Creating the home of your dreams
By Dillon Meilleur
The home building market is a competitive and continually evolving one, and ongoing advances in technology have made it easy for prospective buyers to follow trends and incorporate them into their custom homes. In Western Canada, one home builder has been on the cutting edge of the industry for decades, working hard to supply customers with the latest in sustainable, unique and affordable homes.
For almost 35 years, Jayman BUILT has gained prominence in the industry by continually redefining the way homes are constructed. Their work has been recognized nation-wide as the recipients of numerous business, customer service and home-building awards.
Jayman Built was co-founded in 1980 in Calgary by Al Westman and his son Jay, who initially set out to create a small home-building company based on one main philosophy: listening to home buyers and then providing them with the ultimate in details, quality and service at a cost-effective price. As president, Jay led the company through steady growth, launching into the Edmonton market in 1983 and also creating an interior decorating and show home merchandising company that would help home buyers customize their interiors. In 1995, Jayman Realty was formed to help prospective buyers with their new home purchases and then they began offering personal mortgage solutions through Jayman Financial in 2000. The following year, Innovations by Jayman was launched to provide unique yet budget-friendly entry level homes with both style and substance.
Alberta’s leading home builder
Today, Westman is the company’s Chairman and CEO and also heads up J.W. Investments, which focuses on Jayman’s joint ventures, land holdings, investments and venture capital. In 2009, Innovations by Jayman COO Graham Boyce moved into the role of President and COO for Jayman BUILT, bringing a civil engineering background and extensive experience in engineering and land development consulting. They are considered the leading home builder in Alberta, constructing about 1,000 single family homes and 300 to 400 condominium units annually.
“We have products for everyone, from starter people coming into the market up to an estate product,” Boyce said. “We’re very innovative. We listen to our customers (and) we have our own internal design teams that work on new products and new designs constantly.”
Bringing new products to the market is a key part of Jayman’s business strategy. Their designers travel the world, attending shows across the United States and Europe in search of the latest trends. The size and scope of the business allows Jayman to commoditize many home products, providing customers with excellent value and solidifying the company’s brand and reputation both within the industry and the consumer market.
The company’s commitment to sustainability goes back to the beginning of the decade when they teamed up with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology to create the Smart 2000 home, which helped to integrate environmentally-friendly building practices into standard production. In 2003, they spearheaded the Built Green concept in Alberta — a national, industry-driven program promoting “green” building practices. Two years later, Quantum Performance was introduced to foster Jayman’s commitment to increased energy efficiency and improved air quality.
A continuing drive to innovate is just one of the reasons Jayman BUILT made Canada’s Best Managed Companies list in 2005. Today, Jayman is among an elite group of Platinum Club members recognized by the Deloitte-sponsored program for maintaining their status for a minimum of six consecutive years. Reaching that level has been a source of pride for the Jayman team.
Awards a source of pride for Jayman
“It means a lot to the organization in confirming how we approach things and how we do things. It confirms that we have some good methods of running business and doing business,” Boyce said. Not only does the Best Managed status help to attract new talent to the organization but it also strengthens the company’s reputation. They’ve also been named among the 50 Best Small to Medium Employers in Canada for the third time in a program run by Aon Hewitt and the School of Business at Queen’s University, which ranks businesses based on employee engagement scores and surveys. “We’re really proud of that one,” Boyce said. “It gives us a true picture because it is our team members speaking.”
Jayman BUILT functions under three pillars of operation, which are closely intertwined and driven by one another. The first is the pinnacle of customer service, where Jayman strives to supply its clients with quality products and the highest level of service. The second is having the best place to work—Jayman aims to provide its employees with a safe, positive and gratifying work environment, and the third is operational excellence.
“There’s not a chance in the world of having a high level of customer service without having engaged employees and employees proud of what they do,” Boyce explained. “That, in turn, feeds an excellent bottom line because we all have a relentless look at what need to do to maximize our operating efficiencies … it’s as complex and as simple as that.”
Building a strong team environment
Jayman creates a team atmosphere and much like their clients, they listen to their employees’ specific needs. Employees are offered participation in investment programs similar to the company’s executive-level management, allowing them to be a part of and benefit from the company’s success. Jayman also supports a number of employee-driven social programs and events to promote interaction among its staff.
Another notable award that Jayman has received is the Home Builder of the Year Award presented by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, an achievement they’ve earned repeatedly in Calgary and Edmonton. In 2013, they were named Multi-Family Builder of the Year and were also recognized for their website, marketing materials and best new homes in several pricing categories.
“They’re based on an evaluation of the models and the designs that we submit for the criteria for builder of the year,” Boyce said. “They’re every bit as rewarding as our customer service awards. Those are also very important to us because it’s our customers talking about us.”
Jayman BUILT is primarily dedicated to custom home building and believes that every homeowner deserves to own a unique and well-built home at a reasonable price. They work closely with customers to help them design their homes to their exact specifications, without compromise. The Jayman Design Centre allows homebuyers to select from a vast array of floor plans, designs and products. Being able to virtually create a home helps to simplify the selection process and allows clients to see their choices and modifications in real time.
In order to better serve their customers, Jayman takes a thorough client survey after each home is built. This allows them to better meet future clients’ needs and discover their preferences. Listening to the customer is an important part of Jayman’s success and knowing what the clients want is only half the battle; supplying it is the rest. Along with home building and design, Jayman offers a wide range of services that include online pricing and development, financial, realty and moving services, an online warranty program with private portals for each customer, and SmartHome innovations providing the latest in security and convenience.
The latest spin-off from Jayman BUILT is MasterBUILT Hotels, which is involved in the investment, development, construction and management of best-in-class, limited service hotels in Canada. As for the home-building business, Alberta is keeping Jayman busy with plenty of opportunities for continued development, Boyce said.
“We’re not looking for growth per se. We’re looking to do what we do excellently.”