Quinn Creek mid-October update is about details and understanding craftsmanship
One of the greatest challenges in designing and building new homes is: How do “we” as designers come up with a design that is recognized by all that work on it throughout the project as worth putting their thought and care into? We, at Greenovision, believe that there are a number of factors from the beginning that set this in motion. For one, the site itself is a source of inspiration. In some cases like, Quinn Creek, this is simple- the environment is absolutely beautiful. This environment inspires those who work here, well, at least when its not cold, rainy, or windy.
2. Keep the design clean. This makes it easy for all that work on the project to maintain a thorough and civilized workmanship.
3. Have a good attitude when we visit the site. This joyful spirit usually is contagious.
4. Keep everyone involved throughout the process. In this picture, we have the homeowner, the excavator, and the roofers all together.
5. Encourage craft through understanding. Too many designers don’t do this, but it is mandatory in our opinion. Talk to those involved in the construction. Ask what they like about the design and most importantly, what could have been better about it. This cross pollinates into everyone feeling not only appreciated, but also as experts at what they do. We have learned a lot from the subcontractors and will implement their suggestions to help improve future designs.
6. Understand details. When designers don’t fully understand their own product, they lose credibility with the construction team.
This is an example of what we mean… This is a construction site, yet it as clean as a whistle. The insulation team caught the spirit of the job site!
A beautiful place to work!
7. Give the subcontractors enough room to work. This plumbing wall could have been a nightmare for Marc if we didn’t provide him adequate wall space to work his thorough and meticulous craft. Again, ask the subcontractors questions. When we asked Marc if he was happy with the space he had to work in, he mentioned that the tightness of the craft that occurred before him made his life easier. Marc did mention one issue that he had difficulty with and we we able to quickly address this before the construction advanced any further.
Example of Mike, the heating specialist’s, well organized layout. This, again, is accomplished by giving subcontractors adequate space to work their magic.
8. Allow subcontractors to have interpretation of design. This exterior siding job shows that the spirit of the design was understood and then elaborated on. The windows were designed to have a rhythm. What was not designed were all of the outlet and light fixture block-outs. The builders took the spirit of the design and integrated this rhythm into what could have been a mess. This creative interpretation should be encouraged as it elevates not only craftsmanship, but also the spirit of creativity which is often ‘not allowed’ by some designers.
9. Understand and eliminate unnecessary complexity. Most roofs of today are a nightmare for subcontractors to work on because they have extraneous hips, valleys, ridges, and intersections. This roof juncture is about as complex as this roof-scape is. This encourages clean and simple execution by the metal workers, making for a tight product. Designers need to ask themselves, “Is this necessary? Who will enjoy this? Will this cost more? And most importantly, Will the subcontractor hate this detail?”
The spirit of keeping things neat.
Details that often are not understood by designers create installation nightmares. This tectonic structural tie down was given adequate space in the framing plan to be installed. Framers need to be considered in what they can and can’t do.
Modern homes, in order to meet high energy efficiency standards, need thoroughness in execution. Here you have wall plate and stud junctures caulked appropriately, which reduces unwanted air and moisture infiltration. Even though this site is located where it doesn’t have to be code compliant, the workmanship of the insulators continues common sense and thorough sealing application.
10. Think ahead. This window detail with a cedar frame that the metal trim butts up to, considers future window replacement. All too often designers don’t think about what it means to have to make replacement simple and possible in the future. With this detail, the windows can be removed without touching the siding. The siding will outlast the windows!
11. Lastly, use materials that are beautiful and durable. This promotes better craft and workmanship because all involved know that what they install or build will be there for a long time if they do their job correctly. This eliminates a sense of futility that contractors feel and experience when they are knowingly installing ‘junk’ materials or 15-20 year exterior products. Unfortunately, the use of low-quality materials has become rampant in the design and construction of new homes. Greenovision advocates the use of long lasting, low maintenance, and highly insulated exteriors. Spend the money on the building envelope initially and not on expensive counter tops and fixtures. Those interior products can be simply remodeled out over time. Remodeling the exterior, on the other hand, is not only risky, but expensive.