What is fascinating about the 2004 class of leading residential design/build firms is not what values, philosophies and business practices they have in common, but what unique best practices set them apart. Across the board — and across the country — firms that have adopted design/build as a way of doing business say the same things: It increases control of the process and budget; it makes a seamless transition between design and construction; it produces on-target designs that are detailed and buildable on real-world budgets; and it provides a better experience for the client.
Design/build firms come in different shapes and sizes. Airoom Architects and Builders, a Chicagoland firm, hopes to turn $100 million in sales next year. Most firms don’t dream of that kind of volume — especially those involved in design/build remodeling.
Drive 750 miles east to Harleysville, Pa. That’s where you’ll find Gehman Custom Builder. As recently as 2003, the owners were considering an exit strategy to leave the industry. But by rededicating the company to success and making some difficult decisions, they rallied around the company and busted through a slump — determined to make it go. And go it did. Gehman expects to take its $1.8 million sales volume in 2003 to $3 million this year. As different as these two firms may appear, they are bound by a commonality in their dedication to design/build.
Leaders show their colors in a variety of ways: through business systems; growth and profitability; a focus on providing clients the best experience possible; and a commitment to employees, communities and the industry. Leaders pave the way for the rest of the industry, proving by example why design/build is not only the wave of the future in custom homebuilding and remodeling — it’s the present.
The 12 Design/Build Leader Winners are:
Rockland Organization Inc.
Charles W. Ross Builder Inc.
Gehman Custom Builder Inc.
Keith Waters and Associates
Neil Kelly Co.
Airoom Architects and Builders
Orren Pickell Designers and Builders
Sopris Development LLC
Sun Design Remodeling Specialists Inc.
The Downs Group
Jauregui Architect Builder