CRC Builders, Inc. is a leading custom home builder in the Bay Area for both traditional and modern styles of architecture. In its 27 years of specializing in creative buildings and residential renovations, the firm continues to expand its expertise and extensive knowledge of historic renovations, luxury custom homes, and fine home remodeling. Striving to build unique spaces for visionaries, they offer services for custom homes, remodeling, earthquake retrofitting, energy-efficient homes, pool house design and construction, outdoor kitchen construction, and a lot more custom-made construction services. With keen attention to the tiniest of details whether it’s producing clear and detailed estimates or crafting elegant carpentry, their perfectionist mindset combines aesthetics with precision and efficiency. Additionally, their in-depth knowledge of building techniques like making use of green and sustainable materials has also been sought after by many clients transitioning to healthier homes.
One example of the firm’s work is this custom home in Montecito. Completed in 2020, this contemporary home is situated atop a hill overlooking the rest of Napa. Aside from its gorgeous view, the home also has floor-to-ceiling and transom windows, flooding the home with sunlight. White and muted colors are used throughout to emphasize clean lines. Rustic floors with muted wooden tones complete the look, making the home feel warm and sharp-looking at the same time.
The city of Benicia is beloved for its small-town charm and its year-round temperate climate that reminds many of Mediterranean weather patterns. These living conditions make for an ideal place to settle down, and many people have done so over the years. But, small as the city is, the homes stand impressively tall, with contemporary mansions and farmhouse-style houses making for a striking housing scene.
These homes could only have been built by the best custom home builders in Benicia, California. We’ve compiled a list of them below. Our editorial team selected these builders based on their background, experience, and ability to build quality homes of distinction.
Are you wondering what a lien is and why they are needed during the construction of your new home?
You’re not alone.
The lien process can be confusing when you don’t know how it works, but it’s important to understand it before the construction of your new home begins. Put simply, the lien process is there to protect the rights of the subcontractors and material suppliers that work on the construction of your new home.
Phase 1: The Preliminary Notice
The first phase of the lien process is the Preliminary Notice. The Preliminary Notice is an introductory letter that is sent to you by the subcontractors and material suppliers that will be working on your home.
The notice is to let you know who they are and what they will be working on or supplying. This is a formality so subcontractors and suppliers can claim their right to file a lien claim on your home, should they not be paid.
This is not something you need to be concerned about if you’re working with a professional licensed builder. Professional builders only hire licensed subcontractors and have a payment schedule in place to ensure each subcontractor and supplier is paid as required when each phase of your new home is completed.
Which leads to the next phase of the process, Lien Releases.
Phase 2: Lien Releases
A Lien Release is issued after the subcontractor or supplier has been paid. This process releases the subcontractor or supplier’s right to lien the property as their portion of the work has been paid for.
For each Preliminary Notice you receive, you will also receive a Lien Release from the same subcontractors and suppliers to serve as a notice of payment and an unconditional release of their right to lien your home.
Phase 3: Notice of Completion
The final step of the lien process is the Notice of Completion.
This notice is filed with the county’s recorder’s office once the work on your new home has been completed. It decreases the time that a subcontractor or supplier has to record a claim, now that the work has been completed.
Make Sure You Choose The Right Builder
For you, the most important part of the lien process is to make the right choice when choosing your builder. Your builder should be licensed, someone you can trust, and someone who only hires licensed subcontractors. Ask your builder about the subcontractors and suppliers they use and the process they use for their payment schedule to pay them.
When you do this, you can be confident your builder has a systemized process that will prevent any subcontractor or supplier from ever needing to make a lien claim on your home.
The information I’ve covered here is just a small sample of what I can to share with you to ensure you are well informed when you start designing and building your new home.
How do you know if you should choose a builder that completes your new home with in-house employees or subcontractors?
While it is possible for a builder to complete your home relying solely on subcontractors, it’s likely not the best solution if you’re looking for a luxury custom home.
