David Spetrino, Building Insights in the Greater Wilmington Business Journal

What better way to end one great year and ring in the next than with a Q & A from the founder of PBC, the face of our company, the most recent former president of the Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builder’s Association… our own Dave Spetrino?!

 

Dave recently spent time answering some questions for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.  Find out why not knowing everything, and admitting it, is an important part of custom home building.

 

 

 

Designer Stud-Signing

What does Team PBC like even better than a party or a stud-signing?  A stud-signing party for one of our very own, obviously!  We recently came together, along with their family and friends, to celebrate and initiate the construction of Rick and Chrissy Bonney’s new custom home.  During an afternoon of loved ones, laughs, and the obligatory coastal oysters, we took to the studs of our favorite interior designer’s new home to write our well wishes and to learn just what inspired this latest and greatest new space.

Having lived in downtown Wilmington for twenty years, it didn’t take much for Rick and Chrissy to decide that is where they’d like to stay.  They settled on a quaint, tucked away lot on the north side.  Loving the location, unique energy, and history, The Bonneys look forward to watching the neighborhood continue to grow.

As the exciting process of design began, Chrissy called upon her favorite style, Mid-century Modern. Rick and Chrissy had a lot of fun planning the details of the elevations as they came up with the exterior design of their new home… historic bungalow with a touch of modern infusion.

As Chrissy tackled the inside of the house, she wanted to make sure they utilized every inch of the home to it’s fullest potential as she created a space that was easy to entertain in.  She took a handful of PBC’s custom downtown homes from throughout the years, pulled her favorite details, and started playing with those.  As construction moves forward and they really start to see everything come together, both of The Bonneys anticipate what exactly they look forward to most.  Rick cannot wait to have a large cook’s kitchen with a gas top range and Chrissy is most excited about the smaller details she has put into their new space like rustic wood accents and black and gold fixtures throughout.

Putting our own marks on a beautiful new custom home was a super fun experience but I think we can all agree, PBC can’t wait to see Chrissy’s “marks” on the final product.  She definitely said it best when she told us “It already feels like home and I love that!”  Here’s to many more memories, in a beautiful new space, surrounded by friends and family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renovation Retirement : 17 Years at PBC

 

PBC Design + Build recently celebrated some pretty important people with a fun Sunday afternoon at local favorite Palate Bottle Shop and Reserve.  For years, our office family has been blessed to work with Libby and Maureen Beccarino. These two have been a rock star team providing updated, beautiful spaces to some amazing clients throughout Southeastern North Carolina.  Although known to most as the PBC Renovations Division, they have been so much more to us over the years!

Upon their much-deserved retirement, below is a list of reasons why PBC Design + Build would not have been the same without Team Beccarino…

  • Kyle would never have gotten that first “punch-out job” back in 2002, eventually leaving Dave without a business partner, lonely, and sad.
  • Several plants would have lost their lives over the years, causing periods of oxygen depletion in the office and much slower work production.
  • Bar tabs at company events would have been lower. That said, there is no party like a Beccarino party!
  • Dave or Kyle would have been forced to answer to “Mr. Plantation”.
  • Angela and Libby wouldn’t be nearly as close as they are if it wasn’t for all that quality time spent resetting Lib’s passwords.
  • Maureen may never have received her unofficial title of “Saint” had she not BOTH lived with Libby AND worked with him.
  • Downtown would be missing some beautiful new homes, revitalization, and existing home renovations.
  • Things would have been quieter, laughs would have been fewer, and overall our company just wouldn’t have been the same.

Cheers to the years! We will miss Libby and Maureen tremendously in the day-to-day operations but we know that the friendships won’t end there.  What a wonderful career they have spent building custom homes, performing beautiful renovations,  meeting great friends, and creating happy clients.  Bon Voyage!

CFCC Construction Institute is a success!

PBC Design + Build recently partnered with Wilmington Cape Fear Home Builders Association(WCFHBA) in hopes to fill a labor gap in the construction industry.  After spending some time volunteering as a “mock interviewer” with Step Up Wilmington, a local non-profit that helps people who have been affected by unemployment, it became very clear to Kyle Henry, CEO of PBC Design + Build, that there were other ways to help.  Kyle had also been spending some time with members of WCFHBA, Cape Fear Community College, and fellow construction industry leaders to develop a two-week intensive training institute to help fulfill the need for entry-level tradespeople in the construction industry. A program that could help place anyone (willing and able) into the fields of masonry, carpentry, plumbing, or HVAC after just a two-week commitment to learning and a decent amount of dedication.

