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Omaha Magazine

Expertly Built: The Process, Pitfalls, and Perks of Building in 2021

May 27, 2021 02:14PM ● By Sara Locke

From left: Rob Ryan of RMR Building Group; Brandon Myers of Trademark Homes, Inc.; and Greg Key, of Lueder Construction. 

Photos Contributed. 

Omaha’s capacity for growth is exponential, and the upward trajectory of the past year has proven that no hurdle is too high for the creative minds behind this city’s architecture. B2B had the pleasure of learning a little more about the process from Greg Key, president of Lueder Construction; Brandon Myers, owner of Trademark Homes Inc.; and Rob Ryan, president of RMR Building Group.

B2B: What are some common misconceptions or mistakes you’ve witnessed during the
building process? 

GK: Business owners who haven’t had experience with building can be surprised by the amount of time it takes to get to the build stage of a project.  It can take significant time to locate and acquire property, plan the project, confirm the budget, lock in financing, and get through permitting. In the current climate, there are numerous factors at national and global levels impacting labor and material prices, product delivery times, labor availability, etc. 

RR: General contractors are always thought to be trying to “stick it” to their clients, but we’re trying to change that perception. Especially here, where the network is so important. If you can do right by one client, they’re sending along other businesses. Positive feedback travels fast here.

B2B: How has the last year impacted business?

GK: We navigated through it and are stronger and better because of it. Our current backlog is high, our employees are highly engaged, and we have work well into 2022.  The Omaha construction market is robust and healthy, and we are very optimistic about the future. 

RR: Usually when you get a bid for work, there will be maybe a percent or two difference. But right now, everyone is so busy that you’re seeing a 10 to 15% increase in bids for the same work. The costs of lumber alone have increased 300%.

BM: Building did take slightly longer than we expected.  We built [our own space] last year and completed before the pandemic really impacted us, so we didn’t see any delays that we would
expect today.

B2B: What would you advise those looking to build to research or expect?

GK: It’s extremely important to start the process with input from a wide variety of experts with relevant experience in the areas of real estate, finance, taxes, design, and construction. Value the input of your experts and be ready to quickly make a lot of significant decisions.  Be realistic with expectations and remember the old adages “you get what you pay for” and “time is money.”  You’re investing capital in a significant asset; do it wisely. 

RR: A big mistake many people make is they find land they like and they buy it. They don’t realize the site costs could add hundreds of thousands of dollars they didn’t anticipate. Find your code requirements for your neighborhood and learn the hidden costs that may be associated with choosing to build at that location. Get your architect involved in the process of location scouting. They can help you understand how some of the codes may interfere with your plans. The sooner you can get us in on the project, the more legwork we can do for you.

BM: Really you have to weigh your options regarding leasing [an existing property] versus buying and building. Right now, working from home could play a factor as space might not be needed as much as it was a year or two ago. I would always be for owning versus renting, but you also have to think long-term as you’re not getting your money back right away leasing out space. It’s a big investment with a long-term payback.

This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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