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Battle River Homes Inc.: Custom-building Central Alberta's Finest Homes
John and Silvana Vukojevic arrived in Camrose, Alberta, in 1995. Seven years later the couple formed a construction company, Battle River Homes Inc. Like most home builders, Battle River Homes started by building one home at the time, and steadily the couple grew a company from there.
“Our approach from the very beginning was the same as today – loyalty and commitment to our customers and our contractors,” says John, who handles the day-to-day operations of the company. Battle River Homes is a team of employees and contractors working together, because it was obvious from the very beginning that success cannot be achieved without employing the best talents and best contractors in the industry.
“Every project we start, we want to be there from the moment the basement is dug till people move in,” says Silvana, who handles the accounting and administrative management for the company. “We spend significant amounts of time with our customers prior to beginning the construction. We listen and understand the uniqueness of each customer and with our experience we help them design the best home for their needs.”
Indeed, Battle River Homes is capable of delivering all manner of dwellings. John explains, “Although we specialize in single-family homes, we also build duplexes and multi-family homes. We always have a few spec homes for people who aren’t prepared to go through the entire construction process.”
Listening to Customers
In 2007/2008 the company built a block of four four-unit walk-out townhomes, which brought Battle River Homes additional attention. Ultimately, however, Silvana says the company's heart is in custom homes. And the marketplace has been very receptive.
“Our homes don't stay on the market long – even if we earmark something as a show home it often is sold before we can even put the furniture in,” says Silvana with deserved pride. Battle River Homes builds 15 to 20 homes per year.
In 2010 the company built the most expensive spec home ever constructed in Camrose. A beautiful 1,600-square foot walkout with triple attached garage, the show home was built overlooking a ravine in the City of Camrose-developed Valley View subdivision. And, shortly after its completion, the show home was sold just as it was being showcased. Even with this success, however, Battle River Homes would not rush out copies of the same design.
“None of our homes are the same,” Silvana says. “Plenty of people have seen our show homes and said they are exactly what they want, but many other people come to us because they want to select the things that are just right for them and we will take them from the beginning to the end providing advice as we show them all the different options that are available.”
For example, if someone wants to build a custom home, John and Silvana will meet with them and take them to their architect, feeding him information on what features must be incorporated in the customer’s final blueprints. And this process is repeated for flooring, cabinetry, custom bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, etc., until the blueprint represents the perfect balance of what is feasible and what the home buyer desires.
And it's not just the luxuries a client can customize that make the difference. “When you enter one of our houses what your eyes see is one thing, but it is very important for us the quality that goes behind the walls,” says John, who explains Battle River Homes’ decisions are always made with quality and the environment in mind. High-efficiency furnaces, energy-efficient window and environmentally friendly materials are used.
Employees and Contractors Are Key
Assuring that the Battle River Homes standards are kept is a tight-knit group of around 15 contractors and four employees that have proven to be invaluable partners over the years. The company usually has between six to seven homes under construction at any give time. As soon as one home is completed, another one is ready to be started. The team Battle River Homes can call upon allows the company to move smoothly from one house to another.
There can be easily 10 contractors on the job site at a given time, many of whom have worked with Battle River Homes almost from the very beginning. “Working together for so many years feels like you are working with the members of your family,” says John. This became obvious in 2008 when the economy in Alberta, much like anywhere else, slowed down.
“At that time it was very important for us to keep our employees and our contractors busy,” stresses John. “We worked together and managed to go thru a slower housing market without slowing down. Even in tougher times our homes were selling before they were even completed.”
Indeed, Battle River Homes’ success was based on the company’s ability to adapt to the new economic reality that hit housing market. And as the company is growing it is exploring the option of expending into the City of Edmonton.
“Our company is built on honesty and integrity. We take pride in all that we do. One thing that cannot be compromised is quality. We created a dynamic company based on value and services we provide to our clients, and we look ahead to the future with exiting new vision for the way we do business,” says John.
John and Silvana Vukojevic made Camrose their home over 16 year ago, and they are very proud to have Battle River Homes Inc. continue to be part of this vibrant people- and business-friendly community.