Enforcing Design, Construction Guidelines Minimizes Conflict

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High Desert, a community in Albuquerque, N.M., maintains design and building guidelines - and a mechanism for inspection and enforcement of them to reduce conflicts between developer, builder and home buyer.

April 01, 2004

 

With homes priced from $200,000 into the millions, builders at High Desert follow the rules and create a winning reputation.

High Desert, a community in Albuquerque, N.M., maintains design and building guidelines — and a mechanism for inspection and enforcement of them to reduce conflicts between developer, builder and home buyer.

Before a home start, Kym Dicome, vice president of developer High Desert Investment Co., meets with the builder and property owner (buyer), and all parties must sign an agreement to honor the guidelines. The owner provides a $4,000 construction deposit. “One can have the most complete set of rules, but if there is no mechanism to ensure they were followed during construction, the plans are meaningless,” says Dicome.

For example, High Desert enforces a 26-foot height restriction from the lowest natural grade to the highest parapet (excluding chimney flues). A proposed plan at 24 feet triggers a survey on the developer’s dime when framing is complete. At more than 26 feet, construction halts, and the builder and/or owner must make changes. Changes so far include lower parapets on six homes and lowered foundations, slab and all.

“Because we have actually followed through, the word has spread that we mean business and will ensure that the rules are followed,” Dicome says.

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