US Builders Review                                                    

Harbor Builders

Following a process in renovation and new construction
Written by: 
Tom Faunce
Produced by: 
Ian Nichols

Originally founded as Harbor Development in 2008, Harbor Builders has grown into a leading general contracting company that applies green building methods to new construction and renovation projects in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., area. When Ezra Hercenberg started the company, Harbor Builders focused primarily on home renovation and has since moved into the multifamily sector.

Harbor Builders works with every client in pre-construction to ensure that every project is completed on time and on budget. By estimating construction costs and performing feasibility studies on every project, the company ensures this process helps to ensure that client’s goals and expectations are all met.

Hercenberg worked as a sole proprietor for a number of years before building the company and establishing a brand. He decided to shift his focus toward multifamily housing due to his interests in various organized projects. “I really enjoy working with people who understand and appreciate the building and renovation process,” says Hercenberg.

The building process

Harbor Builders follows a seven-step building process that ensures that the company delivers a quality product on-time and within budget. The beginning of process starts with a consultation to discuss objectives and the vision for the project. Clients will often bring photos of spaces to draw inspiration from.

Once an idea is established of what direction the client wishes to proceed in, an architect and engineering firm is commissioned to design the layout. Whether it is a new construction project or a home renovation, the architect will produce preliminary drawings of multiple options for the client.

When a preferred layout is chosen, it will generally take less than two weeks for the architect to have finalized blueprints. “The specific details that go into each drawing help prevent costly delays,” explains Hercenberg. “It also prevents unexpected surprises further down the road.”

After the final blueprints are reviewed, products and materials are selected. “Our clients are able to choose everything when it comes to materials,” Hercenberg explains. “We can fully customize their project any way they want it.” Options that are covered with each client include flooring, cabinets, exterior finishes and countertops. Model spaces are presented to the client while they maintain the ability to customize it to their desire. Once the materials are selected, Harbor Builders creates a custom material order guide which, along with blueprints, is sent to the in-house workforce, suppliers and subcontractors for pricing.

Harbor Builders

The next step in the process involves an on-site meeting in which Harbor Builders hosts a Q & A session with the subcontractors, in-house workforce and suppliers. Multiple bids are then submitted to Harbor Builders and subcontractors are selected based on value, quality and timeline. “This process is also applied to our suppliers,” says Hercenberg.

With numbers in hand regarding the cost of labor and materials, Harbor Builders meets with the client to discuss final details and sign the construction contract. It is very common that the contract will come in under the client’s budget. Time estimates are entered in Harbor Builders project scheduling software and plotted along a timeline. This also allows the company to predict and avoid potential delays.

The project moves on to the project scheduling and construction phase. With the timeline and budget complete and in place, construction on the project begins. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical and HVAC services are followed to code and performed by licensed subcontractors. Green building methods are encouraged and used by Harbor Builders whenever possible. “The final step of the process is for the client to enjoy their new home,” says Hercenberg.

Building relationships

While still in infancy, Harbor Builders has established a strong network of suppliers and subcontractors. With the exception of punch-out carpentry Harbor Builders accepts bids for all the work performed in both renovation and new construction projects. With a staff of 10 full-time people, Harbor Builders employs field supervisors, project managers, office management and a punch-out carpenter.

The future looks bright for Harbor Builders and Hercenberg expects to increase the company’s revenue by approximately 40 percent. “We are looking to take on a lot more multifamily and mixed-use projects,” he says. “We’re also looking to continue with the high-end green residential projects as well.”

As the company strives for growth, Hercenberg’s vision is motivated by the interaction with his employees and customers. “That’s what I look forward to everyday,” says Hercenberg. “Going to work every morning and working with my great staff and clients.”

While the company continues to grow, Harbor Builders engages its clients in its building process to ensure the customer is satisfied with a product that is delivered on time and under budget. 

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Michael Bonsby HVAC
Pittsburgh Corning Corporation/Perinsul