Monday, April 23, 2012

The Tailored Idea

Build-to-suit or Settling for Low Cost Alternatives. Real estate professionals, architects, engineers, builders and owners can find themselves faced with a dilemma in an environment of economic uncertainly. It has always been true that buying exclusively based on lowest price is a dangerous way to do business. Catering to such clients can be hazardous as well. 

Consider the guy looking to buy a new suit. He enters a clothing store but he doesn’t want to spend too much money. The tailor shows him a designer brand nice suit for $400. “It is too much,” he says. Shown another suit for $200, he says, “It’s still too much money.” After several others, finally he is shown one that only costs $10. “That’s more like it!” the guy says, and tries it on. He looks in the mirror and one sleeve is about two inches shorter than the other.

“No problem,” says the tailor, “Just hunch up your right shoulder.”
So the guy hunches his right shoulder way up, and the sleeves look OK, but the lapels are crooked.
“No problem,” says the tailor, “Just stick out your left arm and cock it like a bird’s wing.”
So the guy sticks out his left arm and the lapels look OK. But then he notices that one pant leg is shorter than the other.
“Well, just keep that leg stiff,” says the tailor, “and no one will notice.”
“I’ll take it!” the guy says.
The guy leaves the tailor shop wearing the suit. Walking with his left leg stiff, one arm stuck out like a bird’s wing, and one shoulder hunched way up. Walking down the street he passes two orthopedic surgeons.”I have never seen anyone in such bad shape in my twenty-five years of practice!” says one of the doctors. “Me neither,” the other doctor says. “Nice suit, though.”

Maybe we all need to remember, even in the face of increased pressure to deliver low-cost solutions, the integrity of our collective professional lives depends on value without compromise, appropriate quality, and sustainable building that will serve well into the future. Ultimately, when someone says “Nice building!” let’s hope it is true for the intended life-cycle of the project.

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