The creation of a new home stands at the intersection of style, vision, craft and practical living. Building a house is so much more than arranging a series of boxes into a design vernacular and choosing some colors and textures. It presents an opportunity to express yourself and create positive life change through solid design and sound craftsmanship.
A good house is based on good design, and it all depends on flawless execution by the builder. Often, the professional designer / architect specifics some unique materials. Sometimes those materials require precise handling and installation. Even the most common materials can be installed with great precision and care that allows them to exceedperform even their own specifications. Conversely, expensive, supposedly durable materials can be poorly handled and fail long before they should. There is no way a design professional can realistically ensure that a design is well-built. Therefore, choosing an experienced, highly-skilled builder becomes mission critical with design-driven projects. And your builder's project manager should be a master craftsman.
What else to look for in a good contractor? Excellent communication. Your builder should provide written, daily communication (daily status emails), weekly site meetings (if possible), multi-week look-ahead schedules updated weekly, and completely transparent financial documentation.
A builder that plays well with others and communicates clearly as a team member with clients, architects, and engineers will ensure that the process of building, as well as the final product, shines as superior in nature. Process matters as much as product. After all, moving into a house built by a firm with what the client has had a contentious relationship is no fun.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of qualifications and process. But by choosing a skilled builder that is passionate about good communication, you should be able to rely on them to make your vision real, and enjoy the ride along the way. But be sure to check that they have a strong track record of built work and satisfied clients.