Episode 12: Punch Lists with Steven Deutser of Park Lane Builders

Feb 14, 2023

In this episode:

Brian and Heather have hired an owner’s representative to help with their project after realizing that they need proper guidance. Steven and Curtis discuss the importance of viewing a home as an ecosystem and how everything works together to create a healthy and efficient structure. They also talk about punch lists, good processes, construction management software, and achieving successful results without voiding warranties.

About our Guest: Steven is the President of Park Lane Builders since 2003 and a graduate of New England College. He is certified in the Building Sciences and is an active member of the Greater Houston Builders Association. Park Lane Builders specializes in constructing homes for the Gulf Coast environment and focuses on building healthy, durable, and efficient structures. Steven enjoys educating clients on the importance of considering their homes as an ecosystem that works together symbiotically.

Guest: Steven Deutser
Business Title: President
Company: Park Lane Builders
Website: https://www.parklanebuilders.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 16. You may email us at info@yourprojectshepherd.com.

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Full Transcript


Welcome back to the Your Project Shepherd Construction Podcast. Our last episode ended with Brian and Heather hiring James, their owner’s rep, to oversee the remainder of the build their stress level and Derek’s lack of experience got to be too much. In addition to his full-time job. Brian had taken on the task of overseeing the build himself in his attempt to manage Derek.

Despite his good intentions, he continued to make avoidable, yet costly mistakes. Meanwhile, Heather spent the last four months mostly alone with her toddler and newborn. Despite how much they wanted to finish the build and move into their new home, their plan wasn’t working out. Both Brian and Heather were feeling the very real effects of burnout combined with parenthood.

The final straw came down when Derek had the drywall crew apply a heavy spray texture to the walls. It’s what Derek was used to doing because in his previous job as a production home superintendent, that’s what they always did, and of course, it helped cover up some of those imperfections and framing in the drywall installation. But Heather had always envisioned smooth walls with a level five finish, no texture.

At this point, Vivian, their interior designer, threw her hands in the air and had to walk away. It was simply too much. On her way out, however, she did recommend that Brian and Heather contact James, the owner’s representative. After meeting at his office, Brian and Heather were thoroughly impressed by his professionalism. Even better, he is now taking over all the communications with Derek.

From this point forward, Brian and Heather feel that a shepherd has been sent to guide them and they are happy and relieved to take the burden of managing their build and running their household off their shoulders. From now on, they will function as a team and prioritize their well-being even more than ever before. Fortunately, Vivian agreed to see the design all the way through.

Once James got on board for the past two months, James has been working alongside both Vivian and Derek, albeit separately. Initially, Derek was not thrilled to have James on the scene. He went from feeling like the boss to feeling like he was just another set of hands at his old job in the suburbs. Although it didn’t take long for James to grow on Derek, for example, James doesn’t show frustrations or take out anger on Derek like Brian and Heather do.

Instead, he shows a lot of patience and has actually taught Derek quite a few things. “Hey, Derek,” James said, “Let’s go over your punch list.” “Well,” Derek answers, “the table and flooring is all done. Same with the cabinets and doors, I believe.” James looks over at Derek with a smile and a shake of his head, doing his best to remain calm and friendly as he teaches young Derek the tricks of the trade.

“I’m talking about your punch list, Derek. This isn’t a guessing game. This is someone’s home.” “Okay,” Derek says knowing he’s about to get another lesson, “show me what you mean.” With that, Derek and James walk through every inch of the home looking at everything from the floor to the ceiling. They even go into the attic and look through every nook and cranny.

Derek was surprised to find several rafters that hadn’t been braced properly together. Derek and James go through the whole list of things that have to be done and assign the name of who is responsible for each item. “This, Derek has a real punch list.” James smiles, “I’ll review it one more time tonight and we’ll make sure that every subcontractor gets a copy emailed to them. Keep in mind that this is our internal punch list. We still have to do one more walkthrough with Brian and Heather to make their official punch list, which they will sign off on.”

Derek is defensive about every flaw that Brian and Heather point out, Heather is particularly on guard regarding the smooth walls and paint. She stands with her face inches from every wall searching for each imperfection.

“This is why I added the orange peel texture to hide his imperfections in the walls, Derek argued, and those scuff marks, those weren’t there before he moved in. That happened from your movers.”

