Building for the future

David Hilman, Builders Association president, has dedicated his life to improving the industry


David Hilman of Custom Design Renovations, LLC, seen here on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 is the new president of the Builders Association.

Aaron Daye/ Staff photographer
Published: Friday, January 14, 2011 at 9:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 14, 2011 at 9:03 p.m.

David Hilman said his passion for construction started when his dad built an addition to his house when Hilman was 6 years old.

Now, after 22 years in the construction industry, Hilman owns his own renovation business and was named president of the Builders Association of North Central Florida on Dec. 10.

The association represents the commercial and residential building industries. It works with cities and counties to write regulations and advance the construction industry, and it works with members to network their businesses.

"(We) fight the fight that the individual can't," Hilman said, "meaning we'll go up in front of the commission and ask for certain things, we'll monitor governments, and things like that. Somebody, like myself, couldn't do all those things."

For 2011, Hilman said the Builders Association's major agenda item is helping Alachua County and Gainesville write their comprehensive plans. These plans are renewed every 10 years and are used to run a variety of county services, including land development, economic growth and public services.

Hilman said the Builders Association will give input on construction issues and will support programs that seek to improve the construction industry.

The Builders Association also is looking for its yearly project. During the past three years, its members donated time and money to renovate and add seven classrooms to PACE Center for Girls Alachua, the Gainesville location that helps girls be successful with their education, families and community.

In addition to looking for a new project, the Builders Association is trying to get its members financially stable again.

"Our members, we kind of banded together as a group and tried to help each other out in the rough times," Hilman said.

According to the Alachua County Department of Growth Management, 1,071 detached single-family housing permits were filed in 2005, and 204 permits were filed in 2010.

"It's still very tough out there — very competitive," he said. "I see a little bit of an upswing, it's just a matter of if government will allow us to do it."

The Builders Association is currently fighting an increase in Alachua County impact fees. An impact fee is a one-time charge placed on a new building or house to pay for county programs such as transportation, fire stations and parks.

Hilman said the increase will be placed on builders, and they will be forced to pass the cost on to customers.

In addition to being president of the Builders Association, Hilman opened Custom Design Renovations, LLC, in 2007. Before that, he worked for Barry Bullard Homes, co-owned Graetz Remodeling, worked for Robinson Renovation & Custom Homes Inc. and held different jobs as a framer, someone who builds the building's basic structure.

Gina Hill, executive vice president of the Builders Association of North Central Florida, has known Hilman since he joined the Builders Association. She said Hilman has always been a hard worker who cares about the community, the construction industry and the Builders Association's members.

"He was involved from the very beginning," she said. "He jumped right in and got involved."

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