Saturday, February 11, 2012

Beginning Tales from the Trenches

Last month I attended a conference in Las Vegas and realized in one of the lectures how beneficial it would be to have a blog to have the opportunity to explain further what our panelized home packages are and their benefits.  A blog seems like a great opportunity to answer questions and explain what we do. But where to start?

Then I received the following letter from a client and I realized that beginning with talking about this letter and this delivery would be a great beginning.  So stay tuned for a full description of this wonderful home in the Napa Valley !!!

February 8, 2012              

I originally heard of North Coast Packaged Homes and factory framing from my contractor a year ago.  He had put two of their packages together for another client of his in the Napa Valley and felt that it was potentially a good option for my home as it is a high quality product offered at a great savings.  Frankly, I could not afford the home I’m building without the savings offered by North Coast Packaged Homes.
                Ann Zollinger met Rex (my contractor), my architect, and me at the home site last February.  After briefly discussing the benefits of factory framing we immediately started discussing different design options with Ann that would save money on the project while maintaining the overall look and floor plan of the home that we had already designed with our architect.  I was thrilled when I heard PMHI works only with custom home plans.  As a result of this meeting we decided to have the drafting department of PMHI complete our construction drawings and engineering as this was also a substantial savings.
                For the next several weeks, Ann, my architect, and I traded emails and phone calls trying to get the design just right. With very professional and timely interaction between Ann and my architect, we finalized the drawings and went through the plan check in Napa County without a redline correction – an amazing feat I have been told by my Napa County architect. 
                After the plans were finalized, I tried to negotiate the price of this large framing package with Ann.  She would not budge an inch which was very disappointing because I negotiate all of my large purchases.  Although she made it clear to me that PMHI does not negotiate its package prices, she did get me a factory discount that arguably did not apply to me because of the timing of the package delivery.  I was most impressed by the fact that during her first visit to the site, and after a relatively quick view of the plans, she estimated the total cost of the package within 6% of what I finally paid, and that doesn’t exclude the cost of items we added after she first reviewed the plans.
                After finalizing the plans and the price, I thought we were finished because the only task remaining was delivery of the package to the home site.  I was shocked when Ann called the day before the scheduled delivery to tell me she cancelled delivery.  Let’s just say there was a misunderstanding on what grading was to be done before delivery on my rocky, steep, and winding driveway.  After getting over the shock, I was very concerned about additional charges I would incur.  Three fully loaded semi -trucks and trailers were sitting in Sacramento, and the necessary grading could not be completed in fewer than 5 days.  Ann remained calm and persuaded her office and the trucking company to keep the trucks loaded while the grading was completed.  That effort saved me the unloading/reloading fees that I feared.  The entire package was finally delivered to the site with no problems.
 I assumed everything was final because most of my house structure is standing.  My contractor recently discovered that all of the 6 x 6 posts for my wrap around porch and covered patio are pressure treated instead of finish grade Douglas Fir.  That’s approximately 25 posts.  We checked the house plans and confirmed that the contract specified pressure treated posts.  Everyone agrees it was an oversight, but not a PMHI mistake.  PMHI agreed to a return of the pressure treated posts and to reimbursement of the additional costs of the Douglas Fir posts.  I continue to be amazed by and grateful for Ann’s advocacy on my behalf.
I have not seen Ann since she first visited the home site last February.  I anticipate the next time I see her, she will be sitting in a comfortable chair on my wrap around porch with my wife and me. We will be admiring our porch posts as well as the rest of our new home while savoring a glass or two of our estate grown cabernet.  I am indebted to Ann for all her great design input, cost savings ideas, and advocacy.  I hope she will accept a few bottles of our wine as payment of that debt.  Although there were a few hiccups along the way, we could not be happier with the product or the service.  I am recommending Ann and PMHI to everyone I know considering building a new home.

G. S.
Angwin,  CA

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