January 22, 1993
To Whom it may concern:
In the last ten years my wife and I have remodeled an older house and built a brand new house on lake front property. In both instances we retained the services of Jerry Gropp, Registered Architect. Both efforts were uniquely enjoyable and successful. Many expect such projects to be contentious and difficult- ours was not. Problems were solved easily and cooperatively, the results exceeded our expectations and personal relations were maintained on the highest plane.
Both processes were based on a partnership management approach. Ginger, my wife, Jerry and the foreman assigned (subject to our approval) by the general contractor met regularly, almost daily, and made the decisions necessary to keep the job flowing smoothly. On the building of the new house this process worked especially well because it kept the design and building efforts on the same pace. As the spaces were enclosed and we had a better "feel" for the house, we were able to finalize the design together.
The extraordinary element during the building of the new house was the outstanding interface with the local building authorities maintained by Mr. Gropp. We built the house on an expedited permit process unique to Mercer Island and no longer available. This process accelerated design and drawing review by the municipality and put the responsibility (and guarantee) of code compliance on the architect, builder and owner. As owner I indemnified the city for code violations and agreed that any violations would be corrected immediately and at my cost. Obviously I could not have taken this kind of risk without having absolute confidence in both the architect and the builder (who had originally been introduced to us before the remodel by Mr. Gropp.) Because of his long experience building high quality and handsome houses on Mercer Island, Mr. Gropp has both the reputation and the personal relationships with the building officials to keep them completely satisfied and unusually responsive as we built the new house.
We moved into the house eleven months after the original ground breaking. Judging from my friends' horror stories, this is a record for building a large custom house on the waterfront. We are extraordinarily pleased with the result and credit Jerry Gropp for having brought. it about. Our highest praise is that we would do it again!
Elwood D. Howse, Jr.
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