A number of elements help reassure the architect and home-owner that they’ve chosen the right builder. It’s about establishing trust right from the start then continuing to earn it as the project progresses. First and foremost, clients need to trust that their building partner knows what they’re doing. From the structural integrity right through to the finest detail, you need to be confident that the whole build will stand up to real scrutiny (and 20 years of living). It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to start from scratch, renovate or extend, you want the same high standard.
Embarking on a building project is a significant act of faith for all parties. Indeed, it’s one of the single, biggest purchases in many people’s lives. So, what does it take for the architect or designer to put their total trust in a building partner and recommend them to their client? (And then hand over ‘ownership’ of the project?) What reassurances do the property owners need to feel confident enough to press the ‘go’ button?
Make the building process as enjoyable as possible
It’s not unusual for our clients to admit that even after 18 months, they actually miss having us in their lives, “and so do the neighbours!”. That’s doing a pretty good job of reassuring the client.
We want our clients – both the architect and the property-owner – to appreciate the actual process of their vision coming to life. Of course it’s the final build that matters most, and experiencing the full effect of their finished property. But there’s a lot invested in a building project – money, time and emotion. If we can make their journey as enjoyable and inspirational as possible, why wouldn’t we?
We find it very satisfying that so many of our home-owners admit to enjoying the regular spreadsheet-driven meetings that we hold with the architect and – if appropriate – the structural engineer. Witnessing the day-to-day means our clients understand the organic nature of the project, why we seem to stray from the original plan, and the importance of timely decision-making. For example, older properties – often associated with irritating and costly delays – are just as likely to involve exciting reveals. Hidden rooms and fireplaces, original brickwork, tiling and panelling – do we keep it, how do we use it? It’s all part of the enthusiasm for the project as it takes shape.
We have clients who say they “love going on site because I’m always made welcome, never made to feel uncomfortable”. Clients need to be able to visit the site unannounced, be greeted by a site manager who’s prepared to down tools and discuss current activity. Architects are used to donning hi-vis and discussing cornices and corbels but, for the property-owner, it can be a big event so it’s our job to ensure it’s a rewarding one.
Buildability takes more than brawn
“At every stage, Galower understood where we were going with the design. They don’t just bring the brawn.” That’s a great comment from one of our home-owner clients. It also reassures the architect that their reputation is safe with us.
In our opinion, you can’t claim absolute commitment to a project it you don’t get excited about it. So, your builder needs to fully appreciate the architectural design and vision, get enthusiastic about by the prospect of working on the project. It’s their role to ensure ‘buildability’: take a set of drawings, turn them into a construction plan and then literally bring it all to life, exactly as envisioned. That takes total immersion in a project.
Ask a home-owner: “Which single thing in your new house gives you the most pleasure?” and you can imagine the kind of answer: the view through the glass wall or the large family room leading seamlessly to the outside. These are indeed significant and typical pleasures for our clients. Sometimes, however, the client focuses on something precise: “The staircase that curves all the way up to the top of the house, with its smooth, twisty banister…”. Or, as mentioned above, it’s the experience, the “pragmatic uncomplicated and direct communication channel between director Mick and the site manager, Terry.”
For us, each project is memorable for various reasons. Working on really cutting edge designs and using different materials is a thrill. It’s also the effort and thinking that goes into the early structural steel work which, because it’s hidden, tends to get forgotten – all 25 tons of it.
We take pride in being a caring and considerate builder
We don’t just work to get the project done. We really love what we do, and relish the relationships we build with each project. We understand what our clients go through in realising their dream home or drama block. We’re with them every step of the way. So it’s great being known as a safe, but resourceful, pair of hands. It’s equally important that we really live up to our title of ‘caring and considerate builder’.