EP 33 | Owner’s Representation and Project Management in Custom Home Building with ‘The Zen Builder’ Ed Earl

Apr 28, 2023

In this episode:

Join us for this insightful conversation with Ed Earl, the Zen Builder, as we explore why residential construction projects can be so emotional and the role of project management and owner’s representation in creating beautiful homes that meet the needs of homeowners. Ed and Curtis share their insights into the challenges that homeowners and builders face during these projects, including stress, and decision-making. They explore the importance of trust in the process and of course discuss the season’s theme of costs, including what drives the costs of project management. An owner’s representative acts as an advocate for a homeowner with no conflict of interest in the project, and is truly something that may benefit the success of a project and reduce stress.

Don’t miss out on this engaging and informative conversation!

About our Guest: Ed Earl is a professional advisor with over 30 years of experience in luxury home construction and remodels. With an MBA from Stanford University, he skillfully manages all phases of the construction process while providing guidance and advice to homeowners. He utilizes a state-of-the-art cloud-based management system to ensure that quality, cost, and schedule objectives are met, and has earned the nickname ‘The Zen Builder’ due to his sustainable design and green building techniques. Ed is also a nationally recognized speaker and business coach, working with residential contractors to improve interactions with homeowners and reduce drama with their clients.

Guest: Ed Earl aka ‘The Zen Builder’
Business Title: 
Principal / Owner’s Rep & Construction Coach
Priority 1 Projects, Zen Builder Construction
Website: https://www.priorityoneprojectmanagement.com/
Bonus: Accompanying every episode are show notes with links to guest speakers and other helpful sites mentioned in the podcast.

How to get in touch: Please let us know what questions you have and we will address those on our final episode of the season, Episode 34. You may email us at info@yourprojectshepherd.com.

Be sure to follow and subscribe

We are happy to share that we are available to listen/subscribe on these channels: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, and YouTube!

Full Transcript

CURTIS:    Ed Earl, thank you so much for joining me today on your project. Shepherd podcast. Great to have you.

ED:   Well, it’s great to be here, Curtis. Thank you so much for inviting me. I enjoyed meeting you at my presentation last year with Hughes and I’m excited to be on your show.

CURTIS:    Yeah. So, like you said, we met a few months back. You were here in Houston speaking at a builder’s association event and, you know, afterwards, we were able to chat and that I got briefly to know about what you do and at that time, I knew I wanted to have you on the podcast. So I’m super excited to have you here.  That presentation that you did at the Builders Association was the topic was that Zen building and you’re kind of known as the Zen Builder, which I think is a really interesting name and there’s a backstory there. So why don’t you share with share with us what that’s all about.

ED:   Sure. Yeah. Well, I’ve actually been a practitioner of Zen Buddhism for about twenty years I’ve studied under a Zen master named Thich Nhat Hanh and he actually just passed away last year and originally from Vietnam and has monasteries all over the world, including one here in San Diego. I was actually asked to be the owner’s rep for the construction of a nunnery at the monastery. So it was a very enlightening experience. Right? Because usually, my clients are, you know, very wealthy individuals building estate homes or doing very complex multimillion dollar remodels and instead, my clients were, you know, this group a very centered, very mindful monastics, who really had a different view on the construction process success and the project themselves and all of that really helped me to really understand and gain a better perspective on the construction process and I think it really comes down to the fact that the homeowner and the builder have such different perspectives and experiences and knowledge about the construction project. That’s where I think most of the issues that arise in a construction project are due to those differences and perspectives and by working with the monastics and Thich Nhat Hanh organization really helped me to see that and so really, it was out of that process that I then became a public speaker. I was on the speech and debate team in college and did a bunch of speaking back then, but I thought when I went into construction that there really wouldn’t be much of an opportunity for me to be a public speaker, but it was out of that experience that I had that I started giving presentations to various construction organizations about how to reduce conflict in the construction process, how to build trust, how to reduce the drama that often occurs. So that’s the topics that I speak on in my presentations and was the subject of the presentation that you saw there at the custom builders’ organization in Houston there.

