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A CNN Money article this week elaborated on what many construction firms already know: good labor is now hard to find. 
To a remodeling contractor, saying “no” to a potential client could possibly be the best decision you make for your company.
  For over 20 years, the National Housing Quality Award has been helping some of America’s best home builders improve their operations and make more money! Learn how applying for the NHQ Award can help your company: Increase profitability Improve customer satisfaction Sell more homes Submissions are due April 5, 2013. This link will take you to the 2014 NHQA Application document.
  A new theme park just opened in Houston, and it’s not Six Flags. MainStreet America is a collection of 12 show homes, ranging from 1,800 to 6,000 square feet and representing a smorgasbord of architectural styles.
I read thousands of customer surveys every year – THOUSANDS!  This customer insight gives me a unique perspective on many home building topics, like today’s “Finding Your Special Agent 007s For Huge Sales Increases."
There’s a new business buzzword spreading like Strep Throat. I’m betting it’s still in the early adoption phase, but these viral epidemics (pandemics?) move quickly. 
After my January 2013 article in Professional Builder, “3 Ways to Huge Profits Through Lean Design,” was published, I was thrilled to get a shout-out from a faithful reader regarding a costly insulation mistake. It was too good not to share. Here is what he wrote:
I wrote my first article on the coming trade shortages last October about the perils and politics of immigration policy. I wrote the second one in December providing a 10-step immunization plan to protect a builder from the effects of trade shortages. I receive so much mail, pro and con, that for February I published two of the best letters and commented on them.
Michelle Jennings Wiebe is helping to spread the message that new homes are better than resales. Wiebe, president and principal designer of Studio M, an interior design firm in Tampa, Fla., offered tips for house hunters in a recent article. Some of the items on her “what’s in” list include:
Considering the millions of people wandering around with chins buried in their chests, thumbs ablaze on glass keyboards, few would suggest the smartphone is underutilized.
When I travel with my wife, or sometimes just run to the grocery, cleaners or hardware store, she frequently has to remind me, “Scott, remember, you are NOT in charge here.” Many of you fellow Leanistas know the drill. You hardly ever see a restaurant, a checkout, a meat counter at the supermarket, a parking lot or God help us a TSA line at the airport – in our out – that we could not spend 5 minutes rearranging and save folks a ton of time and money.
This pottery is the future.
When I was part of a growing home building company we learned to be on guard for the newest “technology” coming down the pike that promised to revolutionize our home building business. We called the condition of falling for these fantastic technology claims the “allure for the sexy lady of technology.”  Thirty years later, it is safe to say, some things never change.  Before I expand on the latest siren of technology, let me give you the results of a couple recent studies.
  Studies show that across industries Cost of Quality (Failure, Appraisal & Prevention) is: 2.6-4% of sales revenue. In the construction industry the Cost of Quality profile is: 70% spent on Failure Costs 25% on Appraisal Costs and only 5% spent on Prevention Costs. The cost of correcting deviations from construction specification is 12% of project cost whereas the cost of providing quality management is only 1-5% of project cost. A research study found rework costs on a study of 260 construction projects:
Did you know that Bronson Pinchot has a show on the DIY Network? That’s right, folks — Balki renovates houses!
Green building has touched nearly every new-home price point in urban areas as well as the suburbs. A recent Chicago Sun-Times article touted Avondale as “the hot new West Side neighborhood.” In Avondale, an architecturally diverse neighborhood of vintage homes, walkups and new residential construction, the single-family houses are the best value, according to the Sun-Times.
Why has high school Spanish failed so many students? 

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