Harbor Builders constructs quality buildings for a variety of uses and users. We specialize in row house renovation, urban infill, new construction, mixed-use building, multifamily dwellings and custom homes. Harbor has extensive experience with both historic rehabilitation and green building.


Pre-construction Services

Pre-construction (precon) services allow for a project to be mapped out, before breaking ground.

Pre-construction services include the planning and coordination with the general contractor, the architect, and the client during the inception phase of a project. It is beneficial in that it allows for more control over a project from the start, which generally leads to a smoother construction process, and a more successful final product. Pre-construction services are related to design-build services, but take it a step further then cost-estimating, and include feasibility studies and permitting assistance as well.
Upon executing a Pre-construction Agreement with Harbor Builders, the following initial services are offered:

  • Budgeting based upon schematic design
  • Generating subcontractor and supplier interest in your project
  • Suggestions to design team as to finish materials and building systems (structural, HVAC, plumbing and electrical)
  • Budgeting based upon Design Development Design with the assistance of subcontractors in key trades (concrete, masonry, HVAC, plumbing and electrical)
  • Preliminary scheduling
  • Final pricing based upon completed drawings which includes obtaining multiple bids on each trade
  • Value engineering suggestions
  • Constructibility review
  • Suggestions for project financing

Commercial & Residential General Contracting

General Contractors are utilized on both commercial construction projects and residential construction projects.

General Contractors are utilized on both commercial construction projects and residential construction projects. Choosing the right General Contractor (GC) for your project means that all of the above concerns are satisfied, including sound communication with vendors, subcontractors, architects, and others involved in the project. A well-organized and personable GC will help to keep the project running smoothly, and keep all parties informed and connected.

Another important consideration when hiring a General Contractor is that his/her company has the ability to handle the particular size and scope of your project. A GENERAL CONTRACTOR (GC) with a large resource base of architects, suppliers, and subcontractors, add value immediately to the project. Never hire a builder or GC without knowing that their license is active.

Harbor Builders works with every client in pre-construction to ensure that every project is completed on time and on budget. This process helps to ensure that client’s goals and expectations are all met. Harbor estimates construction cost and perform feasibility studies on every project that comes across our desk.
The General Contractor is responsible for every element of construction project, from the day to day oversight to final delivery. A Construction Manager (CM) is responsible for oversight of the General Contractor (GC) on large commercial construction projects. Whether in the role of General Contractor (GC) or Construction Manager (CM), Harbor’s primary concerns are Safety, Cost, Quality, Schedule, and Communication.

Multifamily Construction

Multi-family construction is a type of home or building with multiple units owned by one or more parties, on one property. Multi-family construction can be done in commercial or residential buildings.

Multi-family residential, also known as multi-dwelling unit, is a classification of housing where multiple separate housing units for residential (non-commercial) inhabitants are contained within one building or several buildings within one complex. This can include an apartment building or condominiums, where typically the units are owned individually rather than leased from a single apartment building owner. Also included in this category are duplexes or semi-detached housing.
A Mixed use building is a building with space for commercial business or office use, as well as a space for residential use. Commonly, the commercial/business use is on the first or first couple floors and one or more apartments, condominiums, or residential spaces on the upper floors. Another possibility is to have the commercial/business area up front and the residential area in the back.

Base Building

Base Building refers to a building in which choices are left for the remainder of the building to tenants during the fit-out phase.

Fit-out also known as tenant work, is the physical products and spaces controlled by the individual inhabitant or occupant. Fit-out is the part of the process that allows for change and customization without forcing the base building to change.
Base Building is used when a developer or owner of a building wants to decide on the overall structure of the building, but leave some of the details and customizations to the individual tenants or future owners of the spaces in the building. This is an attractive option for tenants, and can help a builder/developer sell spaces in their building more quickly than selling already finished spaces.

The base building normally includes the building’s primary structure and building envelope, but it does not include the specifics of the rest of the building, in particular, the individual occupant spaces. Future tenants or owners in the building may decide on how they would like their apartment or office to look. Base buildings can be residential or commercial in nature.

