The Construction Office Trailer

            The following group of topics describes my ideas for the construction office trailer and surrounding building site.

            Not everyone will agree financially with these ideas. 

            Some builders might not have the budget to outfit a construction trailer with the office equipment and furniture I recommend. 

            The goal here is to analyze the pros and cons of a good construction office, so that the decisions regarding the construction office trailer can be the result of thoughtful consideration as well as budget constraints.

            A friend of mine builds high-end custom houses in the beach communities of Southern California.  He works alternate Saturdays on his construction projects and often uses this time to secure new business, utilizing the construction office trailer as a selling tool.

            On the weekend, people drive up to his projects, typically large single-family houses under construction, saying that they own a lot around the corner or down the street, and ask questions about his construction company. 

            My friend takes them into the construction trailer and shows these prospective clients framed photographs of past and current projects, 24×36-inch hand-drawn and colored activity-on-node “box” construction schedules, and computer-generated estimating spreadsheets they use to help customers establish budgets and to secure bank construction loan financing.

            The construction trailer has a conference table, comfortable chairs, floor carpeting, bookshelves, a drafting table, an organized plans table, copy/fax machine, laptop computer, and isometric three-dimensional sketches of details pertaining to the construction.

            The interior look and feel of the trailer, combined with the framed photographs and schedules on the walls, leaves the prospective clients with a very good first impression. 

            This approach works very well for his type of work because people thinking about building a new house often drive around the area to look at what is actually being built, rather than going to a builder’s or general contractor’s business office.

            The opportunity to create the right impression and thereby find new business in this case is on the project site, and the construction office trailer plays an important role.

            If daily construction loan interest on large projects amounts to hundreds of dollars, then the construction office trailer should not be something to be economized.

            Instead of looking at the office trailer, furniture, and equipment as overhead costs to be automatically economized, the field office should be looked at as a tool to speed up the construction operation.

            The size of the construction trailer is critical for function as a command center, but some builders think that two or three people can work effectively out of an 8×12 or 8×16 foot trailer.

            A few years ago, I worked as a superintendent on a 282-unit, 22-building condominium project. 

            The size of the construction office trailer was 12×60 feet, with three offices and a plans room. 

            Having previously worked out of the typical 8×12 and 8×16 trailers on other projects for other companies, the luxury of having enough wall space to hang schedules and pickup lists, along with being able to work in a separate office without having random interruptions and attempting to tune-out background conversations as a result of being in a confined space, was a huge benefit toward improved efficiency, time-management, and morale.   

            This book describes management tools such as schedule charts, walks checklists, homebuyer options selections spreadsheets, and cheats sheets.

            All these paper tools require enough wall space to be displayed.  These and other informational aids, such as contact phone number lists and calendars provide information at a glance, thereby saving time and improving efficiency. 

            The typical 8×12 or 8×16 trailer simply does not have enough wall space.

            An archaic mindset of some builders is that by providing an inhospitable and too small office trailer for the field staff, that this will encourage the superintendents to spend more time out in the actual construction site and less time camped-out in the construction trailer.

            This old-fashioned approach backfires at the end of the workday when superintendents need to stay onsite to do paperwork after the tradespeople leave. 

            If the construction office trailer is an uninviting place to work, the superintendents are more apt to leave the project each day when the construction activity concludes.

            In my opinion, the best approach is to provide a construction office trailer that is adequately furnished and equipped to function as a field office.  

Biblical Faith 3

            Does the life-story of Abraham match the analogy that Jesus presents of a seed falling into the ground to die, rising up to produce much fruit?

            Does the postponement of the birth of Isaac the son of promise represent God dangling the desire-of-the-heart out of the reach of Abraham and Sarah for a period of time, for a capricious and ill-intentioned motive, or does utilizing this innately created characteristic in Abraham instead produce the unique context for biblical faith to actualize, to rise-up out of the ground to become a supernaturally created, fruit-bearing tree?

            Does this concept starting with Abraham reside at the pinnacle of moral reasoning, at the very peak of importance in the long expanse of human redemptive history?

            Moving along in the Bible, certainly the life-story of Joseph in Egypt demonstrates over his lifetime the innate, in-built capacity to successfully manage the sheep herding family-business in Canaan. 

