Reva Kussmaul, of Eye for Detail, Pasadena, Calif., offers a unique service designed to help homeowners and contractors navigate the often turbulent waters of long remodeling projects. Kussmaul offers a “7 step solution” — seven crucial things homeowners need to know before hiring a contractor. She also teaches contractors valuable lessons to make their interaction with homeowners a more positive experience for all.
Kussmaul’s advice to contractors: Stop underbidding even if it means losing out on a job. There isn’t much point for a contractor to be the low bidder only to find out half-way through a project, the bid is too low to make a profit. Kussmaul knows what she is talking about. She heads her own home remodeling business putting her in a unique position to advise both clients and contractors alike.
“We are passionate about bringing honesty, integrity and open communication to the remodeling field,” says Kussmaul, who also is CEO of Moneyvisions which gives business owners and the general public an opportunity to learn to manage their relationship with money. Kussmaul credits her even handedness in dealing with contracting issues to her recognition that homeowners are at least 50 percent responsible for so-called remodeling “nightmares.” Simply put, there are always two sides to every situation. It’s not ALWAYS about a “bad” contractor.
Homeowner Judy Louie came to appreciate Kussmaul’s direct approach after experiencing a remodeling nightmare with another contractor. “As an attorney, I appreciate her insistence on written bids and change orders so the parties understand each other’s expectations and obligations,” says Louie.
Kussmaul offers group and individual sessions for homeowners and contractors at her training center in Pasadena and also provides phone sessions for clients nationwide.
High-wind guide for use of wood
The American Wood Council and the International Code Council announced the release of the newly developed Guides to Wood Construction in High Wind Areas.
With a tremendous need in the hurricane-prone Southeast for simple design tools, AWC has developed a new series of easy-to-use guides for contractors in high-wind areas of the country. This new series of publications is co-branded with ICC.
Individually published guides address design requirements in 90-, 100-, 110-, 120- and 130-mph wind zones, respectively. The Guides are simplified versions of building-code-recognized Wood Frame Construction Manual (WFCM) for One- and Two-Family Dwellings 2001 Edition. Prescriptive solutions presented in the guides are compatible with the WFCM 2001 and in compliance with the ICC family of building codes. For example, use of any of the guides will result in design solutions that prescriptively meet the requirements of the International Residential Code.
These guides were developed with input from, and in cooperation with, the National Association of Home Builders, FEMA/URS, ICC, and the Institute for Business and Home Safety. To download FREE copies of the guides, visit the AWC website at www.awc.org.
Kitchens & Baths
A rare decline in cabinet sales
Reflecting the softness in the market for new residential construction, cabinet sales posted their first decline in 127 months, falling 2.9 percent in November 2006 compared to the same month a year earlier, the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association said last month.
According to the Reston, Va.-based KCMA, manufacturers participating in the association’s monthly “Trend of Business” survey reported declines for the month in sales of stock cabinets (-5.2 percent) and custom cabinets (-10.6 percent); in contrast, semicustom sales rose 1.3 percent for the month.
Despite the monthly decline, year-to-date cabinet sales for the first 11 months of 2006 were up 7.6 percent over the same period from January through November of last year, the KCMA noted.