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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2921
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muntinman:

I'd like to hear more about this job, how you pulled that crew of workers together, how you organized the job from a business point of view, how the workers found ways to work together, etc.

Since the outcome was good this could be a model for others to see and follow.

Do you have any photos of workers doing the work on this job?

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John

by hammer and hand great works do stand
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muntinman



Joined: 09 Mar 2010
Posts: 16
Location: Floyd, Virgina

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was a very interesting experience. I was a one man proprietership and bidding a 300K project with intentions of incorporating if the bid was accepted. I had help from an old partner who had returned to her pottery business while continuing on as the office person. Our local (Richmond, VA) HUD office and Parks Service were insisting on restoration or duplication of the windows, which is the only reason I got the contract. I included 10K for "mobilization". Had a good talk with a contract lawyer and learned what "...indemnify and hold harmless..." meant. When the bid was accepted I started hiring and training,,and learning a lot real fast. I do have pictures. This was around 1994 so they are on film. I'll try and figure out how to scan them into an e-mail and maybe you can help me post them. The entire saga would be way too long for a posting but the essentials could be do-able.
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Phill

It's not good because it's old. It's old because it's good.
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Skuce



Joined: 08 Nov 2009
Posts: 188
Location: Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be very interested in all of this information. The thought has crossed my mind and I have had a couple 300 fenestration jobs cross my desk.

Same goes for contracts that window specialists have been using. I have been doing all of my business to date and invoices upon completion or in stages of completion.

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Drew Skuce
PSC Heritage Restoration
5-48 Woodslee Ave. Paris, Ont. Canada
www.ParadigmShiftCustoms.com
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2921
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Same goes for contracts that window specialists have been using. I have been doing all of my business to date and invoices upon completion or in stages of completion.


There are discussions on some of these business topics over in the Business Side for Preservation Trades area:
http://historichomeworks.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=35

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muntinman



Joined: 09 Mar 2010
Posts: 16
Location: Floyd, Virgina

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bidding: Do a COMPLETE survey and specify every repair to every window. I have a checklist sheet for this. Every window is Typed and Numbered. Tally a price and add at least 25%. Also bid yourself in doing nothing but daily progress meetings and facilitation.
Hiring: Ask if they know the difference between chiseling and paring.
Training: Balance production, quality and technique.
Misc.:Add 10% for HUD paperwork. We had to fill out time sheets with minority/gender percentages and OSHA was on site.
Liability and workman's comp.: Count on your old buddy who helps run the crew to milk your workman's comp. policy for every drop if things slow down and you have to lay him off.(This raises your rates) Also be ready for the glass cutter you hire with 10 years experience to claim his sore wrist is due to six months with your company.

These are some of the lessons that I recall, but overall It was a great project. Everyone I hired stayed on till completion. Over the next year of hustling to keep 'em busy I lost the whole crew, all but the "old buddy", from burnout. Not many people really want a dirty, toxic, grueling career in window restoration.

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Phill

It's not good because it's old. It's old because it's good.
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2921
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Not many people really want a dirty, toxic, grueling career in window restoration.


Yes, indeed, the historic window specialty does sometimes seem take place in the gladiator's arena.


Many window workers deal with that by not specializing, shifting in and out of it, also doing other kinds of work. One way I've dealt with the most tedious work, like deglazing, is to never have the workers do more than 3 or 4 hours of it per day, since that's about as much of a stint at it as I can take myself.

Quote:
The entire saga would be way too long for a posting but the essentials could be do-able.


I think it would be worth pursuing. Hilda Dent in Montgomery, Alabama, did a similar sized project in a very similar way on wood windows in 2008-2009, and is just now starting up a big project on steel windows, which she has never done before. There are others in the same situation.

You don't have to describe everything about it. I like that you have mentioned a few highlights. Perhaps you could mention a few more, and we'll see who is interested in what.

For example, I'd like to hear what you learned about "...indemnify and hold harmless...".

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muntinman



Joined: 09 Mar 2010
Posts: 16
Location: Floyd, Virgina

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The attorney who walked us through the Contractor's contract had us strike that phrase as a condition of accepting the contract. "Indemnify" means you will cover their legal expenses and " hold harmless" means you will not sue them for any reason, I believe. It's been a few years.
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Phill

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sschoberg



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 569
Location: Plymouth, Indiana

PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where's the beef, I was just getting interested. What happened Muntinman, let's hear some more. Production numbers, quality control, dealing with terms. Were you funded to handle payroll between draws?
Did you make a profit? Would you do again?
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muntinman



Joined: 09 Mar 2010
Posts: 16
Location: Floyd, Virgina

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been twenty years so the details are fuzzy. There was around 300 DH windows. The oldest wing was 1909. the latest 1920. We set up shop in the school auditorium. The buildings had been vacant for about twenty years. A fire had destroyed several of the sashes and frames. I had them duplicated by H. Bekstoffer and Sons; now defunct but founded in 1908. They were Richmond's Old school millwork firm. We used clear fir for all the millwork. All pegged mortise and tennon but not draw-peg. I think it was all glued with resorscinol(sp?)
The retrofit was for elder-housing.
I think we were there for three or four months. It was very production oriented. Top sash were fixed as were some lower sash but egress demanded one operable sash per room.

We just did the sash restoration and repair. Painters did the painting and glazing butchers did the cleanup. It wasn't all that bad but I have some sad pictures of the glazing cut away from the glass due to hasty and overzealous razoring.

The contractor was not interested in conservation or preservation or restoration. They just wanted approval by the park service so they could get their tax breaks. Quality control was strictly "How much could I do for the contract amount?" I trained the workers and I inspected the work as It progressed. I made sure we did as few replacements as possible.
The openings averaged 4' x 7'. Some nine over nines, some six over six and lots of odd balls.

Once our abilities were evident we "added on" all the doors and some other panel repairs and such.

As I said I had Mobilization money built into the contract so even though we were billing according to " Work Completed" with a 10% retainage payable on completion, we received 10K up front which we had to make cover materials and payroll. All add-ons were billed at time and materials + 10%.

I made about 25K that year which is above my average. I learned an immense amount, especially dealing with Bill Bekstoffer who had been in the business all his life. It was exactly what I was looking to do right then. I got into the business because I was concerned about all the replacements going on and new construction was not cutting it for me. I had some connections to Virginia Commonwealth University's art department having been involved with the crafts and sculpture departments so I drew some of my hires from that area. I also had an old house in an almost entirely black neighborhood downtown so I hired some from the 'hood and my connections to the local glass shop.

I enjoyed overseeing the project and working with the people I selected. The psychology of personel management can get complicated but most of the solutions are obvious. The job is the common goal and you have to get along to work together.

I would do it again but I'm in a small town now with a home partner and a son of fourteen so it would be different by necessity. I have done several buildings around Floyd, VA, where I live but all at a slower pace and on my own. Can I post this long a reminiscence?

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Phill

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archw



Joined: 18 Sep 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Andover, NH

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello
I'm new to the trade and have noticed and appreciate the willingness to exchange ideas, information, leads amongst the veteran restoration specialists and newcomers alike in this forum. Historic SashWorks launched in September 2014, and I share the same enthusiasm in sharing and promoting the science of fenestration and the associated trades.
I'm located in western NH (New London/Sunapee area) and look forward to hearing from anyone in the trade.

Arch Weathers
Historic SashWorks
Andover, NH 03216
603-735-5989
www.historicsashworks.com
archw@tds.net
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2921
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Arch,

Also, be sure to check out the Business Side forum:

http://historichomeworks.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=35

with discussions on doing business, mostly with window specialists from around the country.

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