In 1971, I graduated from Windsor High School with full intentions of attending Northeastern School of Engineering to study Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, but I never got there. During that same summer a new hospital was being built in town . This is where I got my first job in construction with my own official title as “Carpenter’s Helper”. As the hospital was nearing completion in 1972, I realized that my fascination with all the different categories of construction was compelling me to continue in the trade. After the Hospital was completed, I went to work for a custom home builder. About five years later, I started “Biebel Builder’s Incorporated” with a small roofing and siding project, a friend, and a daring wife who had a full-time job.
During its first few years, BBI grew slowly, moving from small job to smaller jobs with a fair amount of free time in between. If the truth were told, we didn’t really grow at all. I had one employee who became my best friend. Between jobs, we hunted and fished until our families began growing. That’s when we got serious and committed ourselves to work 5 hours a day instead of three.
After a few years of practice and finally purchasing my own truck instead of riding with my friend, a gutsy client requested that BBI construct a house for them. That’s when things began to change. BBI took the daring plunge and expanded to 3 men.
A lot has happened since then. My wife and I eventually bought our first house in metropolitan Windsor, but our increasing crew size soon became an imposition on the neighbors, especially when they were loading steel scaffolding at 6:00am and going in and out with cars and trucks. We eventually did our neighbors and ourselves a favor and bought a commercial location in 1988 where we’ve been ever since. Once we did that, more and more opportunities began to come along as good men, good credit, experience, reputation, and learning how to estimate made for successful projects and happy clients.
One of my fondest memories of over three decades of construction was meeting an Irish architect from Boston by the name of Paul Carroll who believed in me long before I did. He was an interesting man; one who thrived on concepts, but hated details. He plunged me into large projects and taught me much about professionalism, value engineering, banking, bonds, AIA forms and contracts, requisitions, transmittals, submittals and the change order processes. Eventually, because of Mr. Carroll’s persistent confidence and assistance, BBI received its first bond and qualified for HUD projects and other commercial ventures. We teamed up together as Mr. Carroll designed award-winning concepts and depended on BBI to make them build-able. Since that chance meeting with Paul Carroll Associates in the early ‘80’s, BBI has built hundreds of single and multi-family residences, resorts, churches, schools and nursing homes.
As the ‘80’s moved into the ‘90’s and after surviving the financial repercussions of S&L scandals and local bank failures, I began to take an interest in design. During those not-so wonder years, BBI had shrunk from a 35-man crew back to 3 and once again had a fair amount of time on its hands. Looking back, it was a blessing because it caused a change in direction for our company that would prove to be one of the best decisions it has ever made.
For several years, there weren’t many projects out there and most were too small to involve architects so I was forced to draw my own plans. Having worked with Mr. Carroll for all those years, I had gradually learned how to draw under his oversight. Since my drawings became part of his legal documents, he was careful to show me how to annotate and properly structure organized drawings. I had always had an interest in electronics and computers, so it was natural for me to jump into AutoCad when it left its nasty DOS version and hit the streets in Windows 95.
It’s been many years since I began the journey of virtual education and keeping up with the most state-of-the-art computers, design, graphics & video programs. Since then, my clumsy electronic skills have matured into various design languages of AutoCad, Architectural Desktop, and Photoshop.
Because BBI can produce full construction drawings, we have become the one-stop shop for many clients who want to keep the design/build process as simplified and seamless and enjoyable as it can possibly be. It is still true! It really can be fun to build a house, no matter how large it gets!
Our list of residential design-build clients range from first time builders to second home resort camps to just plain large. We’ve joined with Architects and Developers on private commercial endeavors and although we have built many affordable homes we also specialize in working directly with the high-end customers whose homes have ranged in size from 8,000 sq ft up to more than 12,000 sq ft. Since our skills are so specialized, we often free-lance with Architects, and have successfully delivered light commercial projects together as large as 35,000 sq ft.
Finally, we place a high emphasis on cultivating a crew atmosphere that is relaxing but motivated, productive and enjoyable, something that we have learned is important not only for the client but also to the discerning journeyman who prides himself in his work, and finally to me as well.
As I think back over all the various people that have come into my life along the way, I would be totally irresponsible and dishonest if I failed to recognize the incredible, indispensable, and fully devoted wife, mother, and office manager that God gave me. Without her expertise in those books and office management skills and her undeniable commitment to me and our family, BBI would be nothing at all.