I had the chance to catch up with Josh Friesen recently, Co-Owner of Dueck Builders, to chat about building custom homes and the idea of sustainability in new builds. Josh provided some fantastic insight into how home building has drastically changed for the better over the years. Below are the highlights of our conversation.
Custom building – what does it entail?
At Dueck Builders, building truly custom homes does not just mean selecting the finishes on a cookie-cutter home; for Josh and his team, it all starts with getting to know his customers and tailoring every inch of the home to their preferences.
That means that the house is custom to the lot and to the trees you want to save on your lot, it is tailored to how you want to use your house, how you want to entertain guests and how you want your house to perform – be it saving on utilities, reducing your carbon footprint etc.
Sourcing the land
But before you can even put shovel to ground and start building your dream home, you first must find the perfect location. Dueck Builders does not typically hold lots – their customers often have their lots selected prior to starting the build.
This is where having a good realtor to help with lot selection can be invaluable. From location to budget, the size of the lot, the landscape of the area and your goals when building your new home, a realtor can help with asking questions you may not have thought of and help you select the perfect starting point for your new build.
Lean on your designer
Another important member of your team when building a new home is your designer. It can be overwhelming to build from scratch and select every single element. Designers can help mitigate your stress by helping you select design elements, fill in some of your blind spots or reinforce your decisions.
A good designer will take into account your personal preferences and tastes, the builder’s notes on what is and is not feasible, and your overall budget to make sure that you are happy with the final result. Dueck Builders has some great designers with whom they work closely, and they can be as involved or as uninvolved as a customer wants them to be.
And finally, one of the most important but sometimes overlooked considerations when building a new home is the sustainability factor. This means more than just being environmentally friendly; it means practicing sustainability in vendor relationships and business planning as well.
Dueck Builders take a holistic approach to sustainability to ensure that all parties involve get to win. Some ways to practice sustainability are staying away from tree roots, using green products, and using more insulation to make sure your house or renovation is better for you and for the environment in the long run. And there are things you can do post-build as well to help, like keeping your home one-degree cooler in the winter – it may not seem like much, but small changes add up to make a big difference.
Consider the long-term payoffs
Josh and his team work hard to build quality homes that will be around for 100+ years. This means that it is not just the original owner that will take advantage of the energy-efficient savings and environmentally friendly design of the home.
Houses can be built better. We can expect more out of the new homes that are being built today when it comes to efficiency and sustainability. I will give Josh the final word on the advice he wishes every one building a new home knew before building their dream home: “I wish everyone knew they should be spending that extra $7,000 on insulation, because they’re going to get that back and then some.”