Getting Too Close to a Project

For most of us in the design/build industry our goal is to provide outstanding design solutions with the finest craftsmanship.

We may even provide jaw-dropping, eye-popping and award-winning projects for our clients. We help prospective clients discover how our company can provide professional design/build services and we manage the home-owner’s expectations.

Most companies communicate their design/build services well to their prospects via websites or other forms of media. Oddly enough, when a custom home builder chooses to build his own office space or home, the first thing that goes out the window is the company’s standard operational procedures which are designed to ensure the delivery of a well-planned design/build project.

A well-known Boston architect decided to design his new home and had his top-notch designers work on this monument to himself. After years of planning and countless hours of design, the plans were completed and construction was to begin. The brand-new construction fence was erected to keep out the riff-raff and of course to provide a backdrop for the prestigious architect’s company sign. The concrete form crews rolled in and started to set their forms. Within a week they were ready to pour the walls. Truck after truck and yard after yard of concrete flowed like the mighty Colorado River into 10-in. slots and dropped 8 to 10 ft. to form the foundation. A few days passed, the walls were stripped and the architect was excited to see the start of his new home rise from the ground.

Upon closer inspection his face turned sour as he walked around the entire foundation and surveyed the reality of his design. The architect was so displeased with the shape of his house that he directed the concrete contractor to tear down the newly poured walls. The architect decided to redesign his home and sent his brightest designers back to the drawing board.

Months and months went by and the plans were finally ready. The plans were reviewed again to ensure that these were exactly what the architect desired. The architect signed off on the plans and construction began. The walls were built and the forms were stripped when the architect appeared again. The crew looked on nervously as he walked around the foundation reviewing their work and the newly configured foundation plan. He turned the corner with a disgusted look on his face. The architect was not happy with the layout of the foundation and ordered the concrete contractor to tear down the foundation and remove all the footings again. Imagine the crew’s frustration and disappointment; all that hard work and material were headed to the local concrete dump.

The architect went back to the drawing board and refined his plans yet again and on his third attempt was satisfied with the foundation layout. This entire debacle was played out on the front page of The Boston Globe real estate section.

Building your own home or office space can be a great opportunity to showcase your design style and craftsmanship to customers, friends and family. But it is easy to get tunnel vision and emotionally involved with the project. The budget is shot even before design has been completed, ideas are flying at the speed of light, and everyone is trying to get their ideas incorporated into the project to showcase their design style and talent.

Why does this happen to design/build companies that are capable of producing high-end custom homes for their clients?

Why do they struggle with providing the same high-quality service to themselves? Doctors are not allowed to operate on their family members for good reason: They are too close to the patient to be impartial. If you choose to work on your own project, you must stay focused and not become emotionally involved with the design and build process.