The Right Process

Building a house takes a long time. Building a house is very expensive. Building a house requires a lot of your personal time. Building a house is not without problems. Building a house is stressful. Building a house can be rewarding, enjoyable, ....even fun! The difference is "The Right Process," and the key ingredients are Collaboration, Organization and Planning, Communication and Consistency. We bring this process to all of our assignments, large and small.
Building well is a collaborative effort. No one person builds a house or does a renovation. No one person has all the answers. No one person has all the questions. The best outcomes arise in an environment where input from various sources is encouraged, considered and, when appropriate, utilized. Birchwood Builders promotes such an environment where owner, architect, tradesmen and builder all contribute to this process, with suggestions, questions and ideas. This, in turn, helps improve design, reduce costs and/or improve quality.
Organization and Planning
Construction projects are not managed from the front seat of a truck. Nor are they managed on the back of an envelope or on a yellow legal pad. We utilize a sophisticated, integrated system to manage schedules, specifications, contract administration, checklists, selections tracking, and change orders to ensure our customers are always completely up to date and that work flows smoothly. More important than the systems, however, must be a commitment to adhere to such a process. With a strong business background and organizational orientation, Robert Weinstein, Birchwood Builder's President, is dedicated to establishing and following these critical keys to organization and planning. For example, all changes warranting price adjustments and actual costs versus allowances are immediately reflected in change orders so our customers always know the updated cost of their project. There is no reconciling of outstanding items when the project is completed.
Communication links the participants and the project. Good communication must be timely, thorough and appropriately followed up. Your builder must be available to address questions when needed. Some issues are resolved in a quick phone call--others require written communication-- and both must be sorted out and properly recorded.
Birchwood Builders takes a proactive approach to building. We try to identify as many questions and issues ahead of time as possible, but invariably some issues come up in the field. When this occurs the issues are immediately brought to the attention of the appropriate party, and when possible, along with suggestions to solve the issue.
We strongly recommend that the architect and/or owner and the builder have regularly scheduled periodic meetings at the job site. These meetings coordinate everyone's thinking and ideas, allow a scheduled time for field approvals and trade meetings, help identify existing and potential questions, and help ensure everyone is prepared for the upcoming work and their own deliverables.
Building may seem complicated to some people. We feel it is really an enormous number of interrelated, relatively simple steps, and variations thereof. The required steps in the process, the issues that come up, and their relation to other steps in the process are very similar from job to job. That is why the people who work on the project should be familiar with them and how the builder likes them handled.
Birchwood Builders draws from the same cadre of subcontractors for all of our projects. These subcontractors are somewhat analogous to employees, and just as it wouldn't make sense to hire new employees for each job, it doesn’t make sense to hire new subcontractors on a regular basis. Our subcontractors are seasoned professionals who are experienced working on high-end projects. They also know Birchwood Builders’ methodologies and specifications, and are accustomed to working with each other. This consistency improves the building process. Our cadre of subcontractors and material suppliers does, of course, include alternate sources to ensure good pricing.
Value Engineering
Birchwood Builders takes an approach of providing the best possible value to its clients. This includes a commitment to providing Value Engineering whenever possible along with encouraging Value Engineering input from other sources.
Value Engineering refers to the process of devising different approaches to design, materials and/or installation that can achieve the client’s objectives at a lower cost, or provide greater value at the same cost.
If a house has radiant heat in the basement floor, using the radiant system to heat the garage or to warm tile floors might be less expensive than independent heating systems for these additional areas. If a client is considering the use of wide floor boards because of the irregular appearance of a standard width plain sawn floor, a less expensive narrower quarter sawn strip floor might be acceptable and will cost less money. If a client wants a very large basement, the incremental cost of using the area under the garage (normally unexcavated) may be less than otherwise expected. Similarly, a bump out in the foundation may provide a closet or light well for little additional cost. Want to save $300-400 on your land purchase? Tell the seller you will supply the survey at closing and get a credit. You will eventually need that survey, supplemented with additional information anyway for your building plans.  Unsure if you need to do soil samples prior to construction? A call to the excavator who dug the house next door or the village building inspector may provide you with enough information to omit this usually optional item.
These are just a few examples, not all of which are not unique to Birchwood Builders LLC. However, we will do our best to provide you with as many ideas as possible.