is Andrew Morrison and my passion is empowering people to build their own home.  Over the years I have taught hundreds of people in hands-on workshops and thousands through my instructional building videos and to this day, I am still inspired when I see someone’s sense of pride and pure joy well-up upon the completion of their building project.    I believe that if you have a strong desire to do it yourself, have the ability to be organized, and can communicate with others, you are already well on your way to being your own contractor.  Prior building experience isn’t necessary if you have those qualities and I’ve seen dozens upon dozens with no such experience build their own home more successfully than many professional contractors would have been able to do it.  After all, who is going to truly know your likes and wants more than you?!

The Be Your Own Contractor Training Program is a culmination of everything I have learned not only ‘in the field’ but also ‘in the home’ and ‘in the relationship’ when building or remodeling a house.  The Program is presented clearly and in an easy to follow format best suited for getting this much information to you.  The system consists of nearly 12 hours of information presented on 6 Modules available instantly as downloads.



Module 1 is designed to help you decide what path is right for you: remodeling, home additions, or new construction. Once you know your path, then you can get into the details of contracting your job with skill and confidence from start to finish. (1hr 47min Instant Download Video)


In this section I’ll show you how to know when remodeling is the right choice for you. I’ll also show you how to plan your project well so that you spend money in the right places. This is especially important if you plan to use the value of your remodel as a selling point for the home in the immediate or distant future. As a bonus, I’ll give you some tips on how to identify good properties for a quick remodel and resale as well. Who knows, maybe you’ll do a quick remodel “on the side” to help generate money for your dream home construction project!

When to Stick With What You Already Have

• Seeing the big picture • Measuring the potential of your home

Planning for Success

• Where to focus attention • Understanding the costs

Special Considerations

• Protecting the rest of the house • Reorienting old spaces for new purpose • Structural requirements


• Sanitation impacts and permits • Building permits and requirements

Finding Money

• Cash • Home equity loans • Lines of credit • Refinance and seconds

Bonus: Making Money on Your Remodels

• Picking the right house • Focusing your money in the right places


If your house is serving your needs in general, but is simply too small, you might think about an addition. There are some special considerations with additions that are beyond what you must know when working with a remodel or renovation. In this video I’ll teach you how to prepare for a successful addition and how to avoid the common pitfalls.

When You Need a Little More Space

• Making the decision to add space • Knowing what rooms to add • Knowing what to change

Planning for Success

• Your home’s potential • Understanding the costs

Special Considerations

• Making the connection • Siting the new space with respect to existing structures • Neighbors and shadows • Protecting the rest of the house


• Sanitation impacts • Building permits and requirements

Finding Money

• Cash • Home equity loans • Lines of credit


In this section, we’ll investigate what it takes to build from scratch. There are steps similar to the ones for remodels and additions and there are extra steps involved in developing new land. I’ll show you the ins and outs of how to decide which land to buy and how to buy it. Once you own the land, you’ll need to know what to do with it. I’ll discuss considerations related to planning, financing and building your new house.

When You Want to Start From Scratch

Working with a Realtor • Seeing the big picture • Understanding the costs From bare land to completed home

Special Considerations

Choosing the right land • Siting the house • Neighbors and shadows • Geotechnical and Structural Requirements

Finding Money

• Land loans • Lines of credit • All in one loans

Title company

• Easements • Tax liens • Judgments • Free and clear title


• Sanitation Impacts • Building Permits and Requirements


Learn how to site your house properly to take advantage of natural cooling breezes, passive solar heat, and the free shade of the trees around you. I’ll show you how to find where the best water is (if it’s not a city lot). You’ll also learn about septic and/or gray water systems and how best to use them to your advantage.

Living With the Elements

• Earth • Wind • Fire • Water

Does Your Land Come with Free Power?

• Investigate your resources • Solar • Wind and Water Turbines • Solar Hot Water • Passive Design

Introduction to Permaculture

• Seeing the bigger picture • Live smart not hard








One thing is for certain: if you plan to build a new house, remodel an old one or add an addition to an existing home, you will need to know how to read construction drawings. You may or may not work with an architect for the development of those drawings, but the ability to read them will be paramount to your success and the success of your project. In this video, you will learn how to identify the right architect/designer for you and how to make sure you are getting the most for your money throughout the design process. I will also teach you, step by step, how to read a full set of construction drawings from start to finish. When you complete this video, you will have a strong understanding of how to read plans with confidence. (1hr 54min Instant Download Video)

Here is a short video for you to watch:


In most cases, you will need to hire an architect or designer to develop the construction drawings for your project. Even if you think you know exactly what you want from your home, you’re probably not capable of drawing it in such a way that the building officials, subcontractors, and other tradesmen and women will be able to clearly see your vision. There are a lot of details that need to be included in the construction drawings in order for them to be accurate and descriptive enough to build from. Finding and hiring a qualified architect will make this process more fun and efficient.

