Sunday, June 3, 2012

Downsizing of general contractors is having a negative effect on custom homes and the home owner experience

Downsizing in custom home companies is having a negative effect on customer experience.

In the past calendar year there have been many changes to the construction industry. What started out looking very promising in the residential custom home market has turned out to be a bit of a disappointment.

This trend didn’t start in 2012; it actually started in the fall of 2011 and has continued into 2012.

Overall there seems to be less building and renovating as a whole in the market today. Fears of Europe’s collapse and the continued sluggish economy in the United States seems to be fueling fears across the border. People have taken up the position of waiting till next year to see what is going to happen.

This trend is forcing general contractors to scale back their operations in an effort to lower their overhead.

The upside to companies attempting to lower their overhead is that they are able to offer their services for a reduced price to perspective clients looking to build or renovate. The down side to this is that they will be offering less service to those clients.

With less service, clients will have to be more selective when they hire a general contractor. Today’s clients are increasingly more demanding and require a lot more communication then they ever needed or wanted before. If a client picks a builder that cannot offer them the service they require then the experience of having a custom home built could be an overly stressful one. When there isn’t enough communication between client and builder things get missed and costs can rise. This is a no win situation for everyone involved.

Downsizing of general contractors has seen them turn to an ever growing sub-contractor market. Sub-contractors are cheaper to hire then having your own employee’s and require their own insurance. The big problem with the usage of more and more sub-contractors is the loss of productivity and quality. When you are dealing with “subs” you have to work around their schedule, this schedule doesn’t always work with yours. Certain trades should not be “subbed” out but are in an effort to save money and lower overhead.

Carpenters are now starting to be hired as sub contractors instead of full time employees. Carpenters are the one trade that has the ability to oversee an entire project. They are the best way and the simplest way to keep quality high and production moving at its proper pace. Without that carpenter onsite a lot of things can easily be missed which will cost the homeowner more money in the long run.

There has also been a significant code change in the Ontario building code in 2012. This new code change is creating a great many problems for general contractors who do not have the staff or carpenters to learn the new regulations or take the proper courses. Only when they have the government building inspectors onsite to do an inspection are they learning about the mistakes that they have made. This is costing homeowners money and costing the general contractor delays. With the downsizing of general contractors more things are going to be missed because of the evolving building code.

When you are looking for a general contractor to build your home be careful that they have enough staff too adequately help you and support you. Communication is the best way for you to get your custom home built in the time, budget, quality and style that you want.

If you are looking for a general contractor with the support staff to handle all of your needs check out our website at

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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