David Nystrom

It’s pretty ironic that we call ourselves “builders”…but what does that mean to our clients? What are we, as an industry, truly building? If any of my recent appointments reflect the overall mood of custom home, renovation and remodeling clients, I believe that most contractors are building fear!

The typical families that I encounter have their own stories, better called nightmares, about previous projects and their contractors. Most often, it’s not very difficult for them to open up and share their stressful experiences. And, when we really take a hard look, the common thread seems to be that most of these problems stem from a fear of the unknown.

It’s pretty easy to understand how the unknown can lead to fear, anxiety and stress. What are a few of those “unknowns” in construction that really distress clients?

Lack of a detailed construction schedule

When clients don’t have a clear understanding of the design and construction processes, it creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and definite lack of control. A clear, updated schedule keeps all parties in the loop, accountable, and ready for each planned sequence of construction.

Incomplete designs and lack of specifications

Designs being incomplete and lacking specifications will lead to higher pricing from subcontractors and potential change orders due to incorrect assumptions. Time taken to finalize drawings and create detailed scopes of work for vendors creates certainty. Certainty is required for to obtain correct pricing.

Insufficient selections prior to the start of construction

This can lead to high cost overruns when actual choices are finally made. Builders typically carry allowances for certain items (such as cabinets, plumbing fixtures, etc). Delayed selection choices can blow budgets, result in schedule delays and require extra work for the trades involved.

General lack of communication

Lack of communication is probably the root cause of most clients’ fear, and unfortunately, is not limited to the construction industry. Non-responsive project managers can create apprehension and foster a lack of confidence in the builder.

I think that Alair Homes Hudson, as builders, need to remember that custom homes/renovations are usually the largest investment most people make in their lives. It’s incredibly personal. The project should be an enjoyable, fun experience. We need to remove the “fear” and replace it with certainty.

Only through a professional, transparent, and responsive process can clients be truly confident and secure in their builder and the success of their project. Isn’t that what they deserve?