January 2018 Print


Best of Houzz 2018 - Client Satisfaction
This professional was rated at the highest level for client satisfaction by the Houzz community.WEBSITE
Best of Houzz 2018 - Client Satisfaction
This professional was rated at the highest level for client satisfaction by the Houzz community for the 4th consecutive year. WEBSITE


Have news to share? 
If you are a NARI of Diablo Valley Member please e-mail:Chapterexec@naridiablovalley.org
with your news to share and it will be included in the next newsletter.

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2018 Bay Area Remodeling Awards: Pre-registration deadline 1/31/18

Just a reminder if you are planning on entering the competition this year, we are offering a 10% on entry fees if you register by 1/31/2018.

 Winning a Bay Area Remodeling Award (a Remmy) is a great marketing opportunity for your company and morale booster for your team.  It’s time to start making plans for entering the competition. We are still in the process of planning the event but here are some of the key details and dates that have already been confirmed:

Media Sponsor: Modern Luxury Interiors California Magazine

Eligibility: Must be a member of the Diablo Valley, North Bay or San Francisco Bay Area chapter of NARI

Entries: Projects completed between July 1, 2016 and January 31, 2018

Entry Packets: Will be sent via email in December 2017

Training for new Entrants: December and January

Pre-Registration: January 2-31, 2018

Entry Submission: February 2018

Judging: March 2018

Awards Presentation: April 2018

Click Here For Details

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Member Spotlight

 aja woodworking

Custom Cabinets Made to Fit Your Needs

Based out of Oakley, CA, AJA Custom Woodworking has been building custom cabinets for over 35 years. Owner Angelo Arminio will design and install custom cabinets in any size or style to meet your needs! No job is too large or too small.  Website

  • Commercial and Residential
  • Remodeling
  • Additions
  • Interior Mill Work
  • Crown Moulding and Trim
  • Home Offices
  • Entertainment Centers
  • Built-in Units


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Free Home Remodeling Seminar

 If You Haven't Signed Up for the Free Home Remodeling Seminar, Now is the Time!

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Contra Costa County

This no-pressure, informative seminar hosted by Gayler Design Build will teach you how to add flexible living space and rental income to your property with an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). Learn about the new California laws permitting the construction of ADUs in your area, how much an ADU costs, how long your project should last, and how to get started. 
 Wednesday, February 7th from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM at Gayler Design Build
Lunch will be served, with plenty of time to answer your specific questions.
Space is limited so RSVP early. 

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NARI helps its members enjoy consistent profits and a higher success rate for remodeling-related business through its vast education offerings.

NARI education and certification programs are developed by remodelers and industry consultants for remodelers and suppliers. Programs are developed to optimize business results, foster networking and sharing information. There are a variety of platforms to utilize NARI’s professional development resources online, via teleconferencing, Webinars and podcasting.  CLICK HERE  for more information.

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Savings for Members

Savings are for members in good standing only.  These are just a few of the money saving opportunitues available when joining NARI.

Increase sales with NARI BuildingBucks™. This exciting new partnership between NARI and EnerBank USA, provides easy-to-use payment options and will help members increase close rates and job size while lessening cancellations and discounts. The BuildingBucks™ program offers four payment options to help customers say yes. 


Receive a 2% rebate based on purchases you make at The Home Depot.  All NARI members in good standing are eligible for this rebate. Accounts must be registered/enrolled through the website to receive rebate credit. Minimum rebate period spend of $12,500 required to receive a rebate. Rebate payments are issued direct to the member twice a year, within 60 days of 6/30 and 12/31.

NARI members receive $100 off all inbound, outbound and retention marketing packages including: website design, search engine optimization, reputation management, social media strategy, mobile applications and more. NARI remodelers have access to a Dedicated Marketing Specialist – a single point of contact – who consults with you about your campaign, provides monthly reporting, makes recommendations for improvements, and gives you access to a direct phone number where you can reach them at your convenience.  

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Legal News

 Law Office of Bryant H. Byrnes  

New Year’s Resolutions and Cautionary Tales

EMPLOYEE TERMINATION.  At-will employees (generally those who employees who do not have an employment contract and are not part of ownership) may be terminated at the discretion of the employer, with or without cause.  However, the employee cannot be terminated for an illegal reason (such as illegal discrimination, retaliation, etc.)

Occasionally, unhappily, the employee’s response is a wrongful termination complaint to the state or even a civil lawsuit.  A civil action may include such causes of action as wrongful termination in violation of public policy, whistleblower retaliation, or retaliation for asserting other employee rights (such as missed meal break violations, and wage and hour violations). 

Further, construction remains a male-dominated profession.  If the person being terminated is a woman, there is certainly also a possibility of a claim of sexual harassment or sex discrimination.

It is also common for such a lawsuit or claim with a government agency to include other claims not necessarily related to the termination.  These can include claims for unpaid wages, failure to pay overtime, failure to reimburse appropriate expenses, improper classification of an employee as independent contractor or exempt employee, meal and rest period violations, and paystub violations – to name a few. 

How to mitigate?  One solution is creating a record supporting the termination.  However, such a system of records must be fair and apply to all employees.  If you have a policy (written or not) regarding discipline for employees, it is extremely important to follow the procedures every time and for all employees.

