With a knack for executing fine details, a convenient electronic link for client and team communications, in-depth knowledge of installing energy-efficient home systems, a long-standing relationship with skilled local specialists, and a love for building, Wind River Builders, Inc., constructs some of the finest and most intricate homes in the Jackson area.
The owner of Wind River Builders, Inc., started building homes from the ground up. As a child, Alex Romaine remembers long glorious summers in Jackson, and he continued to return to Jackson as a college student to work summers in the home construction industry. “23 years ago I started in this industry. I worked as a painter, a landscaper, a carpenter, and in various other trades, and I really developed a great feeling for building and working in Jackson.”
In 2003, Romaine started Wind River Builders, Inc. “We focus on one or two projects a year. That way we can be constantly involved in the day-to-day progress and give the attention the project demands for careful detailing. No two homes are alike, and that always creates a welcome challenge. I like to contemplate how I can approach a problem more creatively. It’s exciting.”
When asked what sets Wind River Builders, Inc. apart from other contractors, Romaine goes to his strengths.
Strong Local Teaming
“Because I have lived and worked here so long, I have developed a great network with specialists and subcontractors. Perhaps because I worked my way up, I can recognize truly great craftsmanship and quality work.”
“I have developed relationships with people and subcontractors based on a respect for their abilities and an understanding about what’s important to them and how they feel fulfilled.” Romaine continues on the subject, “We have a unique workforce in this town. Our labor resources are very limited, and others have to travel a long way to work here. Thus, to procure the most qualified subcontractors, we must facilitate a fluid construction process that also works for them and their needs. The result is a committed team, and through this commitment, we stay on schedule and budget.”
Expertise in Energy-Efficiency
“For quite a while, I have had an interest in green building, and I am a certified LEED accredited professional,” Romaine explains. “While I can build a LEED-certified home, most often I use my training and experience to work with clients to get the best performance from their home through insulation, heating, and material efficiency. These efforts have proven to lower heating and maintenance costs while maintaining a more constant and comfortable temperature in the home. Plus it’s healthier.”
Teton County adopted the International Building Code in 2012, and the provisions became effective April 1, 2014. Alex Romaine was asked what it means for his clients.
“Yes, the codes call for much greater mechanical efficiency and healthier air quality. Fortunately, with my background, I feel I have a leg up on understanding the new codes and how to implement them. I am very familiar with insulation, mechanical systems, tighter construction, thermal breaks, fresh air intake, and similar measures, and I am ready to move forward. I can contribute my knowledge and experience during the design phase, as well.”
Alex Romaine has considered how to increase the effectiveness and ease of his communications while recognizing that clients may be building a second home or delaying moving to the Jackson area until the home is complete. He addressed it with a login portal on the website. “Projects are more efficient and successful with greater communications. At the same time, people dislike being bombarded with loads of emails and copies of emails. We simplified the system with the client log-in site, where we keep them informed, and we maintain close communications with others on the project team like the architect, interior designer, and the landscape architect.”
With this system, clients can log in to see a web cam that is updated hourly, weekly progress photos, and a calendar that offers a heads-up on upcoming efforts as well as progress reports.
Emphasis on Budget and Quality Control
“In this market, I have observed that larger firms have a primary focus of risk management. Consciously, I have developed a hybrid model putting quality and budget control in the forefront, and to be well aware of risk management, but not to let it be the driving force,” Romaine explains. “That way we ensure quality, monitor budgets, and hold to the highest standards of construction. We create predictability and an anticipated process resulting in efficient and productive construction management.” He adds that this hybrid model is possible because of the relationships he has developed with subcontractors and their mutual commitment.
With these strengths in place, Wind River Builders is moving forward to build more complex, intricate, and challenging homes. “It’s an exciting environment. We build many rustic-looking homes with reclaimed wood, and there is a shift to more contemporary homes that demand attention to detail to accomplish the clean lines that can’t be compromised,” notes Romaine. “Regardless of the project, we hone our work so that no detail is neglected.”