I think we need a better building experience. Why should it only be the 1% that gets to enjoy great design and a thoughtful building experience for their homes? After being in the residential design and building industry for more than a decade, I've seen a lot. I've seen wonderful designs be poorly built at the hands of a shabby builder, I've seen scratches on the back of an envelope transformed into a beautiful home, I've seen a perfectly designed and built home with homeowners to emotionally drained to enjoy it. Why does it have to be this way? I don't think it does.
A better building experience is possible, I've seen it happen. The most successful projects that I've been a part of are the one with the best team. I define the team as all the major players in the process as well as the other seemingly extraneous partners. The designer/architect, homeowner and builder are integral team members and should be engaged together from the very beginning. Rather that the typical process of homeowner hires a designer, designer does drawings, drawings go to multiple contractors for multiple bids. For the homeowner, this means you're no longer in the drivers seat. Throughout the design process there is no design vs. cost discussion. And unfortunately most of us have to adhere to some sort of budget! So engage the builder as early as possible. I understand the idea that a competitive bid situation seems to provide the homeowner with the best price possible. In the end, the project cost will be similar no matter which builder you choose. It's the experience that will be different. If a builder understands that he will likely get the project if it moves forward, it will entice him to provide you with good information throughout the design process.
It is also important to bring in other partners such as other trades and consultants early in the process. Lighting consultants, interior designers, engineers and even plumbers and electricians can all be valuable members of the team. The more complex the project, the more important this early intervention becomes. As the design becomes more real, consultants and partners can add important details that make the project sing!
As was writing this post, I was keep a list beside me of new topics. It got me thinking about so many other good bits to share with you all. Look forward to the next post on the importance of communication.
Tails up and noses down!