It Takes Teamwork to Build a Custom Home

A custom home starts with an idea of what you want, to outwardly express your needs, desires, self image and lifestyle. That idea is usually first conveyed to your architect. While the architectural plans are being developed, the architect in turn solicits the talents of structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineers. This is just the beginning!

Soon after an interior designer and landscape architect are brought onboard. They join the process of working together with you, the architect and engineers to create your home on paper.

At this time it is a good idea to also find a good builder. Sometimes the process may even start with a reputable builder who can direct you to a team of architects and designers that he works well with. The builder can help guide and value engineer the process to your benefit. By being involved early on, a builder can come to understand your wishes, price items along the way and help drive the process toward the desired budget. They will still bring competitive pricing by taking multiple bids from qualified subcontractors and suppliers. Since their fee is negotiated up front, you will know and approve what your home will cost before the contractor puts a shovel in the ground.

A good builder has also surrounded himself with a good team. This starts in house with high quality office personnel and in the field with top notch supervision and project management. It extends to quality subcontractors and suppliers. A builder who is firm but fair with their subcontractors will get great cooperation in getting the job done and with pride in their work. A contractor, who represents their client well, instills a sense of common purpose to everyone working on the job. This engenders teamwork!

Teamwork starts with good organization, good communication and a spirit of working toward a common goal. Technology has made this easier with the use of project management tools, conference calls and video conferencing. Information is fairly instant these days, making a smooth transition from an issue on the job site to a resolution. Instead of waiting for a site visit from the architect to resolve an issue, the use of photographs that can be sent instantly, marked up by the architect and sent back to the site, can facilitate problem solving on short notice. Cell phone video is also a useful tool for this purpose. A good builder will find conflicts in the many layers of drawings before construction. They will communicate this to the appropriate team members and problems are solved before they become costly.

Regularly scheduled meetings and conference calls are a good way to discuss current issues and to make sure that everyone is on the same page. There are inevitably changes and its helpful to keep everyone up to date. Meeting notes are taken, reviewed by all and tasks are assigned with deadlines. This gives you confidence that your project is progressing efficiently. It keeps you involved in the decision making process and helps you to know when decisions on your part are due.

Ultimately, the success of any custom home project will depend on a great team and great teamwork. With so many players involved, it is easy to point fingers when something goes wrong. A good team will work together to resolve issues that come up. This gives you comfort and reassurance in what could otherwise be a stressful undertaking. Building a custom home can be a positive and rewarding experience with the right team in place. In the end, great teamwork is a win-win for all involved!