Construction Supervisor Role in Remodeling Projects
John Nair manages the construction side of Redcastle Builders’ design-build remodeling business. His primary role as a construction supervisor at Redcastle Builders is subcontract management and setting customer expectations. He arrived in Denver from Pittsburgh right after John Elway led the Broncos to his first Super Bowl win in 1998. He came to Colorado like so many young people looking for opportunity. He started as a laborer at Highlands Ranch and eventually became a construction supervisor. John has worked for some of the largest home builders in the Denver area and joined Redcastle Builders in 2017.
Supervisors oversee producing quality home remodels, whether a bathroom or a whole house. Their skill is not being able to do all the jobs associated with a home remodel but instead understanding when a task is done right or wrong. Supervisors must stage a project, manage all the subcontractors, have an eye for detail, see problems first, and set customer expectations. At Redcastle Builders, the supervisor’s job is stressful because the homeowners’ dreams are in their hands, and to make sure the remodel stays a journey, not a nightmare.
Redcastle Builders gets asked a lot if we do our work. If we did, we would be handymen, not a design-build contractor. As the Venn Diagram shows above, one of our true value adds is managing experience subcontractors (subs). A plasterer sub makes sticking barely wet mud to a ceiling and smoothing it to a perfectly flat finish look easy. Expert electricians snake wires behind walls as if they had X-ray vision. Ceramic tile or hardwood flooring subs have the tools and expertise to create a durable, beautiful floor free of cracks, squeaks, or maintenance problems. Our main job is to find and hire good subs because our reputation relies directly on the quality of their workmanship. Because the Redcastle Builders has good relationships with its subs, they tend to show up when needed, work at competitive prices, and perform good work.
The types of subs readily available vary with the needs of local building practices. For example, it is easy to find Tulikivi soapstone fireplace subcontractors in Minnesota but not in Denver. Some subcontractors combine more than one trade. For instance, we have plumbing subs that also install heating systems. Some foundation contractors provide the forms, concrete, drainage system, and flatwork, while others, like Reseal and Renew, specialize in waterproofing and renewing hardscape and stamped concrete surfaces.
Low Tolerance for Substandard Work
Most of our subs have been with Redcastle for a long time. If a sub fails, we send them down the road fast. However, every sub misses a schedule because an unforeseen problem emerges or they overbook and have other customers. With remodels, scheduling needs to be fluid to accommodate sub availability. We have learned it is better to move sub work out to increase elbow room and provide less crowding on the job site. The project supervisor provides direction and communication with subs to avoid problems and communicates directly with the homeowner to set exceptions.
In remodeling, completing a project is both an art and a science. It is an art because the homeowner lives and breathes the project each day and they have the time to look at the work closely each night. They always have a punch list in their mind, which comes out all at once or in spurts. Sometimes the construction supervisor has to tell the homeowner the project is done, and here is their warranty certificate. Redcastle offers a three warranty that includes an eleven-month walk-through upon request. If the homeowner finds an issue, they call and schedule an appointment. We recommend they call us at eleven months because most manufacturing warranties are one year.
The most significant difference between new construction and remodeling is that there are always surprises when a wall is opened or moved. With remodeling, schedules are fluid, and the essential role of the construction supervisor is to set customer expectations. Redcastle is not perfect, and we do make mistakes. What sets us apart is that we stand by our work and will fix any problems. Our reputation is everything, so we focus on quality to benefit the customer. Below are our construction supervisor’s rules of thumb:
- Keep your eyes and ears open.
- Don’t let the homeowner manage the project. That is our job.
- See any issues before anyone else.
- Be proactive.
- Do not be afraid to address issues.
- If the sub cannot or will not fix it, the construction supervisor has to take appropriate action.
Got a remodeling idea and need a contractor? We aim to provide high-quality projects and offer a unique and outstanding customer experience throughout construction. Please call us at 303-495-6255 or click here to complete a request service form.