Author Archives: NCCBlog

The Pre-Construction Process with Northfield Construction Company

Ok. You’ve decided to build a house. You’ve found the perfect lot and downloaded a plan from the internet that you think might work. What’s next?

Northfield Construction Company is a full-service contractor that specializes in custom home building projects. This means that we don’t have “favorite” plans you can choose from on pre-determined lots. We build what you want, where you want it.

Our first meeting is generally a get-to-know-you meeting. You’ll meet with one of our project managers to talk us through the project and your desired timeline. One thing that is extremely helpful to have at this meeting is a budget. Know what you’re qualified for, how much money you have to put down, and where the scope of work needs to be to make this both affordable and feasible for you and your family. Some families have more flexibility than others and it is important to know this up front during a construction project.

After our initial discussion we will know if your dream home and budget are in line with what we can deliver. We then move into the planning stages. A survey of the lot is ordered and plans are hired out to a drafter. This is where we can either tweak what ideas or homes you’ve seen and make it work for your lot or we can start from scratch with an draftsperson to sketch out your dream home. You want a golf simulator in the basement? Sure, we can make that happen. (Yes, this is thing. A client of ours is building one in his basement as we speak.)

Once plans are finalized we will go out and get bids from suppliers. Our team does all of the framing and finishing work but we don’t pretend to know how to pour concrete or plumb a home. We bring in other professionals for that. We collect bids from flooring companies based on your desired wood or tiled floors. We pull bids from multiple electricians to make sure that we are keeping your project in line with what we predict the project price should be.

Now that we have a more solid number around what it is going to take to get your home built, we present the final contract to you. Once you sign we send you out to start making selections at cabinet places, flooring stores, and lumber yards. You don’t have to do the shopping, we already did!

We meet regularly to discuss the budget, timeline, and go over the process. We are there with you every step of the way and look forward to making your vision a reality (in 4-5 months).

If you’ve considered building a home, make sure to reach out and talk through the project with a trusted professional. We’d love the opportunity to be that partner. Cheers and happy home building!

Northfield Micropolitan Summit | Our Partners

Our President, Chris Kennelly, served as a panelist at the Northfield Micropolitan Summit yesterday. He along with our partners/clients answered questions related to the growth that Northfield has experienced (and will continue to experience) in the last few years.

Many of our partners/clients have impacted our local community. Thank you for all you do and the impact you create. We want to give a shout out to (in no particular order):


Aurora Pharmaceutical

First National Bank of Northfield

Tekton Engineers

City of Northfield

Northfield Arts Guild (NAG)

Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce

St Olaf College

Carleton College

Northfield Construction Company provides strategies to make your concept a reality. We have been a partner in this community since 1972 and know how to get a project moving forward. Call us for your next commercial project!

Ask the Contractor: What is the difference between Custom vs. Production Homes?

Northfield Construction Company prides ourselves on being a high quality custom home builder. We’ve built everything from a home designed by world-renowned architect to a modern minimalist home in which we had to meet some very specific midwest terrain developments. We also have experience with building what the baby boomers have started to call their “Forever Homes” – these are homes that allow for aging-in-place (future space for an elevator, doorways that comfortably fit a wheelchair or walker, etc).

We love the unique challenge of seeing how we can both meet a customer’s needs and build a structure that falls within a specific budget. Our team is very skilled. What sets us apart from most construction companies is that we employ our team full time, year round. We complete the framing and finish carpentry work and have a supervisor on site at all times to make sure we can guarantee our projects.

We have found that there is some confusion as to what the difference is between a custom home and what the industry labels a production home. With both projects the homeowner can choose countertops and light fixtures. Both provide a beautiful NEW home for the buyers. But there are some very unique distinctions between the two.

We’ve pulled Chris Kennelly in to help us answer exactly WHAT is the difference and why Northfield Construction Company doubles down on custom homes.

Custom Homes:

Pros – the buyer chooses (and purchases) their lot so the location of their new home is completely in their control. They can design a house that clearly meets their needs, both presently and in the future. They set the budget and have a lot of control of if the project comes in above or below that number.

Cons – finding a builder that can meet their budget and timeline. You don’t get to see a “sample” of your home before it is complete. With spec homes, generally you can get an idea of what the kitchen will look like or how big the spare bedroom is. With a custom home you need to trust the plans and visualize the best you can what your home will look like once complete.

Production Homes:

Pros – you have an idea of what your home will look like because you choose one of five or so different floor plans that the builder has available in a particular neighborhood/development. The materials and finishes are generally bid per square foot so you are more familiar with the budget before getting into a project.

Cons – to meet the market and needs of a development it is common for materials and construction methods to trade quality for expense. These homes typically go up quickly in a development and resale can be difficult due to competition and market values of the homes.

At NCC we love the opportunity to work with our clients on a custom home. We believe that working closely with them and the draftsman on the design of the home produces better results. Working with the same Project Manager and Superintendent on-site throughout the entire construction process gives us the ability to deliver quality work and insures that corners are not cut. While we understand that our process isn’t always the cheapest, we deliver our value through the quality of construction.

Having been around since 1972 we are proud to stand behind our projects.




A Day in the Life of Otto

Oh hello there! I’m Otto. I am the lead office dog here at Northfield Construction Company (occasionally, my sister comes to visit, but she likes to sleep on top of tables and eat snacks from upper shelving units, and apparently this is frowned upon in the office). I make sure that this wonderful construction company and all of the humans who work here (especially my human, Chris) are operating at full force and completing our projects on time and budget. It’s a tough job, but someone has got to do it… I’m going to offer you a glimpse into what my days look like here at NCC. Follow me through the pictures below!


Yum…paper! 170302_DayInLifeOtto_009

My best friend and human. He works hard!170302_DayInLifeOtto_012He is always talking into this plastic thing. I don’t get it, but it seems to be an important aspect of helping our clients.


Chris likes to hold my paw in the car. It might be because he knows I feel safer during our commute to the job sites.170302_DayInLifeOtto_020170302_DayInLifeOtto_022170302_DayInLifeOtto_024

Foundation… check! Framing… check! Looking like the beginnings of a beautiful home for our NCC friends!170302_DayInLifeOtto_040170302_DayInLifeOtto_042

Everyone thought this was funny. I did, too! But I couldn’t let on…170302_DayInLifeOtto_056

Another job site. This time a commercial remodel project. I check everyone’s work thoroughly. Afterall, I am the lead guy at NCC.170302_DayInLifeOtto_048170302_DayInLifeOtto_065

Please feel free to stop by anytime to say hello, show me some love, and maybe even pop a treat in my mouth – then we can be lifelong friends!