Wood siding installation requires a specific skill set. When bid specifications are prepared by architects, consultants, or general contractors not familiar with the required skill set, the bids received often won’t be from qualified installers. Installation instructions become a necessity.
Commercial projects can be difficult because of the number of subcontractors that exist between the person who purchases the wood and receives all the installation instructions, to the persons actually swinging the hammers.
Information trickle down can be slow and inconsistent. This can apply to residential construction, as well.
It can be difficult to do a large-scale commercial project in wood.
Typically, installers under bid a project because they lack experience in wood siding installation and all that a proper install involves. And, because commercial projects work on a tight schedule, the installers are hurried and not able to take their time with the installation.
When you add high-profile to the mix, you add high visibility and high stakes.
Yacht Club Project
We provided the cedar siding for a yacht club project very close to the Capitol building in D.C. The stakes didn’t get any higher. All eyes were on this project; there were high expectations.
Some disruptions occurred after the bidding process when the bid-winning installer was let go before the installation started and a new installer stepped in.
I had an opportunity to speak with the installer, as I was on the jobsite when the wood delivered to make sure it was as expected and to make myself available for any questions. It was immediately evident he was in over his head.
He was offered the bid because someone else was fired. He accepted the bid because it was a prestigious job. And, he under-bid the job because he lacked experience in wood siding installation.
This was a massive project. This wood siding was going to look gorgeous if installed properly. But this guy wouldn’t be able to get the job done.
What to do?? There’s a chain-of-command within a construction project and working my way through this process was going to take time. There are engineers, architects, a general contractor and usually two or three layers of subcontractors on these big jobs.
I knew once the installation crew had their hands on that wood mayhem would ensue. I ignored protocol and went right to the top, letting the GC know this installer wasn’t qualified for the breadth of this job, which included producing an exceptional aesthetic, expected with high-end cedar siding. He agreed with my summation but had no remedy for the problem.
I decided the only option was to call “Mr. Wolf” (My moniker for the guy who is always available to help me out with a wood siding problem!).
Dennis Beachem is an expert craftsman; one of the “old timers” who knows how to install wood the right way. He knows every tip and trick of the trade.
Dennis spent three weeks at the site giving the install crew a crash course in technique and aesthetics. He showed them proper stacking and acclimation, sorting, and tips and tricks for installation and maximizing the cedar yield.
He pulled the best out of these guys, instilling pride of workmanship that produced a beautifully finished installation. It couldn’t have been better!
Case Study Valuable Output
I knew Dennis’ tips and tricks were information everyone purchasing or installing wood siding could benefit from. But it wouldn’t be feasible to get Dennis in the field for everyone who needed help.
I spent countless hours gathering Dennis’ great advice and producing the Foundation Video Series. A must-watch, step-by-step educational primer focused on positioning you for success with your cedar siding project.
The Yacht Club. From a potential disaster to a learning experience now available for anyone to reap the benefits of a master craftsman.
Ciao, until next time, wood lovers.