The needs and preferences customers have for their home are as unique as the people themselves.
Brost Developments embraces this idea with its focus on designing and building truly unique homes.
While some customer builders, after many years of experience, will have a few repeats under their belt — for this Medicine Hat-based company, it’s fresh every time.
“We are going to be starting our 230th custom new home and we have never built the same house twice,” says Sherry Brost, part of Brost’s management team. Her husband Aaron Brost, a third-generation builder, is co-owner of the company.
“One thing that keeps us excited, that we love, is we can do anything,” she adds. “Customers come to us with really unique, and unusual ideas — ask if we can do them — and we say ‘we’ll find a way.’
“That’s who we are. We love the unique projects.”
Since Medicine Hat is not a large centre, there is sometimes a question whether Brost Developments can access the resources, both materials and abilities, needed for some niche requests.
That’s never been an issue.
“If someone wants a hidden theatre room, behind a wall that only opens with a handle containing a special magnetic mechanism, or a unique dog wash and custom access door for the family pet that is like their child, and everything in between — we’ll make it work for you.”
Sometimes the word custom can come at a big cost. This is because it can be difficult to find efficiencies that make lower cost custom builds financially-viable for the builder.
Brost Developments’ processes allow it to build in a variety of price brackets. Its prices range from the mid-$300,000s to well into the estate home category.
“We want to be along your journey right from your first home,” says Sherry. “We have had a number of customers who have built multiple homes with us.
“We are intentional about creating relationships with our customers and getting to know them. When we design their home, it’s about them. Sometimes their dream home is a 1,000-square-foot bungalow, sometimes it’s a 5,000-square-foot home.”
The aim, adds Aaron, is “when the customer is ready to move up to a larger home, we want to be their only call.”
Brost Developments, which keeps all steps of the process in-house, is a proud family business, with many relatives playing key roles — including Aaron’s father Gerhard who creates all of their home designs and performs company sales, brother Tim in customer care, and their mother Hilma, heading up interior design.
They also have many long-term employees who they say have become like family.
The bulk of Brost Developments’ work takes place in Medicine Hat and the 150-kilometre region that encompasses it.
It feels strongly about the importance of Medicine Hat College’s carpentry and drafting programs and has supported them in various ways.
Brost sponsors, mentors and judges at an annual Southeast Alberta Skills Competition held at the college where high school students interested in trades compete in various competitions.
Through the builder’s involvement with Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) – Medicine Hat, Brost mentors students going through the college’s drafting program.
The college sends groups of students to the Brost office so the builder’s team can spend time with them and provide practical advice on ways they can make their school project work more relevant to actual home construction.
Through these connections, two students from this program have been hired to work at Brost’s office over the years.
The builder is part of the Local Apprenticeship Committee with the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Alberta, where it offers insight, when requested, for course changes in the carpentry program. Brost staff also assist in marking carpentry course exams.
Brost has also partnered with the Registered Apprenticeship Program to hire high school students for a period of time to learn if the trades are a future career for them.
Customers who buy a home through Brost will be able to tap into industry-leading expertise.
Aaron has served on the technical committee for BILD (Building Industry Land Development) Alberta for several years and has also been president of CHBA-Medicine Hat.
“We’re invested in making sure we know what’s going on in the industry,” says Aaron.
This includes being an early-adopter in the movement toward energy-efficient residential builds, learning and becoming active in this end of the industry well before code changes came into effect.
“We got right on top of that,” says Aaron.
Every one of Brost’s homes achieve a blower door test of one air-change-per-hour or less.
Air change rate refers to the air volume introduced to or removed from a space within an hour. One per hour is considered low by residential industry standards.
“We have pushed the limits and tested many methods to see how tight of a building envelope we can get,” says Aaron. We got quite knowledgeable, in the energy efficiency world, as far as where your dollars are best spent to gain the most efficiency for the amount you put in.”
Every home through Brost, no matter the size or investment, is built to a high degree of energy efficiency.
The builder prides itself on its in-depth approach to post-possession customer case, including educating the customer on properly utilizing the energy-efficient elements, among other features, in their home.
“We do spend a lot of time with customers at move-in time and after,” says Aaron, “We really make ourselves available to make sure they are operating their house to the best of its ability.”
As a result of their commitment to their industry, home design and relationships with their customers and trades, they have earned the title of CHBA Medicine Hat Builder of the Year seven times since 2014.
Brost has been a member of the Alberta New Home Warranty Program since 2017. Aaron says he’s been impressed by the education The Program offers its members.
“For our customers, they can trust that we’re getting top-notch training,” says Aaron. “I feel (The Warranty Program) also does a great job answering questions and adjudicates any claims very fairly.
While Brost will always handle any issues fairly, their membership with ANHWP provides customers “extra security to know that their concerns are taken care of,” he adds. “It’s been a good experience for us to work with the ANHWP team.”
Lisa Tyhy, account manager with The Program, calls Brost Developments a welcome addition.
“Their builds reflect their values – quality, design, innovation and family values,” she adds. “Medicine Hat is not a large community and their years of success prove their professionalism and customer focus is second to none.
“We look forward to a continued partnership by supporting them with education, celebrating their achievements and providing them with the recognition as one of the best builders in the province.”