New research finds that bathrooms have overtaken kitchens as the most common remodeling project for professional remodelers, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) second quarter Remodeling Market Index (RMI). The RMI is a quarterly survey of remodelers about their business. «Professional remodelers continue to provide quality service to consumers interested in remodeling their homes,» said NAHB
Remodelers Chairman Donna Shirey, CGR,CAPS, CGP, and remodeler from Issaquah,Wash. «Many have gotten creative in theirbusinesses and are offering more maintenanceand handyman services for homeowners.»Sixty-one percent said bathroom remodelingwas one of their most common projects duringthe first half of 2010. Kitchen remodelingcame next with 52 percent. In previous years,kitchen remodeling was reported as the mostcommon activity by more than 70 percent ofremodeler respondents.

In general, comparisons to historicaldata from previous years show that largerremodeling projects (such as room additions,whole house remodeling, bathroom additions,and second-story additions) have been on thedecline for several years. Smaller remodelingjobs (such as window and door replacements)have remained relatively steady, or, in the caseof handyman services, actually increased.For example, only 29 percent of remodelersreported that room additions were a commonactivity in 2010, compared to 70 percent in2004.

Conversely, none of the professionalremodelers responding to the survey reportedthat it was common for their companies toperform handyman services in 2004, while 33percent of remodelers were regularly providinghandyman work in the first half of 2010.Forty percent of remodelers reported working on window or door replacements thus far in 2010, followed by handyman services (33percent), room additions (29 percent), wholehouse remodeling (21 percent), decks (19percent), insurance repair (19 percent), roofing(18 percent), finished basement (17 percent),siding (16 percent), enclosed/added porch(16 percent), bathroom additions (13 percent),second story additions (9 percent), enclosed/added garage (8 percent), historic preservation(5 percent), finished attic (4 percent), and otherprojects (6 percent).

Remodelers also reported that they expectrevenues to increase over 2009 during thelatter half of 2010. For more informationabout the Remodeling Market Index, NAHB Remodelers isAmerica’s home for professional remodelers,representing the more than 20,000 remodelingindustry members of the National Associationof Home Builders (NAHB).

Founded in1982, the organization provides information,education, and designation programs toimprove the business and constructionexpertise of its members and to enhancethe professional image of the industry. Itsmembership incorporates 145 local councilsin 43 states. Learn more about remodeling at Therese Crahan is the executive director ofNAHB Remodelers. She may be contacted at(202) 266-8211 or at



Out on the jobsite, your customer says to you: «Hey, would you mind extending this wall four feet and adding a door?» You say: «No problem, we’ll get started right away and work out the costs later.» You know the contract requires you to get change orders approved in writing, but you don’t want to put pressure on your good customer, so you hope and pray you’ll get the extra work approved and paid for later.A contractor who deals with change orders like this is Winging it, Insecure, Misguided, and Procrastinating. In other words, a WIMP! Wimps don’t get signatures, wimps beg after the fact, and wimps aren’t tough. Wimps are afraid to stand up and demand what’s right. Customers treat these wimpy contractors without respect, walk all over them, pay them slow, and don’t approve their change order requests in full. Use your contract and project management procedures to train your customers. If you are firm but fair, right from the start, you will get what you want from them.In your pre-job customer meeting held at the beginning of every job, explain how change orders will be handled. If they want extra additional work that’s not in the contract or on the plans, tell them you will require them to put it in writing. No exceptions! Requested changes and constructive changes require different approaches. Requested changes are additional items or work the customer wants not in the original scope of work. Have them submit their requests in writing to your project manager and then you’llget them a prompt proposal for the additionalwork requested. Constructive changes occur inthe field as unforeseen conflicts or omissions.By contract, you must submit your claim for thisrequired extra work within a specified numberof days after the problem becomes apparent.Check your contract. Improper or late noticecan result in no payment for additional workperformed without prior approval. In otherwords, late notice or requests means never!

Thefollowing are change order tips:

1. Change orders are not «extras.»They are additions, changes, or deletions tothe contract scope of work. The contract,plans, or specifications were not accurate orwere changed by someone other than thecontractor. Someone has to pay for this!

2. Never give it away. You are onlyresponsible for what’s included in yourcontract. If the plans are incomplete or thespecifications don’t match what your customerwanted, it’s not your fault. Your customermust take responsibility for what they signedand agreed to. Giving away additional work tocustomers avoids confrontations and conflicts.

3. Charge the right price the first time.Too often subcontractors present change orderrequests that are significantly overpriced. Whenthis occurs, customers lose trust and faith intheir contractors. This causes re-pricing, delays,unnecessary arguments, and eventually thesecontractors lose repeat customers. Be fair!

4. Charge the right markup. To avoid future conflicts, always agree to your change ordermarkup with customers before you start theproject. Put the approved markup percentageand terms in your contract. This eliminatesarguments later when negotiating final prices.5. Never do additional work withoutknowing. Is the work extra? How will it becharged? Who pays for it and when? Is theremoney available to pay for the work? Who isauthorized to approve the work?6. Always include additional timerequired.

Most customers don’t want toapprove a time extension until the end of thejob, even though they asked for extra work.Additional work requires additional time. Alwaysinclude on your change order request howmany days this will extend the project.

To request and track changes during aproject, submit timely field memos documentingeach item of extra work before you do the workor within 24 hours after discovering the problem.Outline the additional work, time required, andthe terms (lump sum, detailed estimate, or costplus) to be submitted to your customer per thecontract requirements.

