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The Owner Builder Coach

Tom Landis is "The Owner Builder Coach." As an educator and journalist, he is proud to provide this free web site to empower you in the decision-making process when doing a home building or remodeling project.

A picture of Tom.

Tom understands the importance of collaboration among all members of the home building and remodeling community from the first moment you decide to build or remodel until long after you occupy your home performing weekly maintenance.

Tom's job is to inspire cooperative, team-style relationships within the construction industry among…owner, realtor, lender, architect, designer, engineer, decorator, manufacturer, inspector, supplier, and trade contractor. These are the members of the Building Community!



Owner Builder NewsTom's role as "The Owner Builder Coach" is to create good relationships in the building community! Through education and journalism, Tom prepares you to work through the myriad of decisions you make during the design, construction and maintenance phases of your home building or remodeling project.

Here's how Gary & Jacqueline describe their experience with Tom:

"Our experience with Tom Landis can be encapsulated in a recent incident that occurred with a friend of ours from Greece. We were working together on a masonry project that involved building a rock wall, and we noticed what care and meticulous attention he paid to putting the first rock in place.

When we asked him about this, he said something to us in Greek, which had to do with the importance of setting the first stone. Get this part right and the whole wall will be strong, straight, and true. Neglect this one stone, and there will be nothing but problems going forward.

Working with Tom, is like setting the first stone deep into good earth. We had never taken on a building project of this magnitude and it was both stressful and overwhelming at the beginning. Tom’s free guide and video, his natural abilities as a teacher, and years of experience in the field provided us with the type of measured wisdom that became foundational for our construction effort.

Making the correct decisions in the initial stages, when changes can be easily made, drastically affects both your budget and the final results. Unfortunately, for most people this is also the time when your knowledge of the building process is at its lowest level.

The straightforward, practical suggestions available through Tom's web presence saved us thousands of dollars not only in time, materials, and labor, but also in the avoidance of costly mistakes. To put it another way, Tom's family of web sites is the cornerstone of our successful building effort - something we will be grateful for each day we spend in our amazing new home."


Tom knows you will need to plan, organize, and control the schedule, budget, materials and labor for your home building or remodeling job. These are the key issues of project management.

During the residential Design/Build process, you'll need to:

  • Work with a lender who appreciates Owner/Builder tenacity
  • Define site issues that affect lot layout and logistics
  • Understand how to best utilize your floor plan and outdoor space
  • Anticipate critical design issues that impact your budget and schedule
  • Be ready to negotiate with trade contractors and suppliers
  • Remain proactive with building department officials
  • Ensure quality control throughout the Design/Build process
  • Eliminate costly changes and unnecessary mistakes
  • Maintain your residence long after occupancy

In order to get the best results during the Design/Build process, you must communicate openly, honestly and thoroughly regarding your goals and expectations.

To communicate your expectations in advance of the work, the following information is usually considered first and foremost:

  • Description of required spaces and/or intended uses
  • Budget parameters: minimum/maximum allowable costs and financing method
  • Construction method: owner constructed d-i-y; bid by general contractor; owner/builder negotiated with trade contractors
  • Schedule requirements: anticipated timeline for planning design, implementing construction, and maintenance after occupancy
  • Site information: legal description of property; as-built documentation; easements; measurements of existing conditions; utility locations, sizes, and configurations; topographical and soils data.


Once you get going on your project, here is how this information will be put to use by the building community during the work:

Fact Finding: Define the Owner's objectives and requirements; define the Design/Build team's role and review schematic design; do area and site analysis.

Preliminary Design: Refine design details and project requirements with your Design/Build team; determine building permit requirements and prepare submittal package; develop work plan including preliminary schedule and budget.

Construction Documents: Create Drawings and Specifications; complete building permit package; finalize schedule and budget; set forth key duties and responsibilities.

Bid/Negotiations: Develop contract documents; prepare bid packages; review and analyze bids; asses cost structure and schedule; assist owner in awarding contracts.

Construction: Establish the work place; provide contract administration; communicate with design team; monitor trade contractor performance; review supplier and manufacturer support; assure compliance with schedule and budget; produce progress reports.

Move-in: Direct system start-up; complete a comprehensive punch list; create files for warranties, maintenance, and as-built drawings; compile all permit documentation; create maintenance schedule after occupancy; perform regular maintenance throughout lifetime of home ownership.

The fact is, at every stage of residential construction, you can minimize standard profit mark-up and overhead costs by better management of your construction project whether you are doing new construction or remodeling.

Tom Landis is driven by an enormous respect for community spirit…a firm belief that great architecture takes us where words cannot go.

A firm belief that great building provides shelter for a family in a civilized manner…not separate from but an integral part of one's community.

Your home connects you to both your family and neighborhood. Tom helps you make this connection without sacrificing the building function or architectural integrity of the project.

Tom wants you to gain the knowledge and confidence to manage your new construction or remodeling project. He understands the tasks confronting both buyers and sellers when embarking on the Design/Build journey.

Tom provides the knowledge, organizational tools, and management strategies that you will need to experience a successful, enjoyable building project.

Tom Landis is "The Owner Builder Coach."

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