ArchWeek Residential No. 135 - The Question of Quality...

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ArchWeek Residential No. 135 - The Question of Quality...

Postby Kevin » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:40 pm

ArchWeek Residential No. 135 - The Question of Quality... ... l/135.html

How does the concept of quality fit into your work in residential design and construction?

Probably almost everyone who operates a business wants real quality on the business side - trustworthy employees, effective sales, minimal waste, good cash flow, accurate accounting, and so on.

On the other hand, businesses can take rather different approaches to the issue of quality in their product delivery. Some aim for maximum product quality and command a premium price. Some aim for basic saleable products at the lowest possible price. And so on.

The high-tech Chevy Volt is a flagship product for a General Motors that is widely considered to have joined Ford and Chrysler/Fiat in refocusing successfully on high-quality, high-efficiency products. Photo: Kevin Matthews/Artifice Images

The thing is... quality consciousness in a modern organization is largely a matter of culture. Deep quality is something an organization has to live and breathe. It is difficult to manifest if compartmentalized, or turned on and off depending on the situation.

As a result, there can be a contradiction in aiming to maximize quality profits on the business side, if not maximizing product quality on the delivery side as well.

Arguably, this is part of the lesson of the ups and downs of American car makers since the 1970s, when their domestic dominance was first threatened. Initially, imports were dismissed as uncompetitive econoboxes, while American cars got even bigger. Then, as a good chunk of the domestic car market was being lost to higher-quality foreign producers, American makers found refuge for a decade or two in the easy production and high margins of the uniquely American truck-based SUV.

That didn't last either, and eventually, long after the writing was on the wall, it took hard economic knocks and major government bailouts for American car makers to shift their focus to designing and building high-quality, efficient cars for today's demanding market.

There are thousands of examples of great new places created by the U.S. residential building industry — and thousands more of subdivisions filled with under-designed, under-built new tract houses, too. Photo: Flickr user smart growth

Does anyone else see an analogy with American homebuilders who may be pining for the easy profitability of the suburban McMansion niche? Is there any fairness in the comparison?

Has the American mainstream residential production industry made the paradigm shift, yet, to a primary focus on building great compact contemporary housing, with world-class quality, in time- and transportation-affordable locations?

How often do you think about contributing to a culture of deep quality in your residential design and construction-related efforts? Is there something new you might do, from whatever position, to help maximize quality in your organization(s)?

Residential Design and Building News

Housing Declared "Bottoming" in U.S. - Bloomberg, 2012.0425 ... -u-s-.html

Housing Needs More Freedom, Innovation, Not More Loans - Bacon's Rebellion, 2012.0425 ... loans.html

Vancouver's Development Permit Board Okays Controversial Project - The Globe and Mail, 2012.0425 ... le2413236/

Houses of the Sundown Sea - Wallpaper, 2012.0425 ... esner/5760

Tel Aviv Battles to Save Heritage of Bauhaus from Decay - BusinessWeek, 2012.0425 ... from-decay

Transit-Oriented Residential Community Planned for Somerville - Boston/ SF News, 2012.0425 ... 78FA29DE6E

Interview with New York Developer David W. Levinson - New York Times, 2012.0425 ... inson.html

Cost of Spain's Housing Could Force a Bailout - New York Times, 2012.0425 ... ilout.html

Even in a Prime Neighborhood, Some Forlorn Vacancies - New York Times, 2012.0424 ... -side.html

How Our Home Was Saved from Foreclosure - CNN, 2012.0424 ... /index.htm

Savvy Buyers Now Expect LEED-Certified Homes - Nashville Ledger, 2012.0424 ... x?id=58694

Rentals in Houses Outnumber Those in Towers - Wall Street Journal, 2012.0424 ... in-towers/

Purchases of New Homes Exceed Forecasts - BusinessWeek, 2012.0424 ... -forecasts

U.S. March New Housing Sales Report - Bloomberg, 2012.0424 ... text-.html

Design Firm Leader Employs Holistic Philosophy to Foster Clients' Creativity, Comfort - Chicago Tribune, 2012.0423 ... tivit.html

Builder Horton Skips Celebration on Quarterly Profit - Wall Street Journal, 2012.0423 ... ly-profit/

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear UWS $1,000/Month Rent-Stabilization Case - Gothamist, 2012.0423 ... mpt_to.php

Planned Palace Upsets Some Neighbors in Tony D.C. Suburb - Washington Post, 2012.0423 ... story.html

Disaster Solution? House in a Box, Maybe - News Journal, 2012.0423 ... -box-maybe

Sales of New U.S. Homes Probably Climbed in March - Bloomberg, 2012.0423 ... march.html

Apartment Demand Drives Commercial Building Rebound - Los Angeles Times, 2012.0422 ... 1754.story
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Family Takes Long, Winding Road to Their 'Green' House - USA Today, 2012.0421 ... 54442096/1

$16M Project Unveiled for Former Steam Plant: YMCA, UT Clinic, Apartments Planned - Toledo Blade, 2012.0421 ... plant.html

The Finest Estate Home in America Found - Huffington Post, 2012.0421 ... 43214.html

What's Next for Top Condo Builder? - Calgary Herald, 2012.0420 ... story.html

Behind the Numbers: Existing-Home Sales Fall - Wall Street Journal, 2012.0419 ... ales-fall/

Neighborhood Profile: High View Park - Washington Post, 2012.0419 ... story.html

A Co-op with Elbow Room - New York Times, 2012.0419 ... -room.html

What's in a $22 Million 1 Bedroom Condo? - CNBC, 2012.0417

Homeowners Keep Renovations Simple, Budget-Friendly - USA Today, 2012.0417 ... 54419236/1

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