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It’s Time to Focus on The Customer Experience of Home Renovation

Our new assessment process for selecting building contractors should reward the companies who can provide a great service to our clients, and our accompanying articles discuss the standards that are now required from our colleagues in construction. We have also detailed the easiest and most efficient ways we’ve seen for builders to help us improve the customer experience. 

Creating a Seamless Professional Service

As architects, we are responsible for smoothing out our clients’ experience of procuring building work but despite our efforts, not every project runs smoothly. The construction industry was broken for nearly a decade after 2008, and looks set for a another decade of momentous, continuous change. Customer service in many construction companies lags behind other sectors and dealing with it can be a culture- shock for our clients.

We felt it was time for our blog to focus on how a positive customer experience can be achieved in a home renovation process. We have designed a new tender assessment system, and written long advice articles for our website with the following goals:

  1. To highlight customer service as an issue in the home renovation market
  2. To explain (to clients) what aspects of customer service are within the architect’s control, and which are not
  3. To explain how good customer service is achieved (or omitted) with a construction budget and traditional building contract
  4. To reward contractors and sub contractors who deliver good service by highlighting  these qualities to clients
  5. To clearly explain the costs of the customer- experience elements of the construction budget
  6. To establish an assessment framework for our clients to set correct customer expectations when working with small construction companies.
  7. To provide simple advice to help small builders cheaply enhance their customer service.  

Background- A Decade of Instability and Scarce Resources in Construction

It’s important to reflect on the changes our industry has been subject to since 2008. As a community of small businesses, those of us who remain are lucky to have survived the last decade. A lot of this instability has been due to economic, technological and legislative upheaval in Ireland.  

  1. Introduction of an experimental new building control system in 2014
  2. Partial abolition of the 2014 Building Control system in the run up to the last general election
  3. Expansion of Health and Safety legislation to encompass home renovation
  4. The financial crisis required new funding models for all types of property development projects
  5. Requirement for retraining architects for new systems and new process development in architectural practices. 
  6. Frequent change of government Minister with responsibility for construction and the building stock, and little visible accountability for their failures
  7. A government policy of cutting housing supply and construction capacity from 2008 until 2013, to engineer a recovery in house prices and boost the economy. 
  8. Complete change in drawing and office management software systems used by architects and building designers since roughly 2012 (Building Information Modelling.)
  9. Mass redundancy in construction from 2008- 2013, leading to a collapse in fees. construction prices, and practice resources. 
  10. Mass emigration of tradespeople and construction industry professionals leading to loss of skills. 
  11. Ongoing labour shortages throughout the construction industry.
  12. A tentative recovery, with escalating construction costs, and a value- crisis for anyone wishing to procure buildings. 

Culture Shock for Professional Clients

As architects, it is part of our role to smooth out our clients’ experience of this chaotic business environment, and to deliver a seamless experience of building procurement. We have had to do this with little certainty, and scant resources. While our industry struggled to keep going, the rest of the business world moved forward in the last decade, and standards of technology and general professionalism in other industries are now far ahead of those seen in construction. 

Some clients have suffered delays, unnecessary expenses, and uncertainty over project viability and outcomes. As architects, we are the professional face of this embattled industry, but we are not the only ones working to improve the level of service experienced by our clients.

Our new process for selecting building contractors should reward the companies who can provide a great service to our clients, and our accompanying articles are intended to state the standards our clients want, and advise builders on the easiest and most efficient ways we’ve seen to improve the customer experience. 

 

10 Easy Steps for a Fantastic Home Renovation Experience

 

10 Cheap and Easy Things a Small Builder Can Do for a Better Customer Experience

 

Detailed Breakdown of the New Tender Assessment

  1. Essentials- intangible qualities of every professional builder
  2. Management of Time and Money
  3. Resources for Customer Service
  4. Resources for Getting the Job Done
  5. Achieving Quality
  6. Set-up and Accreditation

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