family run and all about the efficiencies
Keeping its family focus at its heart, By Carrier leads the building competition for the local market
At its heart, By Carrier is a family-owned home-building business focused on the community with over 50 years of industry-leading experience. The company’s roots are deeply interwoven with the Carrier family’s movements, originally hailing from Quebec, Canada, where a large family of 13 children was raised on a farm and picked up building trade skills.
In the 1960s, six of the Carrier brothers moved to Connecticut to apply their trade and experience. The company started by just completing framing contracts, but eventually, they would begin to build homes.
The years were kind, and the brothers had their own families. This meant over time, some of the uncles broke off to form their own businesses with their children. Eventually, second and third generations were also part of the businesses.
In the mid-2000s, all the Carriers decided to join forces. By Carrier is an umbrella company that now houses all the uncles’ businesses under one roof. This means the Carrier family now offers a full-service company.
By Carrier is a company that provides old-school craftsmanship with new-world know-how when building energy-smart (green) homes that help minimize energy costs and environmental impacts.
The company’s different divisions are all located within Connecticut, either in Plainville or Southington. Situated in the heart of the state, the uncles have set up shops in complexes close to one another, or else they use shared spaces.
“If you pointed at a map and drew a half-a-mile-wide circle, you would encompass all our family’s businesses,” says Johnny Carrier, Vice President of By Carrier.
Currently, Carrier is constructing a development of luxury townhomes called Yorkshire. This development comprises 94 units for young professionals or empty nesters.
The Yorkshire development has a variety of floor plans, including first floor living luxury bathrooms with European showers, custom kitchens and optional elevator access to upper floors. That said, the company has options for clients that need wheelchair accessibility, which means elevators and automatic doors.
Another customization came from issues to do with snowy winters. The garage space is a big selling point for the local market in New England. Initially, the development plan marked out only 30% of homes as having double garage space. This has since grown to around 75%.
By Carrier is considered by many in the local industry to be a completely custom builder, but Carrier would disagree a little, “We consider ourselves semi-custom. Where many developers will offer three-floor plans, we offer 10 to 12 options.
This allows us to offer customizability with on staff architects and interior designers. A client can do probably 80% of their selections without leaving the sales office on-site.
By allowing so much flexibility in choices and how the business is structured, By Carrier is in a unique position in the market. They are able to bring customer service to the table with a mountain of experience.
By Carrier knows that in states like Connecticut, homeowners tend to stay longer because they came for the lifestyle. They understand they’re selling a home and a lifestyle.
Another essential element to remember is that By Carrier builds homes for their community. After the project is complete, By Carrier still needs to live near their clients and go to the same grocery stores, and family members often live in these developments.
This lived reality makes By Carrier more than a company or corporation. It makes them a community-based operation. Also, although the family understands different trades, including in-house design, as the company has grown, they have brought in a lot of outside partners.
And when specific jobs receive too much work, the company has brought on additional help. Eventually, this organic method of growing formed the umbrella format that By Carrier is today.
The company’s approach to marketing is not to get bogged down in the specifics as there is an overlap in the market demographics.
At the company’s core is its ability to form solid relationships with vendors and subcontractors.
By Carrier has business-to-business relationships that are over a couple of decades old. And this has enabled the company to main two things:
Firstly, this has provided a consistent business model since day one while allowing the company to hone its craftsmanship day in and day out.
The second element is they’ve been able to rely on each other in turbulent times, like the early part of 2020, where there were loads of unknowns.
Many companies assisted By Carrier when times were tough.
But the stand-out partners were the Portland Group with plumbing supplies, and the fantastic cabinet makers over at Modern Kitchen (in French, Cuisine Moderne), based out of Quebec, Canada. During 2020 there were significant border issues with Canada, but Modern Kitchen pulled through.
Another Canadian supplier, based out of Nova Scotia, is Kohitech windows East Haven Building Supply, which supplies framing materials for homes
A roofing partner, Valley & Aetna Building Products, helped to manage supply issues by calling By Carrier to inform them that colors would be limited before this was a problem.
