What You Need To Know About Building in Crested Butte from Somrak Concept + Structure.
Episode 26. Are you thinking about building in the Crested Butte/Gunnison area in the near future? You should know before you hire anyone that building in a mountain town is a lot different then building in an urban area. I’m interviewing Ben Somrak from Somrak Concept and Design to ask him about his company and what people should think about before hiring a contractor in our area.
Heather: Hi everyone, I’m Heather Connor with Black Diamond Resort Group brokered through exp Realty and today I am sitting with Ben Somrak of Somrak Concept and Design and Ben has been a builder and a designer in this valley for a while, and I am so pleased that he was able to take time out of his incredibly busy schedule to sit down with us today so Ben thanks for being here!
Ben: thank you so much for having me and it’s just a real honor to sit down with you and chat for a little bit today!
Heather: Absolutely, now we’re sitting in a home that Ben is dangerously close to completing, and it’s located in the Prospect area. We just had a view of it and we will make sure that we get you guys a tour later, it’s absolutely gorgeous.
Ben: Thank you very much
Heather: If the owners aren’t careful I might just move in here.
Ben: Oh well I’ll see how they feel about that.
Heather: Just out of curiosity, can you share with everybody a little bit more about Somrak Concept and Structure as well as when did you start the business, you know some of those details.
Ben: For sure! I founded Somrak Concept and Structurein 2007 behind the commitment to just really deliver a high-end residential and commercial building service, as well as design and interior design, kind of the one-stop shop was our feeling when we started the company.
Heather: Right, and you call yourself a little bit of a hybrid company correct?
Ben: Correct yeah we like to put it all under one roof to put a lot of efficiencies into our hands.
Heather: So when you say hybrid, how is that a little different than maybe what some of the other builders do?
Ben: Well a lot of the other builders, and there are some great builders in this wonderful town that we live in, a lot of them rely on an architect separately, and an interior designer separately, and then they’re just kind of the builder so there’s all these lines of communication that are very easy to get tangled up in. I saw that for many years as a carpenter here when I worked for other builders and I decided to vertically integrate and eliminate a lot of those lines of communication.
Heather: So Ben here’s a great question I have for you because obviously a lot of land is being purchased right now and a lot of folks are looking to build their dream home here in the Crested Butte & Gunnison area. So just to kind of give people a starting point what are some criteria that you would recommend that people look for in the builder that they choose.
Ben: That’s a good question because first off there are so many aspects to being a good builder and that lead to the ultimate success of the project. To me, the one thing that really stands out is going to be the personal relationship that you forge with your contractor because your home builder is somebody that you are going to be very involved with for the next 1 to 3 years of your life on a daily basis.
Heather: It’s longer than people think, it’s a short long-term relationship.
Ben: Yeah the days are very long but the years might go quick and you’re going to spend a lot of time with that person so I think it’s important that you really develop a good relationship and vibe with that builder and you realize from the start like this is somebody that I can comfortably talk to and resolve conflicts with when they arise and have a beer with them at the end of the day when it’s time to kind of celebrate a big success, so you’re really wanting to make sure that they’re gonna be a friend as well as a client, like that relationship that you forge with your builder is gonna be the key success factor for your project.
Heather: Ok so basically you want to really make sure, when you say like make sure they’re a friend you really want to make sure that you’re comfortable communicating with them, that you feel like you’re being heard, you understand what they’re saying, that you feel like you’re being heard and you understand what they are saying, there’s a solidness to that relationship.
Ben: Yes very much so, and I think that you can tell that in the first few minutes of meeting somebody like I can get along with this guy or I just can’t and at that point it’s time to move on.
Heather: That’s funny I think that’s true yeah.
Ben: It is, at first the first impression means a lot.
Heather: Now first impressions in Crested Butte, you have to remember…
Ben: We are on island time, the Aloha spirit does exist. So you know if you come from the high-paced city it’s also important to know that you are buying into a special culture here in Crested Butte and with that comes some fun quirks.
Heather: What are some questions that you would recommend that we would ask somebody?
Ben: Very glad you bring up that point. I think it’s very important to know how well-versed that contractor is with the local submarket. What kind of team do they have in place? Are you buying into the new guy that doesn’t really have any connections? Or are you buying into the more seasoned vet in the game that knows people, he has an established team that will respond to the contractor, as you know we’re very busy right now in Crested Butte and your subcontractor relationships are very important right now, so being established right now is something that I would care to find out more about. how established they are so to speak.
Heather: I love that because first of all you’re going to have a relationship with them for one to three years, more likely two to three years depending on the size of your property or the complexity and the room in your schedule. And then second is what is their relationship with others in the valley because things happen, and you’ll need to make sure they have a good working relationship that they can call in.
Ben: Oh for sure and yeah adjust to the challenges that will undoubtedly present themselves throughout the process, so you’re kind of seeing what kind of team they have, and you’re kind of seeing what types of problem solving skills set might they have, and you can get all that in the first interview with them. You can say “hey, if this comes up what would you do?”
Heather: So then, all of your finishes are so well coordinated and I’m curious how do you help your clients select their finishes, their paint, their colors, you know how do you help them with that process?
Ben: There are so many decisions put into a custom home, and that’s something that everybody should know. The amount of decisions are overwhelming, so what we really try to do is streamline the process by having our own interior designer who works hand in hand with me in our office, very seamlessly integrated because of the amount of decisions that have to be made, but then implement it as well on site. It’s really important to streamline that for success because it’s just really easy to get tangled up in it if everything is kind of coming in piecemealed and nobody’s sure what side A is doing versus what side B is doing you. You really have to have the team unified to have it be a success.
Heather: That’s great, so you do give a little guidance as well on how different materials/finishes/colors work together?
Ben: Oh for sure and also educate our clients throughout the process, like yeah you might really like that floor, but it’s not going to do well in this climate and then but since you like that color let’s find you something in the same color range that’s going to work up.
Heather: I think that’s really great to help with all those moving parts and help keep them stay cohesive so that your end product does end up beautiful and cohesive.
Ben: Yes thank you, and as a true reflection of the owners personalities and their tastes and their palette, it’s a reflection of our owners.
Heather: Right absolutely. Ben thanks so much for joining us I know how busy you are because the building is absolutely just left and right, just exploding throughout this valley so I really appreciate your time.
Ben: Well thank you for having me. It’s an honor to be here and just very humbling that you would ask me to be a part of this. It’s really cool what you’re doing, thank you.
Heather: Yeah absolutely, and I just love seeing a lot, I follow you on Instagram but I love seeing a lot of the progress that you make on your different structures throughout the area.
Ben: Well thanks!
Heather: It’s so cool to see decisions that your homeowners and you guys have made in that process.
Ben: Thanks for checking it out. It’s a great insight into our process, so I encourage anybody who’s interested in building up here to really check us out and see what it’s like.
Heather: So you guys thanks again for joining me for another episode of the Crested Butte Real Estate Show and if you guys are interested in learning more about what Ben does or if you want to contact his company Somrak Concept and Structure, then feel free to reach him at somrak.net.