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Tips and tricks

Updated: 08/15/2018

In my last blog, we discussed what the city’s Building Inspections Division does. This time I want to help residents understand what they can do to make their building projects easier, more understandable and more satisfying.

First of all, educate yourself on what you want to accomplish. There are many easy-to-follow construction books available at big box stores, bookstores, the library and online. Also, many community colleges and even home improvement stores offer classes and seminars. You can find thousands of how-to videos on YouTube. There is definitely no shortage of tips and tricks if you take some time to research a building project before you start.

Personally, even after going to college for building inspection, working in the trades and as a building inspector for 40 years and practicing near every construction method, I have found that what I learned from the “Time-Life Books Complete Home Improvement and Renovation Manual” books was most influential about the methods needed to do construction projects.

Next, research your contractors and designers. Review their past accomplishments and what the people who received their services think of their work, especially the timeliness of completing the project and whether it came on budget.

If you are buying a new or used house, do your homework. Is your realtor astute in what you are looking for? Check with the local jurisdiction responsible for issuing permits. Are there any outstanding assessments, proposed future street improvements or violations that would affect the property?

With research, you will be better prepared for starting a building or construction project. All of this allows you to ask better questions and get better answers, thus saving you time, money and stress down the road.