Buying Your Own Materials
Dear Eva and Ryan*,
In almost every project, our clients want to purchase some of their materials. Prima facie, this is a non-issue. Consistently, though, our experience is that something goes wrong.
One thing that works is purchases made and installed after our work is complete. For example, a client engages a cabinetmaker to fabricate and install a media center in a completed room. Another way this works are one or two specialty items purchased by our clients well in advance. This can be a special dining room light fixture, a custom-made screen door, or a mirror for the primary bath. Even with these few items, we still need information. Is the light fixture UL listed? What are the dimensions and specifications? Is there a long lead time? Where will it be delivered? Do we need secure storage between delivery and installation? And so on.
These questions give you a glimpse into the issue associated with your purchase of many of the building materials. Add to that list questions about responsibility for product damage and supporting product warranties.
We are ultimately responsible to you for delivering the project described in the contract documents. To do that well, we need to coordinate the work from product orders to installation.
Specifications are worth calling out, well, specifically. Appliances or door hardware are good examples. The work for a successful appliance install (particularly premium appliances) starts months before the appliance arrives. We have to have accurate specifications to prepare for the install. It is harder than you might think to coordinate the right hardware for the right doors. One mistake on door swing or bore dimensions and we are back at the beginning with a new door or new hardware order.
P.S. Things are not always as they seem - this includes buying your own materials and high profile people with very private family lives. Kudos to pulling that off!
*Full disclosure: not only have we never worked for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, we've never actually met them. Indeed, I'm not sure we've ever been in the same city at the same time. They seem like fun people, though, and we would be happy to build a home for them. If any of you are close friends with them, we would be grateful for an introduction!