Q&A / 

Building your own home as a do it yourself project is a major undertaking. Before you calculate all the man-hours required to build your house. It is not something that can be done part time. Be sure you have the time to do it properly.

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Tim Carter describes several ways to use diagonal bracing while constructing a wood-framed house. The bracing keeps the house square while it is under construction. The weight from other components or the affects of wind can cause problems without this bracing.

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New home construction is a major undertaking for a non-builder general contractor. House plans and details specifications are important means of conveying information to the sub-contractors. A new home construction cost breakdown list just might save you money.

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Tipping a builder is not a bad idea, especially if he does superb work and you might use him again for different projects. But what to tip and how much can be a perplexing problem. You might be surprised at what could be the perfect tip.

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Construction quality control is important to people building new homes. They want to avoid bad home builders. Quality construction and construction quality inspections are two things that are very important to people buying new homes. The trouble is, most builders do not take the time to actually define quality.

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Construction contracts can be very complex or they can be simple. The best ones I have seen contain easy to understand language and are written as a person talks. The sentences are short, concise and clear. You know exactly what is going to happen. You can get into trouble with contracts if they become long, complicated and wordy. In fact, some contracts are so goofed up that they actually contain conflicting statements!

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One of my editors asked me to write this particular column. We were together with several other people in the press lounge at the National Association of Home Builders Show in Dallas, Texas. One of the people in the group needed to hire a contractor and asked me exactly how to spot a pro. Once I finished answering the question, the editor said that she wanted me to write a column about the same subject.

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There are many, many different trade magazines. Virtually each aspect of building and remodeling has its own. For example, there are ones that cover just concrete, brick, heating and cooling, roofing, tile, etc. There simply are not enough hours in the day to read all of them!

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The following contractor questions may make a few of you uncomfortable. You may gulp at trying to ask them. Well, before you give up, I want you to close your eyes and imagine $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 of your money just vanishing in thin air. If you hire the wrong contractor for your job, this is a distinct possibility. I know, because I get numerous e-mails each week from people who have been cheated by bad contractors.

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