To ensure a quality home, you need to work with a builder you trust who uses a mix of both subcontractors and in-house employees. When you do this, you won’t have to worry about your builder putting your dream home into the hands of the trades that are just there to get the job done as quickly as possible.
The National Association of Home Builders found that most builders are subcontracting out over 75% of the construction of their projects. Professional custom home builders use both in-house employees as well as subcontractors when building a new home. The employees focus on the key elements of your home, like framing and finishes, to ensure the final product is exactly what you expect.
Relying Solely On Subcontractors Is Okay For Cookie Cutter Homes
Production builders rely solely on subcontractors to complete the entire project. This process works fine if you’re looking for a cookie-cutter home. They mass produce these homes on a budget, relying completely on subcontractors to get the job done.
But professional custom home builders know what your home means to you, so they have dedicated employees that ensure your new home meets your expectations. But they also know that some things are better left to the experts of the field, so they have a team of trusted subcontractors that specialize in particular elements of the build.
You might think that by using subcontractors that your builder is just taking your money without actually doing any of the work. But the truth is, even while using some in-house employees, choosing and managing subcontractors is a big job. While the subcontractors might do the physical labor, it’s your builder that needs to ensure they are the right fit for your project and that their work is the quality that is expected.
When building a new home, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the what, why, and how when it comes to your builder subcontracting parts of the build.
Understand What Will Be Subcontracted Out & Why
First, you need to have an open and honest conversation with your builder to find out what elements of the build are going to be subcontracted out. It’s during this conversation that you’ll get a clear understanding of what is the responsibility of the builder’s employees versus their subcontractors.
Then you’ll want to ask why those elements are being subcontracted out. Professional builders will have in-house employees to take care of the key elements of the build, like putting up the framing of your home and installing the finishes.
While your builder may be capable of completing other elements, like drywall, it might not be the most quality or cost-effective option for your new home. So, they’ll contract that phase to a trusted subcontractor who is a craftsman at that particular element.
Ask Your Builder How They Choose Their Subcontractors
Finally, you should ask your builder what their process is when choosing and managing their subcontractors.
Professional builders will have a list of subcontractors that they have worked with before and trust their ability to provide a quality product. Rather than just signing up the subcontractor with the lowest price. Their systems will also allow for streamlined management of each subcontractor. So you don’t have to worry about the timeline or work stopping completely because a subcontractor goes unpaid.
It doesn’t matter if you are building your first home or if you have built many times before… Building a new home can be very overwhelming, and when you hear new things for the first time, it’s not easy to remember everything.
How can you choose a builder that builds your home to the highest quality standard?
When you work with a builder that doesn’t use site protection during construction, you’ll find yourself disappointed with the number of defects you find after you take possession of your new home.
The devastation of finding a drop of paint on your beautiful hardwood floors or a scrape on your shining glass doors is just like getting the first scratch on a brand new Range Rover. However, when you work with a professional builder that uses site protection processes for every stage of the build, this can be avoided. Choosing a professional builder that uses site protection during construction means you’ll take possession of your new home with all finishes in immaculate condition.
Site Protection Keeps Your New Home ‘New’
According to a study conducted by Zillow Group, half of new construction buyers say their main reason for building a home instead of buying an existing home is because everything is brand new. It’s the protection of the construction site that ensures everything in your new home is the quality it should be.
Average builders won’t use site protection. Instead, they’ll scramble at the end of construction to try and ‘fix’ all of the unnecessary defects that were created while your new home was being built. Or worse, some will tell you “it’s within industry standards” and make it your problem to deal with.
While professional builders have processes in place to ensure every element of your home is protected to prevent unnecessary defects. Professional builders know what your new home means to you, so they do everything in their power to make sure your home is perfect for handover.