            But the series of extraordinary events that leads to Joseph governing the entire nation of Egypt during a great famine, as a Hebrew foreigner, falls outside of not only the human capacity of Joseph to contrive and self-orchestrate, but falls outside of his ability to even imagine ahead of time.

            The information-content that describes the person and life-plan destiny of Joseph, placed inside him like a seed, finds brilliant fulfillment through his God-composed life-script that begins with his innate talents and abilities, tinged with the arrogance of being his father’s favorite son. 

            These innate talents must first fall into the ground and die for a period of time as a servant-slave in Potiphar’s house, and as a falsely accused felon in Pharaoh’s prison, before this divinely composed life-script for Joseph can actualize into concrete reality.

            Moses will not commence the deliverance of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt by killing an Egyptian and hiding his body in the sand.  Moses incorrectly assumed by this action that his Hebrew “brethren” (Acts 7:23-28) would recognize and acknowledge his calling to deliver them from bondage.

            No human power on earth could deliver the Israelites from bondage as slaves in Egypt.

            But at the burning bush, the innate abilities created within Moses, match-up with the God-composed life-script calling for Moses, and he enters into the spectacular and larger-than-life destiny through faith and trust in God and not in himself, that according to Hebrews 11:6 cited above pleases God and benefits a large number of people. 

            Who else in the Bible falls into this same pattern of an information-rich seed first falling into the ground to die before rising out of the ground to become an apple, orange, or avocado tree, to realize their in-built potential?

            Joshua has good reason to fear the heavily fortified, walled cities of the Canaanites that he has been tasked by God to militarily conquer.

            God says to Joshua several times throughout this campaign to conquer the Promised Land: “Fear not, neither be thou dismayed” (Josh. 8:1).

            Yet Joshua and the Israelites have to learn the hard-way on two occasions about the difficulty of the transition from self-sovereignty to God-sovereignty (Josh. 7:3-5, 9:14-15).

            Certainly, David knows intimately about the concept of a seed falling into the ground to die, rising up to become a specific “tree” with a specified purpose and destiny bearing much fruit.

            Even though David is anointed at the age of seventeen by the great prophet Samuel to become the next king in Israel, David somehow understands that he cannot help-out God to fulfill his calling when on two occasions David could have taken the life of King Saul (1 Sam. 24:4-7, 26:8-12).

            It would be safe to say that like Joseph in Pharaoh’s prison three months before God gives the famine dream to Pharaoh, David’s low-point at Ziklag (1 Sam. 30:6) comes at the end of the long process of a seed dying in the ground.

            Both Joseph and David rise-up into their respective destinies having their innate talents and abilities still intact, but now redirected within the narrow gate and the hard way of God-sovereignty (Mt. 7:13-14) to be now able to “bring forth much fruit.”   

            Similar scenarios of seeds falling first into the ground to die can be derived from the stories of Gideon (Jud. 7:2), Ruth (Ruth. 1:16-18), Hannah (1 Sam. 1:15-16), Elijah (1 Ki. 19:10), Jeremiah (Jer. 20:7-9), Esther and Mordecai (Est. 4:16-17), Daniel (Dan. 2:12-18), Ezra (Ezra 4:21-24), Nehemiah (Neh. 1:11), Joseph and Mary (Lk. 2:41-52), John the Baptist (Jn. 3:30), Peter (Lk. 22:61-62), James the half-brother of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:7), the disciples (Mk. 14:50), the early Christian church as a whole (Acts 8:1), the apostle Paul (Acts 9:3-9), and Jesus Christ (Lk. 22:42), to name a few.

            Self-sovereignty is incapable of “bringing forth much fruit” according to autonomous individualism because human beings lack divine foresight and timeless foreknowledge.

            Only God can write the extraordinary and unconventional biblical narrative stories of faith matching the in-built, personal capabilities of the people of faith with callings that have supernatural missions, goals, and outcomes that are only assessable through the biblical faithdescribed in Hebrews 11:1 and 11:6.

            Falling into the ground as a seed to die, picking-up our cross to follow Jesus, entering in at the narrow gate (Mt. 7:13-14), ”hating” this life in terms of “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1Jn. 2:15-16) are the necessary components of making the transition from self-sovereignty to God-sovereignty, in the realm of the kingdom of God where all things are possible.

