No matter what size builder you are, mapping the construction process translates to best results and happy customers
Image: courtesy Loudermilk Homes
Every homebuilder knows the pain and horror of discovering a mistake or missed step during pre-construction that halts a job in its tracks. A permit wasn’t pulled. A clear title wasn’t validated. Soil tests were not validated. The right materials weren’t procured. These errors can cost thousands of dollars and delay projects by days or weeks, not to mention lost time and productivity, resulting in lower return on investment and frustration by everyone involved.
We minimize these mistakes with a detailed process flow chart, mapped back to a pre-construction slot schedule per project, which serves as a checklist and roadmap for every home we build. It helps us keep schedules and budgets more precise than ever before, and protects our profit margins. It also brings transparency and accountability to every phase of every project. Our entire team can visually see the flow of information in a graphical way, and everything is on a single chart so everyone understands why the task is critical for the slot schedule.
Big builders have been doing this for years. But smaller custom builders and tract builders haven’t adopted these disciplines, and many of them simply wing it during pre-construction. Perhaps they are lulled into thinking it’s not as important as the construction itself—but we think it’s every bit as important. A well-mapped pre-construction plan with a robustly detailed job start package that contains every selection being installed into the home makes the actual building process faster and more precise than ever before.
Our mistakes and errors have been dramatically reduced because there’s constant backstopping and validation that all prior steps have been completed properly before a new step can begin. If there’s a hiccup, such as a client rejecting exterior selections, we pause and go back until that step is approved and completed. We also bring more transparency to the process with our Loudermilk Connect app that is customized for each homebuyer and has a live video stream, work logs, real-time schedule and budget updates and the ability to approve and sign change orders or other documents on any touch screen device.
Our dedication to following a rigorous process has roots in my previous career as a consultant at IBM, when my team worked on projects including the “Home of the Future” installation at Epcot Center. We couldn’t have completed those intense, multi-team collaborative projects without a meticulous process, and it made me a believer in the power of a good process.
Most of our clients have no concept of the lengths we’re going to behind the scenes—the dozens of internal meetings, phone calls and conversations we have as we follow our pre-construction process. They just know that their homes are being delivered with the highest quality of custom craftsmanship, and that no major snags or setbacks interrupted the process of building a perfect home. We think that’s exactly how it should be.