Other partners recognize By Carriers’ high standards and ability to take advantage of new-age building technology to build energy efficient low-infiltration homes that exceed industry standards and expert specifications. The company has built a strong reputation for possessing a team of mechanical experts that can offer indoor-air-quality products that will filtrate and purify the air inside the home, since the air we breathe is as important as the water we drink.
Describing its strong relationship with By Carrier, Steve C, System Aire and Control Aire Supply CEO says, “It is always a pleasure to support the By Carrier building team in their continual mission to develop and build wonderful places you can call home with HVAC products that last. You can trust By Carrier to perform at a high-level while still offering a family atmosphere of true home comfort.”
More locally, Connecticut Lighting has an enormous supply, and it is nice to relax at their coffee shop in the store. The local supplier also communicated supply issues early, which helped a lot.
Managing clients’ expectations and schedules is already a challenging task. “Trying to keep on schedule is important for everyone involved,” says Carrier, who elaborates on the more significant issues surrounding supply chain issues,
“The hardest part of navigating the supply chain was not getting enough notice when something was going to happen. For example, you are told that an item needs 12 weeks of lead time, and then it jumps to 17, meaning you’ve lost five weeks to order items. Hearing about issues early enough means the company can re-spec, retool, or even reconfigure.”
In 2007-2008 the company started exploring green-technology solutions and discovered the best method of keeping a home energy efficient and preventing air infiltration; ensuring it is built correctly and paying attention to every detail.
Around the same time, Carrie attended many building science classes, which meant he went to building sites with a new perspective, taking notes of furnaces installed and investigating types of insulation ratings.
This shifted Carrier from being a builder to being able to see the building science and conduct his own tests. One test that produced results was conducting a blower door test. After discovering a few issues and how to improve them, Carrier could train subcontractors to seal the home better.
Over time changing and improving skill sets meant that the company got more HVAC trades as well. Carrier started to install the heating and A/C systems within the tempered home envelope. In the past, contractors would install them in the attic.
But by bringing them indoors and running ducting through the walls throughout the home, there was less heat loss, which enabled By Carrier to install smaller HVAC units than their competition.
To prove that these changes were working and costing clients less, the company started to send out surveys to participants with $100 gift certificates for utility so that they could share their bills.
After time spent collecting data and improving technology, the company could say that their furnaces were 96% more efficient and the only way to improve on this was to invest in newer technology.
The improved insulation also helps during the year’s warmer months in Connecticut, reducing electricity usage.
“We started to install tankless hot water heaters for clients. These have built-in circulator loops and are self- programming to keep water warm at the same time every day when residents shower. This helps save money on gas & electricity, which in Connecticut is very expensive,” says Carrier.
By Carrier’s homes are so efficient due to building practices and techniques that, on average, a property developed by the company is kept at a minimum cost per square foot. This includes homes with gas or geothermal systems.
In regards to the future, By Carrier is looking at positioning itself to better deal with the lingering supply chain issues and the associated costs of the lags.
Costs, according to Carrier, have gone up by 25% over two and a half years. Coupled with supply chain issues, this will become a problem if not addressed. Another factor unique to Connecticut is that housing prices had not grown with the rest of the country.
But in 2020, that changed, and the price increase was dramatic for the locals. Unaffordable housing and how to address it is the primary conversation for all involved in construction.
By Carrier is planning to talk to the vendors about bringing in products that can be more cost-point sensitive in order to manage the price crisis.
Moving forward, By Carrier wants to build homes that last and are efficient, environmentally, and cost-wise.
AT A GLANCE
What: A family-run leading property builder with local experience to cater to client’s needs
Where: Central Connecticut
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Valley & Aetna Building Products has been serving contractors and builders since 1995. We are your wholesale distributor of exterior building materials – Mastic vinyl siding, Atlas roofing, vinyl and wood windows, doors, decking & railings. Our reputation has been built on the superior service we provide over the phone and at our counter. Stop by either of our fully stocked warehouse and showrooms for the latest in exterior building products.