After several years of working independently in the construction industry, Doug Skelton and Robert Ras combined their years of experience to create Skelton Construction, Inc. in 1992. As co-owners they shared a common goal, to offer premier quality homes throughout Western Colorado. Over the years, the company has earned an enviable reputation for building high quality custom homes owned by numerous satisfied buyers. Giving back to the community has provided great gratification as Skelton Construction was awarded the “Golden Hammer Award” for commitment and service to Habitat for Humanity in Mesa County.
Where did you grow up?
Doug and Robert both grew up in Colorado Springs, but did not meet until attending college at Western State in Gunnison, CO. We eventually became partners in the milder Grand Junction climate.
How did you get started in the building industry?
Both of us worked part-time in high school and college and full time during the summer at various jobs, however, construction is what we enjoyed the most. We liked being able to see what we had accomplished at the end of the day and we both had an interest in architecture. Becoming general contractors and home builders was a natural fit.
How has the industry changed since you got started?
Products have changed immensely. Insulation is much friendlier to install, plus there are many more choices, and the R-values are almost limitless. Asphalt shingles have gone from a 10-year warranty to 30, 40, and even 50-year warranty. Double pane vinyl windows compared to single pane aluminum windows are far more energy efficient. Electronics and technology have made homes safer and more comfortable. The most significant change for us, however, has been the advancement of engineered wood products and truss manufacturing. The expansion of these two products has been instrumental in the notion of the open concept home and the enjoyment of vaulted ceilings.
What should consumers look for in a new home? What kind of questions should consumers ask a builder before they sign a contract?
Buying a new home can be one of the biggest purchases of your life. You need to feel free to ask any question, no matter how big or small. Doug and Robert both have extensive hands on experience in all aspects of building. They expect high quality standards from their subcontractors and know what to look for in workmanship. The reputation of the builder and referrals from former clients is also important. You need to know the builder will not only provide the home that meets your family’s lifestyle, but will also be accessible during construction and long after the home is finished.
Is there a particular style of home that you consider your specialty or prefer to build?
We have built many styles of homes, depending on what the customer wants. One of our areas of expertise is building additions and remodels that proportionally and structurally look as if they are part of the original home. We build high quality homes, whether we’re building a small home, a large custom home, or anything in between. Each and every client is equally important. Our specialty is the ability to listen to the consumer’s needs and desires, and then create a high quality product to meet their lifestyle as well as their budget.
What is the most unusual feature you’ve put in a home?
We have done a few unusual features: A built-in 180-gallon salt water fish tank, a McDonald’s play land slide from the main floor to the basement, a hidden room behind a door that appears to be a stationary bookcase in the wall, and an underground bunker. Anything the mind can imagine, we can find a way to create it.
Tell us about your families and what you enjoy doing when you’re not working.
Robert loves to ride dirt bikes deep into the back country, the rougher the terrain the better. His wife, Lee, loves tennis. Doug and Jackie spend most of their free time playing golf or playing with their grandchildren. Doug’s kids are married with children while Robert’s daughter is attending LSU majoring in bio engineering. His son will be going into the Navy in early 2014.
What do you enjoy about living in Western Colorado?
We all like the clean air, lack of traffic, mild climate, four seasons, and easy access to recreational activities. We also like the small town friendliness and atmosphere.
What are some new trends in the building industry?
The industry has evolved to more efficient and functional homes with more engineering, from foundations to trusses. Technology has advanced greatly, from energy efficient insulation to wireless communications that will operate lights and window coverings. A well built quality home is the trend that will never get old and this is the distinction we put into every home we build.