            In John 15:5 Jesus is recorded as saying: “I am the vine, ye are the branches:  He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

            The supernatural participation of God in the biblical narrative stories of faith that separates-out atheists and agnostics into unbelief, is the very thing that creates the life within the God-composed journey of faith life-scripts.

            The self-sovereignty of going our own way is the wide gate and the broad way of Matthew 7:13-14 that leads to destruction, because on that broad road of self-autonomy God has no opportunity to make the connection between our created abilities and the life-script He has written for us that can bring forth much fruit.

            Self-sovereignty is the way of rebellion and chaos, of thinking our ways are better than God’s ways and is unacceptable in the kingdom of God in a timeless eternity.

            Only faith and trust in God will push through the adversity of falling into the ground as a seed to first have our own will and ideas die, in order for God to raise us up according to our in-built capacity and destiny, to walk with Him through life along a supernatural path that has the unique and individual context to bring forth much fruit as articulated in the brilliant John 12:24-25 verses quoted above.

New Home Price Affects Final Quality Approach

            The price range of the new house determines the final approach taken to achieve a quality product.

            For high-end, luxury new homes the various subcontractors directly related to visual quality…the subcontractors for painting, finish carpentry, finish plumbing, drywall, tile, and flooring…to name a few…will not allow the jobsite superintendent or anyone else to make repairs to their work.  In this price range…these subcontractors obtain work through word-of-mouth referrals based upon their reputation…so they take full ownership over the quality of their finished work.

            I once worked as the project manager/onsite superintendent on four $6.75-12.5 million houses in Newport Coast, Southern California. 

            At the completion of the first house, I asked the painting contractor for a small amount of flat wall paint so that I could do minor touchup myself instead of adding these items to an already massive punch-list I compiled for this 10,600 square-foot house. 

            He humorously told me that I cannot touch his work, even the flat wall painting, which was a departure for me coming from a previous background in tract housing where the sheer volume of the number of houses needing final prep precluded getting the painter to touchup every last smudge on the walls.

            The opposite approach is found in the economic low-end of production tract housing and condominiums, where the various subcontractors cannot financially afford to do perfect Steinway or Stradivarius workmanship and still make money.

            As a jobsite superintendent in this low to medium price-range I learned that it was easier and less time-consuming, after all of the punch-list repairs were made by the subcontractors, to do final prep repairs myself along with assistant superintendents and customer service staff, in order to aim for zero-item homebuyer walkthroughs.

            Newly constructed houses in the slightly higher middle price-ranges require some mix of subcontractor pickup repairs plus some amount of builder prep-crew final touches to achieve final acceptable quality.

            In my opinion, people in building construction who say: “the subcontractors should be able to make their final pickup repairs to produce homebuyer walkthroughs having zero number of itemized complaints” are leaving-out the important qualifying information as to the price-range of the houses being discussed. 

            Final quality is not an apples-to-apples comparison when house prices can range from $200 thousand to $10 million.  

Biblical Faith 2

            I do not think it would be a stretch to infer from the life-script of God’s calling of Abraham to say that the desire to produce a family was a high-priority in the information-package divinely created within the “seed” that describes the person and character of Abraham.

            Abraham has everything…wealth, possessions, servants, and a beautiful wife he loves…but he does not have a family upon arrival in Canaan.

            At the very center of the God-composed life-script for Abraham is a promise of descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth, pinpointing at the outset of his calling a divinely created, in-built desire-of-the-heart for Abraham that is accurately utilized by God in fashioning Abraham to become over time, through a series of divinely crafted events the “father of faith.”

            Yet this same created, innate desire for a normal family-life also produces the context for the problem with Sarah, Hagar, and Ishmael. 

            This sets-up the supreme challenge of faith for Abraham on Mount Moriah (modern day Jerusalem) that may be the most difficult test that any human being has ever been asked of God to face, other than Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb of God two thousand years later at Calvary.

            In other words, God not only crafted the life-script adventure of faith for Abraham, but God as Creator placed within Abraham the unique information-content of being the right “seed” to take this adventure of faith on God’s terms all the way to a successful conclusion, to produce good fruit (Heb. 11:17-19; Rom. 4:3).

            What makes the biblical narrative stories of faith so extraordinary as to validate their divine origin starting with Abraham, is that Abraham’s own ability to produce children of promise through Sarahneeded to fall into the ground to die like a seed in order to rise up as a supernaturally endowed and beneficial life-story. 

