Why I enjoy working as an Owner's Representative

From 1970 until 1994 I experienced and succeeded at building from the ground up. I enjoyed learning every trade in the industry and putting that knowledge and experience to use. I designed and built homes for speculation in the early seventies. I have designed and built custom homes for select people but the most fun and satisfaction I had was custom home remodeling. I got the enjoyment of getting to know one family at a time and transforming their home into their "castle of dreams come true." I had few sub contractors and usually only one employee. After drawing the plans and getting the permits, we did all the work ourselves. I'm sure you have seen the shows on TV where semi clueless people have their homes transformed by professionals that come up with something amazing that the homeowners never thought possible. The difference between that and what I did was helping homeowners find out what they wanted and making that happen. A home is a personal thing.

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Custom Home that went right in Coronado

An attorney from Coronado called me a few years back and said a client of his was having a custom home built. He said he was not comfortable with the contract the General Contractor had given his client and since the client lived in another country and traveled all over the world as part of his vocation, he wanted me to do quality assurance and funding control for the project.

I asked him why he wanted me when I live 90 miles away. I was sure there should be someone in Coronado that could do it. I'll never forget what he said: "I want you because I trust you and because you live 90 miles away. Everyone in Coronado knows everyone else in Coronado. It will be hard to get a truly objective oversight of the job by anyone local."

The project went well and I did catch some things during construction that would have resulted in major problems later on. It gave me a chance to build a relationship with the General Contractor that I am still friends with today. 

Water Intrusion mystery at the beach

It was an unbelievable home on Ocean Boulevard in Coronado, California. As with a lot of homes at the beach, because lot sizes are so small, many homes have basements. This particular home was only about three years old and had always had trouble with water leaking into the basement. The contractor that built the home had been trying in vain to find the source of the water intrusion since the beginning.

The homeowner was introduced to me by a local contractor that had worked with me on a custom home project where I was responsible for funding control and quality assurance and he was the General Contractor. Through that experience he learned to trust my background in defect investigation.

Within weeks of starting to investigate the problem with the basement water intrusion problem I found the foundation wall was built too low and the adjacent yard had poor drainage. When it rained and sometimes just from irrigation, the water went under the siding, up and over the top of the foundation wall and into the basement.

I designed a repair that involved raising the waterproofing on the basement wall above the level of the top of the foundation wall. Additional drainage was added to the yard to the street and the problem was solved. I was also able to work with the contractor that built the home and he in turn paid for many of the repairs on the home. Typically, this situation may have turned into a law suit that would have dragged out the repair process and resulted in bad feeling on both sides.

Right now, the contractor and homeowner still remain friends. 

Custom Home gone wrong at San Manuel

In 2003 a Soils Engineer I have know for many years gave me a call regarding a project on the San Manuel Indian Reservation. It involved a custom home that was being built that was having problems with a soil collapse at a utility trench.

When I went to the site, the homeowner started telling me all the problems he had with both the contractor building the home and the firm he had hired to oversee the project. On the reservation, there is no building inspector so it was common then to hire an engineering firm to act as the building official and oversee the project.

Upon inspection, I ended up writing a 50 plus page report that eventually became the basis that their attorney used in their lawsuit. It ended up in a jury trial in Orange County that I testified in. After my testimony and before the end of the trial, the other side settled to avoid the possible verdict that the attorney said was becoming inevitable. It was one of the largest investigations I have ever done and I was responsible for hiring and overseeing other experts including a structural engineer to evaluate the structure.

The homeowners were not only happy with my work on that case, they also hired me to investigate problems with their newly built custom home and pool in Orange County.