Many people have heard the phrase “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” As I look back on the past couple of decades, I am not sure this phrase really applies to the residential design/build community. As I walk down memory lane with my pointed shoes and blazer sleeves rolled up, I remember beepers and running to a pay phone or dashing into someone’s place of business asking if I could use their phone. Today I have a $200 monthly cell phone bill sitting on my desk each month. Who saw that coming?
Computers came into vogue and we looked a bit puzzled trying to figure out what to do with this time-sucking, money-eating machine. As time went by, one computer company finally figured out how to make a product you did not have to reboot, donate four hours of your time talking to customer support in a foreign country and praying that you did not lose three hours of work.
Design/build is not a machine, magic pill or a commodity you buy off the shelf. It is a way of thinking and a business style that allows qualified team members to interact with each other to achieve a common goal.
The residential design/build industry has had its ups and downs as well. I remember a long discussion about what was the proper way to call design/build. Was it design and build, design 2 build, design-build and so on. Over the past two decades, we as a collective dedicated and committed group have much to celebrate. Our biggest accomplishment is how we overcame the public’s perception of how to engage services with a design/build firm.
Our success over the past 20 years is directly related to the amount of education, dedication and willingness to learn from each other in an ever-changing marketplace. With the right education, the design/build industry will continue to prosper and provide exceptional service.
I thank Residential Design + Build magazine for the opportunity to have a voice in the design/build industry. Readers like you and people connected to the magazine are what makes the design/build community what it is and what it has become. Our passion and dedication will continue to provide well-balanced collaborative designs, clear and precise construction documentation and the highest commitment to excellence and artisanship.
We have had a lot of fun over the years and also a few sleepless nights, but I would not have it any other way. Someone said to me one day, “When you find the thing you love to do, you will never work another day in your life.” (Some days are better than others … just trying to keep it real.)
I hope you enjoyed the articles I have written over the years as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I hope I have passed on a few tips along the way. Here are a few lessons I would like to share with you:
- Find a way to enjoy helping people
- Take time to listen to what people are really saying
- Make good choices
- Stick with the problem longer than anyone else
Design/build used to be two lonely words stuck together. The people who put them together were fed up with the status quo and made a stand. Do not settle, do not get comfortable, keep moving and always challenge the status quo. Today design/build is an amazing industry producing amazing results. I look forward to watching it grow, develop and evolve into the next generation.
Joseph Dellanno is the founder of My Design/Build Project, a Web communication application for design and build teams, and president of My Design/Build Coach, providing design/build business training. He is also president of Design Solutions, a national design firm. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read past columns at ForResidentialPros.com.