Picking up on the escalating friction, James stepped in, “Well, you’re both right about the walls. Unfortunately, your poor choices in framing material are now reflected in this final product. This is one of those things that we discussed. You’re seeing the results of what was done nine months ago.” Derek feels Heather’s eye is shooting daggers in his direction, and he does his best to avoid eye contact with her. “As for the scuffs on the walls, James continued, those are probably from the movers, but we don’t know for sure. However, the painters have to come back to finish the laundry room, so we’ll just have them touch those up too if there’s one more time. The truth is,” James said, “you’re probably going to continue to notice little things like this here and there. That’s normal. No house is perfect.” Derek smiles a little bit too obnoxiously while Brian and Heather both feel their frustrations are about to boil over.

Vivian stands in the corner, just thankful that James is taking the reins, or she hasn’t had to play peacemaker anymore. “What we have to do now,” James said, “to be fair to everyone involved, is to have a standard that we hold the work up against. Now, since your contract doesn’t contain any performance standards. We’ll have to use the State Builder’s contract standards. It’s what a court would usually use if this thing went that far, and we all know that we don’t want that.” Everyone shakes their head in agreement to the state standards. “It says that drywall imperfection that you can’t see for more than six feet away in normal light is acceptable. Heather That means that you can’t put your nose to the wall with a flashlight on your phone to look for bad spots.”

Heather frowns, “but,” James said, “it also says there can’t be more than a quarter inch deflection in the drywall from studies done horizontally or from top to bottom. So that means that a few of these wavy studs are going to have to be straightened, and Derek, that means holes in the drywall.” Now it’s Derek’s turn to frown. “So you’re both going to have to have some give and take here. I know none of you like it, but honestly, you’re seeing the effects now of a bad contract combined with your bad construction decisions.”  They all know James is right, and it seems to be fair to everyone involved. So the group makes their way through the home, agreeing on each area to be fixed or not. James documents each item with a photo and saves it in a software key to the electronic copy of the plans.

After a few exhausting hours, they’re finally done. Despite his frustrations with having so much to fix, Derek can’t help but feel thankful for James. He’s learned more from him in the past two months, as he did in the years working for the track Home Builders in the Suburbs. Brian and Heather are grateful as well. Aside from the punch list walk through and having to live with workers in the house for a few more weeks, their stress levels have been minimal compared to what they had been dealing with, and without the financial hardship of two mortgages, they finally feel like they can come up for air.



Curtis: Welcome to another edition of The Your Project Shepherd podcast. The purpose of this show is to guide you through the custom home process and like I say every time we teach the base successful construction project must have four key components which are represented by an outline drawing of a house. The foundation is planning. The left wall is your team, the right wall was communication, and the roof over the top of it all is proper execution. If all these components are strong, your project will succeed, and as you know, and have just heard, we’ve been tracking along with a story about Brian and Heather. They’ve had a pretty rough experience so far, to say the least, and building their family’s dream home. Well, now they’re at the end, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. They’re starting to move in and it’s time for the punch list and to talk about punch lists today with me sitting on my left it was Steven Deuster with Park Lane Builders. Park Lane is one of your Premier builders and they’ve been in business since 1989. Is that right?

Steven:  Correct.

Curtis:  Steve and his company build new custom homes, do major remodeling projects, and do historic renovations and they also deal with renovating a lot of homes that are having forensic and building performance issues. Is there anything else that you’d like to tell us about what you guys do?
Steven:  You did a great job with the pitch and description of what we do. Been doing it for a long time. It was my father’s company he started over 30 years ago, and one thing to add is that we found that we can deliver a perfect beautiful home to somebody and then if they don’t maintain their home, it can go south fast. So, we’ve started to maintain our clients’ homes for them as well.

Curtis: Oh, awesome. She’ll have a maintenance contract service handyman-type situation

Steven:  Correct. We’ll outline when we complete a job, whether we’re going to be dealing with their mechanical, plumbing, gutters, roof generator pools, and we schedule it a couple of times a year or more depending on what it is and also, we have a team that comes in quarterly and just walks the house and does a visual inspection to for to be proactive.

Curtis: Great. That’s fantastic. We’re actually going to have a guy from GoodSmith on – are you familiar with them?

