We talk to managing director and co-founder of Scandinavian Homes, an established supplier of log home kits and turnkey projects.
How does your day start?
If I’m on site managing a turnkey building project, then I’m up for about 7am, having a light breakfast and a cup of tea – best way to start the day! Experience tells me that I don’t need a large breakfast, no matter how tempting it might be. Then I’ll get to the client’s site, timing my arrival to meet the team.
What are your first thoughts and duties?
To check in with the site team to make sure that they have everything lined up for the week’s schedule. That will vary depending on where we’re up to in a project. Starting a project off is probably the most exciting time, as at the beginning of the day there is a foundation ready for the house, and by the end of the day the first few logs will be in place. This makes me feel that real progress is being made.
Things will vary depending where we’re up to with the project – maybe putting up the shell of the building (and hoping for good weather). It’s not that you can’t build a log home in the rain (we often do!), but it is much nicer (and warmer) if it’s not actually raining. When a project is further on, then tasks will include double checking that any deliveries are booked in as planned.
Usually when I’m on site, I’m feeling great because being hands on for a day or two reminds me what a wonderful material timber is. A log home just has such a fantastic smell!
What challenges do you face?
Naturally, with any project there are always a few challenges – perhaps installing a large triple glazed window. These are really heavy, so we need all hands on deck. Sometimes the challenge is to sort out a late delivery of materials and then adjust what tasks need to be done to work around it. As they say, no plan will be perfect, but if you don’t have a plan…
What is the process you follow with your work?
Once we’ve been through the full specification in detail with the clients, so that everyone knows who is doing what, we create a master schedule so that we know what’s coming and when. When we’re fully managing the turnkey build project, this can be quite a juggling act as you definitely don’t want everything arriving all at once. Even with a large site, there is never enough space available for that, and you don’t want the team to be wasting time moving insulation or other materials around unnecessarily!
Any problems you have to tackle?
Problems usually only arise when the client has changed their mind about something. And then it’s more of a challenge than a problem – how to find the right item and then try to return or find a new home for materials no longer needed. We hate waste so always aim to re-house extra materials. This is where I know I can rely on great support from the office to help me.
Do you have any time for a break or lunch?
Whenever I’m on site, I try to make time for a break, but it may not be all that long. However, as most of our client’s projects are in beautiful places, I try to make the most of any views or spot wildlife – it’s amazing what you can see when you sit quietly for a few minutes. A real highlight was watching a flock of geese flying in formation.
How do you feel at the end of the day?
Physically rather tired – I don’t need to be on site every week, only when checking in with the team, so it’s not like I’m doing this every single day. But an on-site day can be immensely satisfying as there’s visible progress – log walls insulated, or windows installed. And if we’re managing the whole project then it might even be the final handover to an excited client, so that they can then start planning to move in.
Are you proud of what you have achieved?
Definitely! The team will have used their skills to make progress and I get the privilege of encouraging them. And overall, we’ve helped plenty of clients achieve their dreams, whether they’ve done it with a lot of hard work themselves or we’ve managed things on their behalf.
What’s the best bit of your job?
There’s nothing better than handing clients the keys to their new home or holiday home, ready for them and their family to live or stay in, or to rent out to guests. They’ll make wonderful memories there, in a log home that’s been designed and built just for them.
Scandinavian Homes is a family-run business based in Yorkshire supplying self-build house kits from leading Finnish manufacturers Finnlamelli and Hirsiset. For those looking for a partner throughout the self-build journey, the team can provide a fully managed, turnkey service. www.scandinavianhomes.com