An Integrated Approach to Custom Home Building

Allora LLC, a new design/build firm based in Greenville, S.C., is attempting to change the way custom homes are built by unifying traditionally separate pro-cesses.

June 01, 2002

 

Allora LLC, a new design/build firm based in Greenville, S.C., is attempting to change the way custom homes are built by unifying traditionally separate pro-cesses.

We were seeing more and more clients steer- ing away from a conventional design-bid-build approach,” says Dwayne Wood, vice president of business development. “Integrating the design and construction process into a design/build pro-cess improves communications and creates a single point of responsibility.

Our approach involves construction folks with the architects from the very beginning, so there is no handoff at the end of the design process. The team is led by the architect and supported by the contractors during the design process, and when the project moves to the field, the team is led by the construction project manager and supported by the architects.”

Formed through an incorporation of talent and resources from Don Gardner Builders and Don Gardner Inc., Allora adds industry specialists and advisers to integrate land planning, architecture, construction services and in-house marketing into one firm. Allora believes this gives it competitive market differentiation and dexterity other builder/architect teams might not have. The company can set a client’s budget up front and has become proficient at building on difficult, special-needs lots for developers.

Developers needed a company like Allora especially in middle-stage developments when they encounter some difficult lots they don’t know what to do with but still want to sell,” says Donald Gardner, CEO. “We design a home for that lot, sometimes building it as a model. If developers can show an example of a house on a sloped lot, customers will be more enticed to buy a home on a sloped lot in that development.”

Chief financial officer Bill Santerini III says, “We’ve so perfected our system of setting the customer’s budget beforehand that we continually come in under budget on a lot of the homes we’ve built. You have a quality job, the customer’s under budget, and you beat the time frame that you give the customer, it just adds up to a great reputation.”

Curtis Jenkins, vice president of construction, adds, “As soon as possible, we introduce the construction manager who’s actually going to build the house into the process so they are aware of the customer’s wants and desires, and they follow the house completely through construction. Our project managers do no more than three houses in the communities we work in per year, so they develop a real strong relationship with the homeowner.

“As a custom home builder, we are truly an advocate for the homeowner. We help them make informed decisions. With an educated customer, we’re getting a happier customer.

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