Leader Builders Corp. has been a household name in Chicagoland since 1988. Build quality of our projects is legendary, design is cutting edge, and our customers return to us with multiple projects over the years, refer their friends and family, and give us great reviews, but it takes a deeper look under the hood to figure out what is the source of this success.
There are no secrets - only many time-tested systems have been developed over years of doing business and which are designed to control the quality of our product as well as our process.
In remodeling, a great project starts with an accurate estimate. At Leader Builders Corp. we have developed a proprietary software which gives us high-accuracy estimates which permit us to stay competitive by reducing markups. We built a second application just for project management and client relations. We maintain detailed to-do lists for our field management personnel which synchronize with portable devices on the job. We also use a top-of-the-line project scheduling software to ensure that the materials for the job arrive right on time. Read more...
In the remodeling industry delays are rarely caused by factors beyond the builder's control. A typical example of a construction delay is a work delay caused by custom kitchen cabinetry not being delivered on time. Of course, manufacturers are always giving projections of their lead times and usually pad them a little, so the manufacturer is almost never a problem here. The problem usually is the builder not ordering these materials on time.
The same things often happens with crews which may be in high demand. Good plumbers or a mechanical contractor will need to be scheduled several weeks in advance, and, of course, you want to work with the best. The solution is quite simple, and it is surprising that not many remodelers do it:
You have to work backwards - first you determine when during the project's calendar will be the earliest time when you will need this long lead-time item and subtract that lead time in order to find the date on which you need to place the order for it. It can be done in many different ways, but using a scheduling application is the most accurate, quickly modifiable method and will save your production manager a lot of time.
At Leader we have project scheduling templates for all types of projects. A room addition will have quite a different schedule from an interior renovation involving a kitchen remodeling. Even two different addition projects can have completely different scheduling templates, such as a two story addition at the back of the house involving a concrete foundation and electrical service relocation, or a second floor addition which does not need concrete, but requires the removal of the existing roof and protection during rains. Hide this.
In our design process we work with our client every step of the way and we do not move to the next step without client approval. While the design is being developed the project is being prescheduled for construction trades, so when the design and building permit are completed, we can ensure that we have the crews are available to start on time. Read more...
The project development and design stage should be the most enjoyable part of the process. This is after all the time when you get to shape the vision that we will be turning into a reality. The better the vision, the more successful the final outcome. That is why it is extremely important to get it right. Here is how we do it at Leader Builders:
Our initial consultation is always more of a brainstorming session with all kinds of ideas being explored. We also acquire the information we need about your home. Next comes our solution to the problem you gave us. It comes with a very specific construction budget proposal, which is presented for your approval. Then once they are approved, we start designing. Hide this.
Similarly, there is no mystery in the quality of the actual construction. Our personell is trained and informed, and incentives are in place to keep good people working for Leader for years. There are rules, quality standards, and supervision. We tend to retain employees who can work independently and who genuinely care about what they do and whom they do it for. True pride in the job well done is a huge part of our culture.
At Leader we tend to build things stronger, more reliable, and certainly better looking than codes and standards require. Our workers often comment that it's too bad that all this great structural, mechanical, electrical work is going to be covered by finishes and never seen again. While it is meant a a joke, there is some truth in the fact that our clients often don't get to see some of the work that we are most proud of. Read more...
Codes and inspectors aren't perfect. Virtually none of the items mentioned in the following paragraph will ever be called for by the city or village inspector, but they can sometimes be crucial to the longevity of the house, as well as it's comfortable usage. Over the years at Leader Builders we have developed standards for various construction details where quality matters the most.
It starts with protection of existing finishes using a multitude of innovative products like electrostatic plastic wrap to cover up carpets and zip-up barriers to isolate conation areas. During construction we use protective materials for newly installed tubs so they do not get damaged.
Our standards for framing start with using engineered lumber like LVL beams and TJI joists wherever practical. We often size our joists and rafters larger than required. We ensure construction adhesive application while installing plywood and wallboard. We have a separate set of standards ensuring our substrates and roughs working with the finishes properly. For example, we always use a cement sheet in wet wall areas, we provide a latex waterproofing membrane prior to tile installation, and we install all our tile on cement adhesive only.
We may be unique in using this special method for building custom tile shower bases which ensure proper water drainage from the cement slab under the tile and help preventing mold growth. While the method isn't difficult and the products are readily available, we aren't aware of any other remodeler using it.
Finally, we have a complete set of standards for interior as well as exterior finishes culminating with roofing proper usage of ice & water shield materials, proper flashing and venting products ensure long years of enjoyment by the client. Hide this.