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Twenty-three miles from the Virginia border, Durham is in the northeast corner of the central piedmont of North Carolina, a geographic foothills region lying between mountains and coastal plains. The city houses more than 96,000 acres of hardwood and evergreen forests and 7,800 acres of cropland with hills and dales, rivers, streams, and several lakes. Beautiful natural resources like such are the reasons why Durham is committed to the stewardship of the physical and environmental assets of the city.  

The core of the city’s mission is building and maintaining the properties that make Durham a great place to live for all generations. The community is one of the reasons why people reside in the city as well. This warmth is a direct result of the city’s rich history, culture, Duke University, and the number of people who perceive North Carolina (NC) as their home.

As our team searched for the top general contractors around the area, we took into consideration how the firm values Durham’s heart for sustainability and how it takes part in enriching the community. We handpicked them based on how credible the founders are, the relationships the firm has built with clients and subcontractors, its associations, awards, and the creativity of their portfolio.


Albright Residential Construction

1 Hallbrook Ct., Durham, NC 27712

Founded in 2015, Albright Residential Construction specializes in new construction of custom homes, additions, and renovations. The firm primarily serves the communities of the Triangle area. Regardless of the size of the project, they offer craftsmanship with the highest quality of materials and give careful attention to detail. Throughout the process, Albright delivers a remarkable building experience while constructing a home to reflect the clientele’s ambition.

One of the houses they constructed is this farmhouse located at 3922 Old Chapel Hill Road. The simplicity of its exteriors extends to the cozy interiors of the home. Every area was utilized to its full potential and was intricately detailed to suit the lifestyle and the preference of the owner.

Leading the firm is Tyler Albright, a native of Durham, NC, who has various experiences within the field of residential home services. Tyler is a licensed General Contractor (GC), Real Estate Broker, and Home Inspector who delivers exceptional experience and quality service to his clients. He is an educator and administrator in Durham Public Schools as well. Aside from educating the youth and serving the housing needs of others, he seeks to serve the needs of his community and surrounding areas by supporting small businesses. 


BuildEx General Contractors

105 Conner Dr. Suite 1100, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Brian Ehrenfeld started his construction career by being an intern at different established construction firms, where he learned the fundamentals of building trades. Brian manifested this experience and combined it with his innovative ideas as he founded BuildEx in 1996. He knows that successful projects demand a vision and commitment to building lasting projects and customer relationships.

BuildEx is a member of North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA) and HBA of Durham, Orange & Chatham Counties. The firm continues to further its foundation of hard work and smart management to ensure that clients are provided value by being proactive, problem solvers, and exceeding expectations. It relies on a stable construction process in turning its clients’ visions into realities. 

BuildEx has a portfolio of over 105 permitted projects, ranging from residential to commercial. They have completed these in some of the prestigious neighborhoods in Chapel Hill, which include Governors Club, Governors Village, Maida Vale, and The Oaks/Chapel Hill Country Club. An example of their project is this modern design home completed in 2016. Muted colors of gray are incorporated with hues of blue, red, and wooden orange to give this project an identity of its own. The same theme goes inside, including the use of playful elements and modern pieces of furniture.


BuildSense

502 Rigsbee Ave. Suite 201, Durham, NC 27701

Thomas Residence, a 3,205 square feet modern home, was featured in an article by Architect Magazine. The simple methods and a logical floor plan satisfy Dr. Thomas’s request for a clutter-free home. On the exterior, natural cedar siding, large black aluminum-framed windows and garage doors, and custom-fabricated steel were just a few of the low-maintenance materials used to complete this modern house in an old neighborhood. Incorporating all of these, BuildSense achieved each aspect of Dr. Thomas’s aspirations.

The homeowner wanted her new house to be environmentally sustainable as well. BuildSense delivered this request by having a super-tight thermal envelope and energy recovery ventilators. Through these sustainable solutions, Thomas Residence was able to receive a Gold certification from the National Green Building Standard (NGBS).

BuildSense certifies every new home they build to the NGBS and Energy Star. These certifications give assurance that clients have well-built houses that have healthy, comfortable, and luxurious indoor environments. The firm was awarded by Green Fleet Awards in 2020 and recognized as NGBS Green Partners of Excellence in 2019.


Cederberg Kitchens + Renovations

630 Weaver Dairy Road Suite 106, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Bill Cederberg is a licensed contractor and a long-time community member. Interacting with clients and seeing how his work makes an impact in the lives of the clients are what he enjoys the most. Backed by the SEN Design Group and the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), Bill has won awards for his designs in Signature Kitchens & Baths magazine. During the years he spent in the insurance industry handling claims for water and fire damage and repairs, Bill had seen many occurrences of destruction due to poor planning.

He founded Cederberg Kitchens + Renovations to fill the need in his local area for an independent, end-to-end renovation service. The firm began by performing several types of remodeling but focused on kitchen renovations to improve existing designs. Currently, the firm has evolved into a full-service company. 


For this whole house renovation and addition, the objective was to create a livable and accessible home for a senior couple. They made it possible by including single-story livability, modernizing the kitchens and baths, and creating a single-story living space from the garage to the master suite. 


