from a recent article by Beverly Smirnis in the Fort Worth and Tarrant County
Edition of Builder/Architect Magazine. All photos by Henry Biber, Biber
Greg and Mark Wright are
not waiting for governmental regulations to be imposed upon the home building
industry to make it better. They know it needs to be better, and have taken it
upon themselves to establish their own stringent guidelines for conducting a
professional home building business.
starts with the definition of "custom" home building. "The new home
construction industry has become inundated with large corporate building
companies which are mass producing homes of all styles and sizes using high
volume tract home building techniques". "To us, ''custom built'' means built to
the customer's specifications, to meet the customer's individual needs, in an
environment that allows the customer the flexibility to be involved in the
process, and in a neighborhood where individuality is a way of life, not an
exception. "We believe the customer should have the privilege of working with
the person whose name is on the sign in front of the house. That builder must
have hands-on experience himself, and be willing and capable to supervise the
entire design and build process from start to finish. Only when the builder is
there to know, step by step, what went into a project, can the customer be
assured that a high level of quality control has been achieved. In any business,
there should be no one more concerned for quality of the product than the
business owner himself".
Greg and Mark Wright have spent their entire adult lives in the construction
industry, and represent the fifth generation of home builders and master
carpenters in their family. Greg has been self-employed in the construction
industry since he was 19 years old. Even at that young age, Greg had a clear
mental picture of what he wanted to do with his life and that picture always
revolved around home building! He started as a framing contractor in 1978 and
spent the following 12 years mastering the art of wood frame construction. Mark
worked for eight years as a crew leader with Greg and went on to become a
building superintendent for another custom home builder. During their framing
careers, Greg and Mark were responsible for the wood frame construction of over
400 high-end custom homes for some of Tarrant County''s more noteable "Who''s
Who" Home Builders.
late ''80s and early ''90s, Greg and Mark bought, remodeled, and resold nearly
200 foreclosed and "fixer-upper" homes. When the economy rebounded in 1993, they
were ready to fulfill their ultimate career goal to become custom home builders.
The solid background acquired by the Wright brothers prior to forming their home
building business provides them with the know how to supervise the design and
construction of "superior quality" homes.
Association memberships and designations are evidence of the
Wright''s dedication to the industry and constant quest to stay current on all
news, legislation and education related to their industry. They are members of
the Greater Fort Worth Builders Association, Texas Association of Builders and
National Association of Builders. Their designation as Certified Master Builders
requires annually undergoing an extensive qualifying process involving company
financial history, customer service endorsements and meeting the CMB ''s
continuing education requirements.
"While homeowners often put more importance on what they
see with their eyes, structural integrity, quality of the foundation and framing
are what is most important to an experienced builder". "City inspections are a
consumer protection mechanism, but we don''t go strictly by the standards of
minimum requirements that they mandate. We do our own inspections before the
city building inspector ever arrives on site. Our punch-out is far more
extensive than what the building inspector
Though most design
features are a matter of homeowner preference, Greg and Mark mandate a number of
structural and insulation standards and always recommend the use of upgraded
components for superior energy efficiency. "These are
the only upgrades that homeowners can enjoy an immediate return on their
investment from". Their focus may be on what''s behind the walls,
but that''s not to say that the interiors of the homes by Wright Designers and
Builders aren''t dazzling! "Adding an art niche here, an
arched opening there, or a special texture or finish can be the very thing that
embellishes the space. We want every room to have it''s own interest and
The Wrights emphasize that choosing the right custom home builder is
key to making the process simple and enjoyable for the customer. "All too often, buyers jump into a Contract to Build'' because a
particular builder offers them the ''best deal.'' Every builder would like to
say that they build the best home, however, the definition of ''best'' is always
contingent upon price. Our goal is to offer the best combination of price and
quality regardless of the price range we are building in. Quality is never an
accident. It is the end result of high expectation, sincere effort, intelligent
direction and skillful execution. Quality represents the wisest choice of
price is a vital element, the Wright brothers also insist that having a great
relationship with a builder you can trust should be at least an equal priority.
