No two days are the same for Norm Stockman – and that’s just how he likes it.
After more than 35 years in the building industry, Norm has seen hundreds of homes go up. But it wasn’t until he joined Landmark Homes that he saw just how unique a home could be.
“Every job is different, every section is different, every detail’s different and every client’s different. There’s never one day the same,” he says.
A Landmark Homes North Shore Project Manager, Norm oversees each build from start to finish; everything from sorting out the budget and scheduling contractors to making sure onsite work is up to standard.
With around seven Landmark building projects on the go at any one time, he’s usually planning several months in advance as well as what’s happening tomorrow. Most homes take around nine months to build, although ‘trickier’ ones can take around 12-14 months.
He says that’s just one of the many things that make Landmark Homes different from other companies he’s worked for.
“At other companies, it was quite normal to manage fourteen or fifteen projects at a time because they’re more cookie-cutter. Landmark Homes are more design and build, so they take a lot more time and detail.”
Part of that attention to detail is the relationship with the client As well as regular emails from week to week, Norm arranges ‘milestone meetings’ in which he walks the client through the building site to make sure everything is in order. This can be as simple as checking the power points are in all the right places.
Every client has a completely different vision of their home, and it’s no small feat to create exactly what they want. While one client might be very specific about lines, the next might be more interested in colours and textures.
“You’ve got to interpret what’s in the client’s head. Even though you’ve got the plan there and the details and the spec, you’ve still got to communicate with the client. What they’re seeing in their head is not always what’s on the plan. What we have to do is capture that and deliver something the client will love.”
One of Norm’s favourite builds to date was also one of his most difficult. Built in Campbells Bay, this particular home took 13 months due to its sloping site and eight different internal levels. But they pulled it off – and handed over the stunning home to its ecstatic owners in June.
Norm says that’s exactly what makes his job so satisfying.
“It’s really rewarding to hand the house over and see the clients really happy that you’ve been able to deliver what they had in mind,” he says.
Experience is key to project management, and he credits his long history in the building industry to his success. Having worn many different hats at many different jobs, he’s learned how to manage people as well as projects. Some clients would be onsite everyday if they could, while others are happy to take a back seat.
Whatever the case, he and the rest of the Landmark Homes team strive to keep the client in the loop. Norm understands that building a house can be as much work for the homeowner as it is for the workmen – so he does his best to keep the process pain-free. After all, he says, you don’t know what’s going on in your clients’ lives, and one of the most stressful things you can do is build a house.
“We stay in contact with the client throughout. We take them through the design stage right through construction to handover – the client is always in the background. We make sure there’s continuity, both with the salesperson and the coordinator. That way, they feel safe and listened to.”
With other companies, he says, the client will often be passed between different contractors at each stage of the building process. At each stage, a line is cut – and the client is passed on again. There’s no flow-on from one stage to the next.
At Landmark, however, that close relationship between a project manager and a client often turns into a lasting friendship.
“As long as the communication is open and we’ve built the trust, we can make the client happy. That’s what Landmark Homes does really well.”