You’re Entitled To A High-Quality Home
When you work with a builder that doesn’t use site protection, the excitement of getting the keys to your new home will soon be dampened when you find that first ‘scratch’. Many consumers believe that it simply is what it is, and they just have to expect that these things will happen. But the truth is, you invest a lot of money to build a luxury home, so you’re entitled to expect perfection and demand a high-quality product.
This is what your builder must do to make sure every element of your home will be completed to the highest standard.
What Your Builder Needs To Protect Your Home
Your builder should have a job schedule to ensure each phase of your home is completed in stages. This allows the builder to add site protection to the previous phase before the next one is completed. For example, after your flooring is installed the builder will add protection, so it isn’t disrupted when the painters come in.
Your builder should also implement a protection process for all finishes as they are delivered and installed. Typically this will include things like flooring, countertops, doors, windows, cabinetry, and screens. The site protection process for these elements includes effectively covering the areas, or storing materials, like interior doors, off-site until they are installed.
These site protection processes prevent the finishes of your new home being damaged during construction. So you can be confident that your new home won’t be riddled with damages and defects when your handover date arrives.
How can you be sure the design for your new home isn’t going to exceed your budget?
When you work with a builder that doesn’t have an efficient process for designing and budgeting your new home, you could find yourself constantly redesigning your home to fit your budget.
However, when you take a collaborative approach with the three-step design process, you can be sure that your new home will be built exactly as you expect, without the extra cost. By choosing a builder that follows the three-step design process, your new home will meet the vision from your architect without blowing your budget.
It might surprise you to know that around 80% of designs are never built. The reason for this is the cost to build these designs came in way over budget.
Average builders are missing a key element on their team – a costing expert. Because of this, they design homes without a realistic knowledge of what you’re willing to spend. Resulting in a final design that costs a lot more than you bargained for and leaving you to sacrifice part of your dream home to meet your budget.
While professional builders work with you and the architect to ensure the design created for your new home can be built to your budget without cutting corners. This collaborative approach allows the team designing and building your home to focus on the details, so there are no nasty surprises later down the road.
Choose Your Builder Before Starting Your Design
One of the biggest myths when building a new home is that you need to have your designs created by an architect before speaking to a builder. But the truth is, when you send an architect’s designs to multiple builders to quote, you’ll only end up going around in circles. You’ll soon learn that the design is beyond what you’re willing to spend, leaving you to start all over and redesign your new home to fit your budget.
When you work with a builder that follows the three-step design process, you can rest assured that your new home will be designed to your vision and your budget.
Step 1: Create Your Team
Step one of the three-step design process is creating a team that will design and build your new home. This ignites the collaborative approach for designing your new home by bringing you, the architect, and the builder together. Your builder will work with your architect or help you find one to kickstart the initial discussions of designing your new home. When you establish the team for your new home, you can work together to decide on the key elements you want to be included in your new home.
Step 2: Create Your Budget
Step two of the process is to create your budget. It’s important that this step comes before designing your new home.
You, the architect, and the builder will work together to identify your budget based on what you’re willing to spend and what expectations you have.
Step 3: Design To Your Budget
Working as a team to create the budget for your new home allows the builder and the architect to work together to complete step three of the process, designing to your budget.
The collaborative approach is vital during this step. It allows the builder and the architect to join forces to ensure that the vision your architect provides based on your expectations can actually be turned into reality based on your budget.
Once you’ve decided on the perfect design for your new home, your builder will be able to start on preconstruction necessities like the scope of work documents, job schedules, and photo-realistic renders.
It doesn’t matter if you are building your first home or if you have built many times before… Designing a new home can be very overwhelming, and when you hear new things for the first time, it’s not easy to remember everything.
The tips I have covered here are just a small sample of the information I can share with you to ensure you can confidently get started on the design process. You can learn more in the downloadable guide I have put together. The 7 Things You Need to Know Before You Designing Your New Home is completely free, and it will help you choose the right builder to keep your design on budget.
Do you know what a preliminary building agreement is and why it is so important to have one before you sign a contract with a builder?