What if you don’t presently have some form of employee review system?  (Frankly, many if not most of our clients don’t.)  Consider it as part of your New Year’s resolutions to create one.  Some are exceedingly simple.  And you may not have to go to a labor attorney.  There are any number of human resources firms who would be delighted to work with you – including providing templates to use. 

A caveat.  An employee is entitled to see the contents of his or her file, including the employee’s payroll history.  And whatever goes into the record is susceptible to “discovery” if the employee demands access to or a copy of his/her employment file, or if there is a civil lawsuit.  Discovery is a part of the litigation process in which one party obtains information from the other through demands for production of documents.  So prepare and maintain the records with that in mind.  Certain records are required to be maintained for specified periods of time. 

LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS.  A related subject is inter-office email chatter.  The use of electronic mail in construction is both a blessing and a curse.  The blessing - it facilitates succinct communication.  It’s sometimes a curse because it creates a record, including a record of things that one might regret later if there is a dispute.

It is amazing in these times that people still consider email both private and somehow legally protected as being “privileged” in some way. 

While an email is perhaps “private”, it is usually not privileged.  Privilege is a legal right which allows persons to resist disclosure of documents and information.  The two main types of litigation “privilege” protection: communications between lawyer and client (attorney-client privilege), and certain documents prepared for litigation by your attorney (the work product doctrine).  However, what is said within the company is typically not privileged and is thus usually “discoverable” in a lawsuit.

I recently had a matter where a lead carpenter communicated with someone in the main office via email about an employee.  A job had gone south in part because of the employee.  The communication was derogatory (bad enough), but also made some admissions that would be useful to the unhappy clients should there be a dispute.  This would almost certainly be discoverable in a lawsuit.

So a caution to you employers - as all of our mothers used to say, “Keep a civil tongue in your head” and watch what you put in writing.

 NOT CATCHING A BREAK?  There is a new California law -  California Labor Code Section 218.7.  This states that for all contracts after January 1, 2018, a “direct contractor” is liable to a wage claimant employed by a subcontractor for “unpaid wage, fringe, or other benefits” – unpaid that is by the subcontractor.

We assume “direct contractor” in most cases will be the general contractor.

This will be the subject of our next article.  The danger is this may become a new fertile area for the always hungry legal profession to pursue.

  Bryant H. Byrnes, Esq. practices construction law in the San Francisco Bay Area and is counsel to the San Francisco NARI Board of Directors.

 Brian J. Trowbridge, Esq. of Trowbridge Law Office practices construction law, business law, succession and estate planning, and employment law in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

 Questions? Bryant’s website is www.bryantbyrnes.com. Feel free to contact him by email at Bryant@bryantbyrnes.com.  Brian’s website is www.trowbridgelawoffice.com and you can email him at btrowbridge@trowbridgelawoffice.com.

 For Bryant’s previous articles, please visit SFBA NARI’s website and click on the link “In the News/Newsletter” under “For the Trade.” They are also available on his website under “Articles,” and on Brian’s website under “Publications.”

 As always, these articles are summary discussions only - to simply give you a heads up on various construction topics.  The information contained herein is not legal advice.

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NARI of Diablo Valley Wildfire Donation

Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund - Update

As you may recall our chapter along withmade a donation to victims of the wildfires through Napa Community Disaster Relief.  I received the following update to share: 

It's been three months since the last flames were doused, but the Napa Fire Complex continues to affect thousands in our community. 

As we pause to look back at the last 110 days, we are so grateful to the 20,000 generous donors, like you, who entrusted Napa Valley Community Foundation with charitable relief dollars. 

With your support, 1,900 households in our community have received direct financial assistance and case management, and 15,000 more have received services, like temporary shelter, medical care, mental health therapy and food. 

For a glimpse into what's been accomplished so far, please click the video below (or here) to watch a short video about the incredible work our nonprofit partners have done with the grants we've made from the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund.

To see what's happening right now, please click here to read about the pop-up recovery
center we've launched to help individuals and families affected by the Napa Fire Complex. The Napa Fire Recovery Center is offering re-housing services for those who were made homeless as a result of the October wildfires, predominantly uninsured renters; and providing financial assistance to people who may not have lost their homes, but have nonetheless encountered economic hardship because of the temporary slow-down of the viticulture and hospitality economy in the region.

Recovering from a major disaster takes years, and we're in this for the long haul, because all of you are by our side.

Thank you once again for your generosity, and for your faith in Napa Valley Community Foundation.

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Newsletter Publishing Information

NARI of Diablo Valley
Newsletter Publishing Information
The NARI of Diablo Valley Newsletter is published monthly by the Diablo Valley Chapter of NARI, Inc.   Copyright 2018.  All rights reserved.  Statements of fact and opinion contained herein are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily of the options or agreement of the Editor, Board of Directors, staff or membership of NARI of Diablo Valley.
responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily of the options or agreement of the Editor, Board of Directors, staff or membership of NARI of Diablo Valley.
 Comments/Questions: Please send an email to: chapterexec@naridiablovalley.org.  Thank you for your continued support.
Christine Cummings-Walters
Executive Director
NARI of Diablo Valley

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