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ZEN LESSON # 10 Change is Constant

Construction Schedules. It is so important to understand that a construction schedule is dynamic, it’s a living, breathing entity that is continually evolving and changing as the project progresses, just like weather reports constantly change.

Once a schedule is printed it is outdated. It’s like trying to know today's weather by reading the forecast from last week's newspaper.

At the beginning of a project when I'm sitting down with homeowners and the contractor is presenting their initial bid complete with budget, schedule, and all of the details, what do guess most homeowners do? They flip ahead and look to the bottom line searching for how much it's going to cost— then they flip to the end of the schedule to see when it will be done.

At that point, I typically turn to everyone at the table and say, “The schedule says we are going to be done on this date and I am willing to bet anyone here that we won’t be."

The contractor then usually glares at me and the homeowners look at me surprised.

Then I say, “Look I don’t know when the project is going to be done. Completion may be sooner than this date, it may be later, I just know that it won’t be done on this exact date.”

I then remind everyone about the uncertainties guaranteed in any construction project and how uncertainty is a normal part of the process. Explaining uncertainties inherent to the project early—helps homeowners' set their expectations and avoid heartbreak.

For example, if the contractor communicates November 15th as the completion date, it eliminates the homeowner's expectation that it will be safe to plan Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family at their new house.

**This is what I love about a cloud-based schedule – I am updating my schedules every week and every time my homeowners get online they see it has changed, so they begin to expect it. And they say “Ok when it is going to be done this week?”

Change is Constant—it's important that this be understood and appreciated by homeowners. Contractors, Subs, Architects, Project Managers—we live and breathe "change is constant." Homeowners don't—so it becomes our job to help them live by this "mantra."

This lesson concludes the series Lessons From the Zen Builder. You can find 1-10 on our blog or you can listen and share my presentation "Lessons from the Zen Builder."



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