Owners sometimes make the joke that the current project is the only project they want their contractor, engineer, designer or architect to be working on at a time. While we understand this desire to be the only one that matters, it’s just not possible. This won’t be our only job or our last job, and we always try to take the long term view.
The long term view is also the owner’s point of view, which is the viewpoint we always take at Stone Development Group. It makes sense to us for many reasons, but oftentimes others involved in the construction process take on a different point of view.
For example, a general contractor may set up the system to bring people in and out as fast as possible to result in a good project at a good price. His focus is getting to the final check. Not that he’s not doing a great job or putting other people’s interests ahead of his, but his focus is a little bit different.
Subcontractors focus on a specific point of work or their specific scope of work. They have to get in and out, coordinate with other subs, work with general contractor and suppliers, then they’re out and onto their next job. They may be doing a great job, but at the end of the day, the concrete sub could care less about the acoustical ceiling tile and the lumen count of the light fixtures. They want the project to be successful, of course, but they don’t touch every aspect, so it’s not that important to them.
Architects and engineers typically have a different point of view as well. They design a project within a specific budget, and many times they are done before the contractor starts. Most of their manpower goes in up front, so, unless they are tasked with oversight, what happens after that isn’t typically a huge concern.
The owner’s point of view encompasses all of this. They deal with everything, including money, cash flow and financing. They go through the design process and work with contractors and subs. Once the work is complete, they deal with closing and commissioning. Then they have to actually run the facility.
They have to look at things differently, especially when it comes to operational costs vs. capital costs. A concrete parking lot costs much more up front, but has less in maintenance cost. On the other hand, asphalt is less expensive up front, but it has higher cost for maintenance. There are a lot of those trade offs throughout the whole project that the owners have to address in addition to return on investment.
These are big decisions, so when we take the owner’s point of view, it means that we are on their side. We are looking at things differently with the goal of helping them make the best decisions possible. We are owners on a few of our projects, so we choose to be the kind of contractor we would want if we didn’t self-perform. This may not be our only project, but we treat all of them like they are the most important.