CQC Home

5102 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd., Durham, NC 27707

CQC Home primarily serves Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The residential remodeling firm is owned by born and raised Durhamite, Kenneth Combs. Over the years, with the support of his wife, Ericka, he has worked 80 hours per week to finance the transition of CQC from a two-person operation into a seven-million-dollar operation. Ken sees the remodeling process as an integral way to improve his hometown. With the collaboration of his design team and the construction field staff working together, they all put the customer first, caring deeply about making their dream home tangible.

Ken is passionate about his hometown and he flips 6-7 homes per year. With those properties, he prefers the restore method vs. tear down to build new. This is seen best in the fully renovated house in Duke Park. On the front of the house, the CQC home team opted to restore the original exterior highlighting the Tudor style trim instead of hiding it. The fully gutted and restored home took several months of planning and was a true labor of love. From the ground up to refinishing the heart of pine flooring, to completely gutting the kitchen & bathrooms with new shaker cabinets and quartz countertops seen in the most popular of today’s featured homes on HGTV.

Currently, CQC Home is a member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), GuildQuality, and awarded Better Business Bureau (BBB) torch award for business ethics. They are recognized as well as one of the Professional Remodeler Top 250, awarded as the HBA Builder of the Year, and a Guildmaster Award from GuildQuality.


David Price Construction

2603 Tryon Dr., Greenville, NC 27858

David Price is a graduate of East Carolina University with a degree in Construction Management and a minor in Business Administration. With over two decades of experience in the construction industry, David has successfully managed multi-million dollar commercial construction projects, historical preservations, and whole home renovations and additions. He has accreditation by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional (AP). This certification manifests in all of the sustainable building materials and green operations of his firm. David served as Chairman of the Remodelers Council, and is now Vice President of the HBA of Raleigh/Wake County. He is also a member of Advisory Boards for the Vernon Malone School, which is a trade school attached to Wake County Public Schools and Wake Technical College, as well as the Construction Management Department at ECU.

In 2009, David founded David Price Construction (DPC) to bring his experience and give emphasis on customer service. The firm primarily serves the residents of Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, and throughout Coastal NC. Since then, the firm has grown to be capable of undertaking larger projects such as whole home additions, wall removals and relocations, and full ground-up builds. DPC has also done various office spaces and restaurants. Presently, DPC has associations with HBA of Raleigh – Wake County, GuildQuality, North Carolina HBA, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers, and LEED. DPC also does maintenance on facilities and has state-wide contracts with Grifols, Talecris Plasma Donation Centers, Golftec centers, Mezeh Restaurants, and O’Reily Auto parts stores.

David Price Construction was given numerous recognition including Remodeler of the Year for the HBA of Raleigh/Wake County in 2018. DPC won an award for best Commercial Remodel from the HBA of Raleigh/Wake County as well in 2020. Being associated with LEED, DPC specializes in green building. Although these building techniques and materials are considered slightly more expensive on the front end, the use of energy-efficient doors, windows, HVAC systems, and lighting will save the money of the clients in the long run while increasing the quality of life.


Gateway Building Company

618 Ramseur St., Durham, NC 27701

Established in 2013, Gateway Building Company is a community of builders led by Jack Moore, possessing experience in all facets of construction – from budgets to project close-out. The team uses an outside-the-box approach in solving challenges that leads to project success and client satisfaction. Gateway is a local business that maintains enduring relationships while supporting the community where it works and lives. It firmly believes that providing support to the community is essential for sustainable growth and future generations.

Gateway Building Company makes customer service and collaboration with all stakeholders a priority, from pre-construction services through project completion. They have already established reputable partnerships with more than a hundred subcontractors and completed more than 400 projects, ranging from residential, commercial, and historical restorations. 


In all these projects, they figure out every relevant detail to make sure that the process will run efficiently, so the end product meets every client’s expectations. They oversee the construction for each project personally, smooth out all bumps along the way, and communicate each step with the client. Everyone on the job works to ensure that every client’s vision is accurately delivered.


Grau Building Company

1515 W. NC Highway 54 Suite 120, Durham, NC 27707

This farmhouse done by Grau Building Company highlights the serenity of rural living. At the top of the entry stairs is a porch with sets of chairs dedicated to enjoying the scenery around the house. This project regarded as the “Darwin’s Delight” is just one of the projects from the portfolio of Grau Building Company. Through the completion of this home, they have proven how focused they are at being one of the top builders in the Triangle. 

Transparency is at the very core of who Grau Building Company is. From working with the client to create realistic budgets to sharing all cost details and estimates, they are always there to give fair service to their clients. They do this by having an online system as a central repository for the entire project. On this site, everything is accessible to the client: budgets, schedules, selection choices, and photographs. The firm is associated as well with BBB, NAHB, Energy Star, and HBA of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties.


Principal Jeff Grau is a licensed GC, a licensed Real Estate Broker, and a member of the NAHB and National Association of Realtors. He spent ten years in a corporate setting, managing people and products in small start-up companies and Fortune 500 companies. 


