Decision Bottleneck for Builder’s Interior Design

            For the high-end homebuilder doing a combination of custom homes having a homebuyer client, and spec-houses (short for completed homes built on the speculation they will attract a buyer), there exists the downside of the single decision-maker at the top of the company becoming a decision bottleneck.

            For the small-sized custom-home and spec builder of a few houses per year, this is not usually a problem. 

            It stands to reason that the owner atop of the homebuilding company makes the aesthetic/artistic decisions regarding the myriad of small and large architectural and interior decision decisions, in coordination with the architect and clients as the case may require.

            This decision-making function affects the bottom-line economics for each individual project and thus the success and solvency of the company.

            However, when the size of the successful homebuilding company expands it can reach a point where decisions that are repetitive should be standardized so as to minimize the number of individual decisions to a manageable quantity.  Otherwise, the single decision-maker at the top of the company can quickly become a bottleneck of unaddressed lingering questions and issues that adversely affect the construction schedule.

            This is best done in the proactive mode, long before a crisis in leadership and time-management emerges.

            For example, if a medium high-end homebuilder always uses as standard a 3-1/2”  wide casing around interior doors and windows, and often has wood paneling wainscot from the floor to mid-way up the walls in various hallways and rooms, then the wall-framing returns at each rough door opening should universally be understood to be a minimum of six inches.  This should be the standard on every project, whether or not this is called-out on the plans. 

            Six inches minus 5/8” for the thickness of drywall leaves enough space for the door casing and wall wainscot…wood or ceramic tile. 

            For the door casing to fit without it having to be cut to a narrower width, this standard knowledge regarding the rough framing around interior door openings must be repeated on project after project without ever having to ask the question. 

            The exception would be in the case where the homebuyer requests larger width casing, or the high price of a particular house requires an upgrade in the width and detail of the door casing.

            For a kitchen floor plan layout that is repeated every third or fourth house, for example, dimensions from the kitchen-sink wall to an island cabinet should be standardized, so that the plumber and the electrician already know where to come up through the concrete slab with their pipes and conduit.

            If the kitchens all have pot-fillers (water pipe coming out of the wall with swivel arms and a handle-valve for adding water to pots and pans directly at the kitchen range-top) above the kitchen ranges, the height in inches above the rough floor elevation for these pot-fillers should be standardized.

            In secondary bathrooms, the location, size, and dimension in inches above the rough floor for the shampoo niche rough framed opening, should be standardized. 

            In secondary bathrooms, the layout and dimensioning of the various valves for the bathtubs and showers should be standardized. 

            The width and the length of the inside dimensions of the minimum-sized secondary bath should be standardized, so that a 2’-8” doors opening in front of a toilet does not hit the toilet. 

            The height of sconce lights and the top of mirrors in secondary baths should also be standardized.

            These and fifty other things can be standardized long before a successful homebuilder grows to the point that the decision-maker at the top of the company becomes an information bottleneck, answering the same repetitive questions over and over.        

Author: Barton Jahn

I worked in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have eight Christian books self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on more books on building construction.

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