It Only Looks Easy

After Hurricane Katrina Brad Pitt (yes, the actor) decided that he would rebuild part of New Orleans. He created a company that would build Eco-friendly homes using state-of-the-art construction materials that would be affordable and hurricane proof. A recent NBC story details the problems that buyers of these homes have had since. Mr. Pitt fell under the spell of Bad Home Builder Mistake Number 1- professional builders make building look easy- it’s not!!

I’m sure Mr. Pitt had consultants and architects helping him. But the hubris of a newbie is apparent in the ensuing problems- there’s reasons why people built using tried and true techniques-and not because they were lazy or stupid or scared of using newer products. Nope. Mr. Pitt fell into the trap that non-builders often fall into-newer isn’t necessarily better. Building any home anywhere is a localized conglomeration of assembling aggregated knowledge of what’s necessary for that location into an actual finished product. What? All homes are local! What works in Anchorage isn’t going to be great in Honolulu. And now, these homes which were the subject of so much fanfare and self-congratulatory Hollywood back-slapping, are falling apart. Basic blocking and tackling-flashing and caulking- have failed. Designs failed. Brad Pitt, as a home builder backing up his product, has failed. No one is returning calls of these buyers, and the office is evidently closed-Mr. Pitt having jetted off to his next save-someone-because-he’s-so-great-campaign.

Why do I care? Because I’ve spent 30+ years honing a craft-learning the science behind my projects, assembling teams of qualified and skilled craftspeople, working on creating an exemplary customer experience for my clients, and here’s another national story about a rip-and-skip builder (sure, a Hollywood fancy one) that tarnishes my industry by being an amateur unable to either build or fix his products properly and absolutely willing to leave his clients hanging. So people that were devastated by Katrina-a natural disaster-were again smacked down by a well-meaning but colossally inadequate and self-serving actor.

As many of my customers know, I distill building processes to really being simple water control. It starts with design, then material selection, construction techniques, finishing skill, quality control and, ultimately, after we’re done, basic maintenance. If the design doesn’t take this into account, the water will go where you don’t want it and make mold. That’s game over. Right from the start. And no amount of editing can make that picture any better.


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