New-home construction activity has been on the rise lately, but for most of the past five years it was at historically low levels. As a result, many markets were flooded with well-intentioned builders who quickly discovered that new-construction experience doesn't neatly translate to remodeling, which has very different rules for business, estimating, and scheduling. It's akin to an accomplished New England custom-home builder moving to Santa Fe to build a 5,000-square-foot adobe — the finished product is the same, but just about everything needed to build it is different.

I know, because I learned the hard way that new construction and remodeling are not interchangeable. Remodeling requires more time for planning, estimating, and execution. Service and communication rule the roost. And the fact that the owner is living on the job site raises another set of accommodations and constraints.

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