The Shell Program: Where NDI Began

The Shell Program:  Where NDI Began

When Dad started the company back in 1988, the only building program he offered was our Shell Program.  With our Shell Program, we deliver the house ready for interior trades and finishing.  We dig and pour the foundation, frame the house and install the roof as well as the exterior windows and doors.  At that point, the house is “trade ready” and we turn it over to the client to finish.

Why just the Shell Program?  The company Dad worked for before starting NDI was called National Homes, later called National Building Systems or NBS.  NBS sold house packages to builders all over the country.  Dad was one of their top sales managers.  Most of his builder clients were in the Virginia region and they loved the product.

Around that time, there was an emerging market of individual lot owners looking for an affordable way to build a custom home.  People were tired of paying top dollar just because it was a “custom” home.  Dad started getting calls asking if he would sell the house package to individual lot owners.  He approached NBS about creating a division to to sell to individuals.  They weren’t interested.  Dad thought about it some more and then approached them again.  This time, he told them he was leaving to start his own custom home company.

And so NDI was born.  Dad officially incorporated on February 29, 1988 (leap year!).

Not long after opening the doors, clients started asking Dad to completely finish the house so he started offering the Turnkey Program.  It didn’t take long before NDI started building more Turnkey homes than Shell homes.  Because the Turnkey Program offers so many advantages (speed, value, assured quality, etc.), we build very few shells a year.

But we love them!  It’s fun when a client wants to get involved in construction.  Most of our shell clients are “in the business” or have relatives in construction so they have the time to manage the day to day construction schedule.  And best of all, we deliver our shell homes in 60 days from the day we start the dig.  Yep – we would do shells all day long.

Adam and I were out in the field yesterday and one of the sites we visited was a shell project.  We’re nearly ready to turn the house over to the client so I thought I would share some of the pictures.

This house started out as our Old Dominion model.

Shell OD

Then the client made a few changes to the elevation (removed projection at the foyer and added a full front porch which the client is finishing himself).

Shell Elevation

This beautiful double staircase is a standard feature in the Old Dominion.

Shell Steps

This kitchen is going to be impressive!

Shell Kitchen

Pretty bay window – picture doesn’t do it justice.

Shell Bay

And for the pièce de ré·sis·tance…

Shell Basketball

Yes – that is the shell for a future basketball court.  How cool is that?

After we officially leave the site (hopefully by the end of the week), the client takes over.  The house is ready for the trades (HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical) then insulation and drywall.  It will be fun to check in to see how things are going.  We wish him well and we will be here if he needs anything.

Until then, I’ve told Adam he needs to work on his jump shot.

Dream Big. Build Smart.

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