The Construction Mood Cycle

Every construction process that I have ever seen goes through a relatively predictable "mood cycle":

  • The Honeymoon - Everything is new and progress is fast. The foundation work is dramatic, framing is fast and the new shape of the structure is taking shape. The project appears to be ahead of schedule.

  • The First Problem (The Honeymoon is over)- It may not be a major issue, but it demonstrates that every construction project has some flaws.
  • This is an excellent time to take another detailed look at the plans and specifications with the contractor. Look for any overlooked items, make sure that weekly meetings are set, re-affirm the need for timely decisions, keep all decisions and requests in written form.

  • The Doldrums - The project seems to have slowed down to a crawl. The first phase of the framing is very fast, last details are a time consuming process. Scheduling and coordinating the specialty subs is slow: the plumbers, the electricians...

  • Where did everyone go? - It's elk season, a family emergency, the day after thanksgiving or before the 4th of July...
  • The Cast of Thousands - At the beginning of the project it was possible to remember some names but now there are new subcontractor crews on the job every day. Do they know what they are doing? Do they care about this project? Is this project under control? How will the thousands of unfinished details get done?
  • The light at the end of the tunnel - The interior surfaces have been installed, cleanup has started, a finished product becomes imaginable, but will it ever be done?

This mood roller coaster is somewhat inevitable, it's 'topography' will be largely determined by the quality of the pre-construction steps: planing, design, contractor selection...