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BUILDING COMPANY PUTS RELIABILITY FIRST

Few things are more aggravating than a homeowner selling a house, buying another one and then being told it won't be finished on time.

You already have promised the family buying your house they can move in on a certain date, but your house isn't completed so you have to stay with relatives for a few weeks. Ugh.In these days of heavy construction and with most builders and subcontractors keeping very busy, getting a construction project completed on time can be a chore.

But not for Your Home Builder Inc., 3525 S. West Temple, a company that has only been incorporated since June 1992 but is building a reputation for on-time work because the principals have been in home building since 1972.

Scott Ferguson, vice president for construction, said the company hired an outside consultant to teach planning practices and although he is reluctant to say much about the process, much of it involves common sense and constant supervision.

It also helps to tell the customer it will take 120 days to complete a house when the home probably could be built in 90 days. The extra 30 days are allowed to cover unexpected problems. "When the new owner moves in early they are happy." Ferguson said.

After the company obtains the necessary permits and pays the hook-up fees to the city, Your Home Builder employees tell the customer how many days it will take for construction. "We are obligated to follow the deadlines," Ferguson said.

The first thing Your Home Builder does is to call the excavator to get the hole dug and then the footings are dug and poured, followed by the foundation. Then Ferguson's crew starts the sub-floor. Later, as the house takes shape, several subcontractors, working in different trades, are contacted and show up at the construction site for work.

Ferguson's planning is so precise that he knows exactly what work will occur on day 89 of the project as he does on day 1. He calls the subcontractors and tells them the exact day he wants them working, give or take a day or two. He has learned after many years in the construction business which subcontractors are dependable and which are not.

He doesn't use the undependable subcontractors because he wants his houses finished on time. "We need subs and they need us," he said.

Without using computers, and relying a lot on experience, Ferguson said he spends 90 percent of his time in the field, supervising the homes under construction. "You can't build quality homes sitting in the office," he said.

Ferguson said he is rarely delayed by materials shortages because he usually knows if there will be a shortage of lumber, for example.

He said when proper planning is used, the result is a series of orchestrated events rather than chaos. Planning ahead also allows him to maintain the quality of the home and make certain customers get what they pay for.

A native of Midvale, Ferguson attended Dixie College, but dropped out after 18 months and entered the construction business in 1976. He worked for a framing subcontractor for three years, did commercial framing and drywall for five years, and 8 1/2 years ago started with Knight Brothers Construction.

While with Knight Brothers he was assistant superintendent on such projects as Frontier Pies in the Family Center, a Bureau of Land Management building in Montana, several restaurants, a Toys R Us and a Kids R Us.

In 1991 the principals of Your Home Building felt a need to get back into the home building business and the first project was Pioneer Acres at 8000 South and 200 East, an entry-level subdivision with the price tag of the houses set at less than $100,000.

Your Home Builder's next effort was Eaglewood at 11200 S. 900 East where the houses ranged from $105,000 to $145,000. Next came two homes at Jordan Meadows, 11700 S. 1400 West, with price tags of $130,000 each.

Then it was on to Kimberly Estates, 800 N. 300 West, American Fork, where the company built several homes in the $110,000 to $145,000 range. The company's current project is Lone Peak at 8500 S. 4700 West, where Ferguson has closed on eight houses and another seven are under construction.

He said the company's biggest seller is a rambler with a 1,680 square feet, located on a 10,000 square-foot lot with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a two-car garage and brick and siding exterior with some stucco. He expects the building boom to last for a considerable period.