For the high-end homebuilder doing a combination of custom homes having a homebuyer client, and “spec” houses (short for homes built on the speculation they will attract a buyer)…and having an in-house interior designer or design group of two or more people…the inevitable and almost universal challenge will arise…of the single decision-maker at the top of the company becoming a decision bottleneck.
For the small-sized custom-home and spec builder this is not usually a big problem. It stands to reason that the owner atop of the homebuilding company makes the aesthetic/artistic decisions regarding the myriad of small and large architectural and interior decision decisions…in coordination with the architect and clients as the case may require…that affect the bottom-line economics for each individual project and thus the success and solvency of the company.
However, when the size of the successful homebuilding company expands…it can reach a point where decisions that are repetitive should be standardized so as to minimize the number of individual decisions to a manageable quantity…otherwise the single decision-maker at the top of the company can quickly become a bottleneck of unaddressed lingering questions and issues that adversely affect the construction schedule.
This is best done in the proactive mode…long before a crisis emerges.
For example, if a medium high-end homebuilder always uses as standard a 3-1/2 inch wide casing around interior doors and windows…and often has wood paneling wainscot from the floor to mid-way up the walls in various hallways and rooms…then the wall-framing returns at each rough door opening should be a minimum of six inches whether or not this is called out on the plans. Six inches minus 5/8-inch for the thickness of drywall leaves enough space for the door casing and wall wainscot…wood or ceramic tile…for the door casing to fit without it have be cut to a narrower width. This should be standard knowledge in the field…repeated on project after project without having to ask the question…except in the exceptional cases where the homebuyer or the house itself requires larger width casing.
For a kitchen floor plan layout that is repeated every third or fourth house…the dimensions from the kitchen sink wall and from the kitchen range wall…to the repetitive sized island cabinet… should be standardized…so that the plumber and the electrician already know where to come up through the concrete slab with their pipes and conduit.
If the kitchens all have potfillers (water pipe coming out of the wall with swivel arms and a handle-valve for adding water to pots and pans directly at the kitchen range top) above the kitchen ranges…the height in inches above the rough floor elevation should be standardized.
In secondary bathrooms, the location, size, and dimension in inches above the rough floor for the shampoo niche rough framed opening…should be standardized. The layout and dimensioning of the various valves for the bathtubs and showers should be standardized. The width and the length of the inside dimensions of the minimum sized secondary bath should be standardized…so that a 2’-8” doors opening in front of a toilet does not hit the toilet. The height of sconce lights and the top of mirrors in secondary baths should also be standardized.
These and twenty-five other things can be standardized long before a successful homebuilder grows to the point that the decision-maker at the top of the company becomes an information bottleneck.