Hello -Building Credibility Community! Main Leed Idaho

My name is Bond (short pause) and I'm a buildaholic -and the crowd mumbles ( ....we love you Bond.....)

   Yah- It is tough to be a builder. It is even tougher to be a builders family. It is especially tough when you put yourself out there as a risk taker and innovator.

    Well that's enough about how tough it is, its tough for everyone! Lets talk about the possible solutions, thats what I want to be a part of, the solution. So how do I become a part of the solution?

     I think that's where I will start with my blog here on BC.

      How can I have an impact on the problems the local housing industry faces, and play a small, humble role to become a part of the solution. 

    I think life is a lot like Earl Hickey's List,  (My Name Is Earl). Hopefully most of you know the premise. Basically, you make a list of all the mistakes you have made in the past, and rectify them one by one. In the process of rectifying your mistakes, you learn a great deal about what you did wrong in the first place. That is the building process in a nutshell. Make each home you build better than the last and learn from your mistakes. Experience is the best teacher and the one thing that we are all born with exactly the same amount of.

     So here we go-2009 is knocking on the door. A whole new decade lies just over a year away. And the last ten years is there to illustrate what we can do better. LEED IDAHO to a more durable, sustainable, and energy efficient future.

Bond Campbell

Posted by Bond Campbell at 12/18/2008 6:25:00 PM
Comments (24)
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
What you say is true to a degree about learning from our mistakes, but just going out there and building till you get it right was a big part of the problem.
Posted by on 12/16/2008 3:07 PM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!

Dear Anonymous, Your point illustrates my point. To just go out and build houses without knowing the potential pitfalls is the fast track to failure, and you are correct there has been a lot of that in the past. When the market was on fire, everyone was a builder. I think many of the previous blogs here addressed that issue and addressed it well. Is it fair to say that the whole point of this site is help sort out Building Professionals from Builders.
In my mind, the process of making mistakes and being diligent in your effort to learn from those mistakes is the only way to move from the category of Builder to Building Professional. Let me show you what I mean.

Builder Poll Question: All the builders who have built 20 homes or more without making a mistake please send me your resume.

I guess what I'm thinking is- Choose a Builder with enough experience, history, and humility to avoid past mistakes but enough passion for the craft that he or she is not afraid to make more.

So maybe you and I agree that a possible part of the solution would be to hire only building professionals to build our homes in 2009 and beyond. I concede.

Bond Campbell
Posted by Bond Campbell on 12/16/2008 4:11 PM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
All builders who have built ...without making a mistake...do you mean Kuna, Star or Meridian. We need do-overs
Posted by on 12/17/2008 5:42 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
Can't go backwards.
Posted by on 12/17/2008 6:41 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
Bond, I heard the city of Boise is looking to adopt the NAHB Green standards for code. What have you heard? Any thoughts?
Posted by on 12/17/2008 6:42 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
Trey, I don't know about the City of Boise, but the BCA Green Building Council adopted the NAHB Green Standards. Scott
Posted by on 12/17/2008 9:41 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
I think the City of Boise will try to look like the leader in the area of "Geen Building". If any of the municipalities are going to move things past typical code standards it will be the City of Boise first. I doubt you will ever see any municipality adopt any particular "green standard" like NAHB or LEED as code requirements. More likely, they will challenge builders to increase basic building practices beyond the scope of the IRC in specific areas. For instance- higher R-Values and insulation standards, or higher water efficiency standards on toilets and showers. They will take baby steps -as they should.

The truth of the matter is- residential building code changes frequently add to the cost of construction. Mandated changes that increase costs are viewed like taxes- nobody likes them. Therefore mandated code changes and building code in general is always the baseline starting point, as it should be.

This is why we have voluntary programs like the NAHB Green Standards and LEED for Homes, Building America, The Builders Challenge, Energy Star, and many others. Code will lag behind these programs and adopt certain things slowly over time.

From my perspective, this system is working. The general public is starting to view these voluntary "green guidelines" as a value added proposition. They are getting educated about the building process, looking beyond the baseline building codes to better building practices. They are starting to talk about the requirements for there next home and how it will be better insulated than there last home, how it will be more efficient and comfortable. This is the positive side of the "Green Movement".

These are all very encouraging signs to me, and I feel it is my responsibility to keep the momentum going. Not only to give the consumer what there asking for, but to show them what they didn't even know was possible.

Bond Campbell

Posted by Bond Campbell on 12/17/2008 10:09 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
How are you differentiating between builders and builder professionals? What definition of "professional" are you using. I don't mean this rhetorically. There is no "professional" credential so I am assuming you mean quality of work or the way in which one conducts business. Your thoughts??
Posted by on 12/17/2008 12:44 PM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
It is true- technically there are no "professional credentials" for builders. In my original post I was trying to say that experience is ultimately the difference.

Professionalism could be defined by the way a builder with a lot of experience manages those experiences and how those experiences translate value to his or her customers.

Professionalism could be the fact that the Builder is making his or her entire living as a Builder, not just supplementing a day job.

