Revise Contracts After the Sales Models

            Every housing construction project is slightly different, and it is difficult to anticipate and cover every activity in the subcontracts. Some items are missed on the plans, some changes are made to the houses by the company owners or the interior design/marketing department, and some things are determined to be unnecessary and thus dropped.

            All these changes generate paperwork for the jobsite superintendent because they are not covered in the contracts and people must be paid for their work.

            After the sales models are complete, and during the purchasing stage prior to the start of the first phase of the production units for large projects, the subcontracts should be revised to include changes and extra work added to the construction so that the additional paperwork does not carry through the entire project.

            If the amount of extra work-order paperwork, time-and-material monitoring, and accounting are kept to the absolute minimum, the jobsite superintendent can then be out in the field running the construction rather than stuck in the trailer filling-out paperwork. 

Resolve Questions During Models Phase

            The construction of the sales models should be used as a trial-run to identify and solve problems before starting construction of the production units.  The sales model construction is the time to investigate and solve design, scheduling, and coordination problems.

            Equally important is the cooperation of the city building inspectors in anticipating and identifying building code and engineering questions on the plans. 

            The builder should encourage the raising of any questions and issues the inspector may have during the construction of the four or five sales models, so that these are resolved once the construction starts on the 50, 100, or 200 production units.

            The builder should take the lead and encourage the debugging of the models through the use of requests for information (RFIs) to the architect and structural engineer, constructability analysis of the plans, and the input of the city building inspector.

            If the builder instead rushes through the sales model construction to get into the start of the production units, any unresolved problems only multiply over several units rather than a single sales model floor plan. 

            If unresolved problems still exist in the plans, a change of building inspectors midway through the production units only exposes some latent/hidden issue that could and should have been identified and resolved earlier during the sales model construction.

            The production schedule can then be held up resolving problems on several repeating units, sometimes affecting several trades…creating a ripple effect of debugging part-way through the production phase rather than problem resolution confined to a single sales model unit.

            Finally, for multi-unit production tract housing and condominiums, changes to the sales models in terms of problems identification and resolution, and owner’s changes to the floor plans should be memorialized in revised sets of plans re-submitted to the city or county plan checking department.

            These revised plans reflect the changes and corrections before the production phase begins. 

            Some cities and counties will not allow the production construction to begin until revised plans are complete, so that their inspectors are looking at the revised plans rather than old plans plus a number of architectural or engineering field memos or “cut-sheets.”

            Old, outdated plans plus addendums, cut-sheets, and memos get to be too confusing for the building construction and the building inspectors to follow.

Install a Panic Button in the Sales Models Office

            When the project sales office has a security system, it is a good practice for the builder to have a panic button connected to the security system on the land-line telephone so the salesperson can summon help quicker than dialing 911 on their smart phone.

            Some new housing projects are located out in the middle of uninhabited areas, and sales offices are open for business during weekends until 5 or 6 PM.

            When a lone female salesperson is working the sales office, the secluded conditions of the location place that person at risk.

            When a button on the telephone can set-off the security alarm and summon the police to the project, the salesperson can quickly call for help if a problem develops, using the panic button or their smart phone whichever is faster in terms of accessibility.

Collect Samples for the Sales Office

            For multi-unit tract housing and condominiums, one of the things the builder should orchestrate during the construction of the sales models is the collection of finish materials to be featured on display within the sales office.

            Such items as door casing, detailed baseboard, bull-nose drywall cornerbead, bathroom sinks with the plumbing fixtures installed, doorknob hardware, and other featured materials are sometimes mounted on display boards by the interior designer and placed within the sales office as a sales tool.

            Consider this activity item with the sales department and the interior designer before the start of the construction, so these materials can be procured from the various vendors and subcontractors in a timely manner.

            Pre-planning is better than coming up with this idea as an afterthought, then rushing to get these materials to the interior designer in time for the sales office grand opening.

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