Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
As part of the baby boom generation, growing up was great because there were so many of us.
|Heather McCune, Editor in Chief
As part of the baby boom generation, growing up was great because there were so many of us. Summers were particularly perfect, for playmates were plentiful. The family next door had four kids and the one across the street had five. My backyard joined lawns with another; in that house were four more kids. If the situation demanded even greater numbers, we could always ring the doorbell of the house at the end of the block -- 10 kids lived there.
This was my summertime gang, and what a group it was. We didn’t have much in the way of organized events to fill our free time -- no day camps, summer school or lessons in this or that. All we had was lots of hours of daylight, acres of green grass, plenty of bats and balls and a passionate desire to waste none of those precious resources indoors or alone.
We invented hundreds of ways to entertain ourselves during our 65 days of freedom. Some came off without a hitch, others not so smoothly. In every pickup baseball game we inevitably hit that moment when a player would yell with indignation:
Thinking back I can’t remember the specific injustice that forced me or one of my cohorts to demand another chance, believing a better outcome would occur if the circumstances had been different. Do over was always saved for those moments when the game was on the line, when the chance to try again could mean the difference between winning and losing.
This trip down memory lane isn’t a result of the warm weather. These memories bubbled up from my subconscious as our editorial team researched and wrote this month’s cover feature on 40 Ways to Build a Better House. Every editor was charged with calling 10 builders and unearthing their very best ideas for building a better house. We talked to CEOs, construction superintendents, manufacturers, vice presidents of operations, construction vice presidents, architects and consultants, to name just a few.
Gathering this information was a kick for all of us. To a person, everyone we interviewed was excited about sharing solutions to common construction problems, new approaches to the age-old ways of home building and their thoughts on how to deliver a home of exceptional value to the buyer. From the massive amount of information collected, we sifted out those nuggets that we felt best-answered PB’s publishing litmus test:
"What will a reader take away from this article that will make his or her business better tomorrow?"
Sifting this information was infinitely harder than gathering it. Each one of us on staff had our own ideas on what tips offered the biggest value to the most readers. We all recognize that the risks inherent in home building are already staggering. Why add to that by trying new materials, pioneering new construction techniques or championing more efficient products?
In answering that question we could come up with only one reason that mattered: because buyers demand it. A consumer’s incentive to select a new home versus a used home rests largely on their faith that today’s building technology surpasses all that came before it. That is your biggest competitive advantage and the one that will make the most difference with buyers.
This fact makes this specific feature remarkable for more than just its content. Each interviewee’s willingness to give of their time, expertise and innovations is a terrific testimony to home building and the people in this industry. Yes, competitive advantages are important in this business. But, in gathering information for this article, not one person refused to participate. No one said, "Forget it. My competition will read this too." Universally, the response was, "Glad to do it. Anything that helps improve our industry and its product."
Your compatriots created for the industry a Do Over list. They’ve helped us help you get it right the first time. This information is your tool and your chance to prevent a problem, offer a solution, deliver more value -- without calling do over.