To regulate the work load to a proportion that allows them to provide their own
personal supervision, Wright Designers & Builders'' projects are limited to
10 to 12 a year. Both brothers are equal partners with job descriptions
including all supervisory responsibilities at the construction sites as well as
administrative, financial, and sales and marketing responsibilities. Alliances
with some of the area''s finest mortgage and financial institutions and real
estate companies allow extended services to be offered to their customers,
including special financing packages and programs that help buyers sell the
homes they are moving out of.
Keller area, where they make their own homes, has been the focal point of much
of the Wrights'' building activity. There, they have been active in the
neighborhoods of Twin Lakes Estates, Chapelwood Estates, Oakmont Hills Estates,
Stone Bridge, Oak Run, Glen Forest, and Rancho Serena. Build jobs have also
taken them to Southlake, Grapevine, North Richland Hills, Colleyville, Roanoke
and Argyle, as well as out in the country on home buyers'' own land. Their home
prices have varied from the $300,OOOs to over $1 million. In addition, Wright
Designers & Builders has diversified its construction services to include
commercial building design, construction management, general contracting and
full-scale commercial building services.
company is currently pursuing contracts for retail, office and business park
projects in and around the northeast Tarrant County area which fit within the
specific parameters of the Wright brothers'' construction expertise. Limiting
the number of projects and scope of construction services also allows Greg and
Mark to hand pick the customers they want to build with. "Just as our customers screen us, we screen them to determine that
their goals are realistic and reasonable". "The agreement to build is a
partnership agreement. Both the customer and the builder must be assured that
their best interests are met in this agreement. The only way to accomplish
satisfaction is by clear and specific communication."
Mark have designed a comprehensive system of documentation that spells out the
specification of every single aspect of every project, down to the smallest
detail, so that both builder and homeowner will be on the same page with their
expectations. The contract package includes a "Standard Construction Procedures"
document, approximately 25 pages, which takes customers "phase by phase" through
the entire project, spelling out exactly how the home will be constructed. The
"Design Specification Sheet," which averages 25 pages per home, takes each
customer "room by room" through the entire house, spelling out exactly what
amenities will be incorporated into each room. A similar "Design Specifiation
Sheet" is offered for commercial customers with the same exact and specific
detailing. When it comes to estimating cost, there is no guesswork involved. An
individual cost analysis breaks everything down into footages and quantities
derived from the plans and the customer''s wish list. Every phase of the project
is estimated line by line to arrive at the most accurate pricing that can
possibly be attained.
"The serious players are in this business first because they love
building. We can never lose sight of the fact that every home we build is
someone''s dream that they should be able to appreciate and be proud of for
years to come. On the commercial side, you''re building something that both the
owner and the community should be proud of for years and years. The money is
simply just reward for a job well done." "When you''re good at what you do, you
make it look easy. This business is not hard to get into; however, some people
enter this field because they think it is a glamorous job and a great
opportunity to be self employed. What they may not see is that the building
business is an extremely high stress occupation requiring a lot of hard work,
especially when you have the conscience to do what you say you''re going to do
and the commitment to make people happy".
builders don''t have employees. Labor is outsourced to independent contractors.
The builder has limited ability to determine how those contractors'' hours are
spent. All we can do is try to find those people who share our philosophies for
integrity. We work only with subcontractors who understand that doing it right
the first time means there won''t be a need to do it a second time.
Business-to-business relationships are critical. A builder''s reputation is
dependent upon finding subcontractors that do what they say they are going to do
and deliver their goods and services for a competitive price. We make a point to
discuss these issues of our industry with our customers so they understand the
challenges we will both face during their project. Home building is a
challenging venture for all parties, but great communication can help make that
challenge a worthwhile and satisfying endeavor."
"Follow up is crucial. You must be sure every customer is happy.
Word-of-mouth referrals are a builder''s jet fuel. We can never stop asking how
we could do our job better."