For this post to make sense, you need some background information. Camelot Custom Homes is a small operation. Paul Streeter is the man behind the construction, his experience stretches back over 40 years. My name is Clara and I handle the marketing and new project development for Camelot Custom Homes. I don't have a construction background, my expertise is in looking for new partnerships, new clients, new things we can build and new ways to market what we do.
Over the past 2+ years, as part of my job, I have met with over 100 local architects, and have given more construction site tours than I can count. Without exception, on every tour someone says something like 'wow, this is well-built'. That's a nice compliment to hear from an architect. But what does 'well-built' really mean? One time an architect told me that the second floor felt as solid as the first floor, that there was no bounce or squeak, and that's how he knew our project was high quality.
Interesting...tell me more.
One architect told me she liked to see the spaces where the windows go before they're installed, that seeing the framing tells her everything she needs to know about a builder's quality. Another architect liked to check out the baseboards on a finished project, telling me that the smallest details say the most.
After dozens and dozens of site tours, I decided it was high time to educate myself on building quality. If our projects are so 'well-built', what does everybody else's quality look and feel like? How do we really measure up? Are these architects just saying nice things because I'm standing right there? I started going to job sites all over town, poking my nose in between the studs, climbing around half-built projects. I have looked at production homes in subdivisions, million-dollar custom homes on the water, hilltop cabins with views, duplex infill projects. I have walked through homes that are just getting started, some in the framing stages, halfway finished, and some that are fully built and on the market for sale.
Those architects were right, Camelot builds a great quality house.
I saw some beautiful work out there in Austin, many of our competitors do a fine job. Their job sites were tidy, framing was solid, finishes were tight. Overall, I found that Camelot measured up to the big boys and that's a nice thing to learn.
What was surprising was that the not-so-great work was so easy to spot. The more projects I toured, the faster I got at sizing up good vs bad construction. I saw shims used in ways I didn't know were legal. I saw windowsills tilted in toward the house. I saw sliding glass doors installed backwards. I saw gaps in the siding so wide you could watch birds fly by. Yikes.
The above picture shows joists with random bits of lumber shoved in between joist and the subfloor above. No no no no no.
Exterior wall framing in this photo. Shouldn't these be plumb? Should this look like a patchwork? Why so many bits of wood? Are those scraps??
Checking out finished homes is helpful, too. It's always good to compare design features, layout choices, finish work. Just like an architect touring one of our projects, I'm looking for those little details that tell me if anybody cared when they put down the floor/hung the lights/installed the cabinets. Our finish work at Camelot is spectacularly detailed, I find that I'm shocked when others don't take the time to do a good job. I've become a construction snob.
The above photo shows brand new cabinets in the kitchen of a high-end duplex currently on the market. For $750,000, shouldn't the doors line up?
The photo above shows GOOD quality. It's one of ours, it's a bathroom in a home we built last year in Westlake Hills. Those stripes are 12x24 tiles installed vertically. Our tile setter, Nicole, used grey grout for the grey stripes and white grout for the white. What a smart, highly-detailed choice for her to make, but can you imagine how it would look had she been lazy about it? It was the right move, quality matters. A closer look is in the photo below. You can barely see where the tiles meet. Tight work.
If Camelot cares this much about the grout in the guest bathroom of this house, imagine how much care we give to the more important pieces of the build.
Working for Camelot Custom Homes is something I'm proud of, and my tour of Austin homes has been validation that I represent a solid brand. From the framing to the final details, we do an excellent job. Call Camelot when quality matters to you.