            This then rises far above the worldly conventionality of self-produced outcomes through autonomous individualism (Gen. 17:15-19).

            It would appear from the biblical narrative stories of faith that the big-picture, fundamental objective is worldly unconventional to the core.

            The big-picture objective gleaned from the biblical narrative stories of faith examples is not to validate our worth and value according to self-reliant self-achievement (Mk. 8:36) using our created talents and abilities apart from God, but instead to validate an entirely different objective.

            That entirely different objective is to create the unique contexts for biblical faith to actualize into personal relationships between people and God, at the height of our created purpose and destiny.

            Can Abraham produce children on his own within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking, without God’s divine intervention, outside of the promises of God?

            The answer is yes. 

            After the death of Sarah, Abraham took another wife, Keturah, who gave birth to Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.

            We should not forget that Abraham produced Ishmael his first son through Hagar (Gen. 16:15). 

            But we do know from scripture (Gen. 17:19) that Abraham cannot produce Isaac the son of promise, other than through Sarah.

            The three men that visited Abraham and Sarah in the plains of Mamre recorded in Genesis chapter 18, the leader being called Lord by Abraham (I believe this was Jesus the Son of God) confirms for us that in this critical opening scenario introducing the biblical narrative stories of faith, this worldly unconventional and innovative component of God validates His divine participation in the affairs of mankind.

            This is for the highest imaginable reasons.

            The life-story of Abraham does not validate the fact that Abraham is capable of producing a large and happy family-life on his own according to conventional thinking, but instead that God can create the new reality of biblical faith as defined in Hebrews 11:1.

            The life-script for Abraham has a gap in time between the initial calling of Abraham with God’s promise of descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth, and the fulfillment of this promise coming years later, that forms the context for this biblical faith to actualize into real human life experience.

Biblical Faith

            When God created the seeds for apple, orange, peach, and avocado trees…and for corn, wheat, and barley crops…He placed within each unique type of seed the information that would not only grow into large-sized trees and farm fields as far as the eye can see, but would also produce very specific and different kinds of edible fruits and grains.

            John 12:24-25 records the words of Jesus:

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 

25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.                         

            In these verses Jesus introduces a concept that is unique in all of human experience and literary imagination, yet is universally standard within every biblical narrative story of faith.

            This includes His own experience in Gethsemane, at Calvary Hill, and on Resurrection Day.

            There is a pattern that is discernable within the callings of the people of faith in the Bible starting with Abraham’s detailed and highly specific life-script, all the way through to the calling and ministry of the apostle Paul. 

            This pattern authenticates the divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith, but at the same time also provides inspirational guidance as to what Christians today should expect in their callings and mission-plans from God.

            Like the information that is contained within the seed that grows into an apple, orange, or fig tree, God as our Creator knows exactly the precise information He has placed within each and every human being.

            The analogy that Jesus uses in John 12:24 above, of a seed first having to die in the ground in order to emerge as a tree or plant as applied to the people of faith in the biblical narrative stories of faith, reveals to us over the long expanse of human redemptive history different types of people, callings, and missions that match the in-built personalities, capabilities, and characteristics of each specific person.

            This islike the seeds for apple, orange, or avocado trees.

            Like the farmer recognizing and knowing the type of seed they are planting, God knows what He has placed within us to be able to enter successfully into an adventure of faith and to fulfill our unique and singular missions with His assistance along the way.

            One question that is crucial here is how does the apple tree know when it is time to stop growing and begin to produce fruit, to produce apples?

            This information is contained initially in the apple seed, and then in the individual cells of the apple tree.

            The same is true for the born-again Christian today, no matter what is our calling and circumstances.

            One thing that pleases God according to Hebrews 11:6 cited above, is to be able to match-up the innate, in-built capacities He has created within us with a God-composed life-script actualized within the events and circumstances of this present world, for our benefit and for the benefit of other people, through a relationship of mutual trust and faith.

            This dynamic of an adventure of faith is designed by God to last and to endure for eternity.

            This insight of John 12:24-25, universal within every biblical narrative story of faith is so deep it eludes all naturalistic explanations for its origin in the marketplace of ideas. 

            It completely surpasses the reach of the worldly conventionality of humanistic literary imagination.

