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Jake Weber

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Maintaining A Smooth Construction Project – “Hot Buttons” To Avoid
The following is a list of the top complaints we receive from our clients. Avoiding these “hot buttons” will result in a happy client and successful project.
1. Job Cleanliness
Over and over again, the top complaint we receive is a dirty, messy job site (building and site). Clients expect a level of quality equal to what they themselves would do when they are doing a home project. You can avoid the mistake of pushing this button by:

  • broom sweeping the job daily;
  • providing trash containers at each floor for workers’ use in addition to construction dump boxes;
  • post a job sign with worker etiquette guidelines that addresses cleanliness along with other items (i.e., start/stop times, parking, smoking, language, radios, pets);
  • set an example; if the general is not keeping a clean site, the subs will not. If a sub walks into a messy site, they work the same way;
  • proper storing and staging of materials;
  • remove the trash and recycling on a timely, regular schedule.

2. Presence on the Job Site
Whether or not you have an on site, full or part-time, superintendent, clients want to see action on the job site. Nothing is more frustrating to owners than visiting their project and seeing no workers on site.

  • create a construction schedule;
  • inform clients of schedule changes and delays;
  • since there are natural stages of the job when little or no manpower will be evident (drywall mud is setting); let the clients know this in advance so they are not surprised when they see little or no activity.

3. Job Protection and Security
Clients are paying a lot of money for their construction. Regardless of whether it is a large or small job for your company, it is always a large project for the clients. They are buying the materials and paying you to keep things from getting damaged. A few examples of protection are:

  • protect door sills and jambs;
  • cover finished work as soon as possible to protect from damage (i.e., jambs and sills, counters, cabinets, floor, door surface);
  • be sure proper protection is taken prior painting. Over spray is difficult to remove from many surfaces.
  • Be sure that the job is locked up each night.

4. Schedule and Finishing on Time
The best marketing and PR plan you can have is word of mouth. The single most effective way to have a happy client referring you is by finishing the job on time.

  • make a schedule: we all know that schedules change, but you cannot attempt to keep a schedule if you don’t have a schedule to start with. A realistic schedule should be developed prior to start of work and reviewed with the client;
  • update schedule periodically and review changes with the client;
  • let the client know when time will be added or saved on the project. Do not assume the client should understand that the project will take longer just because they may have added something. Unless you tell them, they will not necessarily expect this;
  • Change Orders are for changes in scope and time. Be sure to ask for, and explain, the need for additional time. Knowing that something may take longer may effect whether the client decides to follow through on the Change Order.

5. Not Being Straight Forward or Downright Lying
Communication, Communication, Communication! If location is the key work in real estate, communication is the key word in residential construction. Most clients, while they may not like what you have to tell them, are much happier if they are informed and involved rather than being hit by a surprise later.

  • be honest with the client about schedules, delays, problems, etc. Clients, for the most part, understand as long as they are informed. Keep then informed;
  • avoid telling the client what you think they want to hear rather than the truth (i.e., do not tell them the painter will be there tomorrow if you have not even scheduled them);
  • unfortunately, a few unethical contractors in every city create an environment of distrust of contractor by homeowner. Homeowners have a fear of getting ripped off. Dishonesty feeds this distrust of the profession on a whole.

6. Change Orders – After the Fact
Communication, again is the key. Changes in scope of work need to be discussed, and approved, prior to the wok being done:

  • develop a clear method of processing change orders;
  • communicate this process with the owner prior to starting construction;
  • follow through on your process. Don’t tell them there will be a written change order that needs to be signed and then not do the paper work before doing the work.
  • Do Not assume that the client’s will expect an increase in price if they asked for something and you have done the work;
  • avoid having sub-contractor/client changes from occurring without your knowledge or presence;
  • if something is going to cost more, get in the habit of saying, “we would be happy to do that, BUT . . .it will add cost to the job and extend the schedule.”

Design With the Other 90{487c014636624d4af17bb225b00e1b760d2800949b88e91f17e8e90a103d6534}: Cities

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For the first time in history, most of the world’s seven billion people live in cities. However, close to one billion of these people live in informal settlements, crudely referred to as slums or squatter settlements. Many of these people are forced to live on only 2 dollars a day, and as a result there are many societal problems that arise. “Design With the Other 90{487c014636624d4af17bb225b00e1b760d2800949b88e91f17e8e90a103d6534}: Cities” is an exhibition that helps to solve these issues through design. It is currently on display in Portland, the only West coast city to host the exhibit. Take a day to walk to the two display locations and you will see what an expansive project this is.

Organized by Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, “Exchange, Adapt, Include” can be viewed at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. A short stroll to the MercyCorps building and you can see the “Reveal, Prosper, and Access” portion of the exhibit. Countries in Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa are the primary focus of the design work. Design professionals from around the globe collaborated with residents to create a new infrastructure for the poor that fosters and accelerates innovation.

            There are 60 projects, proposals, and solutions on display at the two venues. Individual objects such as; portable vendor stands, solar lanterns, and community kitchens help shine the spotlight on entrepreneurship and innovative approaches to the needs in these rural communities. There are also broader strategic solutions for farming, irrigation, urbanization, teaching, and shelters. Each project is displayed through use of; video and photo documentation, full scale artifacts and models, and statistical data. The projects are presented beautifully and are visualized throughout the exhibition to further contextualize the challenges met by the design solutions. It is an extremely worthwhile way to spend your Saturday.

