Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Binder, boxes and bills? Oh, my!

Building  a home generates a great deal of communication, both electronic and paper. It is best to find a system to store these documents. After trying various options, I developed a system that works for me.

  • Dedicated email account
    I use this account for emails with the builder and sub-contractors, vendors, etc. It keeps everything in the same place and easy to find.
  • Binders, binders, and a few more binders
    I have a dedicated binder for each large project such as cabinet drawings and the pool. This allows us to grab the specific binder when heading to a meeting. Everything is organized and easy to find.
    We also have a larger binder for "Current Projects," which is divided into sections such as "Lighting," "Flooring," and "Paint." It stays with me most of the time. I've been in many stores and ran back to the car to grab the paint chips from my binder. (I used page protectors to store the paint chips.)
  • Keep a "paper trail"
    This has saved us a great deal of agony. After trial and error, the easiest way for me was to create a Dropbox account. Dropbox only works because my builder, project manager and designer are willing to use it to share files. I only have a free account, so I try to keep the files organized and not take up too much space for others who share access to the folder for our house.
    Right now, I have a folder labeled "Punch List." Inside that folder I have been trying to keep updated lists of punch list items for different sub-contractors. Although the sub-contractors do not have access to the folder, I hope it makes life easier for the project manager when he wants to know items my husband and I think need attention. I found a broken light shade in a closet yesterday, so added that to the Lighting punch list. (I write "New" in red font when adding a new item, allowing it to be noticed easily.)
  • Take notes
    I was great about this when we started building. I typed the notes and emailed copies to the builder, or whoever the meeting was with. I don't think it's important to send copies of those notes, but possibly to have a method of keeping record of meetings and items discussed. You never know when you will need to review your notes on a specific topic.
    Other than helping with organization, having a paper trail has been handy when we have had problems. One recent example involved a door that was built incorrectly. We had to search through email communications between the builder, the supplier and ourselves in order to find documentation, which gave them no choice but to rebuild the door. If the conversation about the specifics we wanted in the door had not been in writing, it would have cost us a great deal for the door to be corrected. 

It has been worthwhile to find a way to organize our binders, boxes, bills, emails, designs, meeting notes, and more.

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