Steven:  I am

Curtis:  So we’re going to have them on in a couple of episodes talking about home maintenance stuff and I mean, I think that is super important and that’s why I did a whole episode of this just dedicated to home maintenance because you know if you well just as it relates to warranty issues, if you don’t maintain certain parts of the home, it can affect your home warranty, the manufacturer’s warranty,  and all kinds of stuff that you can cause them unintended consequences, right?

Steven:  It’s huge. You can find sweating or anything that’s going on, be proactive and make the problems go away before they become an issue. As well as we walk through the home on the outsides, we can just recommend that, hey, it’s time to paint, and then you kind of set baselines for when things happen so people can budget accordingly. So, you know, maybe it’s every two or three years the house needs to be painted. We just have it on our schedule, and we roll.

Curtis: That’s great. I tried to do that a few years ago, and we just couldn’t find kind of the right people to run that you’ve got to have, you know, somebody who’s really proactive to kind of run that service for you and we tried it and kind of set it aside after a short period of time.

Steven:  Yep. And I will tell you, I met with a consultant years ago that told me to do this and he said that one of the things about it is your clients’ homes are going to perform much better. He developed a deep relationship that you’ve already built during construction, and you’re also at the forefront of their minds and they’re always telling other people about you/us. So, it’s not a business that we want to have hundreds and hundreds of homes to do this. But it’s a service that we provide that’s beneficial for everybody for those reasons.

Curtis: Yeah, and you might get called for that next project like five years later, hey, let’s go ahead and add this other room or let’s add this guest house or whatever.

Steven:  It’s all about the relationship for sure and a great job.

Curtis: So, over the last 30 years, job, any business, you know, I’m sure that you’ve seen a thing or two and you’ve developed processes for wrapping up a project strong and managing punch lists. But I’m sure that you’ve also seen some projects where there were some major issues related to punch lists, probably in your forensic work that you do as well, right?
I think all homeowners and builders have a story about the never-ending punch list. I know that I’ve been a part of some of those myself. We are constantly developing new processes and trying to eliminate that, but punch lists are always a struggle for everyone. Why do you think punch lists are so hard for most builders to get through?

Steven:  I’ll answer the question but when you told me that we were going to be talking about this. One of the things I was thinking about is you know what, when I was single, it was an It’s not about the way the date starts. It’s out the date finishes that everybody remembers. Everybody says they’re in high-end construction. But there’s a difference. But I guess in any phase of construction that you’re in or any type of construction that you build, finishing up is hard, I think and it’s getting harder in some ways because number one there are expectations and it comes down to the opinion of you know, we may feel like we’re finished, but then it’s subjected to the designer, and the architect and the client. What I like to say is that we are harder on ourselves than everybody so what we do is we really try to punch out of the house before we let anyone scrutinize us and then hopefully, we’ve narrowed it down to such a small area then we’re making our lists and even though that list is small, it could still have 100 items on it. Yeah. Which is challenging. But I think to answer your question. There are two problems in construction, and it’s time and it’s money and I think always at the end of the project, there’s a move-in date, and you need that extra week and you’re trying to set expectations and people are trying to move out they’re moving dates, and it’s just sometimes reality that it should get it as good as you can. But there are real consequences once the clients and the dogs and the kids move into the house.
Curtis: So, I think that builders probably do a bad job in general not you or me, hopefully. But I think most builders do a bad job when it comes to punch lists because it’s just expectations that aren’t managed, right? They’re not setting the proper expectations up front for what the process is going to be, or they just don’t have a process and they’re just fumbling their way through it.
Steven:  I would say that. Construction has been very busy in Houston and there are times that we’re all spread thin more than we would like to be. But one of the things that we’ve been trying to do is as those projects are coming to an end and maybe you don’t have a debt, you have a dedicated super, but maybe he or she is managing one, two, or three of jobs where we’ll camp out somebody, we have a printed out punch-list, we also have a web-based list, everybody has their list. And I think one of the things that a lot of times where it will get out of control where you’ll give someone a list, and they’ll just start working in all different points of the house rather than saying it makes sense for these two traits to be in the house. So, limiting the chaos. Having them start in one room and working their way out and then having this super follow them as they leave. You need to come back. Let’s touch up these areas and try to finish a room at a time.

