Since joining the TRC Residential team, I’ve found that one word keeps working its way into daily dialogue: integrity.
This is a word commonly used by English speaking businesses big and small all over the world as they pursue marketing efforts and develop partnerships, but in the case of TRC Residential, what strikes me the most is how ubiquitous it is in team conversations. It’s clear to me, as its newest member, that this cornerstone of this company’s approach to all things is the reason we find ourselves driving out to a lonely construction site on the prairie of Bennett, Colorado.
Traveling with TRC’s head-honcho, Larry, I learned that not every Denver area construction company approaches their craft with this same cornerstone. He explains that the couple who own the partially complete home on this site came to TRC Residential through their lawyer, who contacted him on their behalf asking him to take on and complete the build. They had originally hired another general contractor, who had grossly mismanaged the project and then abandoned it.
This young couple needed to finish their home and they needed someone they could trust, so they hired TRC Residential.
Larry spoke highly of the homeowners. He told me they were really nice people, both working professionals doing their best to see this build get finished. They had simply been taken advantage of, but things were now back underway and nearing completion.
We pulled up to the site and I saw a somewhat boxy structure with a high roofline and a very large wrap-around porch. Aside it sat a similarly shaped, but smaller building, presumably the garage. Larry pulled off of the unpaved road into the also unpaved driveway and killed the engine. I got out to start looking around.
We were the first of several people that would visit the place that day, as much had to be done. As I explored, it became clear to me that there must be challenges presented by inheriting a build, as opposed to seeing one through from the ground up. Not only had TRC Residential taken responsibility for the project’s completion, it seemed the previous builder’s level of skill matched his level of integrity and there were things that had to be completely redone.
For instance, I noticed that the garage and the main home were to be connected by a short covered concrete path leading from the garage’s man door to the side entrance of the house. Forms had been built to pour this concrete path, but I found it interesting that it appeared to have already been poured once and, for some reason, removed. Larry would later explain:
The ground underneath the concrete pathway and stairs leading into the home had not been properly compacted. When dirt gets wet and becomes mud, it settles just as it had here. The pathway had become a completely unsupported “bridge” over a sinkhole. This poorly made path and stairway had been demolished, making way for the excavator to refill and reinforce the ground properly and now the forms had been reinstalled for a new, correctly constructed pathway and stairs to be poured.
Larry quickly set to work, doing what I have come to learn makes him the best at what he does. He walked around the inside of the home, making phone calls and speaking to the various subcontractors, methodically managing who would perform their duties and when.
He also had questions. For this particular project, the client had assumed the responsibility of purchasing their own accessories, like toilets, lights, and other fixtures. Larry explained to me that this had already occurred before TRC assumed the project, otherwise he would have coached the couple to use vendors with whom he had carefully built relationships. Nevertheless, the accessories were here and needed to be placed in the correct rooms, according their labels, which weren’t quite clear. Another phone call.
When examining one of the smaller bathrooms, it was discovered that the previous builder had allowed improper framing, which was preventing the tile setter from finishing the shower. Another phone call.
As I watched, I began to see that this is the job. What I perceived as big problems weren’t big problems in the daily life of Larry and TRC Residential. In order to build a home, so many things need to come together in the right way, with the right timing, using the right people. Phone call after phone call and literally hours in a beautiful F-150 going from site to site handling the calls over the hands free allowed me to be the “fly on the wall” as Larry carefully managed the chess pieces.
One phone call stuck with me, though. The garage for this project didn’t have an automatic opener for its main door. The homeowner had been considering installing one and, on our way to the next stop, Larry took a call from him over the hands free system in the pickup.
I could hear in the man’s voice the personality Larry had described. It had a gentle quality to it but there was something else in the man’s voice that I heard that was distinct. It was trust.
It wouldn’t be the last time I got to go out to the “Bennet Job” and I’ve seen a lot of progress in a short time. The pathway is now poured, strong and sturdy. Tile has gone in and looks great. Appliances, pendant lights, and very attractive flooring have all been installed. Once worried and abandoned by a general contractor who has now disappeared, TRC Residential’s new clients are seeing their home come together, built by someone they can trust.
And, I have to say, that’s fun to watch.
by Colin Spencer
More on trusting your General Contractor: Click Here
More on the relationship between your General Contractor and his Sub-Contractors: Click Here