By Alison Rice. Add up the spec books, copies of blueprints, and reproducible Mylar floor plans required to bid and build just one 100-home community, and you quickly find yourself with a very large bill from the blueprint company--unless you run Amber Homes, which moved its blueprints online this year.
"When we do a job, we don't print blueprints anymore," says Jim Harmon, president of Aurora, Colo.- based Amber, which specializes in an affordable, entry-level product. Instead he points subcontractors to www.eblueprint.com, the Web site for the Denver printing company that handles Amber's original blueprints. There, subs can download and print copies of whatever they need, quickly and cheaply, with no additional cost to the builder.
As a result, Amber's blueprinting costs have dropped drastically, from as much as $20,000 per subdivision to less than $2,000. "We spent $80,000 last year on blueprints," Harmon says. "It was always overlooked as just a cost of doing business."