CURTIS:    So what are the most common reasons that there is conflict to construction projects? What do you see the most often? Yeah.

ED:    Well, I think the biggest component is the emotional component and that’s something that I think the builders don’t appreciate or understand, and even the homeowners don’t. So I’m also a business coach and I work with a couple of colleagues, one of which is David Lupberger.  David Lupberger has written this book called Managing the Emotional Homeowner and I think it’s such an informative piece both for contractors as well as for homeowners and in there, he has this chart where he tracks the emotions that a homeowner is going to experience during a home construction project and I love that. I give it to all of my clients actually. I just had a new client last week and I sent her that roller coaster chart. She wrote back and said, okay, I’m going to fasten my seat belt, you know and so that’s the component.  The issue is that you know, the projects that we’re working on are people’s homes and this is for most people, their most valuable possession, and it’s also their most important possession. Right? It’s where they raise their family and it’s where they call their home, it’s their nest egg and so for all of those reasons, every decision that they make in regard to either building a new home or remodeling their existing one as additional emotional weight. Because of that, right? That’s something that the homeowner often doesn’t understand. “I’m so stressed about these decisions. I don’t know why?” Well, it’s very different than if you were making these decisions for something else, you know and builders don’t see it that way. They oftentimes can’t appreciate that emotional side Right? For them, it’s just a a project. It’s got to get done. It’s got to get done on budget and on time and they don’t appreciate that emotional component and they don’t have the compassion to really understand what their clients are going through in making all these decisions.

CURTIS:    Yeah. For you and I, it’s just another day at the office. We do multiple of every single year and for them, this might be the only time of their life they do this or maybe twice. So their lifetime, they might go through the process of building a home. So yeah. Emotions just run super high.  I think that you can prepare people. I had the same chart. I’ve seen it call different things. I’ve seen it call the emotional roller coaster or the funk chart. Or different things and I love that chart and I think that you can try to prepare people for that but until you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to understand and sometimes people forget that you prepared them for that. Right? So because you have to refer back and say, hey, you know, on this chart that I gave you, here’s where we are now. So, you know, this is this is expected. I kind of prepared you for this. Right? Yeah.


ED:   And I think, you know, another thing too, I think, you know, HDTV and the home makeover shows have really kind of done a disservice for homeowners because they simplify the process. Right? And they make it seem like it’s so quick and so easy. In reality, it’s neither. Right? It takes a lot of time and it’s not that easy and there’s mistakes that are going to be made along the way, you know. By both sides, by the builder, and by the homeowner and of course, they never dwell on those in that.  But I mean, I know personally, we’re actually going through we’re in the design stages of doing a home remodel here and we hired our design build firm nine months ago and we’ve totally changed our design a couple of times and, you know, and for various reasons. But I understand this process and I keep telling my wife, look, you know, just it’s okay. This is part of it. We got to take, you know, a long time to get it right in the design stages before we really start that construction. We don’t know what’s going on. I mean, we were looking at ideas last night. She had a great idea, really. She got on to Zillow, and she looked at other homes in our neighborhood, right, that were built by the same builder, and she went into their sales listings and oh, look at they took a while out here or they they’ve added this, look where they go, move their refrigerator and so we got a lot of really great ideas from that and that’s, I think, the process, the planning process, and the amount of time that it takes. Another thing that I really emphasize with my homeowner clients as well, is to be patient and take time. Originally, our project was going to be part of it was going to be a granny flat for my mother who, my dad, father, just passed away recently, and she was going to move in with us. It’s like, we got to get this done. We got to get it done. Mom has got to move in with us. Well, now we’ve changed that and actually mom is moved into a senior living community and that’s, you know, kind of remove that that time deadline that we had and I feel like the design process is going to go so much better because we don’t have that deadline anymore.


CURTIS:    Yeah. It’s always interesting to be to be in the process as on the other side, you know, we’ve done the same thing. You know, we our kitchen and a couple of rooms in our home and being on the flip side of that is always an eye-opening experience and it actually helps you to understand what the what the customer is going through.

ED:   It does.

