Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Presenting .... Mark, the Builder or ... Project Manager

Anyone with a little boy knows Bob the Builder.

Well, when we re-built, we used Mark Patterson, of Patterson Homes. "Mark, the Builder" as we called him with our little guy.

Mark is a builder of a different sort ... I'll get to those details in a minute.
When the fire happened and we realized we were going to build a brand new home - the husband immdiately knew who he wanted to work with and how he wanted to do it.
We met Mark early days - before we even had plans - and he got us going on things to think about. Disconnecting hydro, removing water metres, securing the site for demolition. Mark has helped tear down a lot of houses - and he guided us through the whole process.

He has renovated several good friends' homes to rave reviews, including some of the Husband's favourite real estate clients who bought a home in our neighbourhood - and completely gutted and renovated it.

Check out Mark's website here. He's got some great shots of the house on there. (Taken by a great photographer, Paul Ting)

The difference for us with Mark was his approach. He calls it "personal building" and it's also called a "project management approach". In a nutshell, the homeowner serves as the technical builder of the home; while Mark serves as the project manager/overseer. He works closely with you on scheduling, hiring and supervising trades and suppliers, on-site supervision, and problem solving. What we liked was that we "held the pen" on the budget, and worked hand in hand with Mark on the execution of the project.

This is different from a "fixed price" contractor - to whom you give over your wad of cash, and then they manage and execute your project - including paying everyone who needs to be paid and buying what needs to be bought.

We are experienced renovators who have always done projects ourselves - in some cases, literally. In other cases, we've managed and executed some of the work. (Again, this is often the proverbial "we"...) I do most of the design, selection, finishes, vision ... with lots of painting, scraping and clean up experience. I also serve as a handy assistant and am excellent at "holding things". The Husband is one of those Handy Guys (I am very lucky this way...) who takes it all on - over the years, he has learned A LOT about renovating and building.

When it came time to build our home - we knew we would be heavily involved. That's just the way we roll.

So by using a project manager/personal builder - we would co-build the house. And that's what we did.

As a result, when time allowed, the Husband served as the regular on site supervisor, doing a lot of the problem solving and making decisions as required. He also worked in partnership with Mark on selecting and scheduling the trades, suppliers. We were heavily involved in the process, every step of the way, handling some areas completely ourselves.

It worked well.

We finished this project (relatively) on budget and on time. We accomplished a 3000 sq ft. new home build in seven months, in a downtown neighbourhood, fraught with logistic issues.
Mark was there for guidance, to stick handle any issues, as a voice of reason at times and as a negotiator. We learned a lot from him. He is very calm, and has contacts that are the best in the business.
In fact, Mark was very inspriational to us ... but more on that in the next post.

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