Working With Contractors Unfamiliar With Green Building Practices
How does everyone find their ability to work with contractors on some of these various green initiatives or best practices in general that might fall outside the trades’ typical workflow?
I grew up in a construction family and worked it all through adolescence and college, so I’m not an expert but also not totally green. Now, as a 42-year old fairly non-confrontational father of 3, I often find myself at a loss when dealing with contractors or subs on different things that we’ve undertaken in updating our house over the last 7+ years. I get a lot of blank stares and responses like “I’ve been doing this for over 25 years and it’s never failed me yet” (or something similar).
So, anyone have a good strategy? Being as clear as possible up front is obviously ideal, but what about when something goes haywire during the build? For example when I had new siding put on my house, they barely followed Hardie’s best practices and when I asked him about it he basically told me to mind my business and was 100% convinced his way was right, even with no water table or splash board on a low foundation, no flashing at butt joints, caulking the wrong part of a window opening, etc. His primary business is siding and decks, so dumb me for assuming he knew what he was doing (he even touted his Hardie training and certifications, which mean squat if you disregard them in the field). I know money talks, but even if I wanted to withhold payment, per my earlier comment, he was adamant the way he had done it was right and was not going to be proven wrong. I don’t mean to go down a rabbit hole of my experiences, this is just one easy example that I’ve lived.
My question for the forum is how do you convince a sub that has been doing the same thing for decades that they are behind the building science when you have to explain to them you know this b/c you learned it on the Internet? I’ve worked with enough construction trades to know the scoff and headshake that follows up that statement with disbelief that some keyboard jockey knows more about their life’s work than they do. To some degree I also agree with them or can be easily talked out of something I read “in theory” on the internet when they have field experience to stand behind. Is it all just a matter of getting it down on paper, in the specs and scope of work, and then making sure all trades adhere to the stipulations? That is fine if so, but the situation that scares me is I don’t know what I don’t know, ya know? 🙂 I’m trying not to make this too academic or theoretical, but am really looking to anyone that has found success in this way.
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