Make it a project worth doing

Five weeks before Scarlett was due to be born, we finally got the planning permit for the two bedroom home we were planning on building on my parents property. So the question was should we have a crack at getting it done before Scarlett arrived, or should we wait. Life was going to be much easier with a baby in the new house, but on the other hand who ever heard of a house being built in five weeks?

I called Gerry, my builder, and we went through the plans. He thought it could be done. Nobody else did. Everyone thought we were crazy to try it, and that it would be a nightmare, Scarlett would arrive, and we’d be in the spare room. Which I have to say wasn’t the ideal scenario.

And at the same time I had to get my book finished (on implementing projects that matter, paradoxically).

So we decided to go for it. We figured that while it wouldn’t be great if Scarlett came along when we were half way through, there also wasn’t going to be a convenient time anytime soon, and that Gerry was free and could put a crew together straight away, so we got started.

The challenge wasn’t so much the timeline, but the sequencing of all the trades. The tiler couldn’t start before the plaster was done, but we couldn’t get the plasterer in before the plumber and electrician had roughed in there bits, which could only happen when the building was at a certain point, and so on. It would only take one tradie to let us down for the whole thing to go pear-shaped (as watchers of Grand Design would know).

So for five weeks we kept talking to Scarlett in Trish’s tummy, telling her she couldn’t come out until the book was finished and the house was built. Gerry and the crew worked like crazy and our motto was “whatever it takes” (with apologies to Prakesh Menon for stealing his mantra).

And after five weeks and one day (we were a day late) we moved in

Luckily Scarlett was ten days late, so we were all good.

I think the thing that made the difference was that everyone one bought into the project. Everyone was on board to get the house built before Scarlett arrived – and Trish waddling around the building site 9 months pregnant was a good reminder of the deadline. When the plasterer was due to start on Monday, we had the electrician in on Saturday, and the plumber in on Sunday so he could start on time. The boys all worked evenings and weekends when needed. For the whole team it was a project worth doing.

And funnily enough, since then our plumber has reverted to type (with apologies to all the plumbers out there). He had done everything that was needed for us to move in, but the external stuff was still incomplete. Open trenches, downpipes not connected to storm water etc. For the last two months he hasn’t managed to get the last 10% done.

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences – where have you enrolled a team in a project worth doing? You can leave your comments below.