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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 11-8-14 – Where’s the Beef? (and the RREM $$) – Rebuilding Seminar Next Wednesday 11/12/14 – New Sunset Beach Model – NJ vs. NY in rebuilding

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

11-8-14

Hello Sandsters –

Happy Election Week…if you’re Republican, you’re in Fat City – wishing for major changes. If you’re a Democrat you’re not too happy – wishing for major changes.

Imagine if positive change actually happened and we had some positive movement in government instead of juvenile bickering?

Here’s to that hope for all of us. May there emerge from the scrum a group of politicians that have clarity and wisdom and our best interests at heart!

That sounds good anyway – and it’s always better for your digestion and your sanity to look at the glass half full.

Hopefully this post finds you well and moving along with your project.

We have a few interesting things for you today.

We’ll talk about the 4 main issues with RREM and give you a review and a link to an excellent article that offers a great breakdown of the RREM challenges we’re facing (translation: why we’re screwing the pooch with RREM here in New Jersey  – and how much better we’re doing than New York). We’ll remind you about our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar in Toms River to be held next Wednesday 11/12/14 at 6 pm. Finally, our new Sunset Beach model is framed in Toms River and ready to see. It is a beautiful house with a great island feel and perfect for the shore. We also mention the many wonderful heartfelt comments we’ve received from our clients.

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar – November 12th – Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held next Wednesday November 12, 2014 at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library in the Green Room. We’ll start at 6 and keep answering questions until they kick us out. We’ll be hosting Scott Lepley, architect and Kathy Dotoli, an attorney in Toms River. I’ll be moderating and providing construction input. Since it’s the Library, we’ll be sneaking in cookies and those little pepperoni & cheese platters everyone loves. Please call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Where’s the Beef? Many people who haven’t gotten money yet for rebuilding are wondering where all the money actually is and why it hasn’t been distributed more quickly.

There’s a link below to an article in WNYC news called “Where’s the (Sandy Aid) Money?” which breaks some of the issues down fairly well.

To summarize, New Jersey says it’s the Feds’ fault, with the onerous, time-consuming (expensive, unnecessary) environmental, archeological, lead & asbestos inspections as large causes for delay. Very true.

The Feds say that New Jersey suffers from sloppy record keeping, poor choices of sub-contractors ($80 million contract to HGI for 9 months work and I think a light bulb was changed in an office somewhere, but not one dime was distributed for construction), and general lack of knowledge and preparedness to administer a grant program on this scale. Also, very true.

Everyone’s slightly right, but everyone is also a bit more wrong, and no one group explains the entire story.

In reality, we’ve only distributed $290 million of the $1.1 billion we’ve been awarded specifically for RREM, which is not where we should be. Granted there is supposedly another $110 million of work in the pipeline, but we are a far cry from where we should be in distributing RREM money.

It’s a decent short article that’s worth your review.

http://www.wnyc.org/story/wheres-money-sandy-aid/?utm_source=/story/us-sues-nyc-over-medicaid-claims-worth-millions/&utm_medium=treatment&utm_campaign=morelikethis

Continuing on that note…and because when a butterfly flaps its wings in Beijing, we feel a breeze in Toms River, I’m throwing out another point for consideration.

Question: To what extent do you think that the delays in permitting, plan approval and inspections are affecting the speed and ability of RREM to distribute money?

Answer: to a great extent. Delays are greatly affecting the money flow, for the simple reason that significant money is not released for a home project until permits are in place and work commences.

How much more money could we be distributing if we weren’t losing 1-2 months on each project from sheer ignorance and pigheadedness on the part of building departments? I’m going on record with a $60 – $75 million dollar figure for additional work that would already be underway, which is 20% – 25% of the funding that RREM has already released. That’s a sad little thought.

Maybe RREM and the DCA should start accepting the fact that the delays at the township level trump any increase in efficiency at the state or federal level. New Jersey and the Feds may start running at 100% efficiency, in which case the local delays would stand out, but I think that’s somewhat of a long shot.

Instead I think the delay is like a cancer or a parasite, which despite the best efforts of the host to thrive, inexorably drains small amounts of blood or in this case, kills small amounts of energy each day.

Mark my words Sandsters – at some point in this circus, this point will come up and someone will say, “Hey, we should really look at this permit/inspection delay thing. It’s clogging up the whole works here.”

Thank you to all the Sandsters that text, email and call with the kindest words for our rebuilding efforts. If I am helping 10% as much as people tell me, it is amazingly worthwhile. Thank God I am in this place at this time to help this many people. There aren’t many other pursuits in life that are more gratifying than helping people return to their homes.

