Eyler Exterior

I love visiting job sites. The structured chaos of running bulldozers, swinging boards and dripping mortar is invigorating. Each crafts person is working toward their own ends yet participating in a collective goal, not unlike the master builders of medieval cathedrals. Although our drawings guide the final outcome, the contractor choreographs the work being done on the project. Nothing lets me sleep easier than talented, experienced, professional contractors running my jobs.

It is common to hear horror stories at cocktail parties about the construction project that has gone wrong. While I would not deny that these catastrophes do happen, my experiences could not be more different. I have been involved with countless construction projects and nine hundred and ninety nine out of a thousand projects have been a success because there was a dedicated construction company running the job. Interestingly enough we have had great success with both very small construction companies as well as large ones. About half of our projects use fixed bid contracts and half of our clients prefer using a construction manager. Again, we have had great outcomes either way.

Img 0469Contractors have an almost impossible job as the nexus between the architect, the owner, craftspeople and suppliers. They must balance high quality, cost, and usually a tight schedule while at the same time dealing with forces beyond their control which impact the job such as weather, design changes, and basic human interaction.

Occasionally we do require contractors to redo a part of a project that was built incorrectly. Most often the contractor is on top of the issue before we even have a chance to know there was a problem.

Mistakes and oversights happen with all human endeavors. The contractors I work with are quick to fix any problems better than new and have been known to return to their projects years later to make minor adjustments and become personal friends with the people whose homes they have built.

About the Author: James Crisp

James M. Crisp has been an architect for well over 30 years. His architectural firm, Crisp Architects, designs projects throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In April of 2007, Taunton Press published 'On the Porch' by James M. Crisp and Sandra Mahoney.

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