Curtis:  Yeah. Do you think that you mentioned touch up do you think that paint is the hardest thing to deal with on punch lists?

Steven:  I feel bad for painters because, at the end of the day, it all falls on their shoulders.  But we have fabulous painters of 35 years and love these guys, they are artists, but it does I mean they’re the guys that that makes it crisp, sharp, and pull it together.

Curtis: Yeah, I think paint is one of those things – well, paint and drywall, the two kinds of go along with it right because the painters usually end up fixing the drywall. There’s an issue a lot of times because I think that paint and drywall is a very subjective things.

Steven:  Yep

Curtis:  So, at the end of the day, if there’s a dispute over that, you’ve got to say okay, well, how do we settle this dispute? What is the guideline for what constitutes a punch-list item or what constitutes a touch-up? That’s always where the struggles are for us, I know. So you know, we refer back to the TAB contract that we use, which has some performance standards that are defined, and it’s even got things like hey, you have to view a wall standing, it’s six feet away in normal light, you can’t get your nose up on it and use a flashlight, but I think that that’s what people do is they get pushed to a wall, they examine it really closely, and “Oh, there’s this little imperfection,” right?

Steven:  Well, I think people become fixated on levels of perfection that we are all driving to, and you can become so fixated that once you move all your furniture and you never think about it again or you see these things. But then there are things that I tell my clients that we build in the same neighborhoods every day we’re not going anywhere. So, if you’re laying in bed, and you’re looking up and you see something, give us a call you know because even when you shake hands and you’re 100% done, you’re going to see something. Right. And it’s part of the challenge and the game of coming back and just doing those minor touch-ups. Yeah.
Curtis:  How do you guys handle you know, punch-list versus warranty and stuff like that? Our policy is once somebody moves into the house, it’s not a punch list anymore. It falls under the warranty category are you going the same way?
Steven:  Yeah, but that’s part of the challenge, right? It’s like it’s a that yes, that is the truth. However, what we do is we have a web-based program called Co-Construct, we use it to Yeah, and we walk through, and we create our list and then we both agree and hit accept that we agree and then we go through our punch-lists and, you know, we’ve had out of this 700 or 800 projects that we’ve done, I would say that we’ve had four clients that were the real toughies that make your life miserable, but as a whole, we’ve had some really good ethical people. I think that setting those expectations through the build, and creating the relationship, we’ve set, we set a baseline with each other of how we’re going to work the level of quality we’re going to provide and, sometimes you get to that point where they move in and you’ve really got to rely on the ethics of everybody that hey, the movers moved in, they scratch the walls. They scuffed the floor, and then we must figure out and agree to this new scope they need to pay for, right? Now we have to re-touch up the house.

Curtis:  We had one recently where they said we have all these touch-ups that were missed on the punch-list, and I was like, oh, that’s strange. We went to the house, and all the touch-ups just happened to be about two feet off the ground they have like three little kids and as they went up the stairs, they would just put their hands on the wall all the way upstairs every time. I had to say, you know what? Yeah, we didn’t miss that, you know.

Steven:  Our traits don’t have hands that small ha-ha.

Curtis:  Yeah, yeah, their hands are a foot higher off the ground.

Steven:  Is that Cheetos? Hahaha

Curtis:  Yeah, exactly. Why are all the touch-ups orange? (Both laughing)

Steven:  So, we also use a company called Multivista. Are you familiar with them?

Curtis:  Yeah, we use them too.

Steven:  It’s been fantastic.

Curtis:  Oh, yeah

Steven:  It’s been a real game-changer and that’s something that we document you know, before we come into the, into the home, all the MEPs, exact builds, and then and then final pictures. It really gives a frame of reference of showing, okay, look, this is the way we left it, this is the way it essentially moved down. So, it gives us all a baseline to work off

Curtis:  Yeah, and for people who are listening or watching. That’s a photo documentation service that comes out at set intervals during the build and they take pictures of everything from every angle, and we can view it on our phones on our desktop computer and it just creates this great documentation of what you want to remodel what was already there or in a new build kind of the progression from empty lot all the way to finished house

Steven:  But not to mention, it’s also tied to the plans electronically. So, at any given time, you just pull this up you hit where you want on the floor plan and it’ll show you the entire wall progression, which is cool, too, because it’s not only for these types of things but what happens when we’re long and gone and they want to hang a picture on a wall and they could see if there’s a pipe yeah, or, or be able to see inside the walls and anytime they want to.

