Dear Harrison and Calista*,

It takes careful and clear communication to design + build a home, communication between the owners, the design + build team, vendors, trade partners, utilities, and regulators. And probably a sibling, parent, best friend, and maybe Uncle Louis.

We believe that there is a better way to create homes. Listen. Plan. Design. Build. We form our design + build teams early and make sure that we are all pulling in your direction. Again, this requires active communication that reaches the whole team and helps keep us all aligned and informed. This note is about recommendations for communication that will help us keep you and the design + build team in the loop.

We use a team email address. If you consistently use this team email, you will reach all of the BuildSense team members working on your project. When we communicate directly, we’ll circle back with an email, copying the team, that summarizes the decision made or direction provided.

Texting is great for quick answers on availability, for example, and texting is lousy for tracking decisions and direction and for keeping the team in the loop. We ask that you primarily use the team email for project communication.

Calls are great for talking through more complex issues and getting a problem solved quickly and calls are also lousy for tracking decisions and direction and for keeping the team in the loop. We’ll do our best to send a summary email that covers direction or decisions communicated during calls.

We have a professional and responsive team that is committed to building high-performance homes that our clients love. Still, these folks must find a healthy work-life balance. To that end, we ask that you limit calls and texts outside of work hours to emergencies only. If you do send an email to the team after hours or on a weekend, we’ll get back to you on the next business day.

Our trade partners are just that critically important partners in the design + build process from planning through warranty. Still, they are not well equipped to handle, for example, change requests on site. If you have a question or concern about the work or are looking for a change, please communicate with your Site Lead so that they can solve, answer, and address.

We set regular meetings (every week or every two weeks) to cover changes, updates, concerns, appreciations, and questions. It does help to keep a list and cover that list at regular meetings. Of course, if you have an urgent concern, please reach out to your team between meetings.

I saved the best for last. We would like to understand your communication preferences. Here’s a favorite example. We have an (amazing) client that helped us understand their communication preferences by turning an old saying on its head: no news is bad news. Even if things are moving along on schedule and as planned, they prefer a regular check-in note to touch base and share that information. Makes sense and that’s what we did.



Randall Lanou
Company Lead


P.S. With a Hollywood marriage that has lasted longer than a decade, there is no doubt that you both know the value of strong communication.

*Full disclosure: not only have we never worked for Calista Flockhart or Harrison Ford, we've never actually met them. Indeed, I'm not sure we've ever been in the same city at the same time. They seem like fun people, though, and we would be happy to build a home for them. If any of you are close friends with them, we would be grateful for an introduction!