I think Dick and Karen are doing a wonderful job enlightening many first timers to the trials and tribulations of building a custom or semi custom boat, especially lightweight and an early hull
Their inexperience in managing this is self evident and they are open enough to freely admit their limitations.
The QC problems that are listed are not unusual in even the best yards in Europe
and what is encouraging with Fastcat….. is Gideon’s “Can-Do” attitude in trying to remedy them. That shows me that this builder is very committed.
The amount of rework needed costs any builder in his profit margin so I am sure there is no one more vested with putting in place preventative measures for damages or shoddy workmanship, than Gideon. Fastcat
are growing and expanding into new facilities, this staff training will take a great deal of time and effort until the standards are “set” on the floor and ingrained by the workers.
For those who criticize Fastcat
or expect near perfection based on price
, I can tell you from personal experience that expensive problems happen in any custom build process including the renowned Feadship yards, with many generations of experience.
The way to improve on this is to invest time and money
by a knowledgeable ‘hands-on” Owner or his Representative to remove any vagueness in the contract
Specifications, BEFORE, the Contract
is signed and to follow-up during the build with regular inspections to satisfy yourself that the execution is to your agreed standard. (That actually helps the Builder to enforce standards)
My philosophy as an owner’s Rep and project
manger is very simple:
1/…The 2 people with the largest stake in a custom new build is the owner of the shipyard and the client. Those 2 will be in a pseudo-marriage during the process, once the contract is signed, so their primary job is to find out if they are mutually compatible and trust each other.
2/…For the rest of us, as employees, our job is to provide BOTH with as much detailed information as possible via detailed specifications and feasibility studies, so that they can make an informed decision before
the contract is signed!
3/…To that end, I recommend that a client should be prepared to spend at least 10% of the anticipated contract price
in doing his homework on detailed build specifications, Maker’s list, Engineering Feasibility study and ergonomically detailed Interior
, before submitting to bid tender
. The more qualified detail, the better so as to reduce or completely omit that dreaded contractual word..."allowances" !
If you think that is crazy, then just consider this:
4/…The “average” change order of a custom built Feadship is about 30% of the contract price….(some much more)
5/…The primary reason for change orders is design deficiencies
, whereby engineering requirements which are not fully identified during pre-contract work, is discovered during the build. As it often impacts severely on the user’s interior
, causing expensive changes in fixed interior furniture and rework. The client is actually forced into paying much more
, to get less.
6/…If by doing your homework you reduce the design deficiency change orders from 30% down to 0% , then you actually have 20% available for real improvements but more importantly, you get the boat you want
These numbers are not theoretical but from actual experience and those who invest in surveyors “after the fact” have missed the point that a custom new build is a partnership
between the Builder and the Owner.
Invest in both the Builder’s and your own success, before you sign the contract.