COMMERCIAL BUILD OUTS
FLORIDA certified general contractor since 1996
TIPS OF THE TRADE
WHAT IS THE 1ST STEP A PERSON NEEDS TO TAKE WHEN WANTING TO START A CONSTRUCTION PROJECT?
"Step one is to hire an architect. When interviewing for an architect it's important that you find an architect with experience in your type of project. Look at projects they have done to make sure you like their sense of style, scale and aesthetic. Ask what their current work load is, how long before they can start your project and how long it will take till you have completed construction drawings. Ask for references. Speak to clients they have worked with. Ask if the Architect was a good listener, pleasant to work with and responsive. A good architect can merge their vision with your needs and desires. Another important question is to ask if they have a good structural engineer and MEP engineers available to work on your project.
ONCE THE ARCHITECT IS HIRED; WHAT NEXT?
I highly recommend you tell your architect what your maximum budget is. You don't want to over design and end up later having to redesign and cut back. It complicates things and slows down the process. Also, if the project is substantial, make sure your Architect hires a structural engineer and MEP engineers. Also, collect and show your architect inspiration photos. They can't read your mind. Show them what you like!
I highly recommend you also hire an interior designer to help you select colors, finishes and fixtures. This will save you hours of time and help prevent costly mistakes. They will help you make sure finishes work together, fixtures are to scale for the room and will know about products and rules of thumb you just are not familiar with. You are making a big investment. A good interior designer will guide you in the right direction so that you later are not looking at your project saying "what was I thinking?"
HOW SHOULD A PERSON GO ABOUT SELECTING A CONTRACTOR?
"Many people rely on their Architect to recommend a contractor. That is a very good source but I don't think you should limit your selection there. Check with local business organizations for a list of contractors that are members. Take time to interview the contractors. Make sure the chemistry is right. You will be working with this person almost everyday. Meet them at their office and job sites. This will give you a good idea about quality, if they are tidy and if they are organized. Definitely talk to past clients. Check if they have any complaints filed with the Division of Professional Regulation. Find out if they have ever declared bankruptcy or had liens filed on their projects. Ask who the project manager and/or supervisor will be at the your job site. You want to make sure that person is someone you will enjoy working with."
WHAT NEXT ONCE YOU NARROW DOWN TO A CONTRACTOR?
"If you find a contractor you like and trust then I recommend you sign a retainer agreement for pre-construction services. This agreement gives you an opportunity to work with the contractor prior to starting construction. Once you start construction it becomes difficult to part ways. Pre-construction services include preparing a detailed scope of work and schedule values based on your plans and site visits. During that process work with the contractor to nail down as many costs as possible. If you feel comfortable with this process then the next step is to sign a construction agreement which includes the scope of work as an exibit and outlines a progress payment schedule based on achievements such as the completion of specific work or a particular inspection. Once the contract is signed then have your contractor file the notice to owner and submit for permits."
WHAT ELEMENTS DO YOU THINK MAKES A HOME EYE CATCHING?
"I feel like a few exterior elements act as jewelry on your home. Beautiful lighting, a handsome entrance door, quality decorative shutters and detailed railings can't take a home from boring to extraordinary. Most importantly though I think landscaping makes a project. A property that has been designed by an excellent landscape Architect just pops. They don't just select & layout plantings but also provide a lighting plan, irrigation plan and select finishes such as pavers, pool tile & can design beautiful architectural elements such as fire pits, water features, fencing & outdoor kitchens to name a few."
Get to know Patricia Neyra!
How did you get started in the construction business?
How long have you lived in Key West?
What do you love about living in Key West?
What local organizations are you involved in and why?
What achievement are you most proud of?
"After receiving my masters in Urban Regional Planning I attended "Construction School" while working full time for the Hollywood Economic Growth Corporation in preparation of taking the exam to acquire my Florida Certified General Contractors license. Soon after being licensed in 1996 I opened a commercial construction company in Fort Lauderdale named Eastern Development, with my partner Diane Eliopoulos. We later expanded to residential redevelopment projects as well."
"I was born and raised in Key West. I graduated from Key West High in 1990. I received my Associates Degree from Florida Keys Community College and then moved to Broward County to attend Florida Atlantic University. I lived in Broward and Palm Beach County for around 19 years and then moved back home to Key West around 11 years ago."
"The people. Definitely the people. I also love being a ten minute drive from anything or just a short bike ride away. Of course, also the weather. It's why we pay the big bucks to live here."
I'm a member of the Key West Business Guild, Key West Chamber & Key West Women's Club. I am extremely involved in the Chamber. I am on the Board, Executive Committee and was recently installed as 1st Vice President. My involvement in the Chamber keeps me up to date on all of the local community issues and happenings. I have also developed great business relationships and friendships because of my involvement. Being involved in Chamber committees has provided me with an amazing learning experience. I'm looking forward to chairing the Chamber's first Economic Development Committee.
I was recently awarded the William "Billy" Applerouth award from the Key West Chamber. The reason I'm so honored to receive this award is because the selection committee is made up of an amazing group of professionals that I truly respect and admire.
Presented by Chamber President Suzanne Moore
What is one of the latest projects you just worked on?
I recently built a 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath house with open water views from ground up in Key Haven with an elevated infinity edge pool that seems to float in the air.
What do you like to do with your spare time?
I'm a member of the Key West Bike Club. I really look forward to our Sunday morning bike ride and then having breakfast together. I also love to travel. I recently went to Hawaii for my 50th birthday and then took an amazing trip to the Azores (the volcanic Island of Sao Miguel). I find that exploration opens my mind to new ideas and inspires creativity.
What is your favorite type of project to build.
Restaurants are very difficult to build but I love it. They are complicated because they incorporate almost every construction trade. You really need to know what you are doing or you will miss very important details required that are later extremely costly to later add or change. Building restaurants is my specialty. If you have experience building restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops and bars then building a house becomes easier; less complicated. I love the challenge of building a restaurant. My mind is happiest when putting together all the intricate pieces.
What do you think distinguishes you from other contractors?
"I don't take on more than three projects at a time. The reason being is that quality & providing above and beyond customer service is very important to me. When I speak or meet with a client I want them to feel like they are important to me. I do that by providing them with my full attention. I don't want to put myself in a position where my clients feel like I'm rushing. It's also the only way I can be at each job site everyday. It's the only way to stay in full control of the project and its schedule.
Also, I pride myself in being reliable and trust worthy. Just because I provide high quality work & excellent service doesn't mean you are going to pay dearly for it. I go out of my way to provide my clients with fair pricing."