Unity Blog

Local Builders on Unity Projects

Unity project manager Rob Vogel points out construction details to local builders.

Unity Homes are built in partnership with a local builder. To summarize, Unity provides and assembles the high-performance shell of the home, and the local builder handles the site work, foundation, and finishes after the shell is assembled.

This scenario allows for Unity and the local builder to each to do what they do best. Unity provides the prefabricated high-performance shell and supporting documents to ensure a quality energy-efficient and air-tight shell with predictably low utility costs. The builder provides local expertise, skilled carpenters and a team of subs to complete the home efficiently and to a high level of quality. 

Tedd Benson with a happy client and an enthusiastic local builder.

Many Unity clients do not begin the home building process with a local builder in mind. This is something we assist with! We have a list of pre-vetted builders with whom we’ve worked with successfully. Once clients begin their design-build journey, we provide them a list of builder contacts for them to choose from, making sure they find the best personality and fit for them . While experience building high-performance homes is a plus, the qualities we value most in a local builder are integrity, clear communication, general experience, and openness to innovative construction methods. 

We’ve found that the earlier the local builder is brought on board, the smoother the planning tends to be- which is why we pre-vet and assist with finding a builder from the very beginning. For example, during the planning phase of a project, Unity can estimate the costs for the work that the local builder will do to finish the shell, but those numbers are most accurate when they come from the builder. The local builder can also be a good source of helpful information about site conditions, the permitting process, and even construction financing options. 

We are continually working to improve our communication with local builders, particularly when it comes to our respective scopes of work. This is especially important when working with a builder for the first time. We’ve developed a comprehensive guide for builders working on our projects, and Unity Project Managers communicate regularly with builders throughout the home building process.

Because the learning curve for a local builder is steepest on the first project, we always welcome the opportunity to work on subsequent projects with the same builder that has been pre-vetted as a good fit for our high-performance methods. As one builder commented recently, “We’ve been spoiled by working with you! Now that we know a project can go from a foundation to a weathertight, heatable shell in less than two weeks, we don’t want to work any other way!”