PB December 2010

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Features

Armed with years of management improvements and a recession-busting attitude, Professional Builder’s Builder of the Year kept its focus on a diversified and value-rich product offering to emerge as one of the best-run builders in the business.

The largest of the three Show Village homes at 3,060 square feet, the Treasure Sands model is designed specifically for the resort rental market, with accommodations for multiple families and large groups. The four-bedroom house is loaded with a variety of living and entertainment spaces and amenities, including a home theater, hobby room, and master suite retreat.

At a scant 528 square feet, the Eco-Cabana model from Palm Harbor Homes may be small in stature but it is mighty when it comes to green living. Designed to meet DOE’s Builders Challenge energy performance requirements of sub-70 on the HERS Index, the model will be loaded with high-performance, sustainable features.

Measuring just 30 feet in width, the Sea Breeze model is designed specifically for narrow-lot, infill applications for just about any region or environment in the country — from coastal settings and mountainous areas to urban landscapes and traditional suburban neighborhoods.

The home building industry’s approach to design, plans, and specifications needs a comprehensive overhaul to find and eliminate waste in product and process. Professional Builder columnist and Lean guru Scott Sedam provides a primer on getting started with Lean design.

While conducting research on a builder for a recent issue of Professional Builder, I did what most people do first when they want to learn more about a company, or any subject for that matter. I went to Google. I punched in the builder’s name and was immediately taken aback by the Page 1 search results. Naturally, the first few items related to the company’s website, but the third and fifth items where consumer feedback websites laced with comments blasting the builder.

Two years ago, at the height of the global financial crisis, investor Warren Buffett pulled out this gem of a quote to describe the situation. “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.” And while this is an accurate expression of what happens to weak businesses when there is a downturn in the business cycle, it seems particularly apt as a description of the builder market before and after the housing market bubble burst.

The term green has become ubiquitous in marketing for almost every industry, and home building is certainly no exception. So what’s the best way to navigate the murky sea of supposedly “green” products and practices? Green product labels are one tool, but not all labels are created equal. The NAHB Research Center provides an overview of the major green product certification programs for the home building industry.

Successful builders obsess on sales conversion ratios, tracking key metrics, hiring the right people, and knowing where they stand in the marketplace, writes Bob Schultz in his latest column. Schultz offers 14 ways builders can win in the sluggish economy.

While home builders are less than upbeat about the health of the overall housing market, most are optimistic when it comes forecasting revenue and profit for 2011, according to a survey of Professional Builder readers. More builders than not indicated that they are planning for flat or higher revenue and profit in the coming year, with nearly a fifth of respondents projecting revenue growth of 7 percent or higher.

April 2016

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The building community reports on the growing popularity of bringing the indoors outside.

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