The local chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, reacting to a report in last week's Real Estate section about busy remodeling contractors, is concerned about the negative image its members may be getting as homeowners vie for their attention.

"The notion that we may be selling spots on the waiting list to the highest bidder is definitely contrary to the business practice ethics that we support," said Ben Osborne, president of the local NARI chapter. "We believe in first come, first served."

Osborne, who owns a Springfield-based remodeling company, said remodelers usually have a design phase and then a building phase for any project.

After the design is accepted and the appropriate deposit is paid, the customer then gets a place on a waiting list. Osbsborne said he usually asks for a deposit of about 10 percent before beginning work.

Russ Glickman, president of Glickman Signature Design and Remodeling in Rockville, quoted in last week's report, said that if he makes a commitment to a client, whether for a certain price or time frame, his word "is as good as platinum.

"I do not bump somebody off the list if I've made a commitment to them," Glickman said, but he added, "If somebody gives me just a small deposit to do a preliminary feasibility study, then until they commit to doing the job, I cannot lock them in to a start date."

The commitment to start requires a more substantial deposit, he said.