Kyle Henry Became a Driving Force

Kyle had valuable input to add:  “CFCC had the idea of starting their Construction Institute in response to the demand our industry had shown for needing additional labor at all skill levels.  Over the years, our industry has done a poor job appealing to the younger generation as well as the general population.  Working with your hands, which can be very profitable and fulfilling, has gained a negative stigma.  This program is a perfect example of finding someone who wants to work and learn a trade, and then helping them find a route to get there.  Our industry is proud to offer second chances to folks that want to be involved.”

CFCC 2-Week Construction Institute

We are so happy to announce that CFCC successfully held their first two-week long Construction Institute this summer.  Each course included entry-level skills such as safety, measurement, math, and how to use both power and hand tools.  An eighty-hour course in one of the four trades by qualified instructors, real world experience in a respective field, and a certificate upon completion.  Perhaps the best part of the program was on the last day of classes when the students were afforded the opportunity to participate in “hiring day”.   Students were interviewed by prospective employers, providing them the possibility to go directly from learning to production. PBC is so excited to say that ELEVEN students have gained employment through CFCC’s first ever Construction Institution!  We are just as excited to share that at least one of those eleven came through the Step Up Wilmington  program… check out Sal’s journey…

A few of PBC’s next generation participated!

Houzz TV: Meet the Builder

You may have caught Dave Spetrino, president of PBC Design+Build, in the latest episode of “My Houzz,” when skateboarder Tony Hawk enlists his help for a special renovation. We talked with Dave to learn more about his building philosophy, where he finds inspiration and his favorite parts of the My Houzz renovation – check out what he had to say below.

What is your building philosophy?

Some days it feels like the world is against you when you’re designing, budgeting and then constructing a home. I know it’s not rocket science or brain surgery but for most clients, what we do for them is about the most money and effort they’ll ever expend. It’s a worthy challenge.

With any project you’re committed to delivering on quality, schedule and budget – all equally important components to a successful project, but never willing to cooperate with one another in reality.

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself: Is this “place” better because of our hard work? Does it feel good? Are our clients smiling? Am I smiling? Do I deserve a milkshake? As long as the answer continues to be yes, I’ll continue to show up the next day.

Where’s the most unexpected place you’ve found inspiration?

Travel has been a tremendous benefit. I can’t go anywhere without seeing something within the built environment – from any country or century – that doesn’t have an effect on me.

What trend are you most excited about right now?

I’m not much of a ‘gadget guy’ but I am continually impressed with what technology, mobile apps and intuitive features are doing for home building right now. The benefits of technology and the speed with which they are being implemented into construction will continue to benefit our clients, and it’s only getting better and better with time.

What are clients asking you for?

The whole point of custom home building is to allow your client to set their dreams in your hands and then trust you to deliver. It’s a serious role to take on and the ability to translate that information into something tangible is an art.

It’s more than features or finishes, what our clients are really asking us for is to guide them, use our knowledge to help them make good decisions, and prevent them from missing an opportunity to do something great.

What do you geek out on when it comes to design/construction?

I am such a sucker for light fixtures. I think they’re the hardest detail to commit to – it’s probably why I push a lot of clients to concealed or can lights and then limit the number of decorative fixtures to the most compelling places within a home to keep them from feeling overwhelmed.

You can set the entire ‘vibe’ of a home with a sconce or chandelier – a light fixture can create a conversation or set the mood as soon as you walk into a space. Light is powerful, and that mode of delivery cannot be understated.

What is one of your design secrets/ tricks?

There are always a couple of “cheats” where we seem to get more from a design without having to put too much of our budget toward a feature. This usually comes from our designer who will choose a special element within the design and celebrate it. Sometimes it’s well defined symmetry or an interior connection that extends to the exterior. Other times it’s just the use of a detail that has meaning to our owners.

Basically, the secret is just being thoughtful about how your client may better appreciate a space well after you’ve moved on to the next project. That’s really the best way to leave your ‘mark.’

What’s your favorite building or space in the world?

Maybe it’s my lust for travel or a nostalgia of sorts but I love train stations. New, old, repurposed into a museum, I can’t get enough of these iconic buildings. The ceiling heights, ornamentation, the elegant organization of moving people from space to space within a building, I’m continually transported in both space and time!

Going to Omaha? Visit the Durham. Going to Paris? Don’t miss the Orsay!

What did you enjoy most about this particular project?

We loved meeting the family. They were amazing in all the right ways.

They trusted this specific process (move out and don’t ask questions!) and they were genuinely grateful and truly overwhelmed at the reveal.

