[Tim Faller Show] Ep.124: 50 Shades of Green with Paul Eldrenkamp

How the concept of “green remodeling” has evolved over time and what, if anything, does it mean today?

In this episode, Tim and Steve discuss the green movement, where it has been, where it is going, and a little about being involved.

To dive further in we welcome Paul Eldrenkamp – Founder and Project Manager for Byggmeister, Inc. in Newton, MA to the show, as he was an early adopter of green building, and remains a thought-leader in the industry years later.

After a wide range of carpentry jobs and a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature of Medieval Europe, Paul founded Byggmeister (Scandinavian for “master builder”) in 1983. Over the course of nearly forty years in business, he has “always placed a high priority on two things: fostering easy, friendly relations with his clients and building a team of people who are as interesting and diverse as they are talented and dedicated.”

Tim, Steve and Paul cover:

  • Defining what “green renovation” means.
  • The biggest mistakes remodelers make when they incorporate green practices into their business model.
  • Reliable sources of building science information.
  • Some of the most entrenched myths about green remodeling.
  • How “green” practices have evolved over 40 years in the industry.

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Ep.110: Providing Energy Audits with Larry Mayer

Energy, and more specifically energy efficiency, has been a critical issue for building and remodeling since the late 80’s and 90’s when the attention seemed focused on window size and glazing. Fast-forward to today where the discussion has advanced to green energy, solar and thousands of products focused on energy conservation and efficiency.

An important step in the process is to analyze the current situation with an Energy Audit, performed by a trained professional and perhaps build that into your service offering as a builder or remodeler. Some lenders are requiring it and in many municipalities, it is required for the resale of a residence.

Tim and Steve welcome Larry Mayer to the show to discuss the topic further. Larry is the Owner of Comfort Choice Homes in Fargo, ND, which he founded in 2001 after a successful career with Honeywell. In addition to home building and remodeling, Larry’s company provides Energy Audits to both the residential and commercial markets.

In this episode, Tim, Steve and Larry cover:

  • What an energy audit is and some background on the need for them
  • What is involved and what the tests are
  • Who is qualified to provide an energy audit
  • Why Builders and Remodelers should pay to have this done
  • The need for energy audits in different climates

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Ep.109: How Getting Off Email Can Dramatically Improve Your Internal Communication

Email is the default communication tool in business, there’s no denying that. But there is good reason to expand beyond email for your internal team communication.

Victoria and Mark welcome Jason Langkammerer to the show, as they discuss how taking that step can enhance your teamwork, reduce the “noise” of email, and strengthen your company culture.

Jason Langkammerer is a licensed architect, general contractor and founder of AT6 Design Build  in San Francisco, CA.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The challenges email poses for internal communication
  • Other options for communicating
  • How to transition your team to a new method
  • How these platforms differ from email
  • How it can improve your communication

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Ep.103: Moisture Control with Bill Robinson

In this episode of the
Tim Faller Show, Tim and Steve explore some of the more technical aspects of
the remodeling and building industries. In this case, we take a closer look at
moisture control and bring in an industry veteran and well-known speaker, Bill
Robinson out of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Bill is a nationally known construction trainer and presenter. He has demonstrated the proper use of building products in many parts of the country and at dozens of trade shows. Bill’s overarching message is understanding, detailing, and managing the building envelope and you can learn more about him and his business here.

As the world battles through the COVID-19 Pandemic, one theme is constant throughout North America; “How do we Recover?” Every area is effected differently and each remodeling company must look at the next 6-8 months and plan accordingly.

This month’s webinar features Tim and Doug Howard, taking a closer look at positioning your business to succeed and hitting the ground running as we all emerge from this disruption in the market.

This webinar will be a dual-presentation; first Doug will address the business side and then Tim will handle the challenges faced on the production side. Click Here for More Information and Registration >>

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9 Ways to Protect Your Business from COVID-19 Scams

Unfortunately, with any national or global crisis, the individuals and organizations that take advantage of individuals and businesses don’t take a vacation… they become emboldened and target those who are otherwise distracted and perhaps more willing or vulnerable.

This COVID-19 pandemic is no different; the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has received more than 3,600 complaints related to COVID-19 scams, many of which operate from websites advertising fake vaccines or cures, fraudulent charity drives, or simply attempt to deliver malware or viruses to your computer.

