When the First World War broke out in August 1914, the British Army was completely unprepared, and the British Secretary of State for War, Lord Herbert Kitchener, issued a call for volunteers. The mass of unorganized trainees was called "Kitchener's Mob." This is the eyewitness account of an American citizen living in London who volunteered to join Kitchener's Mob and was sent to the trenches of France, just in time for the first stages of the Battle of the Somme.
The whole idea for this book was born out of frustration from my own horror stories with contractors, as well as everybody else's that I have learned about. Plenty of people have told me about a bad incident they have experienced with a contractor, which could have been avoided if the customer had been more informed. Trashing home improvement contractors is not the intention of this book. In the construction business, you have some good contractors as well as bad. The main goal of this book is to educate homeowners on some of the finer points of hiring a home improvement contractor. Ask the average homeowner what he or she knows about blueprints, building codes, or home improvement contracts, and I am sure you will not get a lot of answers. This would be similar to someone asking me-an electrician-about investment banking or bond trading. If you're not in the business, then how would you know? Whether I am buying a car or planning to travel, I always do my research prior to making a decision. There is no such thing as getting too much information. Home renovation guides are very popular and ubiquitous. What distinguishes my book from all the others is the amount of detailed information I provide on the do's and don't's as well as the strategies to use and the pitfalls to avoid when hiring a home improvement contractor. The readers of my book will become educated about the tools needed to successfully hire a contractor, while attempting to minimize the aggravation and disappointment that frequently accompanies a great number of home renovations. When a homeowner decides to renovate his or her home, he or she can always find plenty of books on home renovations. Most of these books detail a lot of information on the ideas and designs, with very few details on hiring and working with a contractor. Another popular source for hiring a contractor is through recommendations. Once again, you hire the contractor, and it is up to you to make sure that the contractor is doing everything that they are supposed to do. Working in the construction business as an electrician in New York for more than two decades, I have been involved in many facets of the business of industrial, commercial, and residential construction and renovation, ranging from private homes to office buildings, airports, hotels, and hospitals. My vast knowledge and experience in the construction industry and as a homeowner gives me this enormous opportunity to exhibit the tools necessary for homeowners to successfully hire a general contractor to renovate their home.
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