Peerless Construction builds custom homes in one of the most upscale and demanding markets in the Northeast. By Chris Petersen
Building homes in and around the Greenwich, Conn., market is unlike most markets in the country. The high concentration of affluent residents means people not only have an appreciation for the finer things in life, but the resources to make their dream homes a reality. To be a homebuilder in such an environment requires an attention to detail and the attitude of a true craftsman, and these are the qualities that have made Peerless Construction a success in that environment for 10 years now.
Owner Robert Fischetti founded the company in 2006 after spending many years as a trader on Wall Street. After becoming dissatisfied with the world of finance, he received an opportunity to become an owner’s representative. Although he says he enjoyed working in the construction sector, Fischetti didn’t enjoy not being involved in the construction process as an owner’s representative. Looking for a more rewarding experience, Fischetti founded Peerless Construction. A few years later, his brother Thomas joined him as co-owner of the company.
Peerless Construction specializes in building custom and spec homes in and around the Greenwich area, including Westchester and Fairfield County. Fischetti says the custom home market is much stronger at the moment than the spec home market, but the company is comfortable working in both spaces. Although building custom homes in a market as demanding and with such high expectations as the Greenwich market can be challenging, Fischetti says Peerless Construction is more than up to the task. He believes the company’s flexibility, its attention to detail and its strong connections to the best subcontractors in the region all add up to give Peerless Construction a clear advantage over its competition.
Built to Last
According to Fischetti, Peerless Construction has succeeded in the Greenwich market because it is so well-suited to serve the area’s unique clientele. Many of the area’s residents work in the financial sector, meaning Fischetti’s background in finance makes it easier for him to establish a good rapport with clients. Additionally, the size and scale of the homes being built for these clients is of a magnitude higher than the typical home, and Fischetti says he enjoys tackling the challenges that come with those heightened expectations. Where many builders are mainly concerned with meeting the basic functionality of a home when building at a lower price point, Peerless Construction’s clients take the aesthetics of the home into consideration just as frequently. “It’s a question of function and form,” Fischetti says.
These clients have the resources to put more attention into the details of their custom homes, and there is no shortage of architects in the area who specialize in creating unique, one-of-a-kind designs. Fischetti says Peerless Construction appreciates or delights in the opportunity to work with these architects and find ways to bring the clients’ visions to life. Fischetti says he even relishes the amount of competition in the area, as competing against some of the best homebuilders in the Northeast gives Peerless Construction a chance to prove itself with every new project.
The Perfect Size
Peerless Construction is able to offer its clients the level of hands-on, personal attention their homes need because the company is relatively small and remains focused on the Greenwich area. Peerless Construction believes that each home it builds is a work of art, and it can’t deliver on that belief if it behaves like a production builder. “You can’t just grow big and try to make this an automation line,” he says. “We have no interest in doing that.”
The company’s boutique atmosphere means it can work hand-in-hand with its clients as well as the architect to really get to know the ultimate vision of each new project. Fischetti says this would not be possible if the company was bogged down in multiple levels of decision-making and spread out all over the Northeast. “It’s important to know the architect we’re working for, and what our customers’ needs are,” he says. “It’s being hands-on and having a love for what we do.”
The company’s size also benefits Peerless Construction when it comes to adapting to the changing nature of the market. “We’re a small company, so we can scale up or down according to how busy the market is,” Fischetti says.
This is facilitated by the fact that Peerless Construction subcontracts to the most reliable and trusted subcontractors in the region. Unlike builders in other markets, he says, Peerless Construction’s clients give the resources needed to work with subcontractors who are experts in their particular fields, rather than having to hire subcontractors who try to take on multiple aspects of the work.
Peerless Construction’s responsiveness and attention to detail have come in handy as clients become more aware of the environmental impact of the building materials they select for their homes. Fischetti says it’s not uncommon now for clients to ask him where the mahogany used in their homes is sourced from, or to ask for more-sustainable yellow cedar vs. red cedar. Although price remains a primary consideration when it comes to materials, Fischetti says, sustainability has become just as important. “I’m seeing people ask those questions when in the past it didn’t matter,” he says.
Building the Future
Fischetti says Peerless Construction expects to continue concentrating on custom homes in the Greenwich market, and he expects new technologies to play a larger role in the company’s work in the near future. For example, the company has experimented with installing geothermal systems that utilize indoor generators to provide electric power for homes. Although the technology is ready, he says, the cost to homeowners for the equipment has been prohibitive. “We aim to stay ahead of the latest technologies,” Fischetti says.
For the last 10 years, Peerless Construction has been at the forefront of the custom home market in Greenwich. And, as long as the company continues to focus on what has made it successful, Fischetti says, it should continue to remain there.