Manufactured custom products; the first two words in this term might seem like opposites at first, but in the custom home market it makes sense to those who believe it’s a better method of achieving the high quality their clients demand.
Mike Connor believes manufacturing certain elements of a custom home in a controlled environment rather than on-site is a better way of delivering quality. After 40 years of building homes, he’s certainly qualified to pass judgment on the process. At Connor Homes, detail work takes place in a factory environment to ensure a consistent level of quality. The term Connor uses to describe his process is mill-built architecture.
“There are efficiencies in building things in a factory, so why not apply those efficiencies to trim details in a custom home, not just framing? We produce consistent details, and we do it all the time. Ultimately, you can have high-end sophisticated architectural detailing at a cost just about anyone can afford. Frankly, I’m amazed more builders aren’t doing it this way,” Connor says.
As a general contractor out of college, Connor was interested in building homes but wasn’t sure where to begin. He connected with a panelized home manufacturer for guidance, and began constructing a line of homes. Connor soon became interested in historic houses so he launched his business 20 years ago.
How it Works
Connor considers himself a designer and builder. However, he stopped on-site construction a few years ago and now contracts with other builders to handle that portion of the process. He believes the idea of hiring an architect in one town and a builder in another makes the process difficult and more expensive than it needs to be.
“Our method of home design and construction goes back to the way it used to be done in past centuries where architects and builders were the same people,” Connor says. “That’s how we look at it. We do it more efficiently.”
For a 2,500 sq. ft. home, efficiency means framing manufacturing takes about 3 to 4 days, while interior manufacturing takes another 3 to 4 days. “We build all of our own cabinetry in our facilities. Then all the pieces are loaded and shipped, which is orchestrated by software which determines the best way to stack and bundle the pieces for the most efficient unloading process on site,” Connor explains.