~ Crispin Fletcher, Co-Founder & Business Development
In the 1990’s we came upon a book that had a great impact on our business. The premise of the book was simple but very revolutionary: if you love to bake pies and are good at it, you would be making a huge mistake by going into business baking and selling pies. Knowing how to do something well, and running a successful business doing it, require very different skills.
In 2005, I built my own house. While I really gained a great deal from doing that, I am very clear when I say that it did not even remotely prepare me to be in the BUSINESS of building houses. Whether building for residential or commercial, efficient management and careful orchestration are disciplines that often make the difference between getting to the end of a project successfully, or not. Profit, customer satisfaction, and subcontractor relations are all the outcome of successful management of your build project.
The construction industry has moved enormously in the last few decades, all in the right direction, in my opinion. Concepts of “super insulated” houses of the 90’s morphed into our modern understanding of the “built environment,” the building envelope and the management of the “conditioned space” for energy, moisture, air quality, light, sound, and flow. The concept of dew point is so integral to a building envelope and dealing with conditioned space that it is not even discussed with clients today. It is simply assumed that the builder will manage that to benefit the structural integrity of the home or business.
I wish water quality were as basic a part of the conditioned space planning as are the other aspects routinely addressed in buildings today. Why is it not? Because water “conditioning” is a technical discipline that requires unique application for each client. Many qualities of the conditioned space can be changed to the owner’s liking with the turn of a dial because the builder understands the range of temperatures needed for comfort, for instance.
In order to bring the same capability to a client’s water quality, each site needs a specific analysis that cannot be shortened or diminished without diminishing the quality of the solution. We need to identify the quality and quantity of water desired by the client, as well as understand the optimum characteristics needed for appliances and equipment. Only then can we do the work of matching available technologies, equipment and their maintenance requirements with the client’s needs.
Because water quality is complex and many clients wish it were simple, we have found over the years that avoidance of water issues is often the chosen way to proceed with their exciting and expensive project.
Let me suggest a way to address this: As soon into the project as the water supply is known, get it tested by a reputable lab and do more than what the Certificate of Occupancy requires because it is just too simplistic. Rather, ask your favorite Certified Lab what are the most common tests done in the project area. They know the conditions that are found and can guide you well. Get the results, and if any of the parameters are out of range, you and you clients will know what needs to be addressed. This will avoid additional costs, headaches, and client disappointment in the long run. You and your client can go forward with your eyes open and can better plan and implement a beautiful “conditioned space” and a long term successful relationship with each other.
Here at Secondwind, we love working with builders and your clients, and have partnered with many over the course of our 25 years. We will work with you both in whatever way makes you feel comfortable. Either directly with you, them or the both of you. We offer water treatment for builders and your clients.