Single Family Renovations

A home remodeling/renovation project can be any home improvement such as adding a bathroom, finishing a basement, building an addition, installing new windows, building a rooftop deck, replacing siding, remodeling a kitchen, or re-doing a master bathroom.

Homeowners will often see an increased value in their home as a result of a renovation project. Another advantage to a remodeling project or renovation is the option to “green” the home by making it more energy efficient (see Green Section). A third advantage to Interior and Exterior Remodeling is the opportunity to reconfigure the layout of the home to accommodate changing lifestyle/lifecycle needs. Renovations and restorations can be challenging. Often times there are unknown conditions behind the walls and above the ceilings that have not been addressed in years. It takes a knowledgeable builder, experienced in these types of construction projects, to do the right job the first time. The most important decision is choosing the right contractor.
  • Additions: Additions are the best way to stay in your existing home while adding living space. With this type of renovation, a homeowner can expand on their existing home without uprooting their family. Different types of additions include Building up, Building out, adding a new garage, and/or putting on an exterior deck.
  • Finishing basements: A finished basement is another way to provide extra living space in a home. Adding a laundry room and/or creating a play area (club space) for children or grandchildren are common uses for finished basements. This is another type of popular renovation for people who want to stay put, but need that extra space. A finished basement can add a good return value onto your home.
  • Energy-Star Retrofits: When being more energy efficient is of concern, or when saving money on utility costs sounds appealing, this is a desirable renovation. Ways to achieve Energy Star certification are through insulation, window and exterior door replacement, and air sealing. Harbor Builders works with energy star consultants to obtain final Energy Star certification for Residential Projects in Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Central Maryland.
  • Kitchen and Bath Renovations: Kitchen and bath renovations improve the aesthetics and quality of a home, while also increasing its value. Harbor has experience with custom kitchen work including installing granite and marble countertops, replacing appliances, and modernizing fixtures and finishes.
  • Minor Upgrades or Repairs: Minor upgrades or repairs to a home may include masonry repairs, new mechanical systems -adding a tankless hot water heater (an energy cost saver vs. a traditional hot water heater), or putting in a central air system.With extensive experience in Interior/Exterior remodeling projects and licenses in both Washington, DC and Maryland, Harbor Builders, LLC is a capable General Contractor (GC) and Builder for projects of any size. Harbor has most recently completed interior and exterior renovation projects for clients in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Baltimore City and in Northwest, Washington, D.C.

Design Build Services

Design Build is a process through which clients hire a General Contractor (GC) who manages the design process, consults with the architect, and then builds or constructs what has been designed.

This process is slightly different than the traditional “design-bid-build” in which the owner contracts separately with a General Contractor (GC) or Builder and an architect. Often times, clients prefer to deal with one person rather than being the middle man between an architect and a General Contractor (GC) or Builder. The Design Build process saves time and money in construction. It also encourages the Contractor and architect to collaborate early on, so that a better and more cost efficient construction product can be delivered to the client.
The Design Build process is outlined in our Process Video if you don’t feel like reading on…
In a design build residential project clients choose products and layouts almost immediately based upon design suggestions from both the architect and the GC/Builder. Building the project becomes a much more streamlined and precise process, as a result of the design build alliance.

The basic steps are outlined below:

  1. Perform Vision Casting & Budgeting. We meet with you to understand every detail of what you want, and what your budget will allow. A prospective budget for the project is prepared and reviewed with you.
  2. Commission Architectural Drawings. With your input, experienced architects will produce professional drawings for your project. By detailing our drawings, we prevent costly delays and unexpected surprises for you down the road.
  3.  Select Products & Materials. A meeting takes place in our show room, where you view different options of products and materials. You get to fully customize your project.
  4. On-site Meeting and Analyzing Bids. The Harbor Development team conducts an on-site “Q&A” session with subcontractors and suppliers. We require everyone to comply with our proprietary, standardized methodology for submitting bids, which allows for competitive pricing on your project.
  5. Establish Project Timeline & Finalize Budget. Timeline estimates are entered into our Project Scheduling tool. We know how long the project will take, and can predict and avoid potential points of delay. Being on time is always our #1 priority.
  6. Project Scheduling and Construction. We use sophisticated project management software to create a custom schedule for your project. We are able to pinpoint at any given moment what is happening on your project, and what will happen next.
  7. Celebrate Your New Space. Whether you’re turning the key in the front door to your new custom home, or crossing the threshold to your new addition — welcome to your new space.