CURTIS:   So one of the things that you and I both do that we have in common is where both owners’ representatives. So your company Priority 1 Projects, I think that you that you that you actually call it a project manager, but project manager owners’ representative kind of the same thing. Right? Yeah. So for our viewers and listeners who don’t know what an owner’s rep is or does, why don’t you give us a brief explanation?

ED:   Sure. I will. The reason I use project manager is because people don’t know what an owner’s rep is. Most people don’t, you know, I started on the commercial side of construction and owners’ reps are very common in the commercial side, but on the residential side, not so much. I think they’re as important, if not more important on the residential side. But so the but kind of my elevator pitch of the way that I the way I describe what I do is that I’m a professional adviser hire by homeowners that are either building a custom home or doing a high end remodel and I help them assemble their team select their architect, their builder, their interior designer, and put that team together, and then I communicate, coordinate, and integrate between all of the people involved in the construction process on that team to help to smooth out that construction process and have the objective of bringing it in on budget and on time, but more important than that I feel, is to really reduce the stress level and to make sure that the client really gets what they want. Because I think that’s really those two objectives of reducing stress and them getting really what they want. Are more important than bringing it in on budget and on time.

CURTIS:   Right. That’s a great explanation.  I like to say that everybody that’s involved in the process, the architect, the builder, the interior designer, everyone kind of has their own agenda. Even if they’re great partners in the people that we work with, they’re great partners. But at the end of the day, really, everybody is watching out for themselves. They have their own agenda. Maybe the architecture designer, their agenda is they want to get it in the magazine, or they want to, you know, make sure that their design aesthetic is kept to, and the builder is understandably concerned about his bottom-line, and he wants something that he can put on his website. Right? So everyone kind of has their own agenda, and somebody has to be the one that’s there that’s looking out for the homeowner, especially if it’s somebody that hasn’t been through the process and again, most people haven’t or somebody that’s just really busy that doesn’t have the time to be really engaged in the in the project or they still have that level of knowledge. So I like to say that, you know, we stand in place for the homeowner and the project, and we become them for purposes of the project. So oftentimes, we’re the only one who is really beholden to the homeowner or the only one who’s really watching out for them. Right?

ED:   That’s a great point and that’s exactly right, Curtis. Yeah. Everyone does have their own interests and for good reason, you know and they’re not always in alignment with the homeowner and so the homeowner really needs that advocate, that owner’s rep to be the one person in that in that room in those round table discussions that that’s looking out for the homeowner’s best interest.


CURTIS:   Yeah, I think people tend to say, well, if I if I hire a good builder, why do I need an owner’s rep? Yeah and, I mean, that’s a great argument and, you know what, not every project needs it. If it’s a smaller build or maybe below a certain threshold, maybe it’s not a necessary expense. The bigger, the more complex the project is, I think the more it’s necessary or even on smaller projects, if it’s just something that you don’t have time to be involved in personally, right. Maybe you maybe you own a business or you’re just busy with work or you have a lot of family commitments, and you don’t have the time to put into being on the site or kind of communicating with all the parties that have to be communicated with, that’s when you need an owner’s rep.

ED:  Exactly right. Yep. Yeah. I’ve done I’ve done some, you know, fairly small projects for some very, you know, busy successful people and, you know, but they look at how much their time is worth and they go, we’ll look at, you know, I read much try to pay you, you know, for every hour that I pay you, you’re saving me in two hours. So I’m ahead of the ahead of the game and so, yeah, I’ve done, you know, even just a kitchen remodel before for someone that that really gets that and understands, yeah, hey, I’m super busy. I just want someone to take care of all this stuff for me.

CURTIS:   So well, and I’m not sure about you, but, like, we even offer hourly services. So if it’s a project where somebody doesn’t feel like they need us or want us engaged in the whole thing, we can even offer as kind of some key checkpoints. So maybe before the contract, we’re, like, reviewing some specifications and documents and during construction. We have a kind of key quality assurance checkpoint. So we’re going to come by the job site, do a walk through, check out the plans, and so it’s kind of it is kind of a reduced service, but we’re still there checking it at key points to make sure that your interests are being looked out for. So that’s something that I offer. I’m not sure if you do the same thing.