Kerry’s reaction was the best! It was the moment where “it all came together.” It is an amazing feeling to make a difference in someone’s life and the joy from Kerry permeated to everything. It really is unlike anything we’ve ever done before professionally and it felt good to be a part of that happiness.

But don’t get me wrong, meeting Tony Hawk was incredible! He is so cool. Did I mention Tony and I are friends?

What is your favorite element in the space from this project?

There are some really cool features within Brad and Kerry’s home that became the ‘bookends’ for the renovation. In many ways the farm table became the centerpiece for the whole house – not just as a piece of furniture but in what it represented to the family as the centerpiece for the way they live.

Also, the ability to re-purpose some of the existing elements. The reclaimed wood and the sliding barn doors within the new living room. I love seeing ‘something old and something new’ in such a personal project like this.

Chrissy Bonney, our Interior Designer at PBC, was completely in tune with Kerry’s vibe. The family spends a lot of time together and the house was somewhat disjointed; an open concept was introduced to allow the main living area flow easily into the kitchen.

When you’re not designing, where can you be found?

I really enjoy being on the move, traveling and exploring new places. A lot of our adventures start with the need to see a historical building or even a compelling neighborhood. It’s not just to experience the architecture, I love seeing how other communities (or cultures) live, manage or adapt to their environment

 

Houzz TV: Meet the Builder

PBC Recognized As Industry Leader by GuildQuality

Since 2005, GuildQuality, an Atlanta-based third-party customer satisfaction software surveying company, has powered the Guildmaster Award to recognize and celebrate home building, remodeling, and contracting professionals demonstrating the highest level of customer service within the U.S. and Canada.

Out of 600+ eligible applicants, PBC is one of 300+ businesses within the residential construction industry recognized by GuildQuality for consistently delivering superior customer care. In North Carolina, PBC is one of only 8 awarded in our category for “New Home Builders.”

In determining which businesses received the 2018 Guildmaster Award, GuildQuality reviewed thousands of survey responses submitted by customers of Guildmaster candidates, and considered two primary metrics for each candidate: the percentage of customers stating they would recommend the business to friend and the percentage of customers who responded.

PBC Design + Build achieved a recommendation rate of 90% or above from their customers surveyed by GuildQuality.

“The independent GuildQuality surveys are a great asset to our team; we gather unfiltered information to improve our process based on client experiences and feedback.”
Kyle Henry, CEO, PBC

2018 Guildmaster Press Release

PBC Participates in WOMEN BUILD Benefitting Habitat for Humanity

The women of PBC participated in WOMEN BUILD on Monday, May 7th for the Cape Fear Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Since 1991, women from all walks of life have come together to build stronger, safer communities through the WOMEN BUILD event.

The ultimate goal of Cape Fear Habitat WOMEN BUILD is to build a home in partnership with a local hardworking family and provide access to an affordable mortgage.  This home will be funded/constructed primarily by women and will provide a female-friendly work site that empowers women to take leadership roles and learn new skills while building homes, community & hope.

TEAM PBC ROCKS

Team PBC helped to exceed the fundraising goal with the assistance of generous friends, clients and suppliers.  Our fearless women worked together on the framing portion of this new home using just hammers, nails, a tape measure and their brains.  🙂

River Bluffs: Meet the Builder

The beautiful village community of River Bluffs offers residents a wonderful mix of first-class amenities, a great location just minutes from all of Wilmington NC’s conveniences, a builder team focused on quality and craftsmanship, and a gorgeous natural setting unlike any other you’ll find in the Coastal Carolinas!

The neighborhood’s newest amenity, the Riverwalk offers all residents of River Bluffs the opportunity to enjoy the river, not just those with riverfront lots. The Riverwalk is the longest, privately funded, overwater Riverwalk in the country, measuring 2,700 feet long! The Riverwalk joins popular neighborhood amenities, including Porches Cafe, which offers residents and visitors (it’s open to the public!) – delicious lunch, dinner, and dessert options seven days a week. Residents enjoy first-class amenities such as a resort-style pool and fitness center, tennis & pickleball courts and a half-basketball court, many elevated walking trails and miles of nature trails, rv & boat storage, boat slips, a boat & kayak launch, a community mail center, meeting spaces, a community farm (Farm Market) and ample covered decks and patios for relaxing and gathering together with friends.

The River Bluffs lifestyle is about living life to the fullest and 2018 promises to be the best one yet for this growing village community.

Karen Clow interviews Dave and gains insight on the PBC building process!