When you work with a builder who doesn’t use preliminary building agreements, you run the risk of an unorganized building process resulting in defects, delays, and conflict.
Professional builders use preliminary building agreements to simplify the process for you. They are a ‘done for you’ solution that makes the construction process of your new home faster and easier for you and the builder.
In a study completed by KMPG, more than 75% of building projects exceeded their original deadlines, and over 69% exceeded their budget. But, by going into a preliminary building agreement with your builder before a contract is signed, you can rest assured that your builder can provide you with a fixed price and a guaranteed handover date.
Preliminary building agreements allow the builder to go the extra mile before construction, so when it comes to signing the contract, you can be sure that the price and the handover date won’t change.
The Team Approach Saves You Money & Stress
A lot of consumers believe that it’s them and their architect against the builder. But the truth is that when you work with a professional builder, it’s a team approach.
You, the architect, and the builder all work together to determine the expectations for your new home to then create a preliminary agreement to set everything in motion before a building contract is signed. This approach simplifies the process for you, so you only have one point of contact, and all the pre-construction details and planning are done for you. While average builders will send you in all directions to do these things for yourself.
Preliminary Building Agreements Explained
So, what exactly is a preliminary building agreement?
It’s a pre-contract agreement, sometimes referred to as a ‘prelim’ or a ‘PBA’. It’s the phase of the process after you’ve chosen, and met with, your builder, and after you’ve decided on the concepts for your new home.
A preliminary building agreement allows your builder to carefully and systematically work through the details of the construction of your new home. So they can provide you with a fixed price and guaranteed handover date when it comes time to sign the building contract.
What’s Included In A Preliminary Building Agreement
The inclusions of a preliminary building agreement can vary, depending on the builder you work with. But they will typically include the necessary arrangements and testing that need to be completed before construction.
In the preliminary building agreement phase, builders will organize for engineering and soil tests to be completed on your land. They’ll finalize the concepts of your new home and transform them into construction drawings. When they have these details finalized, they’ll create scope of works and job schedules for your entire project. They’ll also work with you to complete all the selections of finishes and colors for your new home.
The preliminary building agreement also allows builders to make the necessary arrangements for building and development approvals. By completing all of this work early, your builder can provide a detailed building contract that includes everything that will need to happen to build your dream home. Meaning they can give you a fixed-price contract with a guaranteed handover date so you can be confident your new home will be built on budget and without any unexpected delays.
It doesn’t matter if you are building your first home or if you have built many times before… Designing a new home can be very overwhelming, and when you hear new things for the first time, it’s not easy to remember everything.
Everything we’ve covered here is just a small sample of the information we can share with you to ensure you are well informed when you get started on the design process… So we’ve put together a quick guide for you to download. It’s completely free, and it will help you to keep your design on budget and avoid any nasty surprises that can sneak up on you when building a custom home.
How can you be confident that your builder has the processes in place to ensure quality during the construction of your new home?
When you work with a builder without the quality control processes, you could find yourself disappointed with the quality of your new home. Or you could experience costly delays when your builder has to go back and fix flaws that were missed during construction.
When you choose to work with a systemized and structured building company, you can rest assured that they have the processes in place to ensure quality in every stage of construction. These quality control processes allow the builder to focus on the details of every phase of your new home, so they can find flaws before they’re covered up by the next step of the building process. This gives you the confidence that every detail of your new home has been quality checked, and your builder won’t need to delay your handover date to fix mistakes.
The Quality Control Process Your Builder Must Have
A study conducted by PlanGrid and Fails Management Institute uncovered that 52% of rework on construction projects is caused by a combination of poor project data and communication. And one of the biggest myths when building a new home is that all builders are the same, and it’s inevitable that delays will occur to fix flaws. But, that’s not the case when you work with a systemized and structured professional building company.
These professional builders have online systems and checklists that allow them to systemize the project data and identify flaws and mistakes early, so there’s no need to go back and fix them later.
