A few months ago, the oldest house in Tampa was moved across town. Still standing at 176-year-old, the four-bedroom bungalow was located outside of Ybor City at 3210 E Eighth Ave. In February it was taken apart, moved and reassembled in its new home in Hyde Park’s National Historic District.
The question begs itself: How is it possible that this house can withstand almost two centuries, but modern homes fall apart at the first sight of a natural disaster?
In our constant race towards bigger, faster, cheaper, we might be leaving behind an important element: Better. When we explore how building principles have evolved over the years, we can see the toll industrialization has taken on what was once considered an important craft.
Nowadays, many builders focus on high-volume, cookie-cutter boxes to expand the suburbs and make a profit. The notion of a home being an intricate part of a family’s history, passed from generation to generation, is foreign to many American families. We know that the new homes we buy today will house us and our children until they are old enough to get their own. We know that we will have to replace the roof in our lifetime and that it will withstand several cosmetic changes to keep up with trends.
Durability is not a common denominator in most modern construction. While materials get lighter, processes quicker and everything more expensive, home builders will adhere to the standard of the applicable building codes. Sound good? Not so fast, because the fact that a house meets code requirements only means it is the worst house you can legally build.
At the end of the day, the industry builds fast to keep up with demand, battling a dwindling labor supply, making ends meet with a budget from which they can still turn a profit while construction costs increase at least 3% per year.
Although construction, like any other industry, has turned into a numbers game, there’s still something to be said about quality construction. One that withstands time and has enough historical, sentimental and architectural value to merit logistical planning with Tampa police, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Transportation and the city of Tampa to be able to move it across town.
In our quest for beauty and commodity, let’s not forget the merit of quality. If you’re looking for a skilled construction partner that cares about quality and craftsmanship, let’s talk.