            This concept is found exclusively in all of literature only in the Bible, actualized in the counterintuitive idea of our worldly conventional ideas dying on our individual crosses, as seeds planted in the ground, alongside Jesus on His cross (Mk. 8:34-35).

            God displaces our self-directed ways with His higher ways and thoughts within a God-composed journey of faith life-script, brilliantly replacing self-sovereignty with God-sovereignty which only God could do.

Projects that Finish Late Lose Money at the Back-End

            Staying with this theme of the management of project costs, one consideration for new housing projects large and small is that construction loan interest becomes larger at the tail-end of the project.

            Construction loan interest costs are fixed monthly expenses which must be paid to avoid a loan going into default.

            They are calculated on the total amount of funds that have been disbursed through the loan, and are therefore a growing unpaid balance until the property is sold and the loan balance is paid off.

            At the beginning of the construction the disbursements out of the construction loan are relatively small compared to the total loan amount, and thus the interest costs are also relatively small. 

            But the vigilant management of time and the sense of urgency in prosecuting the work should never let-up from start to finish, because time gets more expensive as the construction progresses and disbursements accumulate.  

            This is one reason why constructability analysis based upon recorded past lessons-learned is a proactive investment in preventing construction problems that cause delays in time. 

            Unanticipated design and construction problems arise throughout the course of the actual construction can cause work stoppages, which dovetail with other adverse events like bad weather or materials procurement problems.

            Proactive and preventive debugging should be a part of the upfront analysis in terms of minimizing loan interest costs at the tail-end of the project, or equally important the inflated costs of jobsite congestion of workforces to accelerate the work to catch up on the schedule.

            Paying two or three months of loan interest costs at the end of the project for a high-end luxury house that has a loan balance of several million dollars outstanding because the structural plans had problems requiring re-design and resubmittal to the city/county for plan check, part-way into the construction, is a difficult financial pill to swallow.

            The same concept applies to tract housing, custom homes, and apartment projects.  Time is money, whether in construction loan interest or lost rental income, when projects are completed late.

            The point here is to suggest that the value of preventive constructability analysis upfront can be viewed in hindsight as huge when looking back on the costs of a project that finished late. 

            The value of mistake prevention looking forward at the start of a new project is difficult to calculate. 

            How could the avoidance of a future potential problem that was eliminated ahead-of-time, that did not occur, be evaluated in terms of dollars? 

            The idea that diligence and urgency is an approach that should be applied uniformly and universally throughout the duration of a housing construction project from start to finish is a concept that is reinforced by the accelerating accumulation of loan interest costs as the work progresses.          

Note: For builders, architects, interior designers, tradespersons, college professors, and students around the world viewing these construction blogs and videos, go to my You Tube channel at Barton Jahn to see longer videos.

We Cannot Orchestrate a Journey of Faith

            One of the all-time classic themes of the Bible is that the God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts recorded in the biblical narrative stories of faith are beyond our capacity to contrive or to even imagine ahead of time. 

            As the Creator of everything and everyone, God alone knows our individual attributes and abilities, and thus has the singularly unique starting point for crafting life-scripts for an Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul, to name a few of the people of faith in the Bible. 

            Adventures of faith, because of their supernatural origin, stretch people to achieve more than they could have imagined possible. 

            Adventures of faith reveal that God knows us inside and out by the precise matching of our adventure of faith to talents, abilities, and newfound, morally noble characteristics we did not even know ahead of time we possessed. 

            If we could go back in time and interview the people of faith in the Bible, they would tell us unanimously to a person that they initially had no idea they had the innate ability to go as far as God took them, through their individually crafted adventures of faith.

            I think it would be reasonably safe to say that Abraham did not see himself as the future “father of faith” as he walked from the city of Haran toward the land of Canaan (Gen. 17:18). 

            Although Joseph probably had a good sense of his innate leadership talents, it is doubtful that he ever imagined that he would someday become governor of Egypt, while he labored in Potiphar’s house and languished in Pharaoh’s prison. 

            Moses certainly has no way of seeing into the future the great deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, as he tries unsuccessfully to talk God out of the immense calling at the burning bush that Moses now feels he is no longer a qualified candidate for (Ex. 3:11).     

