Planning may not be glamorous or understood well, but it is an essential part of the home building process. Too often in home building and construction, all of the focus goes into delivering the project. A complete project plan is absent, and success is not defined. When building a home is the largest investment in our personal lives, is it really acceptable for that to be left to chance?
Creating a project management plan for your project makes our opportunities for success much greater. There are a number of important elements to a complete project management plan. The core essentials include scope, budget, and schedule.
In home building, "scope" refers to detailed plans and specifications. Plans are developed together with your goals at the home site and include foundation details adapted to topography; structural and assembly details suited to site conditions and energy efficiency goals; mechanical details suited for the climate and energy efficiency goals; and so forth.
Specifications, which are commonly lacking in home building projects, supplement a complete plan set. Specifications include categorized descriptions of the materials, components, and systems that will make up your new home. Although specifications are usually missing from home project planning, builders and trade contractors are still sometimes asked to bid on the "same" project: a time-wasting exercise which produces erroneous “apples to basketballs” results.
Homeowners often want to make an “apples to apples” comparison. Without a well-defined scope, however, it’s truly a guessing-game — a wild shot in the dark.
What does a “simple” red apple cost? What does a green Granny Smith apple from a local organic orchard cost? How about an orange? Or even a basketball for that matter? Without a well-defined scope, and without care and diligence, “apples to basketballs” is a common pricing result. From a faulty start like that, budgetary performance can go off the rails quickly.
With a well-defined scope, your knowledge is better than “apples to apples.” Your wants and expectations are defined and achievable. Your project budget becomes a powerful management tool. Knowledge of financial performance factors like actual cost, budget variance, completed values, and cost-to-complete allow you to make informed decisions — decisions which can enhance project cost performance, improve project quality, influence choices on desired options, and so forth.
Schedule is an obvious project management tool, yet too often it is missing from a builder's toolbox.
The success of your project depends on the use of key management tools such as detailed scope, budget, and schedule. It also depends on finding the right design- build partner. Timber Ridge Craftsmen, Inc.builds beautiful homes in the Blue Ridge Mountains while helping every client achieve their goals for their new home. Contact us today to discuss the goals for building your new home.