Josh Morrison on Improving Clients’ Quality of Life

“I grew up with Maine values,” says Josh Morrison, lead project manager at R.P. Morrison Builders in Windham. After working as a fire protection engineer in New York, Morrison decided to move back to Maine and join the family residential construction business. In his interview with MH+D Inside Out, he explains that many clients build in Maine to escape the busyness of city life—as project manager at a family-owned company, he makes their building process as comfortable and stress-free as life should be.

Q. What is one of the most interesting parts about your work?

A. We get to see different aspects of Maine’s landscape that we wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. For example, we recently worked on a beautiful art studio in Cape Elizabeth, and we’ve built on Littlejohn Island. We would never have experienced such a beautiful spot hidden along a little windy road if we weren’t building on the backside of this island.

Q. What are some of the challenges with building on such different spots?

A. Good question. We’re always worried about waterproofing, exposure. When building right on the ocean, we experience the extremes of Maine weather, and we think carefully about how to waterproof and shield the house from the elements so that it lasts a long time, and so that the client is not constantly trying to maintain the upkeep of the house.

Q. Have you known instantly after meeting an architect that you were going to have a great relationship?

A. Absolutely. We worked with Elliott + Elliott Architecture recently on a project in Falmouth. They came to us with a set of plans that were complicated and modern. When we looked at those plans, we felt like they really represented the way architecture is going to be in the future. We felt an instant connection with the team over there. We met up with them to talk about some of our values and beliefs about energy, attention to detail, and integrated systems, and we found that our ideas aligned well with theirs.

Q. You’re a relatively small family company. How does that factor into the way you work?

A. I think we’re probably the right size. We’re a little bigger than the contractor working out of his pickup and trying to do paperwork on nights and weekends, but we’re not quite the commercial construction company with a large office. It’s kind of like a family. My wife and I have our hands in every little detail of a project, all the way from start to finish. And I really like going onsite and trying to help people.

Q. What do you mean by help people?

A. We’re trying to improve clients’ quality of life. They’re obviously trying to build their house in Maine for a multitude of reasons, but for some people, building a house is a very stressful process. They’re worried about each little detail. I want to make it easy for those people. We’re trying to help them understand how the house is built, why we’re doing things certain ways, and how we can take the stress off them. Our customers are often trying to come here to Maine for a slower, easier life. Their houses are a place to relax outside the hustle and bustle of cities, or whatever they’re stressed out by. Their homes are a retreat. We want to make that experience easier for them.