Curtis:  Yeah, it’s a fantastic tool. I mean, I think we probably use it more than anything like after you know once the drywall goes up on the house, and like I think we’re missing a switch or a recess can or something we can pop those pictures in Oh, there it is.

Steven:  Instead of tearing out tile and disrupting the home, you could say Oh, it’s right here and you know exactly where to cut. And there’s the plug.

Curtis:  Yeah, I definitely think everyone should use that. We’ve been using that for a few years. Now. And it’s been a game changer.

Steven:  Also, one more thing to add about it is I have a lot of clients that say hey, we may not want to spend that money, but you get to own it at the end. So, you’ll have it forever. But also, whenever they’re like well why can’t you take the pictures when we can and so we always go that inevitably it’s that one like Yeah, six inches that you missed, and yeah, it was the money shot

Curtis:  They’re actually switching, or they just switched to using a 360 or whatever they call that scan now, which is even better than it was before. So, we talked about at the end of the project, people kind of been antsy to move in, you know, maybe they’ve got a bunch of stuff in storage and they’re like, oh, I’m tired of paying these storage fees, we got to get stuff out of here.  You know, what kind of issues does that cause when people aside from just arguments about who did what I mean? What kind of issues does it cause when people move in before the House is kind of officially done?

Steven:  All kinds of issues. We just finished a really pretty home in Rice Village and we hadn’t put the final coat on the floor. So, but you know, we’ll always put down two coats of water base, and then we’ll hold back the third right before they move in. They were antsy to move the stuff in and so there all of a sudden, the rug, start showing up the furniture, all this stuff that needs to be assembled and it’s everywhere, and all of a sudden you run into the situation where you didn’t have money in for labor to be moving all this stuff around – you don’t have room. Yeah, you’ve got one shot to clean this house. Really a deep clean before and we do multiple stages. You’ve got your first rough clean, then you get your next level clean, and then you have your last final clean. We just told the clients to look we’re going to do the very best we can. But by the way, a box of jewelry showed up. You know all this expensive stuff, and we love and trust our trades. But nobody wants to be put in a situation of having these expensive things laying around and us moving and leaning against walls. It’s just a nightmare waiting to happen.

Curtis: Yeah, for sure. Also, something else people want to do is put the kibosh on, and we’ve made the policy where we just don’t do this anymore. I assume you’ve probably gone the same route. But if people want to provide some of their own items, they’re like, hey, you know, I got this great deal on appliances. I’m just gonna buy my own appliances. Or, hey, my designer is buying the chandeliers or, you know, things like that. So, what kind of issues does that cause it says it relates to punch-list and warranty.

Steven:  So, you’ve opened up a big can of worms there. So, I’ll give you a few stories that comes to mind – well, there are so many things that just came to mind, but that one is the Rice project. When the designers or the clients are providing things (A) they don’t come labeled and so then your subs don’t know what to do with it, they’re there, you’ve got to get it done, and nobody’s answering their phone. So, either it gets installed in the wrong room, or it comes in damaged, we don’t know where it comes from the right, on and on and on and not to mention, usually, it’s way after the fact so now the clients have moved in and now, you’re cutting in the pocket door hardware, and you know the dust and sealing it off. People are like, well, shouldn’t that be included? Well, yes, if it was included, if it was delivered on time when all the subs were here, but now you know that money is long gone, people have been paid and they’re entitled to a trip charge and not to mention all the house protection and good stuff that needs to happen. So that’s one example. Number two, I have a story where we had this really expensive range, and we supplied it and we installed it and the clients and designers and architects came in and everyone we were really happy, and I had a plumber, screwing in just one little touch and the rent at the screwdriver slipped out of his hand, fell on the range and just shattered the cooktop oh man, and everybody was just like, and I looked over at my appliance man who I’ve been working with for a while. It started with my father 30 years ago. He looks at me goes, I’m so sorry that this was damaged upon delivery, we’ll get you another.

Curtis:  So that’s fantastic.

