Civil Engineers and Architects: Building the Team

Any fairly large project that is successful, I think, will credit its success to a strong, competent, cohesive team comprised of top notch team members who each do their piece of the puzzle well. So building our eco-glamping sanctuary team carefully and thoughtfully, is something John and I both take seriously.

It takes a village…to make a lightbulb. Or a backcountry, food-focused eco-glamping accommodation.

Before we started this project, neither John nor I had attempted anything like it. Over his years in the construction business, John has done some smaller-scale, more traditional development projects like spec homes and subdivisions and things. I have been with him long enough to have picked up some of that experience along the way. But this very unconventional, medium-large scale project has both of us learning as we go. It’s actually taken a fairly substantial amount of time for us to just pick up from context/learn from scratch/absorb through osmosis, who exactly we need on our development team, and what the hierarchy looks like. As we began meeting with different potential partners, it was not immediately clear who would work for who, how they interact, what order they should be recruited in, and what our role in relation to them would be. For example, with his background in building, is John going to don his belts and swing a hammer? Help build but also supervise? Just wear a suit and point at things? Though the picture is not yet rigidly set, a clearer vision is emerging for us:

DREAM UP PROJECT, PROCURE AND PURCHASE SITE, PROVIDE VISION AND DIRECTION, PLAN, RECRUIT TEAM, FOOT THE BILL, COORDINATE, SCHEDULE, LEAD, ENSURE PROJECT SUCCESS/FRUITION
DEVELOPERS: John & Karen
DESIGN/BUILD STRUCTURESDESIGN/BUILD SITE & ROADS
DESIGN: ARCHITECT & Architect’s Team (Structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers, landscape architects)DESIGN: CIVIL ENGINEERS (aka Site Planners, aka Development Consultants) & Team (Soil Scientists, Surveyors, Drafters, etc.)
INTERFACE between DESIGN & BUILD
GENERAL CONTRACTOR (John, Role #2)
BUILD: CONSTRUCTION CREW – Carpenters/ Plumbers/ Solar Power Electricians, etcBUILD: EARTHWORKERS – Excavators, Road Builders, etc.

So the Developers (us) hire two basic teams: one responsible for the structures (treehouses/cabins) and ones responsible for the site and roads. The GC ends up playing the interface between the designers of the site and unit structures, and the guys who build it. That, we have decided, is the second formal role that John will play: GC. Having GC’d some fairly large jobs in the past, and having about 35 years of general construction experience, he is well-suited to it, I believe. John is good at envisioning a construction project through from start to finish. He’s also good at juggling. His expectation management and communication skills can sometimes benefit from a little finesse, but I’ll be there for that 🙂

So we are now actively recruiting our design team – both for the structures and the site and roads. This means, an architect, and a civil engineer team. Structure and site builders can come later. Being clear on this finally is very helpful for us – since we’re supposed to be the ones who know what the hell we’re doing and lead this project!

Meanwhile, back at Mission Headquarters, the floor goes down! Helps keep the chill out from the basement, and also allows John to frame up a basic bathroom, his next step. To celebrate Daddy’s hard work on that front, the kids and I came up with a saw and a sled and enjoyed a little post-Thanksgiving tree-hunting followed by some libations by the fire!

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