I also believe that although there aren't any "Professional Credentials" for builders, there are certainly ample opportunities for builders to participate in continuing education courses of all kinds. The NAHB is always offering courses to builders that cover the gamut. A professional builder will take advantage of any and all information he or she can gather that will help to improve their process. A professional builder will hire professional subcontractors.

There are certainly more examples of professionalism I could come up with, but in the end I would say: "Nothing Trumps Experience"

Obviously no one starts out with experience, in my original post I said "Experience is the one thing we are all born with exactly the same amount of" so how does a builder gain experience?

In my case I literally grew up on residential building sites. My Uncle was a Professional Builder. Bob Whitmire (Whitmire Construction) built numerous custom homes in this valley starting in the early 70's. My father worked as an electrician and later started an excavation company and focused on residential construction. My father and my Uncle were both from an era where you had to be able to do everything to survive. They poured concrete, foundations and flatwork, excavated their own sites, framed and roughed in the houses, finished and painted, washed the windows and hosed off the driveway.

"Thats were I come From" In 1991 when I started my own company I already had decades of experience and knowledge to draw from. I have built over 100 homes and I have made thousands of mistakes. But I always make sure I learn from my mistakes to turn them into a positive.

Everyone has a story that explains how they got here, but the interesting part to me is where are they headed?

If your not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.

Bond Campbell

Posted by Bond Campbell on 12/17/2008 2:32 PM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
"If your not part of the solution your part of the problem"
---I thought the problem was 2000+ vacant houses in town? Seemslike the pro and non pro builders have been part
Posted by on 12/17/2008 3:10 PM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
That was market driven because of opportunity. Now that demand is back down to reason and the fire is not burning so hot, maybe it will be the better businesses that win, I hope they are also better builders. I agree that experience pays but in this market your reputation only goes so far. There are only 3 builders that I have seen that have a marketing plan- CBH Homes, Hubble Homes and Boise Hunter Homes. They are the only builders that advertise to the masses. Point being that experience does not go as far as it used to. How many previous "builders" worked at HP or Micron. Maybe as we go forward it will be different. I would like to see quality rise to the top. One problem, all builders think they are better then their competition.
Posted by on 12/17/2008 7:29 PM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
Now this is what I call Blogging-
If were not really careful here we are going to learn something and be entertained at the same time. Im going to try something and I hope no one takes offense. If you dont sign your name I am going to give you one- I cant always talk to "Dear Anonymous" I promise its all in good fun.
First -Dear Mr. or Ms. Empdeplam,
2000+ vacant homes is a huge problem.........................or is it? I guess that depends on your perspective. Are you a buyer or a seller. If your a seller you better fish in a different spot. If your a buyer its a sea of opportunity.............................or is it? How many of those 2000 vacant homes are worth owning at any price? The solution to the problem won't be found by talking heads and hand wringers that are only worried about how many homes are available or who's responsible for building them. The solution lies in gaining back the trust of the consumer to bring them back into the market, freeing up the credit markets so lenders can write sensible loans, and builders producing homes of high quality and good value. It wont be easy or painless but we will get there.

Dear Apples and Oranges,
CBH, Hubble, and Boise Hunter Homes. We'll call them apples. Lets call me oranges. Apples are better to some, oranges are better to others. I dont know much about apples but I do know this- if your goal is to build a whole bunch of houses, you had better have a marketing plan and it better be a good one. My goal is simple- build one to two houses at a time and build them very well. My clients dont eat apples they eat oranges.

Bond Campbell
Posted by on 12/17/2008 8:43 PM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
Interesting comments going on here. The only reason CBH and Hubble have marketing plans is because they are large enough and have large enough margins to justify the huge advertising dollars they spend. The regular builder can still have a marketing plan, and a good one at that, but we may never know because their marketing plan doesn't involve billboards, radio ads, and tv. Plus, CBH and Hubble have to spend the big bucks because they have so many houses to sell per month and they are probably not getting 50% of their sales from referrals, like many smaller builders do.

Bottom line is the market is weeding out the builders without a marketing plan, or any plan for that matter. And hopefully, it's weeding out the back of the pickup truck contractor with little professionalism and organization. You really have to differentiate yourself if you want to stay in the game.
Posted by on 12/18/2008 12:18 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
I do agree with that experience is critical, but I would also argue that education is just as important. You can have 30 years experience building poor quality homes, but unless you gain some education about practices, principles, etc you are never going to be the cream of the crop. I think that there is only so much you can learn on the jobsite. Ideally, a good combination of formal education/training and on the job experience will lead to a quality builder.

I wonder how many builders in the valley have a degree in construction or similar field. Or how many builders attend the international builders show each year to further their education and attend the training classes on the latest technology and building practices. Just curious...maybe ask your builder that and see what they respond because at times real life experience just isn't enough on its own.

Posted by on 12/18/2008 12:28 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
Bond- You hit it with freeing up credit to write sensible loans...HISTORY has shown us that this means 20% DOWN, 28%DTI, low total debt. Wake me up when we get there...otherwise we are still in the bubble...btw that would eliminate 90% of buyers today...and bring home prices back in line to 2.5-3X median income or about $150K median for the valley.