ED:   Yeah. I actually charge an hourly for all of my services. For I just I just realized that every project is so different, and it was just really hard to kind of know in advance and be able to price my services and also, you know, if you charge kind of a percentage of the total cost, then, you know, there’s a little bit a conflict of interest there. I mean, sometimes I will recommend to my clients, you know, I think you should build that guest house, you know, not only what I know about you and everything else, think you’re going to regret it if you don’t do it now and, you know, if in the back of the mind, he goes, well, yeah, of course, because he’s getting, you know, x percentage of that. That’s why he’s telling us to build that. So but, yeah, I do everything on an hourly basis.  I have one client right now who is building a custom home, but he’s super hands on. He literally lives like two blocks away. He’s at the job site every day and we get together once or twice a month for a job site meeting just to kind of touch bases on things and, you know, it’s whatever five, six hours a month kind of thing. It’s a very nominal amount of engagement and then, you know, I’ve got other projects where I’m there almost every day and I just do whatever the client asked me to do. I had one client want me to go out and help them pick their audio equipment. So, you know, we were going to, like, audio showrooms and picking up, you know, all of their equipment. So it just depends.


CURTIS:   Well, so this season of our podcast, we’re talking about, you know, what do things cost? So that’s a great a great segue into that topic. So you mentioned that you charge hourly, you know, as do I and what we do, and you probably do something similar as we’ll kind of think a retainer like an attorney might for a block of hours. So we’ll bill for twenty hours, forty hours depending on the size of the project. We’ll build that block of hours and then as we use the hours, you know, we’ll track those in our time clock, the software and then once that those are used up, we’ll bill for another block of hours and as we approach the as we approach the end of the project, that might be reduced if there’s just a little bit of work left or whatever. But we’re kind of just billing in retainer box as far as what does it cost, you know, it does add a reasonable expense to the project. But again, that can be tailored to what you need us to do. Anyway, do you do a of similar thing?

ED:   Yeah. Very similar. I take a retainer at the beginning, and then I bill hourly I don’t bill in retainer increments. I actually just bill hourly, and then I apply the retainer towards the last. But I think, you know, to the point about cost, I think you have to define what you mean by cost, and I think it’s really important that you look at it not just from a monetary cost. But you have to look at the overall cost and I think the other non-monetary components of cost are really, for most of my clients, the more important and the more valuable. Things like their time, their stress level, their ability to focus on other items, I think all of those are really the most important thing and so if you look at, you know, whatever fee they pay me monetarily, and compare that to what I save them in terms of time and stress and allowing them to focus on their personal and professional lives and all of that stuff. It more than offsets whatever they pay me monetarily.

CURTIS:   Absolutely. Two or three episodes ago on the podcast, we had an attorney on and we were talking about kind of the kind of the cost of when these things go south. The cost of litigation and all that kind of stuff too. So you know, if things were to get to that point, it it’s a whole another world of stress in your life and heartache that by having an owner’s rep involved, hopefully, you can head off that, you know, if things never get to that point because we’re here watching out for you during that process because — Right. — a lot of those, you know, those problems that people have with their projects are unrealistic expectations, poorly defined scopes of work, just get a lack of clarity, a lack of communication and so those are all kind of the things that that we really focus on, you know, hey, what is the scope of work? What is the specification? What are we doing here exactly? Then make sure that you’re getting that. You know, we hold the builder, the subcontractors, accountable for producing what they have committed to providing to you. So by having us make sure that happens, hopefully, it never gets to that point. Of the heartache of having to go the litigation route in the project.

ED:   Yep. Yep. That’s very true.  I think another thing too that’s really important, that and a role that I play is putting that team together from the very beginning. Right? There’s the old kind of the old model, I call it, the military approach to construction where they hire an architect, they design the plans, then they go out and get three bids from three different general contractors and know, the architect gives the plans to the contractor. The contractor gives the marching orders to the subs and it’s this kind of op down, you know, situation where what I really like to do is to build that team from the very beginning. Right? So maybe you start with the architect, but within the same month, you’re also having discussions and hiring your builder at the same time. So you have your architect, your builder, your interior designer, me as the owner’s rep altogether as a team from the very beginning. So from the very beginning, we’re designing to a budget and not just where if an architect has no budget, they just designed to a concept in invariably, I’m sure Curtis is, you know, most, you know, projects that are designed by architects without any input from the rest of the team end up costing way more than what the client expected or or can afford.

