David Barista is Editor of Professional Builder, Custom Builder and HousingZone.com, properties that combined reach more than 200,000 residential design and construction professionals. David has covered the U.S. construction industry for more than a decade and has won numerous editorial awards, including two Jesse H. Neal Awards.

While conducting research on a builder for a recent issue of Professional Builder, I did what most people do first when they want to learn more about a company, or any subject for that matter. I went to Google.

Let’s face it, time are tough, and many home builders are doing all they can to keep their doors open amid the brutal economic conditions. But, while the housing market outlook may look bleak on a national level, there are countless success stories of builders that are succeeding in the toughest conditions. I’ve asked two such builders — Michael Maples, co-founder of Trumark Homes, Danville, Calif., and Brett Whitehouse, president of Brandywine Homes, Irvine, Calif. — to share some of their leadership advice. Here are some techniques that have worked for them.

Since 1993, Professional Builder and the NAHB Research Center have teamed to sponsor the National Housing Quality Awards — the highest recognition in the housing industry for quality achievement.

The NHQ Awards represent the best of the best in quality-driven home building companies, and the 2011 class is no exception. All three winners — Charter Homes & Neighborhoods, Haseko Construction, and Wathen Castanos Hybrid Homes — employ numerous quality management best practices. Here are a few particularly interesting best practices that caught my attention:

The scenario is all too familiar to builders that have lived through multiple economic recessions: The moment the housing market dives, banks and lending institutions come calling.

Literally overnight, real estate investments that weeks (or days) before were financially sound deals are now high-risk ventures — at least in the minds of Wall Street bankers and those in the banking community.

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