Three builders, three solutions, triple the success

Innovation and new solutions driving these three builders

Three builders, three ways they’re leading 

Why do you innovate?

When we asked some of our builder members that question, the answer was clear: to stay competitive and build better and smarter. True, innovation can improve the process and efficiency, but it’s also a business-wide necessity to keep costs down and attainable for their customers, too. 

We then asked three builders how they use technology to innovate to improve upon how they build and sell homes. They presented their ideas at the session, Builders to Watch: How They Lead in 5 Key Areas, during our Housing Innovation Summit in April.

Here’s a roundup of ideas from Jordyn Croom, On2 Homes, Lance Manlove, Schell Brothers, and Brian Levitt, NAVA Real Estate Development, as they rethink the housing business + how they use innovation not just to stay competitive but to improve their bottom line.

Modular homes offsetting the affordability crisis: On2 Homes

One reason On2 Homes was launched was to help figure out realistic, workable solutions to bring more supply to the housing market that could help offset the affordability crisis. 

Their mission is to utilize innovative technology, precision building materials, and thoughtful design to bring attainable housing solutions to their communities. So for them, that future looks like a move towards modular building and building communities.

“A lot of it is also being mindful of what our mission is as a master plan developer or master plan builder, which is being able to bring innovation into larger communities, not having it be one off projects, but really being able to have this community element incorporated,” says On2 Homes’  Jordyn Croom.

And to drive their innovation theme a bit more, they don’t have models in their showroom. “Everything’s done virtually, so we’re using innovative technology on the selling side of things too,” adds Croom 

Of course, there are inevitable challenges, and in their case, that’s reaching out and working with municipalities to get them to understand what it is that they’re doing, how it’s different from site built, and how they can work together to bring this to more communities throughout their market.  

Technology and the happiness factor: Schell Brothers

Lance Manlove from Schell Brothers says they are harnessing technology to create a workplace that …works… for all employees but also one that delights customers. 

One way is through their own internal customer management tool that allows for communication, storage of documents, pictures and galleries, warranties, and procedures—all in one place.

Image of technology used for customer communication in homebuilding
screen capture from presentation

“We also use it to set expectations,” says Manlove.  For instance, when certain activities in the job schedule get completed, “we then fire off an automation to the homeowner that says, ‘Your roof just got completed.’ ”

That’s simplifying their tools, technology and process, of course, but it does illustrate how builders can use tech to keep the wheels on (and the customers happy). 

“Our mission is to bring happiness to ourselves and our customers through an unparalleled building experience. Don’t think about the profit aspect of it, just think about the happiness and the giveback aspect of it. And then the profit comes with it,” he says. 

Lakehouse profile: NAVA Real Estate Development

Can you encourage a healthier lifestyle and improve your residents’ well-being through a structure? 

That was one of the goals of NAVA Real Estate Development’s Lakehouse, set along the waterfront in Denver’s vibrant Sloan’s Lake neighborhood, on its way to earning the rigorous WELL Building Certification. Here’s some impressive technology and techniques used to get there: 

  • Permanent entry system with grates and grills capture contaminants before they are tracked inside the building.
  • A MERV-13 building air filtration system that goes above and beyond what is required by code for a residential building. 
  • The use of low-VOC and low- formaldehyde materials.
  • The building exterior is approximately 55% glass— that  boosts resident exposure to natural light.
  • Tighter building enclosure and concrete structure to help reduce thermal bridging, lower U-values in windows and HVAC systems that put an “air barrier” at windows to help minimize the effect of outdoor conditions on the temperature inside the home and up against the glass.

And, to go even further, the builder engaged the Colorado State University Institute for the Build Environment to study the impact of wellness on residents, studying the residents for a three year period before they moved in and after they moved in.

“We found in 36 statistically significant ways, there was an improvement in their health, happiness, or wellbeing,” says Brian Levitt, NAVA Real Estate Development. “It’s self-reporting, it’s just what they’re saying. It’s not medical research, but it is health research. We’re going to publish this and we want people to do all these great things in their own buildings, too.” 

Brian Levitt, NAVA Real Estate Development
Lance Manlove, Schell Brothers
Jordyn Croom, On2 Homes


If you attended the Housing Innovation Summit and missed these three compelling presentations, they are available for download. Reach out to Natalie if you haven’t received an email on how to access the files.

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