Historic Preservation & Tax Credits

Harbor Builders has extensive knowledge and resources for getting their clients historic renovation and restoration projects.

Historic Tax Credits/incentives are offered at local, state, and federal levels. Some projects can qualify to receive all three tax credits, which leads to major savings on your personal and property taxes, as well as cash back in your pocket.
Baltimore City has many historic districts that are eligible for local tax credits. Some projects in Baltimore City historic districts may also be eligible for the 10 year tax freeze, lead by the Baltimore city CHAP Department. CHAP sends a credit to the owner when annual property taxes are due, which allows the owner to pay taxes on the original property value (pre-renovation). A property that is originally worth $40,000 can be built to a value of $350,000, yet the taxes for the next 10 years will be frozen at only $900, a savings of almost $7,000 per year.
The Maryland Historic Tax Credit program offers money back for construction projects that are located in qualified historic districts and follow the historic guidelines. This credit is applied toward income taxes that you owe, and clients who do the program will receive a check for any extra money that goes beyond what they owed in taxes that year. All the construction methods and drawings have to comply with the historic guidelines set by the State Tax credit applications in order to qualify for this type of credit. All of the construction methods and plans must be approved by the Trust BEFORE any of the work has begun at the site. Historic Tax Credits are available to owner-occupied, single-family residences, and owners receive up to a 20% credit of what was spent on the project (up to $250,000 spent). A $250,000 historic renovation, could earn up to a $50,000 credit against your income tax liability. All unused Maryland Historic Tax Credits are transferable to the purchaser of your home, which can make the home more desirable for re-sale.
Historic Tax Credits are available to commercial Buildings at a rate of 20% of the construction cost and other eligible costs. Investors that are renovating houses are also eligible for the tax credit at a rate of 20% of construction cost. A $1,000,000 historic renovation to a commercial Building, would be eligible for up to a $200,000 from the Maryland Historic Tax Credit. The State of Maryland has a cap on the state budget for Maryland Historic Tax Credits that may be awarded to investors in a given fiscal year.

Historic Tax Credits are administered by the National Park Service. Federal tax credits offer a credit equal to 20% of qualified expenses for historic construction projects on income-producing historic properties (such as rental units, commercial spaces, etc). Federal tax credit program is similar to the state program in many ways, and it is possible to receive 20% of tax credits on the State level, in addition to 20% on the Federal level. The Federal program does not send cash or checks for unused tax credits, BUT owners get to use this credit for up to 20 years. The credit can be applied to single family homes as long as it is being used for rental properties. The credit cannot be applied to a property that will be sold to a homeowner.

Not all properties that are in historic districts qualify for the tax credit program, but Harbor Development can help you to determine if the property you have qualifies, or can help you to find a property that does qualify. New Construction (on empty land, or that does not follow historic guidelines) even in a historic district cannot receive Historic Tax Credits. The Historic Tax Credit program is an “all or none program.” If clients choose to use the program then ALL of the renovations must qualify and meet the standards of the “Historic Trust.” Clients are advised to consult their professional tax advisor or legal counsel for help in determining whether these tax incentives apply to their situation.
For a list of neighborhoods in the National Register of Historic Districts and the Baltimore City Historic Districts, visit the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) website at www.baltimorecity.gov.

For information about preservation in Baltimore, see the Baltimore Heritage, Inc. website at www.baltimoreheritage.org

For information about Federal Historic Tax Credits, see the National Trust for Historic Preservation website at www.savingplaces.org

For infromation about preservation and Tax Credits in Maryland, see the Maryland Historical Trust website at mht.maryland.gov.

Green Building

Green building is a methodology that ensures that the construction team (Architect, Engineer, Owner, and Builder) make environmentally friendly choices when building and designing a structure.

