Builder/ Architect Magazine cover from April 2005 featuring Via Builders Inc. of Los Altos, CA The following is an excerpt from Builder/Architect magazine reprinted with permission.

First-time clients with Via Builders may be surprised at the degree to which the company takes responsibility for its home building projects.

A house may be finished, and several years later something occurs to the owner that he or she wants adjusted or remedied. Via will come back and do the work, without charge for it.

"They're shocked that we come back and take care of it, especially when it's years later," says Ralph Saviano, the company's owner. "They learn that one of the differences between us and similar firms is our willingness to ensure that the job gets finished to the client's specifications and complete satisfaction. That is our highest priority."

Via Builders is a Bay Area firm specializing in high-end custom home projects. The firm does no traditional advertising, and is not even listed in the Yellow Pages. Instead, it brings in buisness based on a sterling reputation and word-of-mouth, and it has earned it's clients trust by providing responsive and timely professional service, as well as a track record of exceptionally high-quality construction projects.

The firm tackles projects with square footage ranging from the teens in hundreds, to the teens in thousands. Generally, the team completes eight projects a year, and has as many projects at various stages proceeding simultaneously. The company's bread and butter is custom homes in the greater Bay Area, including the outskirts like Brentwood and Watsonville, but it also does additions and remodels.

Custom Home built by Via Builders Inc Mr. Saviano explains, "Generally, when a contractor hits a certain high level of caliber, they don't do remodeling or additions anymore; but we've stayed in it, because there's always a market for it, and there's a constant need for quality contractors."

The firm is often hired during the concept stage of a project, giving Via the opportunity to work with its clients and the design team to develop the plans and the budget for a given project. This allows Via's staff to spend time on the details of the construction - making sure the transition points, such as flooring, tile, countertops and wall trim all work together and coordinate to meet the client's expectations.

This represents another of the firm's major competitive differentiators: the hands-on quality of the team. Whereas other companies have employees who simply shuffle papers and subcontractors, for most of the job, Via has a staff of full-time field crews with expertise in the gamut of construction: carpentry, foundations, painting, plumbing, electrical, roofing and various other trades.

"Our employees are mostly involved at the finish end of things because it's important, but we also do foundation and framing. For some of the other core trades, we generally only use our people to maintain the budget or fill in a gap when a subcontractor can't perform, but they can step in and do the work whenever it's needed."

Custom Home built by Via Builders Inc Because its people have to be exceptionally skilled, Mr. Saviano is very careful to ensure that the new hires have the requisite technical talent. But he also looks for more than professional know-how. Due to Mr. Saviano's own belief in the ability of personal character to impact a project, he does'nt just select the most technically capable people - he also looks for people who understand and agree with the company's high standard of integrity.

"When we hire employees, we want people who care more about the work they're performing than the hours they're spending on it," Mr. Saviano explains. "And the same holds true with subcontractors. The motivation needs to be about the quality of the job, not simply the financial end of things."

Mr. Saviano who spends a great deal of personal time volunteering with his local church and youth group, believes that it's important to carry this philosophy into all aspects of the buisness.

"I do what's right, and the finance end of things will follow. Once you get off that focus and start being driven solely by financial considerations, you end up on a slippery slope."

Mr. Saviano sums up his management philosophy in this way: "You can build skills, but you can't build character." And that character shines through, not just in the quality of Via Builders' staff, but also in the amazing quality of their work.