True Words: Articles from Jay True

Who Is Really the Low Bidder?

When looking for a custom homebuilder or commercial construction company in Sonoma or Napa County, most owners think they need to look for a low bidder.  Unfortunately, the true low bidder is hard to find and even harder to recognize.  First, we need to agree on the definition of “low bidder.”  I would explain it… Read more »

To VE or not to VE: That is the Question for Top Custom Home Builders in Sonoma

VE is the popular acronym for a complicated and controversial process called “Value Engineering”.  At its best, it is a systematic review of the plans and specifications by the building team to look for ways to reduce the project cost, typically by substituting one product or system for another. In a perfect world, one with… Read more »

Change Orders, The Scourge of Luxury Home Builders in Napa and Sonoma

Most project owners think change orders are a pot of gold for contractors. In situations like hard-bid public projects, they are the way contractors make profit on jobs that would otherwise be losers. But, that is a subject for another time and place. When a custom home builder negotiates a win-win contract with their customer,… Read more »

Budgets by Luxury Custom Home Builders in Sonoma and Napa

Construction budgets can mean many things to many people. They can be anything from a WAG (wild ass guess) to pages of detailed items and pricing. Probably the best way to approach this subject is chronologically. Sometimes the first budget for a custom home design comes from the worst possible source; a real estate person… Read more »

What is Contingency, and How Does it Affect Custom Design in Sonoma and Napa?

At the risk of sounding like a politician, “it depends”. At early stages of project development, most budget contingencies are considered design contingencies. At 15% or more, they are intended to allow a cushion for construction costs that are not evident in preliminary drawings and may not have even been articulated by the owner. At… Read more »

Project Delivery Systems and the Worldview of the Players

This somewhat pompous sounding title actually hints at a fundamental issue in construction as well as other commercial enterprises and relationships.  In its simplest terms, you usually find what you expect to find.  Another way of putting it is that disagreements frequently arise not from the facts but from different perceptions of those facts.  A… Read more »

What Can a GC Do for the Owner Before Construction?

The best luxury home builders and top construction companies in Napa and Sonoma have developed the expertise to help guide owners to the point where construction can begin.  With all the overlapping regulations and environmental considerations in our beautiful area, it can easily take 2-3 years to go from finding property to digging the first… Read more »

Team or Counterweights?

When a person or business needs a building constructed, they have several fundamental and difficult decisions to make.  Oddly enough, the toughest ones have more to do with relationships than the building itself.  Going back several centuries, most building was done by owners themselves once they had learned the fairly simple talents involved.  Complex projects… Read more »