land survey

Construction Project Resources

During my 20-year career as a real estate developer, I have seen and heard just about everything. From contractors pulling out “injuries” that would make professional soccer players blush to workers striking one day before construction projects end to get extra pay, and others taking materials from project sites to sell as scrap. Ask anyone in my business and they will tell you: things can get difficult. So I figured I would take a little time to go on this website and tell other people involved in the real estate business how to avoid being taken advantage of. So without further ado, here are my three recommendations for construction project resources I use in Los Angeles:

1.  Hire a land surveyor

land survey equipmentWhen beginning a construction project, hire a local land surveyor to survey the layout of your land and the various details related to soil quality and erosion. These issues could prohibit you from building on the land. You may need to obtain special permits from the city you live in. For example, I reside in Los Angeles, California and we have extremely strict city ordinances about smog and other environmental issues. It often pays to look up the local ordinances for pollution and land grading requirements. Even if you live in a less environmentally concerned place such as North Dakota, it is a good idea to have your land surveyed to understand the topographic content and get to know your property intimately.

2. Look online

If you are new to town and need to find local workers in Los Angeles, you will need to go online to find the top-rated Los Angeles workers. Keep in mind, ratings can be manipulated so you should always ask for several references. You know how people say that eyes are the window to the soul? Well for building contractors, references are the window to their soul. They enable you to rely on more than blind instinct. Just because someone seems trustworthy does not mean that they will not take your money then take off into the sunset. It has happened to me several times. Another point of consideration is that you should not make use of illegal immigrant labor for building projects. These laborers are often much cheaper, but you will pay in loss of security. If they rip you off, you cannot exactly go to your Better Business Bureau to complain.

3. Hire and manage the right labor force

building foundationApart from regular construction workers, you will most likely need a landscape architect to investigate the social, ecological, and geological conditions and processes in the landscape, and create designs that will produce the best outcome. Landscape architect professionals deal with issues such as urban design, green planning and related areas of design, planning and management.

Once you have hired reputable workers with clean references, it is now necessary to manage them in a competent and controlled manner. Depending on the size of the project, it may be a good idea to hire a project manager to oversee the construction. This usually depends on whether you have more money or more time. Smaller developers usually try to manage projects directly, but that does not work for everyone. Large scale real estate developers generally lack the time and do not manage projects directly. It is easier for them to hire someone else to supervise the project. Mid-scale developers are on the fence between the two.

I suggest personal involvement in the beginning, and occasional unplanned visits to make sure they know there is still a boss around.  Property prices are directly related to the cost of construction.

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One response to “Construction Project Resources”

  1. Bobby Sange says:

    You nailed it. I hired a contractor last year who took expensive materials off our property. We caught him before he did too much damage. Good advice. Thanks.

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