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Time, Quality and Cost



Build it fast and good. Build it fast and cheap. Build it good and cheap.

Project managers have long fought the triangle of fast, good and cheap. Owners generally want to achieve all three, but two out of three is all you get – unless you plan.The time, cost , quality paradigm has been around since the first caveman remodeled the first cave. It went something like this:

The first change order, “Hey cavemason, move that rock over there – no over there”.

Next the first blown schedule, “Aren’t you done yet – this should have been done yesterday.

Then quality was addressed, “I don’t like that rough rock, go down to the river and get a smooth one”.

Finally cost was negotiated, “That deer hide isn’t going to cut it anymore, I want the sabertooth tiger skin.


From these mistakes we find it essential to formulate some guidelines for all involved at the design phase of any project. From the small backyard project to the most complex space mission these variables need to be defined and addressed at every decision. From our perspective quality is not open for discussion. It is our reputation and your job. The lingering feeling well after a job is completed is from the quality of the job. This is both in design and execution. Timelines and costs are forgotten, but quality will always be remembered. Time and cost are now our variables. If time is the driving factor in a project it needs to be defined up front. I have done many restaurants and clubs and never missed an opening day. But this was not without sacrifice. It either cost more in overtime or was lacking in quality. There are horror stories of contractors disappearing from peoples jobs, but this is the exception. Distinguish between getting it done fast and not being ignored. Liquidated damages (time penalties) have their place in the commercial and industrial world, but not in residential construction. There are too many changes, selections and custom ordered material in a residential job. Homeowners think with their hearts as much as their heads. This is not bad, it just is. A reasonable timeline with a little padding for the unexpected should be acknowledged at the onset. From our experience it is better to have good communication with the homeowner than abandon a job or use inefficient manpower. An experienced contractor can also know when a delay is in the best interest of the project. Cost is the budget. Budgets need to be well though out and padded at least 5-10% for the unknown. We pride ourselves for not being budget breakers. Here homeowners are often their worst enemies. A little shopping before the design phase will help here. Getting the costs for your tastes can be done in an afternoon. Exact selections do not need to be made here as they usually change if made this early. You can walk into a plumbing fixture showroom or tile store and see what price range works for your project and your tastes. Going into the design phase with these defined will help give a realistic budget to the job. We start developing budgets from the first conversation with prospective clients. As designs develop we update and review budgets regularly.

Planning the big three thoroughly and early are keys to the success of your project.

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