By Bob Hinz, Owner – HomeWrights Custom Homes
The best custom home builders are always trying to balance three key construction variables: Quality, Velocity, and Value.
Sometimes we call this the Steakhouse Paradox. It goes like this…
- You can get a real good steak, pretty fast, but it won’t be cheap.
- You can get a real fast steak, but if it’s cheap, but it probably won’t be good.
- And you can get a real cheap steak, but if it’s good, it won’t be fast.
Calling it the steakhouse paradox makes it pretty easy to illustrate the points with an analogy that most everyone understands. The paradox is that you can only get two out of those three on a consistent basis. And, so it goes in the world of new home construction – you must prioritize!
We’re never going to suggest to our clients that they choose to compromise quality. So, the construction balancing act now is keeping things affordable and moving at the velocity needed to complete the project without compromising quality or increasing costs.
Time is money. Velocity is the momentum needed to minimize the time investment while controlling costs.
Successful Custom Home Building Begins With Effective Decision Making
We’re very good at finding value for our clients because of our depth of experience and strong relationships in the home building industry. We’re always pleased when clients make affordable, high-value decisions when it comes to acquiring building materials and contracting labor.
That’s not to say that we’ll always find the cheapest goods or labor, but we’re doing our best to create the optimal balance that leads to measurable value.
Maintaining Velocity is Key to Controlling Building Costs
Here’s what the homeowner can do, in concert with their HomeWrights Custom Homes’ project manager, to help manage velocity;
DECIDE EARLY AND QUICKLY – One client took six weeks to choose a garage door. The door was facing the alley. No first-impression consideration. The cost of doors was not an obstacle for this client but style was the main driving factor. She “over-shopped.”
RECOGNIZE SPEED BUMPS – Pay close attention to the known limits to speed up shopping. Sometimes limits are built into the drawings or the architecture. We’re happy to help you understand what they are. For example, a client wanted a dual-tower refrigeration in her home but had not made that clear to her architect during design phase.
This type of refrigeration configuration requires a very large opening in the kitchen. The problem was, we only had 56 inches to work with. That’s what was in the architect’s plan. Both appliance and therefore cabinet selection were delayed by several weeks because we were working to resolve the dilemma that could have been avoided with a little more attention to the plan.
DON’T DESIGN AFTER-THE-FACT – Clever design and home decorating web sites as well as tons of home-improvement and home makeover shows are terrific sources of ideas. But be careful! We’ve seen people try to incorporate “Google-ish” stuff into homes long after the “ship has sailed.” A client wanted to add an oval-shaped window into a gable after the house was framed, sided and drywalled. Cute idea but too late to be practical. Sure…it could have been done. It would have killed the schedule and busted the budget.
DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE – People get on Pinterest, YouTube, or design websites and come to us with some very interesting ideas. We’ve seen tons of requests for staircases, handrails, patios, folding doors, vaulted ceilings, etc., that simply can’t be built. It’s pretty frustrating for us and the client when we’re looking at a picture of a staircase and handrail that can’t (or just shouldn’t) be built because it’s not even close to code compliant.
JUST-IN-TIME DELIVERIES MIGHT BE TOO EARLY – There may be value in just-in-time deliveries but be careful. We’ve had clients “discover” a great value on interior doors, order them and have them trucked to the job site several months before they’re needed. Yes, beautiful doors, at a great price but certainly in the way and at continuous risk of damage. In this case, there was never a time when the lovely doors were NOT in the way.
This is another example of how velocity can be constricted by a well-intentioned but poorly thought-out decision. It may not sound like much, but every few hours of labor adds up.
Most of our clients expect quality. For us, that’s a given. Value is always important and we’ll be relentless in that regard. But the one thing that a lot of people, all-to-often, don’t see as an important part of the balancing act is – velocity! But now, we hope you recognize how your decisions impact the variable called – velocity.
Pay attention to all three – quality, velocity, and value and you’ll find the process of building your own custom home, much more economical, enjoyable and rewarding!
Learn more about the Owner-Builder process and how you can save $100,000 or more on your new custom home!