Builder’s Corner

“BY THE WORK, ONE KNOWS THE WORKMEN.” – Jean De La Fontaine

You have elected to build a new custom home in the exclusive neighborhood of Cordillera Ranch, and you’ve done so because this neighborhood offers ‘understated elegance’ with the some of the finest resort style living that Texas has to offer. When you decide to begin the construction of your new residence, you want to ensure that the same level of quality, elegance and luxury amenities are present in your new home. How do you achieve timeless elegance and workmanship that will last for years to come, and how do you do it all at the best investment for your dollar, are both very important questions. The answers to those questions can be found by carefully selecting a builder that is focused on high levels of quality and workmanship and has the proper procedures in place to ensure their execution.

A custom home is a major financial investment, and when building a new home one of the most important questions can be, “How can I best guarantee that the money I am investing is well spent?” As a preferred custom builder in Cordillera Ranch, I feel that one of the best ways to maximize your investment dollars is by focusing on the quality and workmanship provided by your builder.  One of my favorite analogies involves the basic production of a car. If you have decided to invest in a Mercedes, would you hire GMC to build it for you? This is not to imply that GMC is not capable of putting a car together for you, and doing a very decent job, but that is not what GMC is expected to do every day. GMC does not have the same quality expectations as Mercedes for a Mercedes luxury product, and it is not likely that you would get the return on your investment when you tried to sell it. Even if while GMC assembles it for you they also include additional Mercedes’ parts, to make it look like a Mercedes, it is still not a genuine Mercedes. The same can be said of building a custom home. Investing in a home which was not built with the highest level of quality and workmanship will also not see a future return on the dollars spent.

Quality and fine craftsmanship do not just happen by chance. It takes years of experience and strict attention to detail to ensure that a house is delivered on time and within budget without compromising or skipping corners throughout the building process. Quality control procedures set up within the builder’s company are a critical part of ensuring those processes are adhered to throughout every phase of construction as true quality must begin with the foundation of the home and continue through the building of the home’s structure. It is the parts, or ‘bones’, of the house that you do not see that should be rigidly inspected during each phase of construction.  Once these ‘bones’ are covered up, it is much more difficult to go back and correct errors that become visible once drywall, paint and tile have been installed.

All builders have different processes when it comes to quality assurance, but not all builders are equal in viewing the critical importance of these processes starting with the very forms that will help mold the foundation for your new home. Building in Cordillera Ranch means that you will not have any inspections done by city or county officials so it is extremely important that you discuss with your builder what internal inspection procedures they have in place for each phase of construction, starting with the site prep and foundation and carrying on through to the finish-out. Questions regarding trade partners used in constructing the home should also be asked.  For instance, you may inquire as to whether the trade partners also have quality control procedures established within their own company, and if they have discussed them with the builder. Are regular meetings held for training and education of the builder’s staff and trade partners, and do they approach each project together as a team instead of independent entities?

Both of these items are crucial elements for executing the best quality custom home possible. The work that each trade contributes to a home overlaps and affects other phases of construction. Working together as a team results in better communication, less errors and generating of a seamless product and building experience. Continued education ensures that a builder is not only exploring new and innovative products that can be used in your home, but that they are also doing a continual examination of their current building methods. Methods, which if left unexamined, can lead to inefficiencies or damages in your new home. Dead space above windows or in corners from framing and insulating can leak valuable energy dollars, inefficient blocking can lead to future costly drywall repairs, and the builder not properly inspecting the roof for correct waterproofing and flashing can have a devastating result. All of these items take little time and money to address while the house is under construction, but they can all be very costly once the house has been completed. A quality-conscious builder should be willing to look at their own methods of construction and constantly search for areas of improvement. No builder is perfect, but we can strive to come as close to perfection as possible in the construction of your new home.

An additional quality assurance option for a customer is the hiring of an independent inspector to periodically audit the construction of your new home. Our particular company philosophy is one that welcomes and encourages clients to hire independent inspectors if they wish to do so. We feel that it is a relatively small cost that can offer piece of mind and alleviate stress during the building process for the client. A quality custom home builder that is confident in their building practices should not have any difficulties in coordinating with the inspector and addressing any of their concerns. An outside inspector affords the builder an extra set of eyes on the home and offers an opportunity to address additional issues that may have been missed during previous quality inspections. When dealing with an inspector it is important to realize that they will find items that need to be addressed by the builder. After all, that is what you are paying them to do, and as I said earlier, builders are not perfect. This should not be a reason for alarm. It is quite possible that the builder had those items on a quality list, and they had not yet been addressed, or that the builder had not yet had a chance to address those items during a specific phase of construction. What is important is how the builder addresses those issues found, communicates with you about them and interacts with the inspector. Both the builder and the client need to remember that the objective in hiring of an independent inspector is to increase the overall quality of the home and offer additional piece of mind and in doing so, they will reap the highest benefits.

So the moral to the story is this, a new custom home can be a major investment, but there are ways that you can lower the risk of that investment and help guarantee that in years to come your new home will always exhibit the timeless elegance that you wished for.  High levels of quality and workmanship do not always come with the least expensive price tag, but they often prove to save money, and headaches, in the long run. Hiring a builder that has taken the time to implement quality control procedures in their business practices and also performs critical quality inspections during the construction process will always result in a better product, which should leave you with a home you can enjoy for generations to come.

As a Preferred Builder in Cordillera Ranch for the last nine years, I am readily available to answer any questions that you may have about the importance of quality and workmanship, and I can be reached at 210.669.8265 or at RStadler@satx.rr.com at your convenience. I would also encourage people to visit our website at www.StadlerCustomHomes.com for a list of questions you can ask when interviewing builders about their quality control procedures so that you can make sure to make the most of your investment dollars in your new custom home.

Best Wishes,
Ray Stadler
Owner, Stadler Custom Homes

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