CURTIS:    Yep. Absolutely. That’s the best way to approach it. We that’s something that we’ve talked about many times on this on this podcast is building that team from the very beginning.  It’s I think unusual for people to think of hiring an owner’s rep who’s then going to choose the team and we’re not going to choose the team blindly. We’re still going to involve our client in that process. But here in Houston, I know most of the architects in town. I know most of the good builders in town are kind of in my network. So I’m sure it’s the same in in Southern California where you’re at and so, you know, we kind of know those personalities and we know, hey, you know, this this is probably the right guy for this project, maybe based on personality or maybe based on he’s done this type of project before. But, you know, we kind of have that knowledge of what’s in the marketplace to help you make a good decision to put your team together. Right?

ED:   Right. Exactly. Yep. That’s very true and then I think, too, because of, you know, your reputation and connections in Houston mine in Southern California, it also raises the level of accountability to the project. Right? Because if the homeowner just goes and hires the builder and the builder doesn’t end up doing a good job well, then he’s not going to get any recommendations from that homeowner, obviously. But if he messes up when he’s working with you or with me, he knows that, you know, we’re frequently recommending builders and talking to lots of people in the industry. So he’s, you know, got more of an incentive to really perform than if he was just working individually for went home on it.

CURTIS:   Exactly.  In the presentation that you did at the HBA, one of the things that you talked about was what are what types of clients are kind of the I hate to use the word nightmare clients on something here for us to homeowners, but yeah. What are the types of people who tend to have the hardest time in a construction in a construction environment? Yeah. Maybe what kind of people shouldn’t go through this process.

ED:   Right. Yeah. That’s great. That’s a good way to put it and that is it’s I call them difficult clients, but they’re it’s not only that they’re difficult to work with, but they have a difficult time in working through a construction project. Number one on my list is engineers. You know, there’s lots of different people that you could argue with. But engineers, I think, are really a unique breed, my son is an engineer. So I don’t understand, you know.

CURTIS:    My wife’s an engineer.

ED:   Yeah, and the thing with engineers is, you know, they’re super-size thinkers and they think very rationally and logically, and they want everything to kind of be causally related. Right? So this happens and then this and then this and the thing is that in a construction project, it doesn’t work that way. There’s lots of uncertainties and unpredictable things in a construction project and those things are harder for engineers to understand and to deal with.  I think another thing too is that, you know, engineers are used to kind of having a lot of knowledge or being able to get the knowledge and figure things out. I tell the stories that I did in that presentation that you saw where I saw this guy walk by and I was like, yeah, I could just tell he was an engineer and then I say, well, just because he was wearing this shirt. Right? And the shirt says, “Of course, I know I’m right. I’m an engineer.” You know? So that’s the way it is with engineers, and I think, too, even if engineers, oftentimes, they’re in construction. Right? They might be a structural engineer or, you know, mechanical engineer and so they go, oh, I’m in construction. I understand that. But oftentimes they’re engineers in commercial construction and it goes back to what I said earlier about the emotional component. So they’re not used to dealing with the emotional component of a construction project. I show this picture of an engineer designing a bridge, and I say, yeah, sure it’s easy for him to design this bridge, but imagine if he had to work with his wife and decide what color he had to paint the bridge, that would be a different story. Right? So, yeah, so that’s why I think engineers are difficult.  Another thing that was actually brought to me when I gave this presentation to a NAREIT group in Minneapolis a few years back. One guy raised his hand. He said, I I’ve had this engineered client and he said, the problem is, that if you think about what engineers do for a living, they’re always reengineering things. Right? They’re always trying to make things better. They’re always trying to re-engineering things, and he did the same thing with my project. He was always changing things. He said I had so many change orders from this engineer because he was always, oh, I thought of this. Let’s do this. Let’s do that and so I think that that can be another big factor.  The last one I think when dealing with engineers is for them to really understand and appreciate And I always tell my builders to explain their projects this way that they really aren’t building a prototype and that I think really helps an engineer to understand the uncertainties and unpredictability in a residential construction project. You know, let’s say they’ve hired a builder to kitchen remodel or to remodel their kitchen and they go, oh, gosh, this guy’s got a hundred kitchens before, you know, this isn’t a prototype. Well, it actually is because he’s never built this exact kitchen before. Maybe even if he’s done your neighbor that’s got the same, you know, model in the track that he’s redone this kitchen, but he’s never worked with you before. So that’s what really makes it a prototype.  Also the fact that, you know, in construction, it’s not like a cell phone, right, where, you know, Apple puts up an iOS and there’s all these bugs in it and then they fix all the bugs and then they push up a new one, you know, a few days later. Construction project, you can’t do that. Right? You have one chance to get it right and that really changes it as well, and that’s what also makes it a component of being a being a prototype. So for all of those reasons, that’s why I put engineers at the top of my list for difficult clients.