Finding the Right Person

• Where to start looking • Learn what questions to ask to make you sure you find the person for your job

What to Expect

• Know what’s included in the contract agreement • Know who’s responsible • Plan Delivery • Site Visits and Progress Reports

Know What It Will Cost

• Know what questions to ask and how to set up an agreement so that you get the most for your money

Keeping a Good Relationship

• Old myths • Work together • The effects of paper mistakes • Communication tools and tips for success


You plan on being your own contractor, right? Most likely, but many things may have changed for you as you’ve moved through this production to this point. It’s important to know whether you are taking this training to learn how to contract the job yourself or to oversee a hired contractor. Once you know for sure, you can move forward with stronger direction and focus. Take a minute now to get clear about your intentions.

In this section of the video I’ll give you an outline of how to hire a general contractor if you choose to use one. I’ll also discuss what differs in the process if you decide to be your own contractor. I’ll introduce the concept of a “roundtable gathering” as a means of streamlining your construction project and easing the pressure on you as the contractor. No tool is more powerful for saving time and money than this simple concept when used effectively.

Which Road Are You On?

A) If Hiring a General Contractor (GC)

How to conduct interviews and how many to set up • How many bids you should get • Choosing your contractor with confidence • How to make the expectations clear so that you are protecting yourself

B) If You Will Be Your Own Contractor

Meet with the architect • Getting the right bids • How to choose the best subcontractors

Roundtable Discussions

One meeting to save time and money • Who you should invite • What to cover during the meeting


Without a clear understanding of the construction drawings and what they represent, you will not be able to effectively manage your job site, nor will you be able to successfully build your house. Take the time to learn everything you can from this section,. I will start with some basic information and then move into a detailed review of a set of construction drawings. You will leave this section with a deep understanding of construction drawings and how to use them, giving you confidence in construction and job site management.

What are construction drawings?

• Learn how to read plans quickly and accurately • Understand what is on the page • Your roadmap to construction success

Where to start

• Avoid confusion and mistakes • See the big picture • Don’t miss the importance of the details

Estimating and Ordering Materials

• How to create accurate budgets • Create accurate material “take-offs” • Properly outline the material delivery schedule

Fine Print Rules

• Start big and finish small • How to read “Specifications”

Specifications Defined

• Accounting of home finishes and details • How to use them effectively


Let’s jump into a set of construction drawings and take a closer look at how they are put together. In this section, I’ll walk you through the basic design pages of a set. This includes the Site Plan, Foundation Plan, Floor Plans, and Elevations. I’ll show you how to interpret these pages and extract the information you need to visualize, estimate, schedule, and build the home in front of you.

Site Plans • Floor Plans • Foundation Plans • Elevations


In this section we will review in detail the Sections, Floor Framing Plans, Roof Framing Plans, Detail Plans, and the Engineering Plans. This is truly the nuts and bolts of the project. The information in these pages will give you the “how to” of the project construction. I’ll show you how to read the pages in this video with confidence and clarity.

Sections • Roof Framing Plan • Details • Engineering Plans


In this section, we’ll look at the fine details of the home construction process and I’ll teach you how to identify and locate each descriptive detail on the drawings so that they show up properly in your finished home.

Roof Plan • Electrical Plan • Window and Door Schedules • Interior Elevations • Cabinetry Plan • Whole House Entertainment Systems • Paint and Stain Specifications • Smart House Systems • Home Security


This vital document is the handbook of details and decisions that make up the house design and finish. All of the decisions that you make as a homeowner and/or contractor in relation to the home details are captured in this document. In this section, we will take a detailed look at the specification sheet and how to use it to its fullest.

Breakdown of a specification sheet • What does the specification sheet tell me? • The decisive power of this tool




In this video, I’ll teach you how to work with the building and planning departments (and all sub departments within those two) in order to achieve success with your project. I’ll show you how to navigate their often-confusing systems and how to find your way to the permits and approvals you want. I’ll discuss everything from zoning variances to sanitation requirements. I’ll walk you through the process of presenting your project to the board and give you tools to stay calm while you make powerful presentations that will help you achieve success. (1hr 53min Instant Download Video)


In this section, I’ll give you an in-depth introduction into the different building departments and how to navigate your way through them all from start to finish. This is an introduction into the process and is designed to get you oriented. I will go into much more detail in the following videos so that you can investigate the depths of each department fully.

