David Barista is Editor of Professional Builder, Custom Builder and HousingZone.com, properties that combined reach more than 200,000 residential design and construction professionals. David has covered the U.S. construction industry for more than a decade and has won numerous editorial awards, including two Jesse H. Neal Awards.
As you may have noticed by now, I am a flat-out junkie for lessons. Nearly every article I have written for Professional Builder, including my monthly editorials, offers some sort of list of takeaways, lessons learned, do’s and don’ts, and other pieces of advice. The fact is, I love the process of problem solving, and I’ve been absolutely fascinated by the countless number of creative ideas that you — the builders, developers, and designers of America — have dreamt up over the years.
“You Can Buy More Land in an Afternoon…
Than You Can Get Rid of in a Lifetime.”
As an editor of one of the nation’s largest business publications covering home building, I’m frequently asked about the state of the housing market. Everyone from regional builders and product manufacturers to consultants and architects will ask: “What are you hearing from builders?” “Are we officially in a housing recovery?” “When will the market get back to peak levels?”
This year marks the 19th edition of the National Housing Quality Awards, the industry’s only recognition program dedicated to helping builders grow their businesses and become more profitable. During the past two decades, NHQ judges have evaluated and honored more than 100 builders and trade contractors for their quality management excellence. Of all the firms to win an NHQ Award over the years, only a handful have achieved every level of distinction (Gold, Silver, and Bronze), completing what the judges call the “quality journey.”
If there’s one common thread among the six builders featured in our article on fast-growing builders (“Big Gainers”), it’s the absolute importance of keeping the core team intact during the downturn. When the housing market started to crash in 2006, builders understandably kicked into survival mode. Many chose to let their most experienced and talented (and costly) employees go as part of their operations trimming process.
Chances are, you’ve never heard of Tony Fadell. But I would bet a very large sum of money (okay, $100) that you’ve heard of his most notable creation. As a young computer science engineer out of the University of Michigan in the 1990s, Fadell was instrumental in the design and development of half a dozen consumer electronic products, including early versions of the tablet computer and PDAs.
One of the many harsh realities we’ve grown accustomed to during this economic downturn is the turbulent nature of stock market indices, especially the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Since the beginning of 2008, the DJIA has experienced historic or near-historic daily drops on 14 occasions — each time sending both Wall Street and Main Street into panic mode.
Photo: Ply Gem Windows’ Builder Series Pocket Door can span up to 12 feet and is just $400 for the base model.
If you missed the results of our annual 101 Best New Products report, I encourage you to check out our landing page for the 2011 winners, www.HousingZone.com/101BestNewProducts/2011.
We just caught wind of some big news on the customer satisfaction front: J.D. Power and Associates has canceled its 2011 U.S. New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study.
If you are a home builder or residential designer/architect using mobile devices and other technology for business applications, we want to hear from you. Take Professional Builder's 18-question Technology survey and you'll be entered in a drawing to win one of three $50 Visa gift cards.
-David Barista, Editor-in-Chief, Professional Builder