From our friends at the US Department of Justice, here are 9 ways you and your staff can keep your business safe:

  1. Independently verify the identity of any company, charity, or individual that contacts you regarding COVID-19.

  2. Check the websites and email addresses offering information, products, or services related to COVID-19. Be aware that scammers often employ addresses that differ only slightly from those belonging to the entities they are impersonating. For example, they might use “cdc.com” or “cdc.org” instead of “cdc.gov.”

  3. Be wary of unsolicited emails offering information, supplies, or treatment for COVID-19 or requesting your personal information for medical purposes. Legitimate health authorities will not contact the public this way.

  4. Do not click on links or open email attachments from unknown or unverified sources. Doing so could download a virus onto your computer or device.

  5. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is operating and up to date. Keep your operating system up to date as well.

  6. Ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure, or treatment. Remember, if a vaccine becomes available, you will not hear about it for the first time through an email, online ad, or unsolicited sales pitch.

  7. Check online reviews of any company offering COVID-19 products or supplies. Avoid companies whose customers have complained about not receiving items.

  8. Research any charities or crowdfunding sites soliciting donations in connection with COVID-19 before giving any donation. Remember, an organization may not be legitimate even if it uses words like “CDC” or “government” in its name or has reputable looking seals or logos on its materials. For online resources on donating wisely, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.

  9. Be wary of any business, charity, or individual requesting payments or donations in cash, by wire transfer, gift card, or through the mail. Do not send money through any of these channels.

If you think you are a victim of a fraud or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or email at disaster@leo.gov. If it is a cyber scam, submit your complaint through https://www.ic3.gov.

Ep.92: Using RFIs Effectively with Jason Brookshire

We’ve discussed adapting commercial construction systems and applications for use in the residential world. Implementing them is often met with resistance — but there are definitely processes that work well and add value.

Requests for Information are standard in the commercial construction world, but aren’t widely used in residential remodeling.

In this episode, Jason Brookshire talks to Tim and Steve about why he finds RFIs to be important to his work in residential remodeling, and how to implement your own system.

Jason has been the production manager at McBride Remodeling in Petoskey, MI, for more than four years. He has more than 15 years of experience as a commercial development superintendent in markets around the country.

In his work in commercial construction, Jason used written RFIs when clarification was needed in the scope of work from architects, owners, or other parties. At McBride, RFIs are used by lead carpenters and those in the office, creating better information flow. It cuts down on phone calls and clarifies communication. RFIs go through their cloud-based project management system. Jason talks about the advantages of using RFIs, including:

  • Building in accountability
  • Getting the details you need — when you need them
  • The type of information typically clarified
  • Getting staff buy-in
  • The time it saves
  • Who gets involved
  • How to use them
  • Simplifying change orders
  • Training your trade partners
  • And more …

The accountability and speed built in to the process are vital to growing companies, to streamline jobs and protect profits. If you’ve got questions about implementing RFIs in your company, Jason says you can get in touch with him at Jason@mcbrideremodeling.com.

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Ep.81: Success with Daily Logs with Jason Stearns

Today we’re tackling what can be a simple topic, but some remodeling companies are still struggling with daily job logs. Technology has made this task so much easier to accomplish and to store.

In this episode, Jason Stearns talks with Tim and Steve about what to capture in a daily log, how to get your project managers to do it effectively, and why it’s a legal necessity. 

Jason has been in high-end residential market in San Francisco for almost 30 years, including projects working with many prestigious architecture firms. He joined Jeff King & Co. as director of production in 2017. Since then, he’s helped implement the use of Procore for their production teams, standardized the project scheduling formats, and started a weighted numeric skills assessment system for evaluating the carpentry and labor staff to identify needed training for advancement.

The daily log is a working tool that helps you track your scheduling commitments from subcontractors, keep records to protect you and your company during disputes, and other information. Jason talks about how his company uses daily logs, and the benefits, including:

  • Using templates for the log
  • What information to record
  • Tracking inspections
  • Using it as a legal document in lawsuits
  • How to get your team’s buy-in
  • Making everyone accountable
  • Using the logs in a project review
  • Why to keep them private
  • And more …

If you’re still on the fence and not regularly keeping daily logs, Jason says keeping one for every job, every day, is the best insurance you can have against your company getting hurt in a legal dispute.

Tell Us More …

We’ve gotten fantastic ideas from our listeners for topics and guests. If you’ve got a suggestion for Tim, drop him a line at tim@remodelersadvantage.com.

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Ep.79: Syncing Estimating & Production with Ryan Beaber

It’s a common challenge Tim finds in his consulting work with remodelers — how difficult it is to accurately estimate your remodeling company’s own work, to bring jobs in on time and budget. The difference can cause friction between estimators and those in the field, and cost you money. 

