Group Project / by keith messick


When you remodel, add on to, or build a custom home, your main contact is usually the architect and the general contractor.  However, there is a whole group of people working together to successfully complete your project.   

My kids have recently been assigned group projects in school.  They are learning how critical it is for each member to contribute their expected portion for the team to be successful.  They have learned that everyone must share the same vision.  They also have learned the hard way that if there are any weak areas in the group, others must step up and carry this additional work load, or the project will not be successful.

Framing has begun on Skyline Drive.  The framers will spend about 2-3 days in preparation before they put up any wood.  Before they arrived on site, the foundation subcontractor poured the foundation.  This subcontractor has now moved on to other projects.  But the work they left for the framers must be level, square and dimensionally accurate.  If not, they have created more work for the framers to clean up.

The situation is the same for each subcontractor who works on this project.  Each will do their portion of contracted work and then move on.  How well their work proceeds is highly dependent on the subcontractors who are currently working around them and the subcontractors who came before them.  

Everyone involved in the design and construction of a house is a member of the project team.  A relay race is a very good analogy for a construction project.  Not only does each member of the team need to be very good at what they do, upon completion, they must pass their work onto the next subcontractor.  Any errors in the coordination of work between subcontractors can significantly delay and/or add substantial cost to the scope of work for the project.  

When errors are not found and corrected, they tend to compound.  In the above example, unfortunately, the foundation subcontractors did not leave the stem walls as level as the framers would have liked.  In this case, the framers have to take the time to figure out how to build a level floor on an unlevel foundation.  There are several ways to do this.  But all take additional time.  And its time the framers were not planning to take.  However, if the floor is not built level at this time, the next group of subcontractors will have to deal with it.  At some point, the problem cannot be fixed, and the original error will be a part of the completed project.  This would be an example of a failed group project.

Thus, from the beginning, it is absolutely critical that each team member share the same vision for the final project.  Make sure that the members on your team all hold the same values and have the same vision.  Have this conversation with your architect and general contractor before the subcontractors are hired.  This will ensure success on your next project.