It keeps coming back to me time and time again – the best value is found in higher quality solutions and not in low price. It seems to be true in every aspect of life – the best quality solution is almost never the lowest price. I am certainly not advocating for the highest price solution, as there is a balance to everything. Sometimes things cost more simply because they are new inventions, have more features, or because they have a particular brand name. That is not higher quality. Higher quality comes from long-term sustainability, durability, and functionality. Higher quality in the built environment is something that is energy-efficient, healthy, and durable. Higher quality reduces long-term costs and provides better solutions that are durable and comfortable.
The problems that occur with low price and low quality is often not evident on the surface. It might literally be below the floor surface. For instance, a floor vent’s supply run should be sealed to the sub-floor for the best quality solution, much like how a low-cost door handle will not be durable: It will need repeated maintenance and adjustment to allow it to function properly. A low-cost HVAC (heating, ventilation, and cooling system) solution is likely to impact indoor air quality, short cycle, and not keep the humidity at a comfortable level. A low-cost insulation strategy will increase energy usage. A low-cost flooring will not last and will require regular maintenance and probably replacement.The low-cost solution in almost every case increases long-term costs through maintenance and replacement costs.
So how do you determine the best value? It takes careful evaluation of the products used in buildings. An architect does continuous research to evaluate materials and to determine the best value solutions. An architect sets the performance standard for the construction.
When making decisions for your next building project, be sure to ask as many questions about quality of the solution as the price of the solution. The long-term costs (as little as 4-5 years) will almost always be less with the higher quality solution.