Average builders have no systems or processes in place to ensure this quality. Instead, they’ll have two guys in a truck and nothing but their memory to keep track of each phase of your new home. With no systems in place, it’s impossible for these builders to ensure each element of your new home is completed to the highest quality standard.
Here are some tips to help you choose a builder that has the correct quality control processes…
Quality Control Checklists
Make sure the builder you choose uses quality control checklists. Builders that use quality control checklists ensure every last detail is checked before moving on to the next phase of your new home. By using these checklists, your builder can identify and fix flaws or hidden defects before they’re covered up by the next phase of the project.
You need to be sure your builder has one of these checklists for each phase. A professional builder will use around 7 checklists with 15-20 items per list. They will have a checklist to ensure everything is how it should be before starting construction, pouring concrete, installing drywall, roofing, and windows and before applying stucco.
A professional builder will also create a final project checklist tailored to the specific project to make sure your new home is perfect for handover.
Ask For Access To Your Builder Quality Control Checklists
Finally, ask your builder to share these checklists with you. Professional builders will have these checklists stored in their online portal, so you can log in and check them at any time from anywhere. Being able to check these lists during the construction of your new home will help give you peace of mind that the building process is going as planned.
Choosing the right builder can be very overwhelming and, when you hear new things for the first time, it’s not easy to remember everything. The tips we’ve covered here are just a small sample of the information we can share with you to ensure you are well informed when you get started on the process of designing and building your new home.
We’ve put together a guide for you to download. It’s completely free, and it will help you to keep your design on budget and choose the right builder to build your new home. Just click on the link below and complete the form to receive the free guide.
How can you be sure your new home will be completed on time?
If your builder doesn’t work to a job schedule, the handover date you’re originally promised could be pushed out for weeks or even months before you can finally move into your new home.
However, when your builder uses a job schedule throughout the entirety of the project, they can provide you with a guaranteed completion date, so there are no questions as to when your new home will be finished.
The Association of Professional Builders found that 83% of residential home builders don’t have any job schedules when they start construction of a new home. This is daunting for consumers, especially if you need to move into your new home before a certain time, like the holiday season.
No job schedules mean there is no clarity on how the project will progress. Without this clarity, it’s impossible to know exactly when your new home will be ready for you to move in.
Why Your Builder Must Have Job Schedules
When you work with an average builder that doesn’t work to job schedules, you’ll find yourself excited when the completion date is approaching only to be disappointed by the builder telling you time and time again that “it’ll just be a few more weeks”. While a professional builder will have complete job schedules, so they can include a guaranteed completion date in the contract before you even sign the dotted line.
It’s a common misconception that the handover date in your contract can’t be taken seriously because it will never be the actual handover date. However, when you work with a professional builder, they put the hard work in before you sign the contract, so they can guarantee that the date on the contract will not change.
The only way the completion date will change is if the contract changes! Variations to the contract could result in delays, but a professional builder will present the changes to the cost and schedule to you in the form of a change order. And they won’t start construction of those changes until you’re comfortable and have signed the updated contract!
How To Guarantee Your Move In Date
Here are some tips that will help you ensure that your new home will get built on time…
First, it’s important to make sure that your builder uses job schedules. Because without them, it will be impossible to know when your new home will be completed.
Professional builders use job schedules, so the entire process is laid out before construction begins. It’s this level of detail that allows them to guarantee that you’ll be able to move into your new home by a certain date. Job schedules not only help you understand when your home will be completed, but they also give you peace of mind that the construction process of your new home is going as expected.
Next, check that there is a completion date in your contract. A verbal confirmation of the date your home will be finished is not enough. It should be written in black and white on the contract you sign before building commences.
Hold Your Builder Accountable
Finally, ask your builder how you will be compensated should your new home take longer than expected. Professional builders will include this in the building contract. Having these penalties hold the builder accountable, so you can be sure that your new home will be completed as promised.
