On June 19, we held our fourth B/A/D Talks for our builder/architect/designer community. At the inception of B/A/D Talks about a year ago, John Kilfoyle, United Marble Fabricators, got together with Paul [Reidt] and me; and Paul led us to the inspiring idea of bringing our community together in conversations that would enrich our community, our businesses, and our passion for our work. This evening's talk mirrored that intention. We all agreed the conversation had an intimate feeling.
Kyle began the evening's conversation by saying, "[B/A/D Talks] is a wonderful chance...for our community to bring people together in really nitty gritty ways that I think have really helped people in their actual day-to-day practice.
"Tonight's topic, Construction Costs & Pricing, is something dear to the heart of everyone in this room I suspect - or un-dear to the heart of everyone in this room, depending on how you look at it. It's a very complex topic. ...How...things are negotiated and how the various personalities intertwine to make these things happen is sort of what we're talking about. So that's a big row to hoe, but we'll do our best."
And they did just that - with the help of vital questions and comments by attendees throughout the discussion.
As our speakers explored issues in costs and pricing for custom residential homes, these five factors entered the conversation as keys to a successful project:
- establishing trust
- team building in early stages
- careful cost structuring
- transparency in pricing
- timely, open communication
MOST IMPORTANT TAKE AWAY ON THIS TOPIC
To wrap up the conversation Kyle Hoepner asked both panelists, "What would be your single most important take away or piece of advice from this topic for everybody here tonight?"
GET THAT TEAM TOGETHER EARLY
"Wherever possible try and get that team together early, and really foster open communication between all parties - so that there isn't the stereotypical adversarial relationship between builder/architect, builder/designer. Those days are gone or they should be...I'm sure they still exist.
"I think if we really build that team and trust, the projects are going to be so much better for it - our reputations will be, too."
FIGURE OUT WHAT CLIENTS WANT AND HOW TO GET IT FOR THEM
"Well you just answered the way I would have answered. I guess I'll have to come up with something different.
"I think probably the most important thing is...I think if you're always looking to educate the clients and help them understand what they want because I don't think that people always know what they want; and they look to us as experts to guide them through the process.
"And if we're always just trying to help them figure out what they want and figure out how to get it for them as the lowest possible cost - and I want to be careful in that, in saying "lowest possible." I'm clearly saying there is a bottom to that because [of] quality - you're paying for something. So if you're always trying to figure out what they want and figuring out how to get it for them at the lowest possible cost, then I think your chances of succeeding are always going to be better than in an alternative world. If you're trying to protect yourself then you're, yeah, not a good place to be."
SEE THE VIDEO AT WWW.BADTALKS.COM
Chelsea Smith at United Marble emailed me to say the photos taken by Anastasia Sierra, really captured the tone of the evening. Here are a few more snaps...