Recent Review: PROJECT SCOPE: As described above, we added a floor to our PA home, creating a 600sf master suite. Under the contract, Jeff was responsible for all facets of the project - blueprints, permiting, demolition/removal (of the existing attic), framing, siding (natural wood), window/door/skylight installation, roofing, electrical, plumbing, heating, sheetrock, tile, wood trim (extensive), ex/interior painting, masonry (chimney extension), and cleanup. The only things separately contracted for were the central air and carpeting. EVALUATION PROCESS: I evaluated four contractors for the project. I discussed the project on-site with each in detail, visited examples of their work, spoke with customer references, checked web sources (e.g., Better Business Bureau), attempted to draw out ideas on how the project could be improved, and finally sought a proposal for the project. While price was certainly a consideration, the quality of the work and my impression of the contractor's professionalism and responsiveness were key deciding factors. Given the extent of such a project and my personal attention to detail, it was important that I feel comfortable that the contractor would respond positively to the inevitable changes, questions, and "issues" that would arise. Finally, this is a second home and I needed to be satisfied that work would progress well in my absence, without daily oversight. Of the four contractors I evaluated, Jeff was the clear overall winner. Although his quote was slightly higher than the others, it was apparent to me that he was a professional and would make every effort to have a successful project. THE WORK Jeff uses his own professionals and an excellent network of sub-contractors. I was able to personally visit on-site with reasonable frequency, but my pre-project concerns about work progress in my absences were unfounded based on Jeff's daily on-site inspections/supervision. I became very comfortable dialoguing from NJ with Jeff via phone, email and fax regarding status updates, changes, etc. Having been raised by a do-it-yourselfer, I am fairly knowledgable with most aspects of the building process. I am very pleased with the standards of quality that each of the men who worked on the project brought to the job-site. High standards of care and craftsmanship were demonstrated in all facets, including areas where shortcomings would not necessarily be evident. As I mentioned earlier, one of the factors I considered was whether the contractor would contribute ideas on how to improve the project. I think Jeff succeeded in this regard, providing good insights as well as serving as a sounding board for my own ideas. I can think of at least two instances where Jeff persuaded me against making a change - ideas I am now very pleased he talked me out of. Throughout the project, Jeff communicated progress as well as decisions that I would have to make in the near future (e.g. color of roof shingles, how tile would be laid out, etc.). Along the way, some change orders were added to the contract (e.g., I wanted some stonework added to the concrete chimney). Change orders often are cause to ruin the customer/contractor relationship as contractors often over-charge for such incremental out-of-scope work. Jeff provided fair and reasonable quotes for all changes in advance, before the work was done. WRAP-UP The project was completed within a reasonable timeframe - a little longer than I had hoped, but I have to take responsibility as I did introduce a number of changes along the way. Good progress was made on-site every day. The property (inside and outside) was left in very good shape - all debris was removed. The punch-list items (all minor) required different individuals come back to address (e.g, the painter to touch-up), These were quickly and satisfactorily addressed. When it came to the final contract summarization/payment (including plus/minus change orders and the like), the items were discussed in good detail and agreement was very reasonably arrived at. FINAL COMMENT After Jeff was fully paid, I became aware of an item that had not been done to the specifications that Jeff and I had discussed several months earlier. Even though there was nothing in writing evidencing the discrepancy, Jeff immediately agreed that what had been done was not in line with what we discussed and he had the situation addressed expeditiously. I bring this last matter up only to emphasize that Jeff clearly stands by his work and his word.