New Home Price Affects Final Quality Approach

The price range of the new house determines the final approach taken to achieve a quality product.

For high-end luxury new homes the various subcontractors directly related to visual quality…the subcontractors for painting, finish carpentry, finish plumbing, drywall, tile, and flooring…to name a few…will not allow the jobsite superintendent or anyone else to make repairs to their work.  In this price range…these subcontractors obtain work through word-of-mouth referrals based upon their reputation…so they take full ownership over the quality of their finished work.

I once worked as the project manager/onsite superintendent on four multi-million dollar houses in Newport Coast, Southern California.  At the completion of the first house, I asked the painting contractor for a small amount of flat wall paint so that I could do minor touchup myself instead of adding these items to an already massive punchlist for a 10,600 square-foot house.  He humorously told me that I cannot touch his work…even the flat wall painting…which was a departure for me coming from a previous background in tract housing where the sheer volume of the number of houses needing final prep precluded getting the painter to touchup every last smudge on the walls.

The opposite approach is found in the economic low-end of production tract housing and condominiums…where the various subcontractors cannot financially afford to do perfect Steinway or Stradivarius workmanship and still make money.

As a superintendent in this price range I learned that it was easier and less time-consuming…after all of the punchlist repairs were made by the subcontractors…to do final prep repairs myself along with assistant superintendents and customer service staff…in order to aim for zero-item homebuyer walkthroughs.

Newly constructed houses in the middle price ranges require some middle ground mix of subcontractor pickup repairs plus some amount of builder prep-crew final touches to achieve final acceptable quality.

In my opinion, people in building construction who say: “the subcontractors should be able to make their final pickup repairs to produce low-item homebuyer walkthroughs” are leaving out the important qualifying information as to the price range of the houses being discussed.

Final quality is not an apples-to-apples comparison when house prices can range from $200 thousand to $10 million.

Author: Barton Jahn

I worked in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have eight Christian books self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on more books on building construction.

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