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How to build your house and not die trying

First, building a project should not be an adventure nor a «challenge,» and if so, the matter does not look very good. I concluded that it is essential to have discipline and a lot of ethics. It will be necessary to have something more than commitment or passion.

There is never enough budget, not even when we go to the supermarket or the cinema. What would be very bad is that the final result does not meet your expectations lest the film was not as good as expected, or the trip was a fiasco.

Ideally, if you invest money, it amazes you, nourishes you well, and entertains you. We all hope that, in the end, the credits are well deserved.

My dear colleague Olivier told me: «having a beer with my clients after finishing their house is a privilege. Being calm and sleeping peacefully, and able to see him on the street and greet him as a close friend» is wonderful.

Well, what wise teaching, what a time saver. I should have known him years ago, only now we have a few glasses of wine now and then.

The bigger the dream, the more important the team, and I have learned to count on trustworthy and good people, who have helped me and taught me many things, supported me, shared, and entrusted their businesses. I don’t owe them, I admire them every day, and I know they will be there for our clients for a long time.

We don’t train people; we make them part of the organization; we don’t teach the team to be nice; we only hire nice people!

Taking care of money, yes, but taking care of the people who take care of your money is more important; that’s why trying to have a deep respect for mutual values, allows us to communicate better.

Papers and more papers to build a project, sometimes it’s tiring. Maybe there is too much paperwork, but I can’t imagine a book without a prologue, the bible without Genesis, or a calendar without September. There is a process, a protocol, a formalization, and, as they say here in TIQUICIA (Costa Rica), a piece of paper speaks!!

«Difficult terrain, easy terrain» reminds me of a famous book; it is more expensive to design and build on easy terrain since you assume that everything is resolved. Therefore, there is no prudence with expenses. It is not easier to build on rugged terrain, but at least you pay attention to money more intelligently.

Unforeseen, unforeseen, and more unforeseen, that’s like working with the client’s credit card. If it’s not in our minds, they don’t exist. I recommend simply not having it.

The most expensive thing in construction is not the materials, it is not the finishes, nor the electrical – well, the latter is – much less the exterior works; it is the personnel, the payroll, and the people who work on the projects. Until there are robots that build houses, people will be here, and they must be reimbursed ethically and responsibly. Sacrificing an ENTIRE project to lower labor costs is like going on a tour to see whales, and the captain is Gilligan.

That the storms hit, yes, but hopefully they don’t hit the budget; that the sun burns, yes; and that the plan doesn’t dry out; that price go up, yes, but that our egos don’t go up, that the wind blows hard, yes. Hopefully, it does not affect our relationships; in the end, it is just work and business. Above all, we are human beings with flaws and limitations, and that empathy is the umbrella that protects us from the water and the sun; that umbrella flies with the wind and makes us laugh from time to time.

Thank you all.

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