The Application and Permitting Process

• What is the purpose of this process? • Where you should start for success

Typical Order of Departments

• Architectural Review • Sanitation • Zoning • Building Department • Planning

Keeping a Good Relationship

• Old myths • Communication tips • Knowing how much to reveal • What limitations you need to be aware of


In this section, I’ll teach you what the zoning department looks for and how to gain approval for your project. I discuss wild-fire breaks, flood plain review, variances, articles of compliance and more. You’ll learn how to identify your property’s zoning, how to find what the restrictions of that zoning are, and how to best work with your zoning department to get the results you desire.

Master Plan Based Review

• Industrial • Residential • Commercial • Mixed Use

Zoning Laws and Restrictions

• Examples: HR-0.5 and others• Plot Plan Requirements • Property Use Type Restrictions

Zoning for Fire and Water

• Flood Plain Review • Wild-Fire Risk Minimization Restrictions

Making Changes

• Know what the Zone Change Process is like • What is required • Example Application


• When to apply • Process of approval• Articles of Compliance • Sample Variance Application


In this section, I’ll teach you how to work with the sanitation department to gain approval for your project. I include details and descriptions for the more complicated rural systems as well as a section on working within City Sewer system requirements. I also discuss the details of handling surface water drainage for the best impacts on your site and for easy approval from the sanitation department.

What does the Sanitation Department Regulate?

• Learn all of the systems that this department regulates

Septic System Introduction and Requirements


• About septic systems • Soil Analysis Options

Standard Approved Systems

• Single Stage Systems • Average Tank Size per Household • Two Stage Systems • Sand Filters • Ejector Pump Systems

City Systems

• Passing your Connection Inspection • Dealing with the Department of Regulation • Required Clean-Out Specifications

Handling Surface Water

• Downspout Run-Off • Surface Drainage

Grey Water Systems


Learn who the planning department is and what they do. I will teach you how to present to them in a manner that is most likely to gain their approvals. In addition, I’ll teach you how to create and maintain a good relationship with the department so that this and future projects will be easily accepted by the board.

Who is the Planning Department?

• Board of Approval • Findings based on current approved code and/or comprehensive plan

Know what they want

• Understand the appropriate code or comprehensive plan • Learn the intricacies of the code or plan • Design to meet requirements

How to Present Your Project

• Gain the boards approval with strong presentations • Learn my tips and tools for preparing for your presentation

Successful Presentations

• I’ve compiled everything I’ve learned from being a contractor and presenting to countless boards so that you can present with confidence

Maintain the relationship

• What works and what doesn’t


In this section, I teach you how to create a solid relationship with the building department so that you find yourself surrounded by advocates, not adversaries. I walk you through the steps of the building department from plan submittal to certificate of occupancy. Knowing what to expect is the first step in achieving success.

What they review

• Understanding what they review, and why, is vital

Stages of the Building Department

• Plan check • Permit approval • Site inspections • Final inspection • Certificate of occupancy

Working with Inspectors

• What to expect • Advocate, not adversary • Create a positive relationship • When to call • How much is too much?


In this bonus section, I teach what the board’s general mandate is likely to be. I will show you how to balance what you want for your house with what they want for the commission. Finding and securing this balance will help you gain approval from the architectural board without losing the details of your home’s look and feel that you want to maintain.

The Board Mandate

• What they review • Why they review it • Know the mandate

Powerful Applications

• Learn how to write the best application

Know What They Want

• Board Member Preferences • Communication and Compromise

Know the Intent of the Code

• Learn what homework you must do • Meet with members • How to create allies

Know what You want

• Learn to get clear with your vision so that you can know when to compromise and when to hold firm



In this Module, I’ll show you how to properly manage the money on your construction project. I’ll discuss accurate estimating, how to build credit to increase your chances of loan approval, and how to constructively and efficiently work with banks. With this information in your tool belt, you will be set up to succeed on even the most intricate projects. You’ll be able to estimate the project cost and track your budget for the length of the construction. You’ll be able to immediately know if you are over budget, on track, or ahead of the curve. You’ll be able to make adjustments to your budget as necessary as the job progresses, ensuring that you end on budget and happy. (1hr 53min Instant Download Video)

Here’s a short video with some samples from Module 4:


I’ll show you how to start the estimating process, and yes, it is a process. I’ll discuss what is affected by the estimate and why it is so important to get the numbers right. I’ll also lay out the 5 keys to successful estimating. You won’t want to miss them.

