Special Report

Who is Rebuilding What?

SRCA's Goal

In order to keep Scripps Ranch, in particular the fire-affected families, well informed about the rebuilding process, we present this initial report about some of the choices people are making in reconstructing their homes. Undoubtedly, more information is available that will be of interest to the Ranch. Please send any additions or corrections to this report to [[email protected]]. As new information is collated it will be made available to you via the SRCA website and the Newsletter.

Caveat Emptor

The SRCA wants to emphasize that we do not endorse any builder or contractor; however, we do want to share information sent to us by groups of homeowners. We believe that this information will give you important contacts and background so you can make wise decisions in the rebuilding process.

In this report you will find information about some of the builders that are working with groups of homeowners. The contact information is listed as well, in addition to whether the builder has specific floor plans to choose from.

Please thoroughly research whichever builder you choose, including checking to be sure they have a valid California contractor's license. You can do that at [www.cslb.ca.gov]. You also should investigate whether a builder is overextended and unable to meet deadlines.

Who is Doing What?

Sell the Lot and Move On

A few residents have chosen to sell their lots. The asking prices for the lots are pretty high, from $400,000 to $600,000. Local realtors probably are the best resource to identify an available lot. Determining whether to sell a lot or not has many financial and insurance implications. Be thorough and cautious.

Rebuild On My Own

Some homeowners have chosen to use a single architect and builder to reconstruct their homes. These individuals often cite greater creative and quality control of their rebuilding as major reasons for this approach. Adequate insurance facilitates this approach because it likely is a more expensive path than being in a group, such as those described below. Some residents are using the rebuild-on-my-own approach to rebuild essentially the same house that burned; others are redesigning a new, or substantially new, house.

The SRCA will not attempt to itemize each of the many architects and contractors that are working with individual residents on the Ranch. You will begin to see their efforts in the next few weeks as construction plans are approved by homeowners associations, permits are obtained from the city, and foundations are poured.

Ways to contact these individual architects and builders is via their signs on lots, informally through homeowners associations, or from advertisements in the SRCA Newsletter.

Two-sies and Three-sies

Some homeowners have banded together in small groups of two or three. They cite expediency and simplicity as major reasons for doing this. In contrast to the rebuild-on-my-own residents, these small groups often believe that they have an opportunity to save money, or at least time, in the rebuilding process.

They can share the considerable time commitment of coordinating with architects, contractors, city staff, and homeowners associations. Because they have relatively few participants, they can make decisions more efficiently than if they were part of a larger group.

Often the builders servicing these small groups are themselves relatively small. They are comfortable building a few homes per year, but do not want to extend or overextend their capabilities to attempt to satisfy the needs of more than three to five residents. Some of these builders previously did much of their work remodeling existing homes.

Some of the small groups appear to be reconstructing homes similar to what they had. Old floor plans have been obtained and redrafted and brought up to present city codes. With this somewhat simplified process, these groups hope they can take advantage of economies of scale, minimizing the cost of designing and drafting new plans.

Some of the small groups are constructing homes different from what they had, each essentially a custom home. These groups hope they can benefit from efficient use of subcontractors and having a single project manager on site most of the time.

Most of these groups appear to have formed via word of mouth, many within the first few days of the fire. However, it seems likely that additional small groups will form over the next few weeks or months as insurance payments and construction costs are clarified.

Larger Builders

A variety of builders are offering to build more than five homes, with some such as Stonefield offering to build as many as 150. Each of the larger builders that we are aware of is described briefly in a table at the end of this report. If we omitted another large builder on the Ranch, please let is know at 578-0430 or [[email protected]].

The process to identify larger builders that could help our community rebuild started within days of the fire. Despite great intentions and efforts, it has been a convoluted and undoubtedly frustrating process for both builders and homeowners. If you feel confused, you are not alone. There have been many changes along the way, and likely more will occur. The SRCA thanks those who have been involved in one way or another.

The present status of major builders as of January 14, 2003, is as follows. The largest builders--those that build hundreds or thousands of homes each year--generally are publicly held companies with responsibilities to stockholders. After reviewing the Scripps Ranch needs and desires, these companies who focus on mass production of homes and control of land and construction issues felt they could not be effective in rebuilding Scripps Ranch.

Too many vacant lots were sandwiched between existing homes; individual homeowners had specific rebuilding desires and requirements; and, insurance issues were complex and evolving. Nevertheless, builders such as Western Pacific Housing, McMillin, and Pulte were able to offer important information and get us started on reconstruction.

During the first few weeks after the fire, many homeowners and homeowners associations tried to find a single production builder that would construct a limited number of floor plans and achieve cost and time efficiency. As time and understanding progressed, it became obvious that nearly all homeowners wanted some degree of customizing their new home--different front elevations, different granite countertops, move a wall here, change a window there.

The fire folk had evolved from soliciting a mass-production builder to identifying smaller companies that could satisfy some blend of mass production with customization. Generally, these builders construct dozens of homes per year, are privately held companies, and have local decision makers.

The research about the larger builders was done by some of the homeowners associations, for example Loire Valley [www.loirevalleyhoa.org]; by the few homeowners on Birch Bluff; and, by the many homeowners north of Pomerado [www.northpomerado.com]. You can find more information at the various websites and from the contacts listed in the table below. They also can send you detailed information via email. Also, the SRCA will put updated information on our website at [www.scrippsranch.org].

Can I Still Join a Group?

Yes. Each of the builders listed below is interested in having additional homeowners join their group. Their initial need to focus energy and limit chaos has evolved into a construction plan with specific floor plans that are being offered, a tighter range of estimated costs, and a timeline for construction.


What's Next?

The SRCA knows that rebuilding is complex, frustrating, and expensive. We understand that many residents are well on their path toward reconstructing their homes and lives. But we also know that many residents returned to work or to their families and now may feel left out of the rebuilding process.

We hope this brief summary aids in giving you some background and broadening your options. The SRCA welcomes your suggestions for other things we can do. Please send your suggestions to [[email protected]].