News | For one homebuilder, it’s pretty easy being green, even in houston

April 11, 2014

By Jenny Agee-Aldridge | Houston Business Journal

Houston-based Frankel Building Group is known for building luxury homes in Houston’s top neighborhoods. What you may not know is that it is the only homebuilder in Houston — and one of only two in the country — that builds all of its new homes to LEED-certified standards.Scott Frankel, vice president of the family-owned business and a Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40 Class of 2012, shared how his company deals with Houston’s competitive market:

What trends will we see in homebuilding over the next year? 

Houses are getting bigger. Our new projects are approaching and in many cases exceeding the square footages from 2008.

What is the biggest challenge you are facing with your work? 

With the well-documented scarcity of lots in Houston, builder/developers, like us, have had to be disciplined, focused and creative. The real challenge is that the trade base in Houston is quite fatigued from the last two years of good business. There is a clear shortage of people to do the work. Trade contractors have been working up to seven days a week to keep up with the demand. We are working efficiently in spite of this.

How do you recruit and retain good labor in such a competitive market? 

We pay every week, no matter what.

How do you build an environmentally friendly home? 

We are the only homebuilder in Houston and one of only two builders in the country that builds all of its new homes to LEED-certified standards. We use sustainable, high-quality natural substances and reusable energy resources to provide quieter, healthier and increasingly cost-effective residences. And because we make a practice of building green, we are able to do it in a way that is economical for our clients.

How do you market it to your customers? 

We have been fortunate that the majority of our business comes from word-of-mouth or by customers admiring one of our spec homes. When we meet a potential client, we talk about the house and not ourselves. We partner with our clients and listen to their vision, learn about their lifestyle and discover their taste. We believe the best marketing is our product, passion, integrity and delivering on our promises.

What advice would you give to someone new in the business? 

This business is not easy. Securing jobs is easy. Performing on multiple jobs over multiple years is very difficult. This is a low-margin business, so you must be selective with the projects you start.

Frankel Building Group is the exclusive homebuilder for The Woodlands Reserve, which has presales underway. It is gorgeous and in a great location. We couldn’t be more excited about it.