Coming up through the trades as a young man, I had the opportunity to work for some really great builders and really good superintendents. I modeled my business after the builders who I respected and who also took the time to mentor me.
The ones I remember were the ones who took the time to talk things through and help me give them what they were looking for. Along the way, they also helped me to be a better carpenter. I could also see early on that these builders had happier people working for them, who in turn, did better work and worked together. For the other builders and their jobs, words like nightmare got tossed around and everyone was disgruntled as there was no clear leader on site to lead the orchestra. I also remember the builders who always wanted to beat everyone down on price and constantly low ball everyone. In the end, I never saw a great result on these job sites.
I can’t stress enough about how important job site moral is and how it can affect the end result, good or bad.
When subs are asked to make constant changes and don’t have a clear path, they get frustrated and the work goes downhill very quickly. When subcontractors have to chase money and argue about money or feel they have been beat down, the work follows and goes downhill, and/or never really gets completed. With the level of complexity of today’s architecture and the high level of expectation, it is more important than ever to keep job site moral high. This means that the builder, the project manager, the architect and even the home owner play a big part in this.
Realizing that people need support and help understanding the plans and expectations goes a long way here. A good project manager has to stop and take the time to help each and every sub succeed in their phase of the job site. This can try one’s patience sometimes in the hectic world of building as somedays it just seems there is not enough time to spend with each and every person.
Custom home building is a very personal business and takes many different trades and craftsmen to pull it off. When one takes this time to actually help their people the job is always better off.
The home owner also plays a key role here as well. When my home owners take the time to introduce themselves and get to know the subs, I see a difference in the level of attention. When the subs and suppliers are paid in a timely manner, this also has a benefit as they stay focused on the job as opposed to being focused on why they are not being paid on time. When owners can make a decision and stick to their decisions, they end up with better results. When people are asked to constantly change and or rework things they have put their heart into, it eventually wears them out, regardless of what they are being paid.
We all have to remember, houses are built by humans, and most people want to do good work and deliver a good result. Sometimes the little things like a compliment or spending a bit of extra time with someone can make all the difference in the quality of work delivered and the attitude of the people who we all depend on to create these wonderful homes.