Thursday, August 17, 2017  


Virginia Building Solutions

Virginia Building Solutions, LLC specializes in custom systems built home construction, design and installation. According to NAHB, the National Association of Homebuilders, systems building is often called the future of housing and includes building techniques such as concrete, log, modular and panelized construction. Much of a home is constructed off- site in a controlled environment. Based in Tappahannock, Va., Virginia Building Solutions, LLC was formed in 2004 primarily for the purpose of constructing systems built homes and purchasing building lots in Williamsburg, Va. In November of 2006, after successfully building modular homes in the #1 planned community in America, Ford’s Colony, John Garrett, the founder, was featured in Building Systems Magazine. John also began to receive requests to build homes for private landowners who had researched the benefits of building a systems constructed home. By utilizing the experience gained from building homes for speculation and a decade of management and building success in the factory built home industry, John decided to expand the services of VBS by offering a custom systems built option for clients. VBS has also been contracted by some site builders who were impressed with the quality and time savings of system built homes.

John Garrett was born and raised near Smith Mountain Lake, outside of Roanoke, Va. and is a graduate of Roanoke College. He is married and has one child, Rachel. John’s wife, Paige a native of Tappahannock, manages the office and accounting, and spent 10 plus years in the mortgage business. John grew up around all forms of construction and like most builders started off at the bottom doing whatever was needed while learning the trades. John also assisted his father, who has been a missionary in remote parts of West Africa for the past 25 years building schools and churches. After college John spent eight years moving from location to location as a general manager for two of the largest factory homebuilders in the nation. During this time period, John was recognized numerous times for his achievements in business productivity and management success. In 2006, John was selected to the President’s Builder Advisory Board for Ritz Craft Homes, one of the largest privately held manufacturers of modular homes in the country and has served each year since. In 2010 and 2011, Virginia Building Solutions was named Builder of the Year for Ritz Craft Corporation.

With the shift in the housing market in mid 2006 and the opportunity apparent to him in the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck of Virginia, John decided to further expand the business by installing a model home and design center in Tappahannock, Va. Just as the doors opened in Tappahannock, VBS was featured on July 1, 2007 in an article which made the
front page of the Real Estate section of the Richmond Times Dispatch. John and two of his clients were featured in the article, “Modulars Build a Reputation”, which documented the changing perceptions commonly held about the quality and benefits of building a modular home.

The decision to expand the business by installing a model home and design center in Tappahannock has proven
to be a good one. Virginia Building Solutions has built over a hundred homes throughout the Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck, Williamsburg, and all over eastern Virginia. When asked what the key to the success that VBS has achieved in an otherwise challenging housing market, John states that he made the decision early on not to emulate other modular companies but to offer an alternative choice to traditional site building. By offering all of the custom options and choices provided by most site builders, while benefiting from all of the advantages of systems building, VBS offers a unique blend of both building techniques. This building model has helped change the common misperceptions and stereotypes held regarding modular construction.

John found that many of his clients had already researched the benefits of system built homes but were disappointed when they met with the “home dealership” and found that they were limited in experience and ability to offer the custom options and finishes that they desired. Even if they were able to find the house plan that they desired, the dealership may have been unable to build the garage, porches, and finish off bonus spaces, or provide a custom kitchen cabinet, just to name a few. John found that most of the clients that he builds for prefer to have one general contractor oversee the entire project rather than work with multiple companies or contractors to get the home of their dreams completed.

Although most of the manufacturers that VBS utilizes offer many features and custom offerings from the factory, it is impossible for a manufacturer to provide an unlimited offering and maintain the cost effectiveness inherent with its volume buying power. This is where VBS separates itself from most companies in the industry. VBS has a custom design center and offers custom kitchens, baths, trims and most any cosmetic feature available in the industry as a complete package when installing and finishing a systems built home.

In 2009, Fran Graves and the Design Works joined VBS to offer even more custom and semi-custom cabinet and design services. This partnership has allowed VBS to offer the best of both worlds in the home building industry. In 2011, Tim Mckinley joined VBS bringing over 25 years of residential and commercial building experience to the team. The combined experience of Fran, Tim and John offer prospective clients a wealth of knowledge and expertise to draw from when making the critical decisions necessary to build their new home, river cottage or commercial building.

Frequently Asked Questions about System Built Homes.

  • What is a systems Built home? Simply put, a building system is a highly engineered method of producing buildings or building components in an efficient and cost effective manner. The use of building systems is common in many different types of residential and commercial construction. A modular home is the culmination of one type of building system. Modular homes actually begin as components; designed, engineered and assembled in the controlled environment of a modern factory. Systems built modular homes (not to be confused with mobile homes) are built to the same building codes as site built homes. In most cases, modular homes exceed state and local codes and can contain up to 20% more lumber than site built homes.
  • What is the construction process? Today’s modular systems are models of efficiency and quality assurance. The building process begins at the design phase. State of the art computer  assisted design stations which aid in customizing floor plans and producing drawings and material requirement lists are utilized. Once designed, the building process begins. The quality materials and care for detail and the same building codes and standards  are observed. So what’s different? Efficiency and quality control. Efficiency begins with modern factory assembly line techniques. The home travels to workstations, with all the building trades represented. Work at the factory is not delayed by weather or subcontractor no-shows. Quality engineering and modular construction techniques significantly increase the energy efficiency of a modular home. A quality control process provides assurance that the home has been inspected for code compliance and workmanship. In-plant inspectors as well as independent inspection agencies inspect the home on behalf of the state and local government.
  • How long does it take to build a system built modular home? Speed and consistent quality are two ofthe advantages of choosing modular components as a method to build a new home. On average, the time from final order placement to delivery of the components to the building site can be from one to two months. From delivery and installation of the component modules to completion of all finishes and utility connections for final occupancy can take an additional thirty to ninety days on average. Much of this time depends on size and scope of the home and the amount of site completed features and options.
  • Are system Built homes “Green”? Yes, system built homes are green by nature in keeping with the efficiency of the assembly line process. Computer aided design allows for reduction of waste produced in a controlled environment. This process also makes the use of Energy Star products and energy efficient materials more affordable. For example, VBS offers 2x6 exterior walls standard. These thicker walls allow for a higher insulation value at a price value that is less than many site built homes using 2x4 walls with lower R values. A major component of green building is related to the impact of construction on the building site. Due to the fact that up to 80% of the home is built in a factory, both time and scope of site impact are reduced significantly.

In a nutshell, the following are the benefits of system built modular construction by Virginia Building Solutions: 1. Time savings; up to half the time. 2. Cost savings; up to 20% compared to on site building. 3. Quality Control; through intense third party inspections and QC measures in the factory. 4. CAD and Engineered Plans; ensure each home is built to meet or exceed state and local building codes and maximize efficiency. 5. Climate Controlled Building Environment; each home is built and all materials are housed indoors so that the building structure, sub-floor and finishes are not exposed to the elements. 6. Professional Experience; Fran, Tim and John offer a unique blend of experiences that allows VBS to provide unlimited professional service to their prospective clients.


For more information, and to review testimonials, or a portfolio of plans and photos of homes built by Virginia Building Solutions, visit their website at www. vabuildingsolutions.com or stop by their office/ design center in Tappahannock.

834 S. Church Lane, Tappahannock, VA 22560, 804-443-hOME.