Built on Design

Knowing when help is needed is a quality of strong leadership. So when the owners of 2D Homes in Bryan, Texas, hired another designer, they knew doing so would keep their company at the head of the pack.

The workload became too much for the staff to handle properly, so one year ago Victor and Mark Drozd, co-owners, hired a designer who is going for her master’s degree at Texas A&M. Although Victor is a designer himself, the addition of another designer to the staff will help in many ways, including getting jobs done faster, he says.

Another reason for hiring an extra designer is to combat so-called design/builders who buy software and believe therefore they are a designer, Victor Drozd explains. Customers have walked in the door with plans drawn by a builder using a CAD program, and 2D turns away the work due to the poor quality of the drawings, he says.

“Everyone can draw a floor plan, but it’s tough to put a roof on it, and one that will work,” he says. “Our strong point has been our reputation for knowing how to design a house that works. It brings people back to us for more work. Hiring a designer makes us more competitive by making us faster and able to handle more design work.”

Drozd says in his area with a population of roughly 80,000, about 200 builders are in operation. “They all want to try to get on board with what we’re doing, trying to design their own houses. I see that advertised a lot more. Many of the ads offer free plan service. Anything you do for free can’t be worth it, and if that’s your first impression, the plans are not worth much,” he says.

Taking advantage of Texas A&M being close by, the two owners also hired an undergraduate student as an intern for added support. “We’ll give them work to do such as the preliminaries. Then we’ll correct anything that needs it and do detail work on the plans. They get things started for us, and they’re actually learning as we benefit from them being here. It’s a big step in their career, and it helps us at the same time,” says Victor Drozd.

The internship program began 10 years ago. Most 2D interns move to big cities for more experience, but for the six months or year they’re with 2D, it’s a win-win for both sides and keeps the design/builder fresh with new ideas.

Being a design/builder is the only way for the Drozd team to go, they say. Building one’s own design means a trade can call to ask what the design intention was for all or part of a design, and Drozd can tell him. “Otherwise, when building someone else’s design, you have to track down the architect which can take forever. That’s the beauty of designing your own projects.”