Where did you grow up?
I was born in Evergreen, Colo. and loved growing up there. I moved around to several western states before leaving Jackson Hole, Wyo. to move here. In 2003, we came to western Colorado to build my parents retirement home on the golf course in Cedaredge. We fell in the love with the area and we decided to stay.
How did you get started in the building industry?
During my high school summers I worked as a laborer for $6 an hour doing construction and landscaping. I went to college for a couple of years and travelled around before I realized that I had a knack for carpentry and a desire to be employed. I was a part of several production framing crews. We built large custom homes, fabricated log homes, worked on many $10 million dollar plus homes and I also crafted furniture in a woodworking shop. Through these experiences I discovered my passion for creative design and building. My Dad, Bill Locke and I formed Locke Construction in 2004. He passed away in 2010 but he was a huge part of the business and our lives.
How has the industry changed since you got started?
The biggest change has definitely been the shift in focus to energy efficiency, a tight building envelope and healthy indoor air quality. In the late 90’s we’d frame a house or condo project with as much wood as possible. Even large custom homes were production oriented. These days, I build a house with only essential components thus increasing the insulation capacity.
Our company uses more thoughtful design and construction practices. No matter the detail in any house, we design for beauty, durability and low maintenance. We often specify low maintenance products, though when working with exterior wood products we send all of it through a dip tank so it’s fully coated to maximize the lifespan. We are always looking to minimize rot and decay. I spend a substantial amount of time training my carpenters to think and build with the 100 year house in mind.
What should consumers look for in a new home?
Most importantly, homebuyers should seek out a great functional design that they connect with emotionally. Good value is important regardless of the price level. If possible, they should also look for efficient passive systems like upgraded insulation or passive solar design. Efficient mechanical systems and hopefully a ventilation system that maintains a healthy indoor air environment would be high on the list. I also look at the overall craftsmanship, showing the level of care in which the house was built.
What kind of questions should consumers ask a builder before they sign a contract?
Find out how their former clients feel about them. Call the referrals that are presented and look for testimonials. Also ask around town because the builders are not going to offer negative information about themselves.
It is important to understand the character and integrity of your builder. Homebuyers should look for companies that are profitable and successful, so they can count on them in the future. An experienced company will stand by their product and offer excellent service.
Is there a particular style of home that you consider your specialty or prefer to build?
I like building houses that fit our local area which could be described as mountain modern and a little bit of southwest. These houses have elements of wood, glass, stone, stucco and steel, with proportional roof lines in lieu of giant trusses. We are excited to showcase this design style on our new office building we just purchased for Locke Construction in Cedaredge.
What do you enjoy when you’re not working?
I love spending time with my wife Julie and our two daughters. We like to ski, hike, raft, camp and travel. We both grew up in the Colorado mountains and appreciate being able to raise our daughters in the same way. One of the reasons we love this area is the easy access to outdoor activities.
What do you see as up-and-coming trends in the building industry?
We are expanding our focus from energy efficiency to exceptional design. The home building industry has made great progress with energy efficiency. The recession focused buyers on what they get for their money. That focus is through design; How functional is it? How pretty is it? How efficient is it?
How is a brand-new home safer or more comfortable than a 20 or 30-year old home?
The materials we build the house with should be safer to live with. The heat systems are quieter and more efficient and the windows are better. At Locke Construction, we pay attention to the 5 senses; better lighting, more sound attenuation, textured surfaces that feel good, better water filtration and more ventilation.
Looking for a builder? Call the HBA of Northwestern Colorado at (970) 245-0253 or visit http://www.hbanwco.com