Where the Estimate Gets Applied

• How to build with a budget • Keep the job on track with adjustments • Learn what changes to make to stay in the black • Know immediately where you stand on finances

Tracking expenses (Draw Tracking Sheet)

• Contractor vs. Owner/Contractor • Finish the job • Learn tips for creative estimating • Understand profit and loss • What to Expect • When to use subcontractors to help

The Five Keys to Successful Estimating


I’ll show you what considerations to include and how to gather the data you need. This is the first active step toward the construction of your home. Until now, everything has been in preparation for this point in time. From now on, the numbers you create will determine the level of success you achieve on the rest of your journey. You will be “locked in” so to speak. Not to strike fear into your heart, but this is something you need to get right, the first time.


• Understand how to reimburse the design expense • Know and understand the cost of on-going site evaluations, changes to the plan, and professional fees for plan review board meetings, etc.


• How to find reputable companies • How many quotes you should get for each line item • Why you shouldn’t dredge the barrel or reach too high • How to adjust numbers for your own labor • Distinguish when you’ll be able to save money: use a subcontractor or DIY?

Overhead and Profit

• Learn what overhead is • Understand what profit is • Know what the minimum is for each

The True Cost of You

• Time off work • Slower progress than professionals

Material Specifications

• Learn how to do this accurately for exact cost analysis • Learn where you can compromise and save money • How to use side by side analysis during construction to stay on budget

Contingency Fund

• Understand what this fund is and why it can be so effective in keeping your budget on track


In this section, I’ll teach you some tricks on how to expedite the loan process without compromising the results. I’ll teach you about how the bank disperses funds and what criteria you’ll need to meet along the way so you can start to build as soon as possible. I’ll also give you some tips on how to improve the interest rates you are quoted. I’ll cover how to keep your bank happy by providing them the information they need as soon as they need it. I’ll also teach you how to work with the bank inspectors to keep the project moving smoothly.

Expedite the Process

• Know what the bank needs • How to shop for the best products • Why it’s vital to understand the entire agreement • Know which hidden costs to watch out for • Understand closing deadlines and penalties

Dispersal of Funds

• Bank Draw paperwork and Soft Cost Advances • Understand the inspection process

Preparing the Specific Documents Successfully


• Plans and specifications • Cost estimate • Subcontractor list • Tax returns • Pay stubs • Insurance paperwork • Estimating checklist Appraisals

Planning for Success

• Managing Your Down Payment • Mortgage Insurance


In this section, I’ll teach you ways to build your credit and improve your score. Start today with these easy steps and your interest rates, fees and other loan details could be improved.

Learn trade secrets to building your credit


Knowing how to use simple estimating books to your advantage to create the most accurate estimates you possibly can is an important skill to learn. There are tons of different options available to you, from tables to books to on-line computer software. Some are more complicated than others and some will be overkill for your project scope. As always, K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Sam (or Susie).

General Residential Construction Costs

• Line Item Description • Unit Cost • Material Costs • Union Labor • Open Labor • Unit Man Hours

Residential Square Foot Costs

• Square Footage Costs • Assembly Costs • All Open Labor • What About Remodeling?

Estimation Software Discussion and Estimation Table Overview



Setting up a critical path and having control over your scheduling is vital to the success of your project. In this Module I’ll show you how to create a schedule and adjust it as things change. I’ll teach you how to work with your subcontractors in a manner that keeps them informed about schedule changes and happy with job progress. Whether you call this a critical path, a schedule, or a program, it represents the heartbeat of your job and is your blueprint for success and an on-time, on-budget completion of your project. (1hr 43min Instant Download Video)


Time management is a large aspect of contracting. If you can keep things on schedule, you will improve your chances of keeping the job on budget. I’ll show you the many details of time management and discuss how each can affect your job progress. I’ll introduce the concept of a “Critical Path” and tell you why having one is so important. There is much to cover and as you know, time is of the essence!

Basic Overview of Time Management

• How to plan ahead • Learn when to plan for the following week’s work • Know which tasks to prioritize • Learn my best tools for time management

How to Avoid Common Construction Delays

• Managing Deliveries • Managing Labor Forces

The Seven Construction Management Categories


Before you can create a critical path, you need to know what one is. The essential elements of a critical path can be defined and should always be included. In addition, sometimes a critical path won’t work. You need to understand why this is and in what situations that might occur. In this section, I’ll introduce you to critical paths and how they work and don’t work. I’ll give you the basics so that you can move on to the next section and learn how to create a critical path for your own project. For now, you need to learn the basics as a jump off point.