            Gideon objects to God’s calling for him to deliver Israel from the oppressive occupation by the Midianites, saying that he is the least even within his own family (Jud. 3:15).  Gideon then comes-up with his proverbial “fleece-test” to confirm that he correctly understands God’s intentions for him 

            As Ruth the foreigner follows her mother-in-law Naomi back to Naomi’s native country Israel, Ruth has no idea that she will capture the attention and affection of the wealthy, noble, and godly Boaz.  Through her marriage to Boaz, Ruth becomes part of the royal lineage that produced King David and culminated, roughly a thousand years later, in the birth of Jesus Christ the eternal King and Savior.

            Elijah complains to God that he is all alone in his opposition to the evil king Ahab and queen Jezebel (1 Ki. 19:14). 

            Jeremiah protests to God that he is too young to be a prophet (Jer. 1:6). 

            We detect in both Ezra and Nehemiah an underlying, suspenseful trepidation just below the surface in their difficult callings to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, and to rebuild the temple.

            Certainly, Peter is utterly clueless as he goes out of the courtyard of Caiaphas to weep bitterly over his failure to courageously stand by Jesus during His night trial.  Unbeknownst to Peter at the time, standing courageously alongside Jesus would have resulted in Peter needlessly occupying a fourth cross on Calvary the next day. 

            Peter did not realize at the time that the crucifixion of the Son of God for the sins of the world was preordained before the creation of the universe (1 Pet. 1:20), and that Peter’s role at that moment was not to be a martyr for the faith, but to instead be one of the leaders of the early church in Jerusalem. 

            Being the head of the early Christian church and its chief spokesman in Jerusalem amidst intense opposition required a quality of courage and fidelity that Peter painfully discovered in the courtyard of Caiaphas that fateful night, that Peter did not possess on his own without the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8-12).

            Certainly, as Saul/Paul approached the city of Damascus to arrest Christians, he had no idea that he would soon become the foremost champion of the very faith that he started-out opposing with such fearsome persecution. 

            At that precise moment, before the supernatural light of Jesus Christ shined down from heaven upon him, Paul had no idea that he possessed the inner capacity to become the missionary evangelist to the first-century Greco-Roman world.

            Paul could not contemplate ahead of time that he would compose the divinely inspired New Testament letters to the early Christian churches he helped create, that he would develop the love for other people that could write First Corinthians 13:4-8 now famous throughout the modern world, or that he had the innate people skills that could form the intimate relationships revealed in Romans chapter 16.

            All of these people, along with every person of faith recorded in the Bible would testify that the higher plans that God had for them in life stretched them beyond anything they could or would have imagined (Psalm 23).    

            This component of biblical faiththat is a stretch beyond our human ability to contrive or imagine, argues for the divine origin of the Bible. 

            Biblical faith is not armchair philosophy. 

            No human could or would invent it through contemplative imagination.

            The element in the biblical narrative storylines of God displacing our ways with His higher ways is the factual component that entirely excludes all humanistic explanations for the origin of these stories.

            Atheistic critics of Christianity and the Bible today completely miss this biblical faith component in the narrative stories of faith, incorrectly interpreting as myth what in actuality is beyond the inventive imagination of humanistic conventional thinking. 

            The biblical narrative in a modern world inserts an alternate worldview to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking. 

            The biblical narrative offers a new and living way (Heb. 10:20) into human life that contains the guided trajectories of purpose and meaning, in a true way that cannot be orchestrated through worldly conventional normalcy.

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.        

The Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness 2

            The biblical narrative stories of faith, including and especially the life-script for Jesus Christ demonstrate that only God has the complete picture, that only God has all of the information along with timeless foresight and absolute moral goodness.

            Satan was unable to comprehend and to foresee the final outcome of the Passover, of the blood of a lamb applied to the exterior top and sides of the entry doors to the dwellings of the Jews in Egypt (Ex. 12:7).  This effectuated the plague of the “destroyer” death to safely Passover the houses of the “children of Israel in Egypt” (Ex. 12:27), re-enacted by Jews every year thereafter as the Passover celebration for roughly 1,500 years. 

            Satan was unable to grasp and to anticipate the Passover as a foreglimpse of the prime mission of Jesus Christ the Son of God to be that very Passover Lamb of God.

            If Satan had any foresight and advanced knowledge into the true mission-plan of Jesus at the time of the temptation in the wilderness, he would not have wasted one of his temptations on the idea that Jesus of Nazareth would be susceptible, would lower His sights, to the enticing allurement of using worldly power and glory as a shortcut to achieve His destiny. 