J&J Construction

111 Sandlewood Drive, Durham, NC 27712

J&J Construction Company continues to expand since its establishment in 2007. Their attention to detail, craftsmanship, and planning process makes them one of the top contractors in the area. J&J Construction employs some of the best craftsmen in the business, along with the best subcontractors, and have built great relationships with their previous clients. The firm handles a range of styles from traditional to modern to everything in between, and works on a range of projects as well: building from the ground up, renovations, repairs, adding extensions, and other custom work. 


Jonathan Wilkins, the owner of the firm, spent his younger years around the building business. He worked at a local commercial building company and later worked for his grandfather and father in the residential world. Over the years, J&J Construction grew and completed many successful projects, both residential and commercial. Jonathan has built his business from the ground up with honesty and integrity in its core. To add to the firm’s accreditations, the firm has affiliations with some of the most reputable realtors and real estate agents. It is a member of the HBA and has won a Historic Preservation Award for this historical house that they have renovated.


Joe F. Berini Construction Co.

P.O. Box 2821, Durham, NC 27715

Joe F. Berini knew from an early age that he would follow the footsteps of his father into the construction industry. He was raised in the world of his father’s stonemasonry trade in Durham, graduated engineering school in 1939, and entered the field of commercial construction. Joe embarked upon his residential building and development of Joe F. Berini Construction Co. in 1959. Today, Dante Berini, and Dante’s son, Joe Berini, are both running the company and continuing the work that Joe started. Together, they work to make the client’s enjoyment a priority in the building experience. One of the houses they built is this featured log home that emphasizes the beauty of living around nature. 


The Durham News
and The Herald Sun celebrated with Joe F. Berini Construction Co. as it celebrated its 50th year in the business in 2009. Now in its sixth decade, the firm is still potent on its construction service of high-quality homes in the Durham County area and its neighborhoods. They work on renovation projects from homes less than ten years old to homes over 100 years old, commercial construction for private businesses, and development projects as well. HBA has repeatedly recognized the firm with Gold, Silver, and Bronze Parade of Homes Awards.


Riverbank Custom Homes

3200 Croasdaile Drive Ste. 201, Durham, NC 27705

Riverbank updated this home with a custom design that addressed the specific needs of the client, who requested an open and flexible space to accommodate grandkids and overnight guests. This project was also meant to balance preservation and progress: Riverbank restored the historical features of the structure, renewed the overall appearance, and nearly doubled the livable square footage. 


Riverbank Custom Homes specializes in new homes, additions, and renovations like such. It was founded in 2005 by a Durham native, David Parker, with a desire to create beautiful spaces and serve clients through every facet of the construction process. Since then, Riverbank has made a name for itself through its service, craftsmanship, and honest communication. As a native of Durham, David has a keen understanding of the local housing market and historic infrastructure, and has gained much hands-on experience during and after his degree. His knowledge and experience combined allow him to joyfully retell the story of each home through preservation and progress, catapulting the past into the future.


Tree2Key Builders

1204 Village Market Pl. # 305, Morrisville, NC 27560

From beginning to end, Tree2Key Builders delivers high-quality products and superior experiences, which results in delighted customers. They continually study and apply the newest construction techniques and materials in their building process to maintain the reputation they established in the business. Their reputation in the business began with Steve Percy, who has worked in commercial real estate since graduating from the University of California of Santa Barbara. Since moving back to the Triangle 25 years ago, he has experience working in every aspect of the home industry, from the building, to marketing, to financing homes, to purchasing and developing land. His construction experience gave him a unique understanding of the needs and coordination required to plant Tree2Key Builders in 2008 and lead the team in completing successful projects.


Today, Tree2Key Builders is a member of Green Home Builders of the Triangle, NAHB, and HBA of Raleigh and Wake County. They are given awards in the 2014 Multiple HBA Remodelers Star Award for the Best Kitchen, Best Bathroom, and Best Whole House Renovation in various price categories. These memberships and recognitions give an assurance that the firm completely understands the needs and the goals of their clients.


Trinity Design/Build

213 N. Gregson St., Durham, NC 27701

Trinity Design Build (TDB) was the team behind this first historic home recorded to achieve US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star Rating. TDB is known for its expertise and experience in sustainable energy-efficient construction of homes like the one featured in this article. They consider every renovation, addition, or new construction project as an opportunity to promote a healthier environment. For every project, they actively work with energy auditors and specialists to plan specific improvement strategies based on clients’ needs.  

The President of this sustainable firm is Lee Kane, M. Div, Duke. Lee has seven years of working as a Project Manager with Habitat for Humanity and has abundant experience managing diverse groups of employees, subcontractors, and volunteers. He leads TDB in creating functional, beautiful spaces while preserving the history and architecture. Lee oversees a large and diverse portfolio of historic and green restoration projects and serves in other capacities, including business development and employee training. 


Lee has led the firm in establishing a diverse portfolio and in bagging awards through the years. They were recently awarded the Best Historic Remodel from 2019 and 2020 HBA Remodelers Outstanding Construction Award. The firm is associated as well with the American Institute of Architects North Carolina, NAHB, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and United States Green Building Council.