There are a fair number of guys around here that this will resonate
When I went to work for my first GC as a Carpenter's Helper, he had
his own electrician, his own plumber, his own block and stucco guy,
his own carpenters - all this was in-house. Little did I know that I
was observing the death of that way of building homes.
As carpenters we were there from the setting of the batter boards to
the turnover of the keys to the owner. Sometimes we participated in
the site work.
As carpenters we did the layout and participated in the concrete
flatwork. If there were concrete stairs, we formed them. We framed,
we roofed, we guttered and downspouted, and we sheetrocked, we hung
doors and trimmed. We also painted. We put the windows in, and the
floors, and the stairs, and the kitchen cabinets, and we laid the tile
or stone in the entry. If there were to be bookcases - we made them -
Shortly after this sweet indoctrination (which I have been eternally
grateful for) the model of how to build houses changed.
The builder went from being a man who had worked himself up through
the trades to being a guy with a phone and a fancy car.
He hired subcontractors for everything and had almost nobody on his
There was some tension there for awhile as the old line guys tried to
explain why their way was better.
But the numbers ruled.
Why did the guys with the cars and phonebooks win?
Under the old way of doing things you could not dodge your
responsibility because every dodge showed up in the next step and you
would have to deal with it - or one of your fellow employess would.
This kept things honest and true.
Did the old way build better houses? You bet your ass it did.
Could an old timey builder compete in the current market?
Customers want their square feet. They have never been raised to
understand the quality involved in a righteous home.
They want their square feet.
I'm not complaining all that much. I've made a pretty good living in
the past by trimming out million dollar plus houses the way they
should have been trimmed in the first place.
But the system sucks.