Then, make sure youget it signed before it’s too late to benefit yourbottom-line. Don’t be a WIMP ※ get it in writing, or forever hold your peace! George Hedley is the best-selling author of «GetYour Business to Work!» and is an entrepreneur,popular speaker, and business coach. He may becontacted at


While contemplating a kitchen remodel in his Bel Air home, the owner was inspired by architect PeterSjostrom and general contractor Gordon Gibson Construction to transform the outdated design of his 1980 Tudor-style estate into a $4 million contemporary French chateau.

By Evan Lancaster

Elegance through renovation, inspiration, and a $4million remodel has transformed the 1980 design ofa 9,000-square-foot, Tudor-style Bel Air estate into astylishly modernized French Chateau. Architect anddesigner Peter Sjostrom, along with general contractorGordon Gibson Construction, utilized aspects of the original layout toincorporate the most powerful design attainable during the remodel.Although this Bel Air estate is the client’s secondary residence, «Theclient wanted the home to feel more powerful and substantial, while maintaining some of its old world charm,» said Sjostrom. «In the designphase the client reacted positively to images of French manor housesand country estates which eventually lead to the choice of style.»Incorporating aspects of the Tudor design’s high roof-line, composition,and original layout fused well with extensions used on the interior andexterior. Gordon Gibson said his process enabled the design team toexpand living space in the foyer, kitchen, and maid’s quarters.According to Sjostrom and Gibson, challenges included a complete redesign and relocation for the main staircase and gallery, which

«When designing traditional homes, it isimportant for me to employ correct classicalproportions, techniques, and detailing, whileat the same time adapting them to theindividual needs of the client and comfort oftoday’s modern lifestyle.» Peter Sjostrom, AIA

required computer assisted technology along withmassive steel posts and beams for support. Sjostromexplained the addition of shear walls and momentframes added extra challenges through the process ofremodel, but he credits the clever positioning of steelposts and beams in precast columns to allow for extradetail and support. «Bearing loads were transferred tothe existing framework in order to open up the foyer,while at the same time concealing the structure.»Originally, the owner was only looking to remodel the kitchen. But after several discussions with Sjostrom and Gibson overpotential possibilities of home design, the owner wanted to achieve atimeless, sophisticated, and consistent appearance both inside and out, which lead to the entire remodel.

«The client became inspired toincrease both the scope and considerably the budget, resulting in thetotal exterior and interior remodel of the home.» The increased budgetlead to $250,000 spent on the home’s impressive exterior characterusing only quality precast elements. Rare marbles and granites wereused to accentuate the countertops andfloor plan throughout the house. The owners were very impressed with the La Cornue range priced justover $40,000.»When designing traditional homes, it is important for me to employcorrect classical proportions, techniques, and detailing, while at the sametime adapting them to the individual needs of the client and comfort of today’s modern lifestyle,» said Sjostrom. Evan Lancaster is an editorial assistant at Residential Contractor. He canbe contacted at


Bus driver, move that bus!» yells Ty Pennington on ABC’s hit show, «Extreme Makeover: Home Edition» (EMHE). This exciting phrase continues to transform the lives of deserving families, giving builders, thousands of volunteers, and the talented cast and crew. The twotime Emmy award-winning show features a race against the clock, completing projects with the help of builders across the country in just seven days, with four days to build from the ground-up and three days for destroying the original house and getting it move-in ready.
Senior Producer Diane Korman previously worked in design televisionwhen she heard of ABC’s show that would build a house in one week.»That will never work,» she said out loud, yet she instantly knew shehad to work on the show. «When I started, ABC gave us an order of fiveepisodes, and now it’s been over 170 episodes. In television, that’s alifetime,» said the senior producer.With seven seasons under their belt, the show did not start witha focus on the tearjerking stories of amazing parents, siblings, andchildren in need. As part of the show from its development phase,Ty Pennington, team leader of EMHE, talked about the original transformation, in which the show originally focused on designers making decisions under tight deadlines. «When the show evolved, we quickly realized that the designers aren’t the story ※ the families are,» said Pennington.

We adjusted the formatto really showcase some of these amazing stories of triumphover adversity.»In response to the extreme team’s hard work and dedicationand being selected as our «Contractor of the Year,» BradyConnell, executive producer for four seasons on the series andshowrunner for Season 8, acknowledged the local builderswho «step up to build a home for a family in need. They put theircompany on hold for weeks, reach out to their subs and trades,and make it happen from the ground up,» he said. «All weprovide is minimal project management and, most importantly,guidance from our experience on 170-plus homes.»With the help of Korman, who acknowledges EMHE asthe «Super bowl of homebuilding,» we feature four storiesabout amazing builders and families from different U.S. regions in this issue.

Extreme Team Takes on Transformations

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition photos

Extreme Team Takes on Transformations

ABC’s Emmy-award winning «Extreme Makeover: Home Edition» collaborates with a team of builders, designers, contractors and hundreds of workers who all have just seven days to rebuild an entire house.
By Carina Calhoun

«It never gets old. I always make it a point after we yell ‘Move that bus’ to turn my eyes right to the family. I’ve seen the house — I don’t need to see it again,» stated host Ty Pennington of ABC’s hit television show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition» (EMHE). Known for its popular catch phrase, the show transforms the homes of deserving families as well as their lives. It’s a race against time on a project that would normally span several months, involving a team of designers, contractors and hundreds of workers who all have just seven days to rebuild an entire house. However, with the dedicated cast and crew, and the experience and assistance of local builders for each project, they have a way of making it look easy.
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