Ask the Contractor, Mike Stuge
Project and Construction ManagerWith 30 years of experience in the construction industry, Mike Stuge has a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise when it comes to the exterior envelope of a building, attic insulation and architecture, flat roofing and storm damage. He has seen just about all there is to see! We asked Mike to sit down with us and answer some questions as we embark into spring. We hope you enjoy the read!
What are the key things board members and homeowners need to consider when spring arrives?
Mother Nature doesn’t always lead us into spring “on time” in Minnesota, but when it does, the transition signals a time when homeowners, boards and management companies need to consider a variety of exterior repairs and tasks. Inspections are key in determining the scope of these repairs and tasks. I cannot emphasize this enough. It is also beneficial to note the condition of the exterior components for insurance purposes during each inspection. Minnesota’s weather can be volatile to say the least – we can get severe storms at any point of the year. Vigilance in recording the condition of these components both through written and visual recordings, can be extremely beneficial when needing to file a claim with an insurance carrier.
What do you foresee as the biggest issue for homeowners this spring?
With our extended winter and the large storm activity last year, finding a contractor for rush repairs or scheduling new work may be difficult and will require patience. Local contractors have considerable backlog from last season and they’re waiting for the weather to cooperate to clear it all up. My advice is to schedule inspections and get estimates as soon as possible.
What advice can you give to boards, homeowners and property managers when a storm occurs?
Be prepared. Knowing and having documented the upkeep and condition of the exterior components will be in the best interest of the property owner when it comes time to file a claim. Normal wear and tear and old damage are the two most common reasons a claim will get denied. Next, hire a local contractor. Lastly, don’t try to fix storm damage before the insurer has a chance to inspect – unless absolutely necessary. Have a contractor perform temporary repairs until the property can be evaluated.
As a construction expert, what are your views of the upcoming legislation change pertaining to Preventative Maintenance planning? How will this affect your role?
I always believed inspections, reports and planned maintenance checks are key in effectively maintaining a property, as well as maintaining its value and aesthetics. As to how my role will change – I don’t think it will, I will just become a whole lot busier with maintenance report requests!
Where do you provide the most value to PCS services?
Inspecting and preparing a proper scope is critical to solving any ongoing issues and minimizing the risk of creating or diagnosing potential future problems. All exterior components in some way correspond to and work with each other. Gutters tie into roofs, siding and soffit fascia tie into gutters and roofs, windows tie into siding. With 30 years of experience in all these components I have very good insight into any problem that may occur, what should be replaced, and how to effectively manage the components altogether as a whole. I also provide value when I communicate directly with boards at the inception of a project or proposal. I give clarity, comfort and clear communication on the strategy. Our team and clients find this to be very helpful.
Looking back on your projects from last year is there anything you will do differently this year?
There is always room to improve, the construction industry is ever-changing so contractors are required to constantly learn, adapt and improve. There are always new products and install methods, and relationships with installers and suppliers are often overlooked but I deem these vital and important to our success.
How do you think people perceive you and your team?
I think we present well as a team, we have the right people in the right places. Our knowledge and expertise, problem solving techniques and presentation skills are appreciated and well received by property owners and managers.
What is the number one question you get asked out in the field?
Can I give 3?!
1) How long will this take…
2) How much will it cost…and
3) Can you guarantee this solution will work?
What is your number one pet peeve in the field?
The biggest issues in the field all come down to communication. If something is not communicated properly between the property owners, managers, installers, suppliers, a small problem can easily spiral out of control.
When you are not on a roof or estimating restoration projects, what do you enjoy doing?
Since it’s always go, go, go in this business, I like to find any opportunity to just relax, eat good food, spend time with family and if there is time after that then I like to go somewhere warm with my gal.