If there is one thing that is constant, it’s change. After 50 years in the construction world, I would strongly agree.
The biggest change in the last 50 years is the Quality of homes. It’s never been higher. Some people comment “they just don’t build them like they used to”, and our response is usually “and that’s a good thing”. Sure, there are some homes that were built really well, but those are the ones that are still standing: most of the ones we knock down are built to old standards, of both durability and performance.
The biggest change in the last 40 years is Government, and the layer of approvals that is constantly increasing. We’ve always required a building permit, but on a recent home that we built we required a total of 9 permits, from 5 agencies.
The biggest change in the last 30 years is Energy. The energy crisis of the 80’s brought everyone’s attention to building homes that were much more energy efficient. This was good: it lowered the annual operating cost of a new home, and it works to preserve our environment. However, as in all new technology, there’s a lot of hype, misinformation, and arguments of isolation. What often gets lost are the core concerns, the “big Rocks” that need to be done right, rather than the bells and whistles that cost a homeowner lots of money with little return.
The biggest change in the last 20 years are Expectations. People now travel the world, both literally and virtually, and see an overwhelming number of options in the style of home, in exterior materials, in flooring, in ensuites, in kitchens, in exterior living spaces, and the list goes on,….and on,….and on. For some this is great, and for others it is a genuine problem, as the decision-making is now much more complex.
And the biggest change in the last 10 years is Complexity. Building a home is a complex process. Navigating all the above changes is not simple, making good decisions is challenging, and the to-do list is getting lengthier all the time. And it’s not getting any easier: will our new homes have sprinkler systems? Will stair treads get longer, thereby adding to the size of our homes? And will our drywall be replaced by powdered-and-applied marble? Will all our roofs have solar collectors? The list of features and finishes is long.
However, the one constant over the last 50 years is the importance of finding good people to work with. It’s always been good to work with good people. People who know you, and are also experts and experienced in their field. People who can provide good references. People you can trust, people who give good advice and build a good home. You will always pay more to work with them, but they are worth every penny, both today and for many years to come.