Design Build Associates Inc.
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Design Build Associates Inc.
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
In 1983, Dennis Brooks got an opportunity of a lifetime. After completing his undergrad and masters program in construction and business management at Colorado State University, he went to work for a large commercial development firm. “The partners of this firm decided they had made their money and wanted to get out of construction,” recalls Dennis, president of Design Build Associates Inc. (DBA). “I was in a fortunate place because the president asked me if I’d like to take over the business. He offered me his contacts and told me he would support me through the first year as a partner.”
A New Niche
By 1987, Dennis was the sole owner of DBA, which started out as a successful retail and commercial developer, but around the same time, he realized a special niche market the company could support. “I noticed the need for a construction management and consulting firm in the Homeowners Association (HOA) market undergoing major rehab projects,” explains Dennis. “When we started out in the mid 1980s, no one was doing it in this area.”
“Before we entered the market, HOAs would go out and find an architect, engineer or general contractor, collect all of the bids and go with one without any idea of how to compare companies,” continues Dennis. “The people in these organizations are generally volunteers who have no construction background.”
Despite the obvious need, Dennis says DBA had to fight to enter the market. “At first, we had to explain to the HOAs why they needed to hire someone like us -it was an uphill battle in the beginning,” he reveals. “But, by 1994 when the Northridge Earthquake hit our services were recognized and we were becoming better known throughout the industry.”
Since then, DBA has been supporting HOAs for several decades, thriving off this niche. “We do our part to be fully involved in the industry,” adds Dennis. “We joined the Community Association Institute which caters to common interest developments and educates board members on how to run community organizations. We’ve helped provide training, literature and we’ve even given talks to further expand their knowledge.”
The attorneys, property managers and volunteers that make up HOAs remain the core contacts for DBA’s business. The company offers its expertise and assists these organizations in achieving their objectives and helping them define the proper scope of work from conception to completion. “Our client base is 98 percent HOAs,” reveals Dennis. “Although all of our consultants are licensed general contractors, we are more-or-less professional construction managers.”
Today, DBA has two locations in West Lake Village, Calif., just north of Los Angeles and an office in Irvine, Calif., which handles Orange County and San Diego. “We’ve done work all over the state of California,” shares Dennis.
Over the years, the company has grown into a trusted and respected construction management firm. “We’re there to help our clients hire the right architect, engineer, general contractor or subcontractor for the job,” explains Dennis. “We review the scope of work, bid the job and negotiate contractors to provide value engineering. It’s usually a very involved process -that’s why other larger firms shy away from it. They have the patience or drive to deal with people who don’t have the same knowledge because they don’t care like we do.”
DBA has helped HOAs carry out much needed maintenance and repair jobs throughout the state, from the coast to West Hollywood. “About a year ago we completed the Village Palos Verdes in Palisade, Calif. which is right near the beach,” notes Dennis. “After nearly 30 years of differed maintenance, the homes had leaky roofs and the natural cedar siding was rotting through -you could nearly stick your finger through it. Amongst the 180 units, the average assessment of maintenance needed for each home was about $75,000.00.”
DBA identified what the work entailed, hosted meetings and presented it to members to get the vote for the maintenance to pass. “We helped homeowners obtain financing if they couldn’t afford to cover the costs upfront,” says Dennis. “After nearly $12 million worth of work, it really improved the property value and longevity of the complex.”
In West Hollywood, DBA recently completed a repipe of all cold and hot water sewer lines in addition to mechanical work. “We’re also redoing the lobby, corridors and the poolside building rooftop,” shares Dennis. “We’re improving the two-level garage and valet parking set up. All of this is being done in about a year. The 50-year-old building needs a complete facelift, not to mention tenants have experienced water leaks and flooding from bursting pipes.”
For Dennis, it’s all about helping people, from the HOA to the homeowner who directly benefits. “I like the feeling of accomplishment when we help people achieve their goals,” he says. “We’ve got a great reputation we want to maintain so we’re focusing on strong but steady growth. We can’t just nail down a bunch of projects because we don’t want to compromise our quality of service.” Since 1983, Design Build Associates Inc. has served the HOA market, providing trusted consultation supported by industry leading knowledge and service.
For more information about Design Build Associates Inc., please visit: (www.dbuild.com)
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