2000 vacant home a problem? Not if you are smart. I can go out and rent a 1st class home in a first class neighborhood for less than taxes and interest!

The surviving builders 'professionals' will figure out how to build $150K middle class homes (nice lot, 1800 sq ft) solid-well built, or 10% of the volume in upper class homes $250-300K (2500 sq ft, 1/4 acre all the bells and whistles).

Posted by on 12/18/2008 2:54 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
If you were applying for a job, like building a home for a customer, do you list in your experience the work you father and uncles did, or the achievements of your relatives? I agree with the person who mentioned formal education, and I don't mean a 1 or 2 day course, simply having experience does not equate to knowledge.
There are a number of builders who think because as a child there father was in construction that means they have experience.
Does the child of a doctor say "my father and uncles were doctors and surgeons when I was growing up so even before I completed my residency I had decades of experience"? The same for lawyers, architects, engineers, and other "real" professionals.
Food for thought.
Oh and there are a few professional builders with engineering, architecture, construction management degrees out there. I think that that will be the new standard in the future, along with experience.
Posted by on 12/18/2008 8:43 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
I agree with but from what I have seen the consumer has not gotten that sophisticated yet. Maybe in the New Order- Credibility and Qualifications will be more important. I obviously think so.
Posted by on 12/18/2008 8:59 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
Oh, and as opposed to doctors, you can take your child on the jobsite and even put them to work. trey
Posted by on 12/18/2008 9:00 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
formal education is still critical in the New World Order. It will be proof that your are trained though it still requires real world experience to master and even then you have to continue to educate yourself with the latest trends, styles and construction techniques and technology. To be a builder you really should be a Rennaissance person.
Posted by on 12/18/2008 9:03 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
Yes, you can take a child on a job site and put them to work picking up trash, sweeping etc. You can teach good work ethic and responsibility, but that would not be considered professional experience, it would just be work experience.
Don't get me wrong, I think that type of experience and work ethic is invaluable but irrelevant when speaking about ones professional qualifications.
Also, I do not want to come of as combative, I am enjoying the debate.
Posted by on 12/18/2008 9:44 AM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
Education is very critical in business today. But we should not overlook experience. Having a formal education is helpful, but part of the education should be " hands on" knowledge. The uncle Bob that Bond talks about is my father. Bond and I worked together for my dad. We learned how to set up foundations, set up and pour flatwork, frame houses, and do finish carpentry. Learning all these things helped us to gain knowledge and experience in the field of residential construction. My point is, education is important, but experience in the real world is just as important.

Scott A Whitmire Residential Designer
Posted by on 12/18/2008 1:34 PM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
Dear Non Combative,
I appreciate your comments. I have been thinking about a degree for builders. After 20+years in the building business I have a few suggestions.

I am going to assume a 19 to 20 year old student- Hard working, good grades, limited on the job training.

My suggestion for Major: Psychology- this will prove to be invaluable.

Minor 1- Business Degree
Minor 2- Communication - might even be more important than the business degree
Minor 3- Project Management
Minor 4- Engineering
Minor 5 - Architecture
Minor 6- Finance- By far my weak spot.
I could probably think of a few more but thats more than enough.

If I had all those degrees I would undoubtedly be much smarter, and I probably wouldn't be building homes.
By the way I do have some formal education, I spent two years at Boise State in Construction Management. My problem was I couldn't wait to get back to the job site. Seriously -I wish I had gotten a degree.

One last note- I work with architects and engineers all the time, I frequently have to hire them for there services and explain to them how to make it work. "Nothing Trumps Experience"

I build homes for the same reason the geese fly south in the winter, and the Labrador loves to hunt. - It was breed into me.

Bond Campbell

Posted by Bond Campbell on 12/18/2008 2:10 PM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
I am the daughter of a builder. My father was a builder that was highly respected in this community, and very good at what he did. Bottom line... education is an important thing to have in this day and age, but so is experience. Education can't teach you to love what you do, it can't teach you to be ethical, and it doesn't completely prepare you for those everyday suprises that come up...when you are running a business. Education is more than just taking tests and memorizing words and concepts. It's kind of like Drivers traing....you study...you learn what you are supposed to do, but you still have to have so many hours driving before you get that license, and even when you do guess what... the longer you do it the better you get at it and you learn how to react. An education is invaluable but it doesn't make you good at what you do.
Posted by on 12/18/2008 3:02 PM
Re:Hello -Building Credibility Community!
Builder credibility????? Credibility starts with honesty. Trying to confuse the market with a ploy like leed Idaho is anything but honest/credible. I wonder what the US Green Building Council would think about Bond ripping off their trademark? I wonder if Bond would like others trying to confuse the consumer and steal business. I guess some people just can't be ethical and honest in their business relationships. Anyone looking to build a green home should look elsewhere.
Posted by on 3/9/2012 12:08 PM
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