CURTIS:    Here in our market, we deal with a lot of engineers that big oil and gas markets we get a lot of petroleum engineers, chemical engineers, all that kind of thing and they’re not involved in in residential construction at all, but it’s the same mentality.  I think in those situations, whether you’re a whether you were an engineer watching this or whether you’re a builder watching this, I think that it’s a great example of why having an owner’s rep in the kind of in the middle of you is a great thing. You know, we’re not going to stop engineers from wanting to build houses nor should we? We’re not going to stop builders from having engineers as clients. But I think both parties can greatly benefit from having an owner’s rep. It’s kind of a middleman to manage the emotions of the process and just helps set expectations. I wish many times in the past when I had into your clients, so that kind of had somebody in the middle there to kind of set the tone for both parties.  I think I think on your list, the other one that you had that was a kind of a common problem client was attorneys. Right?

ED:   Yes.

CURTIS:    I have actually always had good experiences with attorneys and maybe I would just have been lucky. I think that most of the attorneys that I’ve worked with have kind of had the attitude of you know, if something goes wrong, I’ll just sue you. Right. The attorneys tend to read their contract even less than anyone. I the attorney reads the contract way less than an engineer does.

ED:   Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah. That’s true.  A great attorney story I had when I was given the presentation one time. This builder came up to me after words he said, have this great story. He said, you know, “I had my attorney draft my construction contract.” Right? And he said, “you know, a few years later, he contacted me and wanted me to do a remodel for him. So, you know, I filled my contract out and sent David to him and he came back to me. He’s like, I’m not going to sign this thing. I’ve got some clauses in here I have problems with, and the builder is like, you wrote the darn thing.”  Come on. What do you mean? You know? So, yeah, so that’s funny.  I think another thing too, and I talk about this kind of humorous part of my presentation, is about the fact that, you know, there’s this stereotype of residential builders as being dishonest. Right? And so that’s, you know, a myth that has really been propagated in television shows and television commercials and I play a couple of commercials and talk about this TV shows. While, you know, it’s really more of a, I think, myth and I call it that, but it’s a reality for many people. Right? Because they see these stories about these rip off contractors, and so they have this inherent mistrust of the construction industry and if you think about what an attorney is paid to do, they’re paid to not trust people. To go, okay, well, what would happen if something went wrong? So I think in one way, they have that kind of subconscious conversation in the back of their mind because their, you know, prior to just part of our culture is that, you know, the dishonest contractor and so I think it then makes it harder for attorneys to develop that trust and that’s another thing I say in my presentation, right, that as a as a business coach, the contractors, I’ll ask my contractor coaching clients what’s the first and most important thing that you need to build in your construction project and I’ll say, you know, it’s not the foundation or the framing. It’s trust and trust is really the key to every construction project.  Until you have built a level of trust with your client, you’re not going to have a successful construction project and I think that trust component is another big issue for attorney clients as well.