Architecture and Design Festival Home Tour

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As part of the 2012 Portland Architecture and Design Festival, the “Design Matters Home Tour” will be happening this Saturday, October thirteenth, from 10 am on. Seven innovative homes from top local architects will be open for viewing, including a prefab home from Jeff Kovel, and several examples of modern, efficient architecture and living. The tour is all day and it is self-guided, with tickets available for 40 dollars. Please call (503)223-8757 for ticket information, and visit the website below for home tour info or other Design Festival activities.

Go to for more information.

Portland Open Studios Tour

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This weekend marks the first round of the 2012 “Portland’s Open Studios” tour, which takes place throughout Portland. This is a unique and fun way for artists from a variety of disciplines to share their work, process, and spaces, as they open their doors to the public for viewing. There are over 100 artists who have applied and been selected by an independent juried panel, who will share their art the second and third weekends in October. Not only will you be able to view the artist in their element, art will be available for purchase. A tour guide ($15), or a map-only ticket ($5) can be purchased at any New Seasons, and the art stores Collage, Muse, Columbia, and I’ve Been Framed. Giulietti/Schouten Architects also have tickets available. 

 Go to for more information on the tour and the artists.


Is an ADU Right For You?

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Although an ADU can be built for the sole purpose of obtaining extra income, or housing family members, they can also be used by the inhabitants of the main house. Giulietti/ Schouten designed ADU’s that double as artist studios and event spaces by working artists. Providing a separate and distinct space for an artist is crucial to the artistic process, and having that space next to the residence can increase creativity and productivity.  If you are contemplating building an ADU on your property, but are unsure of renting it out, or have not obtained renters, then using it as a creative outlet, might be a great choice.

            Kristin Fritz is a local artist and client of Giulietti/Schouten. Since she works at home she required a private space in which to create, entertain and display her art. Beyond the functional requirements of a gallery and workspace, she wanted a space with visual and physical connections to the natural environment. The studio is nestled among large fir and cedar trees, but is oriented towards the pristine undeveloped corner of the site. This allows for an abundance of natural light and views to the forested exterior. By using cedar siding and a post and beam aesthetic, the studio’s form and materiality are contextually in line with the existing home, located just across the deck. Now the client has a private, beautiful place to make and display her art, and is able to leave the studio without having to commute home.

            Another approach to a working studio is to transform a garage. This is the case with Tracie Broughton, another artist client. A new garage was created with a studio apartment (ADU) over the garage. The space is utilized as art and music studio, as well as a space to relax away from the rest of the home.

            In the case of client Marika vanAdelsberg, the studio was added after an initial home. She doesn’t have to go far to utilize her kiln or potter’s wheel, as the studio is directly next to the home, designating a specific space for the sole function of making art, which is important to any working artist.

Accessory Dwelling Units

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Today we are faced with many factors regarding population and space. Unfortunately as the amount of people continues to grow, the size of our planet does not. Thankfully, Oregon is one state that is taking measures to increase urban density and mitigate suburban sprawl, through the gaining popularity of allowing ADU’s, or Accessory Dwelling Units to be built on sites with an existing “main” residence.

            An Accessory Dwelling Unit can be created on almost any single-family residential lot in any of the 25 cities in the Metro area. It can be attached, such as over a garage, or detached, as in a separate living unit in the same plot as your home. ADU’s are limited to be no greater than 800 square feet, and smaller than the existing house. “Granny flat” or “basement apartment” are also names for ADU’s. An ADU is a great way to help reflect the changing needs of homeowners, especially with the increase of one and two person family units. They can provide added source of income, through renting, as well as allowing the family to be closer, if a grandparent or other family member moves in.

            According to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), reducing housing size is “the most effective way to reduce both material and energy related impacts of residential homes.” Smaller homes use fewer materials, less energy, create less waste, and increase density within the city. By containing the sprawl of new construction, we can induce more significant change in energy used per capita.

            There are some simple steps to follow if you are considering building an ADU, or are trying to figure out if it is the right decision. Funding, of course is a major factor in any new construction. There are new incentives offered through the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO), as they have allowed detached ADU’s to qualify for full home incentives. A rebate check of up to 4,000 dollars can be obtained for highly energy efficient homes. Talking to city planners and visiting the planning and zoning staff at the cities Development Services Center is also important, considering you may need an inspection of the existing structure. Acquiring an architect to help with the design and plans is also crucial. Finding a builder as well as various subcontractors is important; plumbing, mechanical, and electrical are three you will definitely need. Providing the city with drawings and subsequently obtaining a permit for construction is the final step before building can begin.

            If you think that building an ADU is the right choice for you and your family there are a few websites that can help you to easily analyze your decision as well as getting started. The following are three specific to the city of Portland. Also on October 26 there is going to be a summit called “Build Small/Live Large: A Market Revival for Single Family Housing.” Builders, developers, designers, and real estate professionals will be discussing many topics including; ADU’s, demographic shifts, financing, incentives, zoning, policy, and small housing trends.

Mt. Hood Bed and Breakfast

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I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful garden birthday party for Jackie Rice, owner of the Mt. Hood Bed and Breakfast. Jackie and her husband Mike run this charming B & B in Parkdale, Oregon. Giulietti/Schouten recently designed a modest addition to the main house that added three new guest bedrooms over the existing garage (see their website for more photos and full level of services). The location and setting of their B & B is picture perfect. If you need a nice weekend getaway, I would encourage you to give them a try. Enjoy! Dave Giulietti

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Giulietti/Schouten is happy to welcome new hire Sharon Libby to the firm. Coming to us from Ernest R. Munch Architect Urban Planner, Libby brings strong project design and management skills to the office. She earned her Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Oregon in 2004 and spent the next seven years working for Munch. Now she is a part of the Giulietti/Schouten team.