You’ve been dreaming about it for years, clipping images from magazines, perusing Pinterest and Houzz, and you’ve finally decided to have your dream home built. You hire a contractor, hand them your hopes and dreams, and then sit back and let them build, right?
Well, not always. In fact, many homeowners find themselves doing so much running around during the process that it almost feels like they’ve taken on an unpaid job. Somehow they seem to be working for their contractor rather than the other way around.
It shouldn’t be this way.
“Designing and building a custom home is collaborative, a partnership between the contractor and the client,” says Steve Pryce. “But it should be an uneven partnership, one in which the contractor does the work. That’s the way it’s meant to be: it’s a full-service arrangement.”
Steve and his brother Matt own Prycon Custom Building and Renovations. For 27 years, they’ve been designing and building some of the finest custom homes in the region.
That depth of experience is a remarkable achievement in a field where many new home builders fail after just a few years. But it’s also a profound asset: Matt and Steve have spent years refining their process to ensure that every part of the build is smooth and efficient, an unparalleled commitment.
That focus includes the many, many parts of the build that have nothing to do with nails and lumber.
“A lot of builders are just that: builders. They will construct a building for you,” says Matt. “But there’s so much more to it than that.”
For example, permits and planning are a vital part of any construction project, particularly if you’re building on waterfront. Depending on what’s being built and where, even a simple build can involve architects, engineers, designers, local municipalities, and even conservation authorities. Your builder needs to know who to speak with, and what information they will need – and be able to anticipate any concerns or objections that might arise along the way.
“There’s also a lot of trust that comes with having a good track record,” Matt says. “We know that this building department or that authority wants things done a certain way, so we’ll do it that way. And they know we are passionate about building well, which makes the whole process move much more efficiently.”
The Prycon team will even meet with the neighbours to explain what’s happening on the site, addressing any concerns they might have.
“We just stickhandle the entire process,” says Steve.
A full-service build also means the homeowners don’t have to worry when construction is actually underway.
“Many people find building a home to be incredibly stressful,” says Steve. “They never know when they’re going to get a call saying that there’s been a delay in materials, or a decision needs to be made, or something else has gone sideways.”
There are a thousand things that can go wrong on a custom home or renovation. But none of them should be the homeowner’s headache. “A big part of the contractor’s job is organizing and anticipating, knowing what could go wrong and making sure it doesn’t,” says Matt.
“That’s where experience plays a big part.”
The Prycon team is more than just Steve and Matt: they are supported by more than 20 passionate and skilled people, a combined pool of talent that adds up to centuries of experience.
They also work with a deep field of subtrades, specialists in one area or another who bring their skills to the project as and when needed. Having a wealth of experience and plenty of long term relationships in the building community is important.
“Over the past 27 years, we’ve come to know many other building professionals in this community,” says Matt. “We work with people who share our team’s commitment to excellence. It’s about building collaborative relationships, and it all helps make the process run smoother, which is more cost-effective for the client.”
Simply better living
Having a new home built is an exciting process, and most people want to be kept updated on the progress. Prycon offers each client an online portal where they can get daily updates and current photos of their project.
“Some of our clients log on several times a day and ask questions. Others we might not hear from until the build is complete. It’s all up to how involved they want to be,” says Matt.
Making the process seamless and enjoyable has brought results for homeowners and for Prycon. “We have clients we’ve done ten projects for: we built the home, then they call us back for a commercial building, for a cottage, a boathouse…” says Steve. “We become their builders. It’s a relationship, a partnership, and it works.”
TEXT A. WAGNER-CHAZALON | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN