This is one subject with many tangents and a post that has been on my mind for some time. It’s funny how the same concept can revisit you at different points in your life until finally, the light bulb goes off and you (finally) learn the lesson. When I was in university, one of my creative writing courses featured a short film titled ‘Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control’ which includes some fascinating information on mole rats (tangent!) but is precluded on the engineer’s adage that between fast, cheap, and reliable you can only have two. My performance in that course was questionable but I have never forgotten the documentary. Years later, I became intrigued by what I would consider one of the original reality tv shows with real estate as the premise called Property Ladder, hosted by Kirsten Kemp. She spoke often about the triangle between good, fast and cheap – a construction theory that is common and very true – again, you can only choose two. Finally, on the personal side, I met a kindred spirit years ago who, upon listening to my troubles at the time, very bluntly advised me to “pick three.” Meaning that at any time, there is only room on one’s plate for three areas of focus. At the time, she was focusing on her family, her career, and her own self-care. I have witnessed her change of focus since then, but she remains careful in her selections and adheres to her own rule. This less serious but entertaining nevertheless meme made the rounds lately – count me in for coffee, jeans, and books 😉
With the exception of some small goods I’ve purchased from Amazon, I have never been failed by the good/fast/cheap triangle when it comes to construction. While it’s true that the labor costs are lower in this part of the world than the one that I come from, I’ve yet to encounter anything that could be defined as cheap and yet still managed to fulfill both the good and fast criteria. Due to the pressure to drive the price of labor downwards, there is a fair amount of poor work being performed in our market. Many of the jobs that I’ve taken recently have been to clean up and finish out projects started by other contractors. In all cases, the homeowners ended up spending significantly more than they should have as well as adding frustration and lengthy timelines to their order. Beyond the epic waste of material, some of which can’t be replaced, many pieces can’t be repaired other than by ripping them out completely and starting over which is not always feasible. Here are a few examples of jobs we have had to fix recently:
This is actually the SECOND attempt made to replace the tile in this leaky shower...
You had ONE job...construction version
This is not to say that I don’t make mistakes or get it right every single time (watch for a blog post on that exact topic shortly) but we work hard to correct any issues, whether they fell under our purview or not, to ensure our clients’ satisfaction.
Here are a few ‘after’ images from the happily ever after part of those stories.
Please check back for more progress and finished product photos - they're coming!