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Monday, August 15, 2016

Fort Thomas Brothers Team Up To Form Burks Brothers' Contracting

Burks Brothers' Contracting, owned by two Fort Thomas brothers, offers services ranging from remodeling and additions to new construction. 

Long-time Fort Thomas resident Tim Burks, owner of Tim Burks Builder, Inc., is well-known for building European-style homes throughout Northern Kentucky. Recently, two of Burks' sons, Chip and Danny, started their own company—Burks Brothers' Contracting.

"Watching our father work showed us the passion that he had for the company that he built over time," Danny says. "That passion was something truly amazing to see in his eyes. Knowing that we had the same passion for residential construction, it was a no-brainer to start our own company."

The brother duo is already making a mark in Fort Thomas, particularly in the realm of remodels, additions and tearing down older properties in order to build new ones. A recent job on Sterling Ave. is a prime example.

The owner of this Sterling Ave. property chose to demolish their former home and build a new one on the same lot.

"The owner of the original old home is the owner of the new home," Danny says. "The owner came to us wanting to demolish the existing structure and build a brand-new home in its place. We said, 'We would love to!' It is a very exciting thing to see an older home being carefully taken down and a brand-new home take its place. Residents in Fort Thomas do not want to leave the city, and we see the new trend as being large remodels or, as in this scenario, demolishing the existing home and starting from scratch." 

Before demolishing a home or building the brothers say that historical importance is always something both they and the owners take into consideration. With the home on Sterling Ave., Danny says the owner salvaged much of it, including stained-glass windows and handcrafted wooden trim.

In terms of expense, the brothers say the only additional cost is that of demolishing the existing structure. "The lot still has to be purchased and the new home still has to be constructed," Danny says. "So, therefore, whatever the cost is, demolishing the existing structure would be the additional cost incurred." Cost to demolish depends on many factors, including the size of the home and ease of access to the site.

The advantage? "It is hard to find available, build-able lots in Fort Thomas so the main advantage is that you're still available to stay where you are," Danny says. "Not many families want to move that have been in Fort Thomas their entire life or have small children who they want to send to Fort Thomas schools. In some circumstances, like on Sterling Ave., the most economic scenario was to demolish and build from scratch." 

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Like many of their clients, Chip and Danny, along with their three brothers and two sisters, grew up in Fort Thomas. They lived in two homes built by their father. The first was on Ridgeway Ave., and the second, their parents' current residence, is at 111 Carolina Ave.

The brothers attended St. Thomas School, Newport Central Catholic High School and Northern Kentucky University, where they both majored in construction.

Growing up, both Chip and Danny worked for their father. Danny worked throughout the summer months during high school—Chip was unable to due to sports. They both, however, worked for their father during college.

"It was a pleasure working for our father and seeing just how hard he worked to manage his own company," said Chip. "We learned so much from our father as far as hard, dedication to employees and customers, and always being honest with each and every person he dealt with. The customer was always put first and the passion he has for giving clients exactly what they want is indescribable." 

Chip worked for his father's company until he graduated college. He then accepted a position as a superintendent for Fischer Homes. The experience allowed him to manage different  homes in different communities, strengthening his management skills.

Danny worked for multiple commercial contractors, such as K4, Venture One Construction and GM Crisalli and Associates. And although he enjoyed the commercial aspect of construction, Danny says his heart was in residential design and construction.

"It was in the back of both of our minds to go on our own one day and start a business," Chip says. "One Saturday afternoon we were sitting down at lunch and we both started talking about starting our own company together. From there, it took off."

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Danny and Chip enjoy working together. "We are both a lot alike as far as loving the construction environment and honestly, we would not trust anyone else like we trust each other to handle a business," Danny says. "We both have exceptional management skills. Chip has been in the residential field most of his adult life. When it comes to scheduling, coordinating and safety onsite, he is your guy." 

Danny, who has been in the commercial side of construction most of his adult life, also is skilled at scheduling and coordinating—must haves with any large construction project.

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"The best part of our job is working with customers and giving them exactly what they want," Chip says. "This process should be a fun and exciting time for them. Whether they want to do an addition, renovate their existing home, or demolish their existing home and build new. We love working with customers to give them their dream." 

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