Steven:  Well, there’s tremendous value in relationships that people underestimate. And so, if you want to go to Home Depot Best Buy Lowe’s, you are a number. You are a nightmare away from sitting on the one 800 Number No one cares about you and what you’re getting is the 30-year relationship where the subs and vendors do care about our clients. But people don’t understand the relationship of ‘that’s one home.’ while we represent, you know, 10,15, 20 homes a year to these clients for decades – and so that’s the power of allowing us to handle it.
Curtis:  The other danger that we have come across is, let’s say that they bought that range from somebody else and that appliance company came in to install it and they gouge the hardwood floors, or they bang up the cabinet adjacent to it or they break with a countertop at the counter or whatever I mean, it’s there are so many things that can go wrong just with installing an appliance

Steven:  and were brought in back into it because ultimately, we have to fix it and deal with, and we weren’t paid for that right

Curtis:  and you know that that you know Home Depot or whatever appliance company quote unquote supply that that you have no way to go back charge them for anything they have already been paid, they’re gone, you’re not going to get money out of them for it. So now you’re out of pocket. So that maybe 10% or whatever you saved by buying it yourself is gone.

Steven:  I’ll tell you, one of the things that I think should not be underestimated is 1. the quality of the men and women we bring into people’s worlds and lives – you’ve got wives, husbands, children. We know the people that we’re bringing into your world and they’re you know, so I feel like it can become a real safety issue. When it gets out of our control and they just start bringing in people and all of a sudden people are inside the fishbowl looking at everything and who knows who these people are, right and things can start getting going this can disappear, and then all of a sudden it’s who’s subs did what and you know we have an amazing track record of things not disappearing and when something happens, you know, they raise their hand Hey, this happened and we work together to make it right. But when we lose control, and other subs come in we have no control and that’s when problems occur.

Curtis:  And even on like items like somebody wants to hire their own pool company or landscaper – that’s always one of those big items that I have historically struggled with

Steven:  we all do

Curtis:  because I mean pools and landscapers it’s a large amount of money and it’s outside the house. It’s like, and I don’t want to mess with managing it. But at the same time, those things can affect the performance of the home. They can affect the warranty. There are a lot of issues that can come up. They’re like where does that company’s responsibility stop, you know, and where does mine start, on some things right? There are electrical tie-ins, gas tie-ends, pool decking, and flowerbeds that are touching the house.

Steven:  Drainage grading

Curtis:  Yeah, I mean drainage and grading is a huge one. I’ll tell a brief story about what just happened. We’re still dealing with this, but you know, a family on a large custom home that we just built, contract their own pool landscaping and they also had a family member who went and bought a tractor, this is on some acreage. Dad went, bought a tractor and started doing grading around the property himself.  And we told them during the construction I saw Dad pushing dirt around. I said do not build up dirt against the side of this house, this thing must drain properly. Anyway, they’ve been in the house for a year and a half now, and guess what? There’s some foundation movement in this brand-new house

Steven:  Apparent beam?

Curtis:  No, it’s a slab-on-grade, well slab-on-piers, but he if he affected the drainage so much it is moving and we’re like you know, I hate to tell you this, I mean I want to treat you right, but at the same time you guys are causing this problem and you’ve actually voided your houses warranty by taking this scope on yourself.

Steven:  So I was talking to one of the landscape companies that I use and you know, at the end of the day, we’re all to ‘land’ business and, and work with our clients and obviously, a pool can get very expensive and so can the landscape but no matter what, we are tied to the outside there’s no it’s not a complete fragmentation of ‘you handle the house’ and that because we can’t finish up our permits to even get them in the house and what’s the last thing that goes in? It’s the drainage irrigation right and landscape and, so ultimately, we do get pulled in that oftentimes we don’t get compensated for it because we just have to work together. So, I do feel that I’m coming to the conclusion that I would like to be compensated for my time and management, and maybe it’s not the same level fee, but there should be something because we all have to work together to get it done and get it done safely.

Curtis:  Yeah, that’s the way we’re moving toward as well. It’s we are going to be involved on some level for sure no matter what. So, we need to be compensated if not for our full markup that we would normally apply right or something for our involvement in that and the inferior I guess risk in it as well. So good. Changing gears, a little bit, kind of moving away from the whole punch list thing. This is more just about the custom home-building process and the personality types that go into it. Is there a type of person in your opinion that probably shouldn’t go through this custom home-building process?