            The offer of this worldly conventional means by which to save the world that might presumably tempt Jesus, again clothed as a deceptive half-truth but lacking the complete picture was intended for Jesus to take the quick and easy worldly path to accomplishing His mission.

            Whatever was miscalculated by Satan at that moment in time, the underlying destructive intention was to subordinate Jesus to Satan’s authority (Lk 4:7), the main goal of this temptation in the wilderness.

            To sacrifice His unique role and singular opportunity as the Son of God in a human body, in order to accomplish the saving of the world by taking its repair into His own hands by using the standard, worldly conventional means of political power, glory, and influence, to Satan’s thinking might be appealing to Jesus.

            As a “shot-in-the-dark” this corrupted form of self-sacrifice at the enormous cost of abandoning God-sovereignty, of worshipping Satan as the means to an easier way to save the world, might work at that critically opportune time of the physical weakness of Jesus after fasting in the wilderness (Lk. 4:1-4).

            But Jesus emphatically rejects this tempting proposal put forward by Satan, choosing instead the elevated life-script composed by Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).

            Jesus Christ knows His own life-script calling andmission-plan, because Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God in a human body possesses all of the information ahead-of-time (Lk. 2:49; Mt. 9:6, 9:28, 12:40, 26:53-54; Jn. 18:36-37, 19:10-11), being in direct communion and communication with God the Father at all times (Mt. 11:27; Jn 3:34).  

            The unique life-script for Jesus Christ to become the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for mankind’s sin, elevated and transcendent far above worldly conventional normalcy and thinking, was foreglimpsed in the aborted sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah (Gen. 22:8), was foreglimpsed in the yearly Passover instituted at the time of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt (Ex. 12:1-28), and was foreglimpsed in the brazen serpent lifted up on a pole by Moses during the Exodus (Num. 21:8-9; Jn. 3:14).

            The extraordinary revelation here that illuminates the real truth about God is that Satan at the time of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness was incapable of envisioning and comprehending a higher, transcendent mission-plan for Jesus the divine Son of God, to absorb within Himself the sins of the world.

            Satan cannot rise above his own limited capacity and character, in crafting his temptations for Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and for human beings today.

            This is where God can outpace and out-run Satan, as demonstrated in the biblical narrative stories of faith, and in God-composed journey of faith life-scripts for Spirit-born Christians today.

In-House Interior Design

            One downside of having an in-house interior design person or small group within the office staff for the high-end custom homebuilder is that some of the architectural and all of interior design decisions are managed from within the homebuilding company.

            The homebuilder then owns the myriad of RFI’s (requests for information) which are now internal within the company staff and cannot be “farmed-out” to an outside, independent interior designer “of record” to answer and resolve.

            If not addressed in an organized, systematic, and timely manner these RFI’s internally circulated can quickly snowball into questions and issues that delay the construction operations in the field.

            The standard, arms-length arrangement of owner/architect/general contractor divides up the varied duties, roles, and responsibilities into relatively clear lines of demarcation. 

            Questions from the construction as requests for missing information in the plans and specifications that arise during the course of the construction are handled through RFI’s from the general contractor to the architect and/or structural engineer, for example.

            These RFI’s are then individually monitored for timely response by the general contractor. 

            RFI’s which have not been answered that might adversely affect the construction schedule are communicated to the owner, often during the weekly owner/builder meeting.  The owner then contacts the appropriate design professional regarding the particular question or issue.    

            The point here is that if the owner, being the spec homebuilder and/or custom homebuilder, is the party generating new architectural information by moving walls, changing interior layouts, moving interior doors, etc., and thereby making all of the interior design decisions, then a “circular firing squad” reality is created.

            In this arrangement, the builder would be sending RFI’s to itself, which in practice becomes the reality.

            If RFI’s are by definition always discovered in the reactive mode through questions unearthed during the course of the construction, and these questions belong to the builder rather than to outside consultants such as the architect or interior designer, then the builder generating these questions and problems through their own in-house decisions must have an adequate response mechanism in-place internally to be able to react in a timely manner.  

            The procedure of sending RFI’s to the appropriate design consultant and expecting prompt replies no longer exists for the builder co-opting design decisions through in-house interior designers and owner’s changes. 

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