In this episode, Ryan Beaber talks to Tim and Steve about his experience as an estimator, and why communication between the estimator and production managers is the key to accurate forecasting. This year, his company is coming in one percent under budget on their jobs. 

Ryan is an estimator with Forward Design Build Remodel in Ann Arbor, MI. Ryan joined the team in 2015 as a carpenter, and in January 2019 moved into the office to take over the estimating responsibilities. Forward Design Build Remodel has had year-over-year growth for several years, consistently out-pacing industry averages in customer satisfaction, and receiving peer recognition such as the 2018 ProRemodeler Gold Design Award, the 2018 NARI CotY Regional Award for residential interior, and the 2019 Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year runner up.

Ryan says experience in the field helped his transition to becoming the estimator. He understands how the field team works and knows the subcontractors, which helps him keep communications open, accurate and efficient. Ryan talks about how he and the field staff make this happen, including:

  • Using past jobs to predict future budgets
  • Handling discrepancies between budget and what actually happened
  • Accepting responsibility for mistakes
  • The importance of cataloging communications
  • Tracking all the data
  • Posting the red flags
  • Handling change orders quickly
  • The KPIs to look for
  • Taking care of clients’ emotions
  • Handling material cost increases
  • And more …

Ryan says both estimating and production want the company to be successful — use that to get everyone on the same page, and pulling in the same direction.

The Suggestion Box is Open

This episode was once again the result of a listener’s suggestion. If you have an idea for a topic or guest, drop Tim a line at tim@remodelersadvantage.com.

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Ep.76: Production in Insurance Restoration with Mike Carey

Restoring a home after a catastrophe like a fire or flood is fairly specialized, not something most remodeling companies do. There are different challenges, like dealing with insurance companies and payouts, so these companies have different perspectives on production.

Mike Carey has worked in insurance restoration for 25 years, as well as doing residential remodeling and commercial contracting, giving him a unique viewpoint.

In this episode, Mike talks to Tim and Steve about the differences — and similarities — in production when restoring a client’s home versus standard remodeling, and what to do to get started in this part of the industry.

Mike’s company, Carey Contracting, is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In business for 35 years, Carey Contracting has 15 employees. Carey has been involved in insurance restoration work for 25 years, and there are years where insurance restoration produces more than 50 percent of the company’s volume. 

Mike went to school to learn what an insurance adjuster knows when he started out in the restoration business. Since then, the company has made a name for itself in the insurance restoration business. He says the restoration can be wonderfully rewarding work. Mike talks about the process of working with insurers and clients, and getting your team up to speed, including:

  • Working with adjusters
  • Project time frames
  • Working through the clients’ stresses
  • Demolition and discovery
  • Billing for restoration work
  • The critical need for proper documentation
  • Insurance vs. “as built”
  • Remaining objective
  • Creating a buffer between the insurer and the homeowner
  • Dealing with code improvements and policies
  • And more …

If you’re interested in pursuing insurance restoration, Mike says, you’ll need software that’s compatible with what insurance companies use and get training in fire, smoke, and water damage restoration. 

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Ep.75: Promoting the Young Guy with Ryan Murphy

Finding good employees and managers can be difficult — there just aren’t that many qualified workers out there. Hiring somebody young without much training is an investment, but it can pay off in the long run. If you find the right person.

Ryan Murphy is one of those people. He didn’t know anything about construction until he started working in the field when he was 19. Six years later, he’s a project manager.

In this episode, Ryan talks to Tim and Steve about his experience and growth, and how your company can find great workers and train them to move up within your organization.

Ryan is a project manager at Elite Construction Services Inc. in Santa Cruz, CA. He joined Elite three years ago as a carpenter after gaining two years of experience elsewhere. He worked his way from apprentice to journeyman after his first year. Six months later, Ryan began training to become a project manager, while still doing some carpentry as needed. 

You have to have a constant and consistent conversation with everyone you meet to find the right people, he says. Talk to family, friends, and clients even before you have an opening. Ryan talks about his experiences in getting hired, his training on the job, and how you can promote people from within, including:

  • What to look for
  • Using a visual workbook
  • When to let workers go on their own
  • How to train for growth
  • Providing a safety net
  • How to teach the office tasks
  • Teaching people to answer their own questions
  • Using technology to run jobs better
  • And more …

The biggest key to finding and keeping young workers is making them feel like they have a real future in the industry, and especially within your company, Ryan says.

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