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The Master Key to a Successful Home Renovation or New House Build

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

You should treat building a new house or overhauling an existing one as you would project management of any other type; the same rigor and methodology can and should be applied in order to control costs, mitigate risk, and ensure a successful outcome.

Illustration of an ultra-modern wood-clad house with a pool in the forest

Every successful project begins with a comprehensive discovery process that spells out clear objectives, outlines the available resources and boundaries, and identifies risks. After the requirements gathering phase is complete, a project manager works with the project team to establish a strategy to bridge what you have with what you need.

When a strategy is created to give the project direction, then a specific and detailed solution can be built. The result is a detailed project map to plan how everything will come together and the objectives achieved. This is the most effective way of mitigating risks to project success and of controlling construction costs and design fees.

Developing that strategy is important on any building construction project, but it is critical for high-performance houses and other buildings since the higher requirements can quickly cause costs to spiral out of control. Too often, the owner faces a negative return on the investment in one way or another.

Not laying down a detailed foundation for the project and its execution adds not only direct financial cost to the project but also time by way of delays. Frustration and dissatisfaction are bad enough when you're just a team member, but they can become demoralizing and disastrous when you're working on your own home.

You need a clear path forward. You need a PROCESS.

Basically, every architect follows a conceptual process that begins with a few questions, some minor discussion, some schematics, and then conceptual plans. It continues with increasingly technical and construction-related materials and service. You can read more about this sequence of development in my article "The Design Process" or download my convenient yet informative Project Roadmap. However, this conceptual flow is a very loose sequence of activities and isn't really a true process.

I routinely see projects at other firms run into expensive stumbling blocks needlessly. Perhaps half the time, the final product also suffers as a result of inadequate investigation at the project start. A modern house deserves a modern strategy. An ultra high-performance house needs a high-performance architect. Therefore, I've developed my own, detailed process for ultra high-performance houses, called the S.A.P.P.H.R. Strategy™. You can read more about it in my SAPPHR Strategy™ process summary page or download a thorough client manual by clicking below.

The S.A.P.P.H.R. Strategy™ begins with a 2-stage feasibility study. The first stage is a low-cost brief check to determine if the project has legs without spending a significant amount of money. The second stage is a detailed analysis of your needs, your resources, the options available, the outcome desired, and specific targets in over a dozen performance metrics.

The second part of the S.A.P.P.H.R. Strategy™ is a collaborative series of meetings with additional consultants to nail down the best, informed direction forward.

The third phase is when all the design actually happens, and the final phase creates the technical documentation required for building permits and construction.

Having a clear process such as the S.A.P.P.H.R. Strategy™ improves the success of your project, but it also brings you confidence since you're able to see and own the progress of designing your new or renovated home. To speak with me about how to begin this solid process, please book a free, 30-minute Diagnostic Session after which you'll know the next steps to take.


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