Critical Path Essentials

• Time Budgeting • Managing the Schedule

Where Critical Paths Won’t Work

• Not carved in stone • Ensuring the accuracy of your information


Creating your critical path will take some time, but won’t be as hard as creating your estimate. In this section I’ll show you what questions to ask and of whom. I’ll show you how to effectively manage the creation of your critical path so that the trades are all in the correct order and with the correct time overlap. I’ll also walk you through a critical path template so you feel comfortable with creating your own.


Know how much lead time to give them • Industry standards for job length in each trade • Learn how much time to overlap between each trade

Tracking YOUR Labor

How much time you should add to the subcontractor time estimate • How to use estimating tables • Learn how to plan for the missed details

Setting the Schedule

Know the order of events • How to provide a cushion for delays and changes

Critical Path Template Review


Having a critical path is a great thing; however, you have to use it for it to do you any good. This means you have to adjust it as the reality of the job shifts. In this section, I’ll teach you how to stay in tune with the reality of your jobsite and how to keep your project flowing with efficiency.

Stay Up to Date

• Chain reactions • Immediate change notifications Find “absorption openings”

Be professional

• Emotions don’t run the show • Know your rights and your contract

Cross reference other lists

• Pre-construction checklist • Estimating checklist • Material specifications • Subcontractor agreements/contracts


How people and materials show up on your jobsite is actually very important. In this section, I’ll show you how even the smallest details matter. I’ll show you how to plan for and manage material deliveries and subcontractor movements. I’ll also give you the details of how to run a safe and efficient jobsite.

Material Deliveries

• How to plan ahead for success • Deliver only what you need • How to give guidelines to your supplier for efficient delivery

Jobsite Parking and Oversight

• How to mark parking clearly • What protection is required

Scheduling Subcontractors

• Which timelines you need to know about • How to communicate with them so that they’ll perform well and on time


Most people learn well when they see something. Others need to hear it or read it. Some learn best through experience. Posting visual aids around the job site may be a great advantage to some or all of your subcontractors and will definitely be useful for you. There are some materials that are required to be on site at all times and others that are simply great to have around. In this video I’ll show you which things to post, where to post them and what else to keep on site. The simple details can be the difference between an overdue, over-budget job and an on-time, on budget completion.

Learn What You Must Have On Site

• Permit • Approved plans and specifications • Emergency phone numbers • Cost estimate • Subcontractor contact list •

Large White Board

• Who sees it? • Tracking subcontractor activity

Small White Board and Cork Board

• Who sees it? • Communication channel • Scheduling aid



In this Module, I will discuss how to locate, work with and hold-on to great subcontractors. There is a science, of sorts, to the process. Mastering the skill of working with others is a great life lesson and is a must for someone contracting a home. I’ll talk about ways to clearly communicate with your subcontractors so that everyone feels heard and represented. I’ll also teach you how to smooth out misunderstandings and keep yourself out of trouble and out of court. We’ll go over how to create a final “Punch List” and also talk about how to complete your building project successfully. (2hr 5min Instant Download Video).


In this section I’ll show you how to choose the right subcontractors for the job. I’ll teach you how to first find and then learn about the subcontractors and their crews. When you are complete with this section, you will understand what to avoid and what to look for when choosing your subcontractors.

Best Practices for Locating Quality Subcontractors

• Hire with confidence knowing you have followed these steps

Making a Choice

• Know which questions to ask to get the best crew on your job


Contract agreements are the backbone of your relationship with any subcontractor. As such, you’ll want to make sure they are solid and clear. In this section I will discuss several details of contract agreements and review different approaches and options for you to consider. Like everything else in this training, I suggest you speak directly with your own legal team for their input before you create any document and use it in the field. In construction and in law, there are always a number of ways of doing things. Make sure your way is enforceable where you live. Take my advice and seek legal council to create the agreement you need.

