‘Who’s the best builder?’… If only we had a dollar for every time we were asked this! Our answer is always the same: The success of your build is hugely dependent on your Site Supervisor. Their integrity, their communication skills and their commitment to quality are vital to the outcome of your build. While it is not possible to name the ‘best’ builder, we can highlight the important qualities that set good and bad Supervisors apart.
Up until the physical work starts on your block, you will have been dealing with a salesperson and a client representative. Things may be going smoothly, and you may be pleased and excited with the progress of your building journey so far. Then your project is handed over to construction. Depending on your builder, you may have a ‘Stage 1’ or ‘Base Stage’ Supervisor who manages the project until the slab is poured, then the ‘Stage 2’ Supervisor takes over.
If you’re using a volume builder, it is unlikely that the actual Registered Builder (the person who guarantees the build) will visit your site, so it is up to the Supervisor to manage your project. Your Site Supervisor’s role is to ensure your home is built safely, on time and to all quality standards. They may oversee 20 or more construction projects at a time spread across an entire region. It is a fast-paced role with a great deal of responsibility. They schedule the building works, order materials, manage trades and supervise the works as well as liaising with you every step of the way. Their days are spent problem solving, travelling from site to site along with some time in the office. There is no denying it is a demanding job and the phone never stops ringing.
As with any role, there are Supervisors who are diligent, passionate and go above and beyond to deliver the best outcome, and others who are disorganised, careless and poor at communicating. Even between regions, the Supervisors and quality of the same brand can change significantly. Such a large, stressful workload can make it difficult to be across everything 100% of the time and it can also lead to Supervisors moving around to different builders frequently. A completed new build we recently inspected had six different Supervisors throughout the process! This meant that each new Supervisor inherited the mistakes, problems and trades of their predecessor, as well as the bitter taste that the unfortunate owner had in their mouth.
Our tips for a good relationship with your Site Supervisor:
- Clear and open communication is paramount.
- Schedule site meetings during their working hours.
- Be patient but firm when required. They are likely to be looking after a number of projects so may not be available to get back to you immediately.
- Explain the things that are important to you.
- If you do notice a problem, although it can be difficult – stick to the facts and take the emotion out of your problem. A calm approach is more likely to convert to a positive result.
- Get any promises in writing. If meeting on site, follow up the meeting with an email… ‘As discussed with you this afternoon….’ to reiterate what was discussed.
- Engage an independent company to conduct Quality Assurance inspections at each stage.
- Trust your instinct from the get-go! If communication is poor or the Supervisor is not meeting the deliverables laid out during the sales process, flag it with your Client Representative and request the Construction Manager’s involvement.
How we maintain a positive and respectful working relationship with our clients’ Supervisors:
- We have a professional and facts-based approach at all times.
- We never have an ‘us’ against ‘them’ mentality, instead we try to work together to get the best possible outcome for our mutual client.
- Our easy to follow reports makes it simple for trades to locate items and action them.
- Our reports are generally sent the same day so there is no hold up to work.
- Being local means we often cross paths with the same Supervisors – this works to everyone’s advantage as they know what to expect with our inspection and report. We have even some Site Supervisors recommending us to their friends and family, a big compliment!
While you can hope that you get a ‘good’ Supervisor assigned to your project and that they stick around for the duration of your build, our advice is: be proactive, not reactive. Engage an independent building consultant from the very beginning to conduct stage-by-stage building inspections and ensure you have an expert on your side from start to finish.
Want more information?
Speak to our friendly team about your build. Call Manse Group today.