Steven:  So, what I like to tell people is that we are interviewing them just as hard as they’re interviewing us. We’re at a point in our, you know, I’ve been building for almost 25 years. I’m 51 years old, and I want to be aligned with the right like-minded people. Because you’re tied together for could be a year, a year-and-a-half, or more, depending on the size and scope of a project. I do think that certain people should absolutely not be a part of a new construction or remodel or should just find something and move into it. Number one, it does do a reality check on your relationship and so there’s usually a couple that has different things that are important to them, and part of our interviewing process is to extract that info because there are a lot of things people don’t know about themselves or don’t know it’s important to disclose. So, if you’re haunted by symmetry or if you’re OCD and you know, trash and cleanliness are a thing we need to know how much trash and site maintenance to put, in because at the end of the day, it’s money. Yeah, and there you know a job to do can also be to clean, which means nothing’s happening because everyone’s cleaning all the time. But can we have those situations where we budget that into it. So, yes, extracting what is important to each person and then helping drive to you know, there’s not a one-size-fits-all so I may have one super over another that may be a better fit. An architect and a designer, there’s we deal with multiple people that you know, that may be a better fit and so assembling the right team, helping the couple understand who’s going to be the finance person and who’s really going to be the point person and how hands-on or hands-off they want to be it’s all very critical.

Curtis: On the opposite side of that, do you have a dream client if you did, if you could describe your dream client, what does it look like?

Steven:  I think a lot of the dream clients our dream clients because they’ve done this before and they’ve had the nightmare situation with a contractor that either you know, they got sucked into the cheapest bid and they got burned to the point that they realize the value of finding an ethical contractor. Things cost what they cost. Part of my dream contractor scenario is that they respect what we say as the experts, and we really listen to their needs. We assemble the team around them, but there’s a lot in construction. So, when you look at Instagram, everyone’s got these beautiful pictures, and everyone’s just seduced by these gorgeous pictures that everyone strives to. Well, if you look on our Instagram and stuff, I like to show you know kind of like the way Toner and Matt Reisinger do things, showing how the soup is made is really my passion. Sure, because we live on the Gulf Coast, we live in a swamp. It’s one of the most difficult places to build a quality home. That’s going to be here for a very long time and our company is all about the health of this structure and the people in it because at the end of the day if homes get wet, and they can’t dry, and if they get mold, well then, it’s not healthy for this for the structure that people living in it. So, we’re pretty obsessed with educating our clients about the things they can’t see and what the thermal envelope should be. And then working as a team to make sure that you’re treating the home as an ecosystem that is going to perform for years to come.

Curtis:  Yeah, so a dream client might be just an educated client or somebody who’s been through the process before and appreciates the quality process, right?

Steven:  Yeah. And understands that, that they need to invest in some of the things that aren’t just things to make the home look beautiful. It’s, you know, to me also, what we’d like to do is to educate the client that “look this is the one thing that you can control in your life” to getting natural light, drinking clean water, bathing and clean water having fresh air and a haven where you can rejuvenate over a 10 to 12 hour period and then you go out in the real world and fight the good fight.

Curtis:  Yeah. Awesome. Well, I think that pretty much wraps up the questions that I had for you. I really appreciate you joining us today.

Steven:  Yeah, thank you so much. It’s a lot of fun.

Curtis:  Great. Well, thank you guys for being with us today. Also listening and watching.
Oh, one last thing if somebody wants to work with Park Lane, tell us the website Instagram, and all that kind of stuff.

Steven:  I appreciate you saying that. So, Park Lane builders, our work number is 713.524.6200 You can go to www.parklanebuilders.com

We’ll get back to you and we’ll set up a consultation and figure out what your needs are.

Steven:  Awesome.

Curtis:  Thank you, Steven Deuster. Thank you. I appreciate it. And thanks again to all of you who are listening. Remember our illustration about the house that we always talk about every six every successful project has four key components, and theirs are represented by a drawing where the foundation is planning, the left wall is your team. The right wall is communication, and the roof is proper execution. Tune in next week to hear our interview with Chris Bolio from Alair Homes

We’re going to talk about builders’ warranties, and that ties in a lot with a conversation that Stephen and I had, so I look forward to seeing you next time. Thanks