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Built for Success

April 19, 2024

Quality homes and satisfied customers don’t happen by accident. The best home builders have systems to ensure those outcomes.

If you have a complete set of construction documents, including accurate blueprints and product descriptions, then material and labor costs shouldn’t vary much between equivalent professional builders. Most of the price difference will rest with the builder’s fee—the overhead and profit built into the home’s cost.

What does that fee cover? And is a lower fee always better?

The first answer is that the fee makes great service possible by funding the builder’s internal management systems. These systems keep every part of the job running smoothly, and the best builders have spent years creating and fine-tuning them.

Those builders are in demand among customers who expect great service and, as a result, they command higher fees. We believe it’s money well spent.

A casual approach to project management may be adequate for handyman jobs, but on a custom home, it’s a recipe for disaster. That’s because today’s builders face a business environment that, if not deliberately managed, will quickly throw projects off schedule and off-budget.

Here are four examples of these complexities and how management systems ease the pain.

  • More regulations. Zoning restrictions, association rules, building codes, and labor laws make construction tougher and more expensive than it used to be. Management systems, backed up by the right software, help the builder navigate these regulations while staying on schedule and on budget.
  • Less room for error. Engineered building components and code-mandated energy-efficiency details make today’s homes more complicated than ever. The builder’s
  • Carpenter  quality assurance system helps the project manager confirm that workers are detailing the home to be healthy, comfortable, and durable.
  • Vanishing workers. Another challenging issue today is a shortage of skilled labor. With fewer young people seeking careers as carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, builders have to compete fiercely for the best ones. The best subcontractors and employees prefer to work for builders who run well-organized jobs and pay promptly —builders with financial stability and effective scheduling and management systems.
  • Rising material costs. A combination of tariffs and high demand for building products has fueled big price increases in the past few years. Builders with systems for reducing job site waste and negotiating fair prices with suppliers can ease the impact of those increases.

How do you spot a company with such systems? Talking with past customers, architects, and product distributers is a wise step, but you can also ask questions when interviewing builders.

For example, how will the builder keep you updated on the schedule? How often will you get progress and budget reports? It doesn’t matter whether the information gets sent through an online portal or by email—the important thing is that the builder has a system for communicating it.

Skilled trades peopleHow does the builder organize product selection? Are there detailed selection sheets? Will you be given due dates for selecting products? You want a “yes” to this last question because a firm, systematic approach to selections really helps keep the job on track.

When you walk through the home at critical stages (for example, after mechanical rough-in) does the builder use checklists to ensure that everything was completed as planned?

Builders aren’t that different from other companies that make complex products for exacting customers. Those in high demand get there because their systems allow them to focus on creating great products for fair prices. Smart homeowners choose one of these builders for their custom home.






-Winsome Construction is a custom luxury home builder, crafting high-performance homes throughout PortlandBend, the Willamette Valley, and the North Oregon Coast. We invite you to stay connected with us by subscribing to our monthly newsletter  (enter your name and email below) or calling us today at 503-472-7402.


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