Daily Archives: May 16, 2019
Getting from A to B in home building (Originally Published in New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine)
From acquiring the land to build a home, to choosing its tradespeople, to the time it takes to build a home and good and bad stories about building – Townwood and Baywood Homes share their knowledge on getting from A to B in the building.
The first step in building is that the land needs to be acquired. Tony Guglietti is the President of Townwood Homes.
“In acquiring raw land for development, the process of taking it from its original state to a finished community can take anywhere from three years to 20 years,” says Guglietti. “Depending on the status of the raw land and where it falls within the development process of the official plan of a municipality.”
Natascha Pieper is Director of Marketing and Sales with Baywood Homes. Her job involves market research, product positioning and managing the sales for low and high rise residential developments.
“Our land acquisitions are selected by sourcing key locations, a neighbourhood up-and-coming, and kind of forseen where the market will go and get in there sooner,” says Pieper. “Our key location is the downtown market, even areas up north, more resort-style communities, like the Muskoka and Collingwood. The up-and-coming neighbourhoods that attract the vacationers.”
Baywood homes are currently working on an Embassy project. They have entered into a community that was definitely artistic in nature and had to position themselves to be sensitive to the artistic culture.
“We had to blend into the neighbourhood,” Pieper says. “You can’t come in and build an eyesore.”
Pieper also says that with the whole greenbelt legislation it’s pushing people up north and in the downtown location. Now there are a lot of low-rise builders that are becoming highrise builders. It’s cleaning up a lot of neighbourhoods. The municipalities are helping out. From her point of view, these are some of the considerations in acquiring land.
Guglietti of Townwood Homes says location is a prime consideration in acquiring land.
“The estimated length of time the development process will take, the yield the land will produce and the type of community the municipality envisions within their planning process,” Guglietti says are all things to consider.
Natascha Pieper says the selection of tradespeople and the company to actually build the home is important.
“More and more builders are creating a brand – JD Power and Associates, the trades play a significant role in that,” Pieper says. “Quality materials, we have a lot of meetings to make sure there’s open communication.”
Guglietti of Townwood Homes agrees.
“Reliability, reputation, workmanship, past projects they have completed as well as their competitiveness to acquire the contract,” says Guglietti. “The most expensive trade or the least expensive trade is not necessarily a deciding factor. It’s how they perform and their ability to complete the job on a timely basis and to our specified standards.”
Once the key players are set, it can take months to build a home. Guglietti says it takes five months on average from the time a building permit is obtained. Pieper with Baywood Homes says it could possibly take 10 months depending on whether there are delays.
“Delays can come on a municipal level,” Pieper says. “They may not be accommodating quick closings. Municipalities are improving on that, to indicate the importance. A delay can come from people making so many customized changes to their plan. This happens more. Moving walls around, this can create delay, but consumers are always satisfied to accept the delay because they’re getting the home that they want even if they’re able to close at a later date. Most of the time, delays are unforeseen. It could be struck that sets us back. Getting approvals. Especially with low-rise.”
Tony Guglietti says the organization is the key to completing on time.
“How well you are organized is critical to completing a home on time,” Guglietti says. “Many factors though can be beyond your control through work stoppages caused by labour shortage, material shortage, strikes, and inclement weather.”
Both Pieper and Guglietti say Baywood Homes and Townwood Homes respectively build all-year round, although the winter is a difficult time to build.
Guglietti shares some of his success stories with building with Townwood Homes.
“Many years ago we were one of the first builders to re-introduce the bungalow to the GTA new home market,” says Guglietti. “We were taken back by the response to this ‘new’ plan and during this process, we were able to assist with the needs of many families seeking easier access to their homes for disabled family members.”
Pieper notes environmental reasons as one of the successes Baywood Homes has had in the building.
“Energy Star, we’re building Energy Star homes now to get involved with the green initiative,” Pieper says. “We’re building our first four Energy Star homes in Bowmanville and north Oshawa, Napa Valley and Ravines of Greenhill. It’s just where the industry is going right now. The production quality of the home has improved. Homeowners are ecstatic. People are genuinely interested in having an Energy Star home. They’re interested in the energy cost-savings.”
Pieper says Baywood Homes finished 7th the past year from 24th with JD Power. This has been the third-year surveying the homebuilders.
“We have customer care right on-site, to respond quicker and quicker runtimes.”
Although these are success stories, there are some things to watch out for in-home building too.
“Fire is a fear of all new home builders and in one instance as an occurrence of a fire that spread from an adjacent builder, we were able to rebuild a purchaser’s home and much to their relief move them in on their original closing date,” says Guglietti.
Pieper says tradespeople have been a problem in the past.
“The only bad situations are when you’re relying on specific trades,” says Pieper. “If they’re not sending their best crews, you hold up other trades. It’s a whole domino effect. A B, C, D crews – you have your good crews and your bad crews. Kind of like sports, you have the A team and B teams.”