It doesn’t matter if you are building your first home or if you have built many times before… If ensuring your new home is completed by a particular date is important to you, or even if you just want to be sure there are no delays during construction, download our free guide, The 7 Things You Must Know Before Designing A New Home.
It’s completely free, and it will help you to avoid any nasty surprises that can sneak up on you when building a custom home.
How can you be sure the builder you choose will ensure quality during every stage of the construction of your new home?
The last thing you want is to end up with a home that’s riddled with defects. Especially when flaws can be hidden beneath the surface, only for you to notice later when things start to go wrong.
The functionality of your new home is just as important as the aesthetic. Things like the ductwork and insulation of your new home are important, hidden elements that are part of what makes your home comfortable and efficient. And, when these parts of your new home aren’t completed to a high-quality standard, they could end up costing you a lot of money in the long run.
When you work with a builder that only focuses on what you can see, it will be the things you can’t see that will hurt you later. However, professional builders will have a quality control process that ensures quality from the very beginning. So you can rest assured that no corners are cut during any stage of the construction of your new home.
Your Builder Must Ensure Quality For All Phases
According to Water Damage Defence, 14,000 people in the United States experience water damage to their home each day.
When it comes to building a new home, it’s your builder’s responsibility to make sure that everything is completed to a high standard to ensure there are no leaks in your new home. It’s the same story for every other phase of your new home too.
Average builders don’t have a quality control process to ensure the quality of these important elements during the construction of your new home. Instead, they focus on the aesthetics of the finishes rather than the functionality of what makes your home liveable.
While professional builders have a comprehensive quality control process that documents every stage of the process. You’ll have online access to photographic timelines and daily logs so you can see exactly what is going on, 24/7. Not only that, but they will also provide you with a warranty after your home is completed, to guarantee that the materials and workmanship of your new home will pass the test of time. They can provide this guarantee because they use pre-start checklists before each milestone begins to make sure that any issues can be fixed before they’re covered up.
There are a few things you should look out for to make sure your builder has a quality control process in place.
Choose A Builder That Keeps A Daily Log
First, make sure your builder uses a system that keeps a daily log of the construction of your new home. Professional builders will use an online portal, like BuilderTrend, to keep track of every step of the process. This is important because it ensures that everything is documented, so no one has to rely on the builder’s memory.
It also means that you, and the owner of the builder company, can check the information at any time. So concerns can be raised before that aspect is covered by the next stage of the build.
Next, be sure that your builder’s quality control process includes a photographic timeline. This is more than just the photos of your finished home, too.
Everything should be photographed before work begins on each element, as well as during and after. The images should be stored in the online client portal along with the daily logs. So everyone involved in the construction of your new home, including the company owner, can review them.
Having a photographic timeline can speed up the building process of your new home and prevent costly delays. You and the team working on your new home can use the photos to magnify any issues that need to be fixed before the work on that stage even begins. This is important because it shows a visual record that there are no hidden mistakes.
The Importance Of Pre-Start Checklists
Finally, ask to see your builder’s pre-start checklists.
Your builder should have one for each important stage of the building process, like foundation, framing, drywall, roofing, etc. This is the icing on the cake to truly make sure every element of your new home is built with the highest quality. The checklists help your builder to focus on the details and make sure no corners are cut when building your new home.
If your builder uses daily logs, photographs, and pre-start checklists when building your new home, you can rest assured that your home’s functionality, and aesthetics, will be of high quality.
It doesn’t matter if you are building your first home or if you have built many times before… Choosing a builder that can build you a quality home can be very overwhelming and, when you hear new things for the first time, it’s not easy to remember everything.
All the tips I have covered here are just a small sample of the information I can share with you to ensure you are well informed when you choose a builder and start designing your new home. So I’ve put together a quick guide for you to download. It’s completely free, and it will help you to avoid any nasty surprises that can sneak up on you when building a custom home.