Section by Section Review of Sample Contract

• Work • Contract price and terms • Work schedule • Change orders • Indemnification and liens • Insurance requirements • Default and remedies • General conditions of the agreement • Warranties and limited liability • Defects • Disputes and claims


The need for the proper licensing is included in the subcontractor agreement discussed in part 2; however, I think it is important enough to warrant its own section here as well. I will show you how to make sure your subcontractors all have the appropriate licenses and insurance before you allow them to start work. I will also teach you how to manage that information so that it is all in the right place should you ever need it. Don’t miss the details of this important aspect of the construction industry. It is no secret that people love to sue, especially here in the United States. Even an unfounded case can gain traction if you don’t have the right paperwork on file.

Required Licenses

• Contractor’s License • Specialty contractor’s license • Bonds

Required Insurance

• Check with your carrier as an owner/contractor • General liability • Workers compensation • Insurance verification log


One of the most important things I have discovered in my life is the power of clear communication. It is so easy for something to be misunderstood, especially in this day of emails, instant messages and texts. Having a clear and open line of communication with your subcontractors is mandatory. In this section, I’ll teach you how and when to make contact and with whom. I’ll also discuss daily site inspections of your subcontractors work including what to look for and what to do if you find something wrong.

How to make contact

• Primary contact sheet • When to Make Contact • How to deal with scheduling conflicts, change orders, inspection failures, and defects/call backs

Keeping Them Happy

• Communicate effectively • How to show appreciation • How to talk money

Communicating Concerns

• When to speak with the site foreman if a problem arises • How to follow up • How to “listen in order to understand”


In this section, I will give you a new focus of attention that will change the way you view inspectors. It may just change your entire experience of building your home. Imagine having a friend, an ally, a construction expert, and a consultant visit your project from time to time to make sure things are going well. Sounds pretty good to me! Here’s how to build that kind of relationship.

The Building Inspector

• Who they are and their responsibilities

Start Off on the Right Foot

• How to show appreciation and be professional

Building Inspectors as an Asset

• Free consulting • Be grateful and willing to learn • Thank them for their input and hard work

Part 6: WHEN THINGS GO WRONG: Avoiding Arbitration and Lawsuits

Nobody likes talking about this stuff (except maybe attorneys!) but it is something that needs to be addressed. What do you do when things go wrong? How do you respond? Most people don’t know what to expect in terms of lawsuits, arbitration, mediation and the general un-pleasantries of the construction industry until it is too late and they are involved in ‘the system’. In this bonus section, I’ll teach you how to prepare for the worst. I’ll show you how to stay out of trouble and build a team to help you and support your efforts. Of course I hope you never have to experience a lawsuit or anything like it, but I believe you should be aware of how to protect yourself as best you can just in case.

Be Honest

Always tell the truth in conflict and require the same in return • Be careful what you share and with whom

How to Write Solid Contracts

Why you shouldn’t work on a hand-shake • What to get it in writing

Clear Communication

How to state the facts • The importance of avoiding judgments or assumptions • How to listen and respond • The best form of communication to document conversations

Be Consistent

How to keep predictable and reliable documentation, and accurate files

Build Your Team

Project Manager (you) • Attorney • Bookkeeper • Insurance representative • Neighbor


At the end of the job there is always a list of things to do that needs to be addressed. For a contractor, this is called a ‘punch list’ and the items on that list need to completed. For owner/contractors, this list has a tendency to drag on and remain incomplete for years to come. In this section, I’ll show you how to properly create, address and complete a punch list. Don’t drive yourself crazy with unrealistic goals and timelines. At the same time, don’t give yourself a free ticket to Lazyville either. I’ll teach you how to stay focused and on-task to complete your punch list in a timely manner.

Creating a Punch List

Know what’s included and what’s not

Managing a Punch List

Get the most out of it for success

Completing a Punch List

What you should and shouldn’t add to it • How to stay focused • When to compromise


Welcome home. You made it! No matter how challenging the journey was to get here, you have made it. Now you get to enjoy what you have created. Be sure you do just that, enjoy it. It is easy to get stuck in the “doing” and forget to drop into the “being” of your home. Remember, you are a human being, not a human doing. Reflect that in your home. In this section, I’ll suggest ways to find peace in your new home. I’ll remind you of the important things that your home can offer. You already know these things, I’m just here to remind you :).

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Be sure to hire appropriately • You can’t do everything yourself • A dollar spent to save $5 is well spent • See the big picture and build with that image at the heart

Create a sanctuary

A place to stop and breathe • Make it yours • Use it

Stop Building and Perfecting

Enough is enough • If you’re not careful, the house will never be done • Be willing to hang up your tools and stop being a contractor

Appreciate What you Have

Stop and look • Be grateful for what you have created • Thank yourself and those who helped • Throw a topping out party









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