Yes, definitely, but it must follow a process that gives the owner control, accountability, and a roadmap with scheduled reality checks.
The owner needs one person in charge of the entire process, to monitor the budget and ensure the groups communicate and work in harmony.
Who would that be?
The owner’s representative. This type of role is common sense in other types of projects, and it’s no different with a custom home project.
Why would this be an improvement to an already complex group?
Some owners have the time and skills to oversee their own construction project, including watching the budgeting and change orders, making in the moment decisions around materials and staff, and thinking through the long-term implications for every course adjustment. If the owner doesn’t have the time and skills, they’ll want a construction expert on their side to oversee the process, from the start of design to completion.
The problem with custom home building today
The typical process for building custom homes is stressful for everyone, especially when the budget starts to spiral out of control and the choices pile up. That’s because there are many different parties working on the project, but communication between them can fall apart.
A convoluted, expensive project that goes over budget and over deadline hurts all involved, including owners, realtors, designers, and good builders. No one group feels at fault or fully understands the situation, but everyone loses.
This can be fixed. Any major project needs team-wide accountability and a start to finish process that is clear to all, with controls and reality checks at scheduled times and as the design evolves. This is what an owner’s representative does. And all the team members benefit! An owner’s representative works on behalf of the owner, but helps support the work of architects, builders, and other parties to complete the shared vision.
Design and budget conflicts hurt everyone
The all too common result of custom building is an unpleasant and stressful situation for clients who find themselves with building plans that significantly exceed their intended budget. This tends to happen mid-way through the project, when the owner is forced to decide whether to make compromises to the design (which they have now grown emotionally attached to), or to cancel the project. Design changes usually lead to a reduced quality of materials, or looking for cheaper labor options, both of which lead to bigger unpleasant experiences and long-term home problems.
Bay Area custom homes are unique
Home owners in the Bay Area benefit from many environmental regulations to keep our environment safe. Marin and the East Bay also have a number of local regulations around open space, view obstruction, and other local guidelines. Finally, Marin Design Review Boards may have additional preferences or requests in order to approve a project. This is local knowledge that not all builders and architects are familiar with, and review can become a complicated process with several rounds of revisions.
If the building team is not familiar with California zoning and environmental regulations for custom homes, there can be additional late-stage changes and delays. At best, there will be missed opportunities to build an environmentally friendly home and save on long-term expenses by using appropriate materials.
One of the great benefits of building a custom home in the Bay Area is the diverse and beautiful building sites, but owners need someone who is familiar with the area, including the environment and review boards.
A solution for custom home building in the Bay Area
West Coast Project Management offers a complete construction project management service, guiding the process from the beginning of design to final construction completion.
After decades as a custom home builder in San Diego, California and the mountains of Telluride and Aspen, Colorado, Richard Wodehouse has the expertise and complete project knowledge to guide even the most unique and complex custom homes to completion.
Richard’s methodology is successful because of his continuous monitoring of the budget, expertise and support for builders and architects, and deep knowledge of custom home projects of all types.
When to call West Coast Project Management
We can facilitate at any stage of the construction project, but it’s best to start from the beginning. The design is when most of the budget will be set, and when structural decisions will be made. That being said, West Coast Project Management is often called in mid-stage to help. Contact us to see how we can help make your California dream home happen on schedule and end with a positive outcome for all.