CURTIS:    Yeah. There are very I don’t want to say any, but there are very few contractors out there who go into a project saying, I’m going to screw somebody, or this is going to go badly. I think everyone, for the most part, goes into the project wanting a successful project.  Things tend to go off the rails when trust is lost and not regained or when expectations aren’t met. I’m not sure if you do this, but I get hired here to kind of help work with troubled projects to get them back on, you know, back on track. Unfortunately, people don’t think they need an owner’s rep until they die and then it’s too late sometimes.

ED:   Right.

CURTIS:    I got a call the other day not last week to help with a project that’s already in litigation. I said, it’s too late. You’re already way past that point.

ED:   Exactly.

CURTIS:    Again, that’s a great a great reason to hire an owner’s rep Early in the process. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t wait until it’s off the rails because we can only do so much. Once trust is lost, it’s really hard to regain and sometimes we are able to kind of get the parties back together. If the project is close to being finished, we can kind of get the parties separated and get things done and kind of off the books, but it’s way better if we can be involved in the very beginning.

ED:   Absolutely. Yep. I feel the same way, Curtis. I won’t take on, you know, projects that are already in litigation because like you said, it’s just too far gone and ideally, you know, I love to be brought in at the beginning and be able to build that team that I talked about earlier. But I’m unfortunately, you know, probably half of my jobs I’ve brought in after that and I have a job right now that I’m doing where, you know, that that my client, you know, hired an architect who kind of drew this great design and then couldn’t make it happen and then hired a second one and then hired a builder and by the time he brought me in, the builder had already been at it for almost a year and still with kind of no idea of when this thing was going to be completed or how much it was going to what was going to cost and so I was able to come in and help to add some structure and organization to it and, you know, I’m a big proponent of cloud based construction project management systems and have been for years, and and I always talk about them in my presentations. But this is a perfect example where, you know, this was a kind of old school builder. He wasn’t using a cloud-based system. You know, really didn’t he didn’t have a schedule. He had no schedule and so I, you know, went in and we brought in builder trend and, you know, put a project schedule together in a budget and so now we have some documentation and accountability there, and we’re doing much better and making progress with the project.

CURTIS:    Yep.  Even if the builder has, you know, BuilderTrend or Co-Construct, a cloud-based software, oftentimes, well, that most of the time not everyone is using it. Yeah. The builders are using it, but you still have you still have the architect and the designer and the engineer and the homeowner who may not be buying into that as well. So sometimes, you know, we, you know, we separate from the builder. If he has his software, sometimes we’re even setting up our own projects. Schedule that’s got a little bit higher level than just the build schedule to help manage and to get buy in from every from all the parties to make sure that everyone’s kind of seeing that or just a tool that we can use to manage it if the builders maybe not doing the right way or staying on top of it. So right. Well, I think that’s about all I have today, Ed. I really appreciate you being with us.

ED:   It’s been fantastic. Like I said ever since I met you. I wanted to have you on and you’re the first owner’s rep that I’ve had as a guest on the podcast and that’s something that I’ve been looking forward to ever since we started because really this whole podcast ever since I started was kind of building to the point of you really need an owner’s rep and so it’s great to have you on and to have your explanation of what you do and I hope that helps people understand what our role in this in their project can be.

ED:   Exactly, Curtis and I really appreciate what you’re doing because I think that’s the biggest challenge that we face as owners’ reps is that people don’t know we exist. They don’t understand the need that they have for that and so I think that your podcast is really doing a great job of educating the our potential clients, the homeowners, about the importance of having an owner’s rep and how much that we can do to really be able to save, you know, not just money, but more importantly, time and stress and everything else that it takes to undertake a residential construction project.

CURTIS:    Well, thanks again, Ed, and thank you everybody for watching this episode of the Your Project Shepherd Podcast and just remember that every project has to be built like the simple child’s drawing of a house that you’ll see here on the screen. The foundation is proper planning. The left wall is your team. The right wall is communication, and the roof protecting it all is proper execution. Have all four of those components in place, and your project will be solid. Thanks, and we’ll see you next time.