Over 20 years in the building industry I’ve seen a lot of homes built. Working for large project builders through to custom home builders that only do limited numbers of homes each year I’ve had the opportunity to speak to home buyers on every level. There’s a common theme that runs not only with the people I knew in my early days of my career, but also speaking with so many friends and family along the way. They want one thing in general addressed – communication.
In 1993 I was working for a home building company that was huge. They were ranked the number 1 volume builder in Perth and were building small first home buyer homes through to affordable double storey homes. That business was like a machine, regurgitating homes on a massive scale. I met several clients that built with that builder during my time there and they all complained that no one would tell them what was going on with the building site. The communication was terrible.
Fast forward now to 2011 and for a lot of home builders, the complaint still remains. It’s unbelievable actually that a number of big volume builders haven’t learnt this lesson yet or taken appropriate steps to make a difference. There is also now products on the market which can automate a lot of simple communication, which after discussing this with a number of home owners would actually keep them satisfied. Some software used by a number of home builders digitises all the processes in home building and can automate emails to clients when subcontractors are booked on site, material arrive, certain stages of construction are completed – you name it.
While this may satisfy some clients to an extent, there’s one other main method of communication which clients regard highly. Face to face communication with the site supervisor. Many home builders don’t give out mobile numbers of their supervisors to clients because it can chew up too much time for idle chatter which affects the building progress – and quite simply it’s only a few clients that cause builders to enforce this policy. However, a scheduled face to face meeting on site every fortnight would keep clients happy and make the building progress update simple.
It’s one reason why I really like owner operator builders. They typically meet face to face on a regular basis and it makes a big difference to so many clients. It’s one reason why these custom home builders don’t need display homes because they continue to get word of mouth referrals.
If you’re thinking about building a new home, check to see what type of communication system your chosen builder will be using. Otherwise you could be left in the dark and find that your home building experience might not be as enjoyable as you hoped.