How did WL Hickey and Bestbath and Devcon build relationships to meet the requirements Stanford set. Additionally, Edward and Lee discuss how the planning is built on performance & relationships to be set for future business opportunities.
The following is a transcript of the video "Relationship with contractors and architects: A PCBC Conversation" :
Kenneth: I was going to ask next about them. What's the relationship with DEVCON? How's that different than the relationship with the architect? The architect really concerned about design, really concerned that the product holds up, doesn't fall apart, he doesn't wanna be sued, but with the contractor, talk about the relationship with the contractor.
Edward: Well, we do a lot of work with DEVCON and we really like them. We think they're very good and DEVCON is, like us and like Best Bath, are there for the long term. They have been out at Stanford for years and doing projects and they want to continue to be out there. So, they know that they have to perform up to a high level or else Stanford will go somewhere else.
So, that was communicated to us as a subcontractor and it was communicated to Best Bath that this isn't really just a one-shot deal. If you perform, we are gonna do other projects and you will be in those other projects because you can perform. And Stanford has a very high criteria for everybody on their projects because they're very demanding because they are looking...what you said, I think they're 140 years this year?
Edward: Since 1883? So, anyway. So, they've been around for a long time, and so, and they know they have to keep these building for a long time and maintain them so they want good quality. That's why they picked DEVCON and hopefully they'll continue to pick us as a subcontractor and Best Bath as a supplier.
Lee: Well, you know, to just go a little further into that. These are the kind of relationships that make successful construction is that everybody is on the same page. There's people that just are gonna take care of the project. And I know the commitment because of the younger Hickey members, their commitment is just falling in step with Edward and his cousins and his brothers. I mean, it's just a really neat relationship to have.
Edward: And what you're seeing in the industry, I think the smarter developers, general contractors, what they are looking at is not necessarily the "most competitive" bids where you get the lowest cost provider and then you have to put them together to work as a team. They understand that what...they put together a design team that's worked together with all the subs and they can go into the next projects. Even though it might on paper be a little bit more upfront, in the long run, they'll have a smoother project, they'll be able to deliver on time, and we get the quality that they want.
Kenneth: So, this is especially true then with clients who are looking to hold on to property, in other words, are concerned about cost over time.
Kenneth: And the people who just want to get in and out, that's not always such a happy...
Lee: Well, you know, I've worked at times with people that are repetitive...privately owned development companies and they have asset managers. And 15 years down the road, it's so gratifying, like you know, when they call you and they say, "Well, we're gonna renovate 400 rooms and we want you to come in. We want you to provide a product for it." And we've got many stories like that and I know that W.L. Hickey Sons has the same kind of reputation and it's really gratifying. I've been there 24 years. I've got to watch this whole industry, as far as assessable and code-compliant product, grow up and mature. And it's just really a wonderful thing when we get to work with such quality people.
Edward: We've actually, to get to that longevity aspect, we have a contractor that...I was telling Lee earlier, we're the second plumber for this developer and we were the second plumber and we started with them in 1953 and we've worked on their projects for, whatever that is, 40-some years, doing their houses originally, over 5,000 houses for them, and then they started building an office complex, and we've done over almost five million square feet of Class A office buildings.
Kenneth: So, relationships are really important to this whole process that we're talking about.
Edward: I think it's key.
Lee: It's the most important thing.
Kenneth: It's built on trust and being able to deliver.
Edward: The last thing an owner wants is when you're all done and they phone up and say, for instance, with showers, "I'm having problems." And you say, which we will never say, "Well, just go talk to the manufacturer." They don't want to be left out there. I mean, if they phoned us up, we would go and say, "Okay. We're gonna investigate." We're gonna see what happened and pull them in. But we don't wanna do that. We don't wanna be...
Kenneth: You don't want that call.
Edward: We don't want that call. And that's why, you know, an ounce of prevention is worth a proverbial pound of cure.
Lee: Yeah, their plumb, level, and true. I mean, I think Edward would know this. He would call and say, "Hey, we need to go investigate." And they would be the first one there and we would be the second one there to go troubleshoot and see what the problems were and make the corrections.
Edward: And not to name another manufacturer, but we just finished a project where the tubs were put in and now they're puddling. And it's not...we didn't...we put it in per their recommendations, but now to go back and to address that problem is a major expense and disruption and something you just don't want.
Lee: Thousands of dollars.
Edward: Yeah, many thousands of dollars.