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Bozeman Builder Constructs Home from Solely American Made Products

Real Estate Agent with PureWest, Inc.

This article appeared on the ABC News website about Bozeman based builder Anders Lewendal.  Lewendal is a former economist turned builder who set out to construct a home in Bozeman with only materials made in the USA.

Made in America: A Blueprint for Creating Jobs
Story by David Muir and Ben Forer

In Bozeman, Mont., Anders Lewendal is hard at work building a home he hopes will be a blueprint for creating jobs in America.

Lewendal, an economist turned builder, is constructing a house made entirely from U.S.-made products. Everything from the nails, screws and bolts, to the steel, staples and bathtub is made in the United States.

"Every piece here is made in America," he said.

Lewendal is convinced that if every builder bought just 5 percent more U.S.-made materials, they would create 220,000 jobs. The Boston Consulting Group agrees, confirming that Lewendal's numbers add up.

In all, the U.S.-made house is being built with more than 120 products from more than 33 states. But builders do acknowledge that using American products can be more expensive.

A box of nails is $5 more than those made in China and steel is $146 more a bundle. Even though certain goods are more expensive, in total, the cost of the house is nearly identical, given that other U.S.-made products are cheaper. The all-American home, which is not yet finished, is running only 1 to 2 percent more than a foreign-sourced house.

PHOTO: Lewendal, an economist turned builder, is constructing a house made entirely from American-made products.
ABC News
Anders Lewendal, an economist turned builder, is constructing a house made entirely from U.S.-made products.

While some items might be more expensive, the difference in quality is often noticeable. The nails produced by Maze Nails of Peru, Ill., are made using high-carbon steel and a double coat of zinc. The result is that they are stronger, rust proof and jam the nail gun less.

"[We're] one of the last makers of nails in this country," company president Roelif Loveland said.

About 90 percent of nails come from China and, Loveland said, if he could double sales, he could add 25 more jobs.

Many other U.S. companies said the same thing. If Lewendal's idea catches on, they could hire, too. From Gorilla Tape of Cincinnati to a Sherwin-Williams plant in Georgia and a Moen plant in Pennsylvania, companies around the country say if builders bought more American products, it would put people back to work.

ABC News sent Lewendal's list to builders across the country and some responsed immediately.

Contractor Tarek Saad said he started ordering Maze Nails, an architect in Miami said she'll start buying the U.S.-made items that are priced the same as the foreign ones, and Paul Minnis, a remodeler from Michigan, doubled Lewendal's request.

"If 5 percent will make a difference," he wrote, "I am going to try for 10 percent or more American-made products."

Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate


Hi Jason - That's a really interesting story - I've always wondered about the cost differentials on various product components. Many of the components used on homes cost less here because they are big and bulky, so there's some possible shipping offsets, and it's really encouraging that it's only a 1-2% difference - I'd pay that, and so would many of our clients.






Dec 13, 2011 09:45 AM
Jason Frey
PureWest, Inc. - Livingston, MT

Hey Dick - I think one of the best things about the story is that the contractor using all American made materials is a Swede!  Haha!

Dec 14, 2011 05:02 PM
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Jason, I just stopped by to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Dec 23, 2011 02:34 AM
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Frenchtown, MT
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Merry Christmas!!! I hope you have had a wonderful year, better years to come and a glorious Holiday!!!

Dec 25, 2011 11:42 AM