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ConstructionCalc: The POWER TOOLS of Structural Software!

No Frills in Texas

What: NuHome division of Lennar Corp.

Where: Texas.

What's notable: A no frills, no options approach keeps construction costs to less than $40 per square foot and helps the company dominate its market.

Noting the tremendous demand for affordable housing, Lennar Corp. introduced its NuHome division in Texas in 1998. In less than six years under the stewardship of Bob Kayfus, NuHome was building 1,000 homes a year. With models starting at $88,950, NuHome has become one of the most competitive builders in Texas.

NuHome value engineers every aspect of its homes, from land to loans. The company develops land in areas that other builders find objectionable. Unlike many builders competing in the same niche, NuHome avoids government loan programs that add cost and paperwork.

Among the techniques NuHome has adopted:

  • No upgrades and no options, meaning that materials are purchased in quantity and costly mistakes are avoided.
  • Plans are drafted in house to better control costs.
  • Windows are kept to less than 14% of the total exterior wall area to avoid energy requirements, such as setback thermostats and high R-value insulation.
  • Only two windows sizes and two kinds of light fixtures are available.
  • The front door has a passage lock and a deadbolt, instead of keyed entry.
  • NuHome installs only one brand, style and color of carpet in every home.
  • To comply with Huston's fire code, the exterior of every home combines oversized modular brick and concrete plank siding.

According to Kayfus, the key to keeping prices down is paring the luxuries, and the company's market share continues to climb. "Standardized plans help us avoid mistakes," says Kayfus, "and we manage to keep costs under $40 per square foot."    

 
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