Firing a project team member

Bad attitudes and poor performance from a partner ultimately hurt the client
Collaboration requires everyone to pull their weight. (Photo: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz, Dreamstime)

The ideal project team comprises a homeowner, architect, builder and designer who respect and understand each other’s expertise, according to Tim Barstad of TKP Architects. One person who approaches a project with “an attitude of superiority” can be harmful, he said, “whereas if you recognize that other people have something really important to offer, you can capitalize on that and benefit from each other’s expertise.”

[Related: Project partners—Collaboration for construction success]

However, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Dave Mosely of Rosewater Construction has had to drop projects because of poor performance and bad behavior on the part of another team member.

“Usually, by the time you figure it out, you’re pretty far down the road,” Mosely said. “To tell your owner, ‘You need to fire this person,’ is tricky in and of itself. Then you’re back to square one; you’ve got to get somebody else in there to get up to speed really fast and try to pick up a fumbled ball and run with it.”

Mosely described one project that stretched out over two and a half years, five designers and three architects.

“We were the second contractor,” he said. “We were the only survivor out of it.”

Though the project was eventually finished, it bears the mark of all the different people who were involved.

“The house is super lavishly done, but to me it’s schizophrenic. It has all these different design people who were involved.”

Jodi Wills of Root Interiors reiterated the importance of cohesiveness in design. She said she and her team might do smaller projects across the whole home, like designing lighting packages or choosing tile for multiple rooms, but even that is not ideal.

“We won’t go in and design incrementally. We do the whole thing or we don’t do it,” she said

Danielle Andrus

Editor, Colorado Builder Magazine

Danielle Andrus has 84 posts and counting. See all posts by Danielle Andrus

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