|Denman Construction builds homes with a passion for construction, an understanding that building is about relationships, and the basic values shared by three generations—being honest, responsible, true, and humble. By ann Zimmerman
Thirty-five years ago, Craig Denman loaded his dad’s tools in the back of his pickup and left South Dakota for the Flathead Valley. He founded Denman Construction and has left a legacy by building some of the finest homes in the area. There is still a trace of Craig’s years in South Dakota, especially as he speaks about his values like respect and trust.
Business as an extended Family
For the Denmans, construction runs in the family, and each generation has brought a little of its own to the table. Craig’s father Roger started early in the trades at age 13, and he still remodels kitchens and bathrooms at age 83. “He knows people and how to get along, and he taught us that,” Craig says of his father. “A builder is a people-person. You have to be if you are doing your job well.”
Now Craig’s sons Troy and Travis are active in the business. After being out of the Flathead Valley for 12 years, Travis has returned to participate in all aspects of the company. Having earned a graduate degree in architecture, he has become a valued addition to Denman Construction. Troy has worked as a project superintendent for nearly 14 years. In this role he can exercise his love for getting the details right. He also has an ability to make things work on the jobsite. Travis acknowledges his brother’s ability to connect with just about anyone as only a brother can put it when he says, “Troy can make friends with a lamppost.”
Family has an extended meaning for Denman Construction, as family includes members of the firm, sub-trades, and suppliers. “It’s just how we do business,” says Troy. We recognize and appreciate people who do a good job and we stay with them. The same goes with our employees. For example, our Vice President, Bill Rice, has been with the company for 15 years.” Perhaps Craig phrases their company attitude best when he says, “I always trust we will get the best out of people.”
Clients are also part of the Denman Construction family. “Building relationships is as important as building any house,” says Craig, summing up the attitude shared by him and the entire Denman Team. “The final step of any project is having dinner together afterwards. It marks the continuation of the bonds formed in the building process.”
Denman Construction is completely committed to the community and making things better through volunteer work and the quality of their buildings. “We are here to stay,” says Travis. Craig is truly pleased that his sons are committed to being with the company. “Yes, I did hope for that, and I wanted to build a strong company that endured in case this worked out. I have always been a dreamer and a long-term thinker with a ten-year business plan. I always think ten, twenty, thirty years down the road.”
For Denman Construction, the commitment to be here in the long term also means to make certain they are on the right road as far as best practices and new technologies. Craig Denman is a member of the prestigious National Association of Homebuilders’ Builder 20 Group, and Craig’s special interest that he shares with them is to research new products.
Also, Denman staff will go to the National Institute of Building Sciences in Washington D.C. next spring to survey new technology. “It’s part of our responsibility as builders to be constantly challenging our way of doing things and our thinking. I am always interested in new products and best practices,” explains Craig.
Along these lines, Denman is completely dedicated to a home’s highest performance to minimize demand for energy. Each home they build is subjected to blower tests and thermal imaging. For those interested in certifications, Denman has employees that are LEED accredited and NAHB-Green Certified. Denman can complete projects to those standards along with Energy Star, but all the homes Denman Construction builds are built to perform highly efficiently.
NEW HOMES, REMODELS, or ADDITIONS
Denman Construction’s core business is building new homes and making existing homes more livable through additions and upgrades. “For new homes, things are somewhat unique in this valley,” explains Craig. “It’s common for clients to come to us first. We meet with them and learn about their needs. If it is a good fit, we will determine where to go from there. If the project is better suited to an architect, we have excellent working relationships with local architects and interior designers, and we will suggest those who might be a good fit for the project.”
Many of the beautiful homes that Denman Construction has built in the Flathead Valley follow traditional mountain designs like lodge, log, or rustic designs. However, they are also well versed in building contemporary, mountain modern, and purely modern designs.
With Travis now working in the firm, his architectural background makes him the natural contact to work with architects and designers. He has also brought something new to the firm—designing “homes scaled for comfort,” as Travis likes to call smaller or “right-sized” homes. These are homes he designs with smaller footprints and a high awareness of how the space will be used. The experience has been positive, with benefits also for working on luxury homes. “Our detailing has continued to improve, and we have discovered new and less expensive ways of doing things.”
New or existing, small or large, Denman Construction brings its best to the job: its best people, its solid values, and its commitment that the home and the relationships created will stand the test of time.