Craftsmanship in the Modern Construction Industry

• Miles Taylor
• Service Tech Manager
• Rafn Company

Does craftsmanship matter any longer in a world of technology, automation, and single-use products? It depends on what outcome you would like.

"Craft and quality were replaced by scientific manufacturing that predictably produced thousands of identical products at repeatable levels of quality." -Ron Franke

Low volume customized work involves:

  • Tailored service to the individual client.
  • Understanding the specific needs of the client.
  • Quality over efficiency.
  • Adjusting to meet the needs of their client.
  • Flawless execution.
  • Living and breathing the craft.

However, if you are looking for a project that can be replicated easily and inexpensively, efficiencies can be found in modular, pre-fab, and panelization strategies (to name just a few).

High volume production work involves:

  • Easily replicable. Easily scalable.
  • Providing the same service for each client.
  • Finding clients specifically matched to the service.
  • Building as efficiently as possible.
  • Expediency over perfection.
  • Treating all projects the same way.

Our first step in guiding you through the construction process is to identify your goals for the project. Are you planning to build and sell? Are you planning to hold the building long-term. Are you building for a specific use? Are you building on a speculative basis? Is this project one of many? Or is it your one and only? Have you done this before? Will you do this again?

Yes, I do believe that craftsmanship still matters. The history of construction began with bespoke projects produced for individuals by a craftsman expertly plying his or her trade. It’s only been since the industrial revolution where mass production has given mankind products on such a large scale and at such low prices.

In the service and warranty work that I do at the Rafn Company, we are almost always creating a unique solution to fit a specific problem. Solving the problem in a manner that will work reliably for a long time is of utmost importance and our reputation depends upon that. That is the reputation of a craftsman, and that is why craftsmanship matters.

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