I have been building and remodeling homes since 1978. I got started in high school as a carpenter working for my Dad’s construction company in Arizona, and then built theatre sets as a work-study student at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. After graduating, I built a 26’ sailboat and sailed my way through the West Indies, working as a shipwright. Upon returning to the states, I owned and maintained a 65’ wooden schooner for eleven years, sailing over 40,000 miles on the NW Coast between Seattle, British Columbia and Alaska.
My career as a builder and lover of fine craftsmanship is a common thread throughout my adult life. I gain not just income but deep satisfaction from the process of building a beautiful and durable home.
My business is built on a foundation of integrity, craftsmanship, and positive relationships. I’m a team-builder who believes in schedules, good communication skills, paying on time, and insisting that the job be done right the first time. I dislike waste – human and other resources – so I am always looking for the most efficient approach. I have a keen interest and respect for design. Where practical, I prefer to support the island economy by employing local craftsman.
Because I am an environmentalist who volunteers on local and regional conservation efforts, I pay particular attention to protecting our building sites from undue harm. I frequently work alongside a landscaper who joins the team from the beginning to ensure the site is properly cared-for and that an overall plan is efficiently – and economically – executed.
I hear from prospective clients that they care most about quality, cost, completion schedule, clear communication, and protection and restoration of the site. I address these important issues below:
Craftsmanship and Durability
One of the qualities of a well built home is that its beauty and structural integrity lasts for a very long time. Our standard of craftsmanship, from the structural elements of a foundation through the finish joinery, is exceptional and unsurpassed.
White Construction typically has a crew of 12-15 skilled carpenters and laborers. Most of the crew has been with the company for over ten years, and several for over twelve years. This long-term commitment translates into a team that is comfortable and efficient working together and who know each other’s strengths and weaknesses; and it also translates into the capacity to add manpower where it makes a difference. We can dedicate a larger crew during the foundation, framing, and finishing stages of a project, for example, and save valuable time – months — on the overall schedule.
My background and strong interest in land and marine conservation has always played a role in the way my company approaches a project. Over the last ten years, we have developed a strong and successful relationship with several island landscapers, bringing them on board in the early stages of a project. This has added a lot of value to our work, because the house and the land around it are seen as a whole, and integrated into the building process. Our excavators have learned to accept guidance from landscapers from start to finish to help shape the project for the best possible result — aesthetically, functionally, and economically. For example, early in the project a landscaper will advise the excavator about saving topsoil, interesting rocks, and even moss, that can be used later in restoring the site to its original condition. We also make every effort to minimize disturbance to the land by stringing ribbon around sensitive areas.
Organization and Communication
These two important elements contribute to efficiency on and off the site. They allow for productive and rewarding relationships between owner, architect, and contractor, and also between contractor, crew, suppliers and sub-contractors. In essence, good communication and organization makes the project quick, smooth, economical – and fun, too!
The cost per square foot of a custom home varies with the amount of detail and complexity of the design and, to some degree, the challenges inherent in the building site. Some sites on Orcas Island are flat and fairly straight-forward to build on, but most are not. The steepness of the site, it’s rockiness, density of trees, and distance from utilities can all drive the cost of building. Over the years, we have found that White Construction’s prices are consistently competitive with other contractors of similar experience and quality.
White Construction, Co.