A Welshman and a US TV star have joined forces at Jones Builders Group – creating one of California’s premier building contractors 

The story of Jones Builders Group (JBG) could be made into a movie. Nathan Jones, hailing from the green valleys of Wales, visits his builder dad in LA, and falls in love with the warm sunshine of California. Eventually moving to the US, he works on building projects with his dad, before moving on to work with other contractors.  

As the plot thickens, Nathan finds himself working on the home of Baywatch star David Charvet, but under a contractor that was not performing to standard. When David ended that contract before the project was complete, he needed someone to finish the house – and he asked Nathan to step in. 

“I stayed on and finished David’s house, and we formed a great relationship,” says Nathan, taking up the narrative. “He would refer me to his friends, and I would build houses for them. Eventually he purchased a house that Mel Gibson owned, and he wanted to build a brand-new house on that land. David asked me to take on that project, and by this time he really loved the building process, and asked if he could join the business. I suggested he take on the sales role, finding and getting projects on board for the future, while I focus on operations and building. Basically, I ended up with a really great salesperson!”   

Seamless synergy 

The match might sound unlikely, but Nathan and David have now established Jones Builders Group (JBG) as a creator of dream homes and commercial properties in Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Santa Monica, and Brentwood. Their reputation for the highest standards means that they are approached by clients months before they even break ground, in order to gain their valuable insights and skills, as well as utilize the state-of-the-art technology they embrace as part of the process.  

“We have an in-house 3D modeler, where we input all the plans from architectural to plumbing,” explains Nathan. “We create a 3D model, which we use to work through any problems that may arise as part of the design or build. That way we can minimize any delays to the build resulting from unforeseen conflicts.” 

But it is the truly personal touch that sets JBG apart, and David joins the conversation to give more details. “We pride ourselves on our level of finish, and we’re very detail oriented. We like everything to be as close to perfect as we can get it,” he says. 

“We also live the same kind of lifestyle as our clients in Malibu, we understand the materials and comfort levels they are looking for, because we have that in our own homes. I think we bring a synergy to our clients to make them feel comfortable with the process.”  

Reliable relationships 

Given the scale of the projects worked on by JBG (with clients’ budgets starting at a minimum of $4 million) it’s not surprising that the pair can’t discuss individual homes, as they are covered by non-disclosure agreements. “We work with a lot of high-end, well-known people who like to keep these details private,” David notes. “Our projects incorporate world renowned architects such as Giannettis in Malibu, and luxury designers, as well as carefully chosen subcontractors,” adds Nathan.  

Assembling and retaining that team of people can be a challenge though, particularly in an expensive state such as California. “The house prices here are so outrageous that younger people are looking to move away, especially if they want to start a family. We’ve lost some amazing people from the business, who want to own a home – it’s the American dream after all! But California is too pricey, and so they are forced to relocate to other areas they can afford,” Nathan reveals. “But we subcontract around 90 percent of the work and we have established a very reliable subcontractor network, and make sure not to overwhelm one contractor with too much work.” 

“We’ve realized that managing our own people is a job in itself,” adds David. “Finding the right people who fit with us and can do this day in, day out for years is sometimes a challenge. I think what is missing for me is finding people with enough experience. We are always trying to find people who will continue to work in our company, who have the same vision, who have the same mindset and who can contribute to the JBG family that we have created.”  

Expanding operations

Working in California engenders enhanced legislative and regulatory requirements, including around renewable energy. “California is really cutting edge in this area, and there’s a certain number of solar panels that have to be included on new homes, as well as an electric car charging point,” says Nathan. “We’re finding that when incorporated with a Tesla battery storage backup system, it not only greatly reduces energy bills, but it protects the homeowners from blackouts. 

“In high fire zones there can be a lot of power cuts, because high winds cause power lines to fall, and they cause fires. So, in Malibu they cut the power on high wind days, and we find that clients who didn’t get a backup system initially experience a few blackouts and are then keen to investigate it retroactively!” 

Given its understanding of what is required to deliver the most luxurious properties in California, it’s not surprising to learn that JBG is considering sharing the benefit of its experience in a new location, as David reveals. “You know, Aspen is incredible, but it is Miami where we’ve been talking about opening a division, as we have noticed that there aren’t a lot of high-end builders there. 

“There are a few great ones, but I think that very high-quality builders are a little bit harder to find. When Nathan and I were there, we felt the city was what LA was maybe ten years ago, and when we talked to owners’ reps, they told us that it’s very hard for them to get the level of quality they are looking for.” 

“They have hit a huge boom and they’re building a lot of beautiful homes, and we know what these owners’ reps, architects, designers and clients expect,” adds Nathan. “We are very familiar with the requirements of coastal building, we can advise on the right materials for the environment, as well as make sure we deliver the JBG level of luxury that these premium builds require.” 

“We would have to find the right subcontractors, because I think that the real missing part in Miami from the homes that I’ve seen is that the contractors don’t realize what works and what doesn’t work long term,” David states. “I’ve been in homes that were two or three years old, and you see all the outside cabinetry, you see the stone, you see the roofing, you see all the waterproofing that is not well done. We take huge pride in making sure all the finer details are taken care of – we would even over waterproof because we don’t want to see any issues.  

Luxury living 

“Malibu is a hard place to build, and I think we could supply a service in Miami because we’ve already been through the challenges, battling the ocean and the elements. We could be an asset, and save people money down the road. Some beautiful homes are being built, but the products they are being built with are not sustainable.” 

“At this level, clients want a forever home,” Nathan continues. “They are doing this once, and it must last. Of course, if we are building a home such as this, our reputation is on the line as well. When we’re relying on word of mouth to get future work, we need clients to endorse our services, and recommend us to their network. That means the standards must be exemplary every time.”  

As we talk about future work, the conversation returns to the first house that David and Nathan built together, which has become a showpiece to illustrate to future clients what they can deliver and remains as a testament to their philosophies. “We still show people around and in fact it got us a couple of jobs this year,” says David.  

“Trends always change, and the pandemic was a huge turning point,” adds Nathan. “Today people are designing their houses to have everything they need in one place – they want an office, a gym, and sports facilities at home – and very personal to them. The process is about how they want to live and how they want their house to work. Everyone now is including a pickleball court, and cold plunge pools.” 

“I am surprised Nathan is endorsing pickleball when he’s a padel fan,” laughs David. “But the point is that clients spend a lot of time and energy making sure friends and family are comfortable – and impressed! That helps us as well, because when we do a great job, they tell their friends who built it.”  

Dream team 

Having worked together for nearly two decades, David and Nathan are well established in their roles, and continue to play to their strengths. David notes that he doesn’t ‘get in Nathan’s lane’. “Building our first house turned out to be a great way to get to know somebody, and I learned quickly that Nathan is someone I can totally trust, which is a trait I really respect. We’ve never had a single query or accounting problem, and in this town, you don’t last long if you’re known for cutting a corner. We have complete trust in our relationship, and while I don’t know half of what Nathan knows and I would never pretend to, we’re becoming bigger and I am trying to help manage the team a bit more and check in with clients. But my focus continues to be ensuring the JBG order book is healthy.” 

It will be exciting to check in with them again to see how the Miami plans are unfolding. But before then, JBG looks set to continue to deliver exceptional craftsmanship, and unparalleled service, creating exquisite living spaces that play a starring role in the lives of their clients.