By R.E. Blake Evans Customer changes driving your subs nuts? There's a better way says Michelle Horstemeyer, a builder for Atlanta's John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods. "Builders make the mistake of not fully documenting what they are building--before the first step starts. This leads to customer changes and more costs."

Horstemeyer follows a "Job Complete" schedule with every buyer: All details, including electrical outlets, faucet specifications, and framing details, are approved long before the choices are needed. "A faucet choice can effect plumbing valves, or lighting choices can effect drywall," she says.

Horstemeyer admits that it takes more handholding with customers, but the savings are significant, totaling up to 5 percent of construction cost savings. "You should see your trades once and once only."