Building A Recovery: Dave Spetrino

Custom homebuilder Dave Spetrino shares the lessons he’s learned and how he’s moved on from the Great Recession. (photo by Michael Cline Spencer)

By Dave Spetrino

Putting on my play clothes after school to go work on my “fort” in the woods behind our house was the best part of my childhood. I’ve always wanted to build things – I would ask for nails for my birthday, preferably 16-penny.

Fast-forward to college, and it was fascinating. But I couldn’t wait to graduate and get to work – taking extra hours each semester and a couple stints of summer school. I was out early. As a business major, my courses centered around process, marketing, management and growth.

Looking back, I didn’t get what I needed most: a genuine understanding as to what to do when things go bad, really bad.

I’ve been self-employed since I was 19, and there have been plenty of cycles in the economy since that time.

I paid attention, I asked questions and I was certain I would never repeat the same mistakes of those who had failed during those ups and downs.

But no one seemed immune to the Great Recession.

One could argue that our local real estate, development and construction industries took it the hardest, not just in jobs lost – thousands – but also the number of failed enterprises, bruised relationships and slashed real estate values.

These days the company I founded with David Nathans in 1997 – originally Plantation Fine Homes, then Plantation Building Corp. and now PBC Design+Build with my current partner Kyle Henry – builds homes.

Unlike a traditional retail business, the margins for construction companies are narrow. Beyond consumer demand you’re relying heavily on strong management, a stable pool of skilled labor and limited movement in commodity pricing.

A few percentage points in the wrong direction, and you end up working for free.

Prior to 2009, it was understood that a change in market conditions would affect our business, but we believed we were well-prepared for a downturn, certainly nothing that couldn’t be managed.

Our assumption was flawed, as our overhead extended well beyond our gross profit and as real estate values reset. I learned that a bank can ask for more money against an existing loan to keep their ratios in balance.

Actually I learned a lot more than that in 2009 – new words like “compliance,” “forbearance” and “curtailment.” While I was fortunate to avoid words like “insolvency” and “bankruptcy,” I can fully articulate the differences between Chapters 9, 11 and 13.

I’m grateful to look back with relief, and our approach is dramatically different today than that of a decade ago.

Construction and real estate are very broad descriptors. Wilmington is a small town, and we spent years trying to be everything to everyone – commercial, development, multifamily, remodeling and custom homes.

Today PBC Design+Build is a custom homebuilder serving the Wilmington region. That’s it.

We are still presented with many opportunities to diversify, but by politely declining, it makes it that much easier to fine-tune our processes and concentrate on what we do well.

There hasn’t been a time in history where homes were ever more complex. It goes beyond government regulations and the building code. It means understanding how homes are built and what it takes to make sure a decision on day 14 doesn’t have a negative consequence that may not materialize until months (or even years) later.

I get asked daily about our local market, about interest rates. Like a bunch of others in the real estate business, I guess we’ve unceremoniously become somewhat of a bellwether. I predict the next correction won’t be as bad as the last because guys like me (hopefully) matured to the point of some restraint and constant reality checks – something I lacked more than a decade ago.

But there will be a correction, and for those who have prepared, the opportunities will continue to materialize, and others will not be as fortunate.

I don’t know exactly what will cause the next correction, but I can tell you what keeps me up at night: There are a lot of moving parts that touch the costs associated with construction.

Regulatory and environmental challenges, immigration, lack of truly skilled labor and an aging pool of business owners whose children aren’t necessarily going to follow in their parents’ footsteps.

Affordability is going to get worse as well, and it will become more noticeable as both interest rates and hard costs rise.

Homes are the very last consumer product that is completely handmade. I believe we’ll see more efficiencies in construction like those we see in Europe and Asia where walls are mass-produced and assembled like a kit.

You’ll still see housing built, but fading will be the thought, character and emotion that comes with the art of design and the talent of a tradesman.

Feeling completely safe or immune to the next set of challenges in the economy isn’t likely to occur, but we do enjoy a maturity that only comes from experience.

We step back more often than we like to retool or readjust one of our processes – it’s not perfect. It will never be perfect – but it will be great.

Dave Spetrino is president and founder of Wilmington-based PBC Design+Build.

WilmingtonBiz Magazine

TEN All Star Experiences!

GuildQuality conducts an independent customer satisfaction survey with all of our clients upon completion of their job. We read every one (EVERY ONE!) to see how we can improve our program and processes. TEN all star experiences in a row is a formidable achievement and the PBC Team is VERY PROUD!

Click here to go directly to GuildQuality to see what our previous clients have to say!