Green building is accomplished through utilizing energy efficient methods and repurposed building materials. These strategies, along with the use of products, such as LED lights, low-VOC paints, effective insulation, high performance windows, and efficient heating and cooling equipment, all help to reduce the building’s impact on the environment.

A green general contractor is knowledgeable and experienced in using green construction materials and methods. This contractor is experienced in many of the following aspects of green building:

  • Sourcing green building materials
  • Managing construction waste
  • Installing green building materials
  • Advising on the constructibility of green systems
  • Working with the design team in the planning phase of the project

The contractor has relationships with design professionals that are also committed to building green, such as Energy Star Consultants, as well as vendors and suppliers who offer energy efficient materials.

Green contractors “think green” from the time a project begins, though the final stages of the project. Green contractors make recommendations even before architectural plans are complete regarding efficient plumbing systems, window placements, and rooflines. During the material selection phase, green general contractors are mindful of such factors as indoor environmental quality and energy efficiency, and this guides them when selecting materials and appliances.

A green general contractor is knowledgeable and experienced in using green construction materials and methods. Let’s start out by talking about green materials. Both the contractor and Architect have to work together in the planning phase of the project and be committed to green. The designer must be environmental continuous in his design; utilize south light, efficient window systems, efficient wall assemblies, HVAC systems and water heaters.

The contractor will have relationships with design professionals that are also committed to building green, such as Energy Star Consultants, as well as vendors and suppliers who offer energy efficient materials. Green contractors “think green” from the time a project begins, though the final stages of the project. Green contractors make recommendations even before architectural plans are complete regarding efficient plumbing systems, window placements, and rooflines. During the material selection phase, green general contractors are mindful of such factors as indoor environmental quality and energy efficiency, and this guides them when selecting materials and Energy Star appliances to show their client.

The benefits of Green Building are endless. A huge advantage to building green is that it brings down the overall cost of ownership, according to the USGBC when looked at over a 5-10 year period.
Additional benefits of building green include:

  • Better air circulation: temperature regulation means a more balanced indoor environment with stable temperatures and light throughout, and less wasted air.
  • Improvements in energy efficiency also tend to improve air quality and circulation, which add a significant level of comfort for the occupant.
  • Materials used in Green building are more durable and do not need to be replaced as often.
  • Green Buildings are on average 60% more energy efficient leading to a dramatic decrease in utility bills for the occupant.

The owner can feel good about a commitment to having a responsible symbiotic relationship with the environment.

Green buildings are very marketable and tend to produce higher rent and/or increase re-sale value. If the owner chooses to lease the property, he or she will see the property lease up faster and achieve higher rental rates compared to other properties. In the event of a sale, the owner will might see higher resale price.

Energy Star and LEED aim for efficiency improvements of at least 15 percent over conventional construction — and both programs can earn a variety of tax credits and other incentives.(1)
The benefits that come from reducing pollutants and waste on our environment is perhaps the greatest reward and motivation of all for building green.

1. Zeller, Tom. “Can We Build in a Brighter Shade of Green?” NY Times. N.p., 9 Sept. 2010. Web.

Value Engineering

Value engineering is a commonly used term in construction for cost savings without compromising the functionality of the finished product.

It is a process by which the contractor offers suggestions on how to save money through substituting products, suggesting alternative assemblies, or adjusting the layout of the home. All suggested changes are reviewed by the Owner prior to being implemented in the project.

Until you ask the question of why every product in your project is being selected, it might be unclear that the product is the most cost effective material. Harbor carefully examines every area for cost savings in materials without compromising aesthetics or functionality. It could be that there is a more cost effective kitchen cabinet for your project.
Harbor implements value engineering during the pre-construction and design process. During the design process, Harbor will offer suggestions on cost effective products and materials. Our subcontractors and suppliers will make suggestions along during the site walkthrough as they are bidding on the project. All of this information is taken and offered to our clients as additional cost savings for their projects.

Harbor Builders is an award winning company with a reputation for innovation at the highest level of design.

Our Offices

Corporate Office:
338 East 25th St.
Baltimore, Maryland 21218

Satellite Office:
Washington DC
1501 11th St.
NW Washington, DC 20001

Phone: (443) 708-4002
Email: ezra@webuildright.com