House Lifting & New Home Fall schedule: We have about 8 projects starting between now and year’s end, and all but 1 have been plagued by permit and review issues. So, instead of working nicely in the brisk fall weather, we will be struggling right into the winter. Thank you Jersey Shore building departments near and far for ensuring that we will get tougher working in the dead of winter!

New Sunset Beach Model framed in Toms River: For Sandsters thinking of designing a new home, we’ve recently introduced a new model called the Sunset Beach. Stop by and take a look at it at 318 Rt. 37 East in the Pelican Island section of Toms River. (Be careful and park around the corner on a side street. Rt. 37 is very busy.) The Sunset Beach is a beautiful house with a distinct island look and feel. This model is being built at about 1800 square feet but is very versatile and can be as small as 1400 and as large as 2500 square feet. Send me an email if you want to check out the new plan. We’ll be starting the house soon on Rt. 37 West in Pelican Island so stop by and see us.

How New Jersey is faring versus New York: Though it seems like we’re moving on the wings of fleeting snails her at the Shore, we are like lightening compared to New York. To date, their implementation is 15% of ours – less than $40 million distributed, as opposed to $300 million we’ve put to work. Not that a comparison like this is much consolation to Sandsters who are still out of their homes waiting for RREM to finish some ridiculous study or other, but on a macro level and a historical basis, we are doing extremely well in comparison. Small solace indeed if you are still waiting, but it’s something.

Techniques for dealing with Jersey Shore Building Departments (partial repeat): Begging, fainting, feigning injury, knowing the mayor, the governor, the Pope, threatening to call any of these people, explaining that your project is a RREM project (60% of active jobs are) or threatening to call the DCA will generally not work to motivate your local building department to move at any greater than a glacial pace. Cookies occasionally work. Caustic humor sometimes will move the needle a bit. Usually, you just suffer…and wait…and wait.

Going every single day and asking nicely will eventually work – but so will doing absolutely nothing but waiting.

Sad (Repeat): Building departments in Sandy affected towns are the single largest cause of delay in rebuilding. It’s not the building process – it’s the permit and inspection process that’s slowing everything down. I welcome intelligent dispute from anyone with knowledge to the contrary.

Tip to Speed Up Your Project (repeat) – Surveys/Foundation Location/Piling certs: Reminder to get your piling certifications and foundation / girder survey in to the township as soon as possible after your pilings & girders / concrete foundation is complete. Often you can’t schedule additional inspections until this inspection has passed. Surveys and certifications take time, so order them immediately after finishing your foundation so you won’t be delayed.

RREM – Repeat – Condensed note and reminder: If you’re not getting movement on your RREM file, look to yourself first because your PM is very interested in getting your money to you. Try and take whatever steps you can to be as ready as possible when your magic number pops up and you actually sign your grant. Having a contractor chosen and (even better) some of your design work complete gives you a real advantage when you are eager to get started.

Good 1st step to get started: If you aren’t living in your home, and know you are raising or demolishing it, call for your electric, gas and cable disconnects. There’s no reason not to, and it will be one more item off the list. Also, have your builder or a plumbing / utility contractor do the water & sewer cut and cap. You can also go ahead and demo your house if you are certain you’re not raising it, and have chosen to rebuild.

Good Step #2: Start your design work. Soil boring, plans, survey, plot plan. If you haven’t found a builder who is handling all of this for you, there’s no reason other than sloth why you shouldn’t get it started yourself. You’re going to spend approximately the same amount anyway, whether you buy your design work from RREM or you do it yourself. There’s no reason you can’t be ready to go when you finally find a builder you’re comfortable with.

Remember, design and survey fees cost you the same amount whether you do them yourself directly with the architect, engineer, township, etc. or whether you have your builder or contractor handle that work. It’s just a question of being able to start working on your project, even if you haven’t chosen a contractor.

(The next item got so many comments in the last blog that I am including it again for amusement and reflection).

Warning – Do Not Try This At Home: DO NOT try and general contract your own home elevation project yourself…unless you are very experienced in construction and management, have another house to live in that is close by, have an extremely competent flexible disposition, have more money than you think you need and enjoy mental anguish. You should be single also, unless you really don’t care if your spouse is around or talking to you when you’re finished. (kidding but only a little).

This is not a deck or adding a room. It’s complicated and professionals make mistakes on every job. It’s not something that you should undertake yourself.

Definitions & Important Considerations That Can Delay Your Project:

Lowest adjacent grade (LAG): This is an important elevation since the lowest point in your crawl space has to be even or above the LAG. That is important because even if you don’t want your crawl filled that much (so you have more storage space) you will not pass final zoning / final building if this condition is not met. LAG is defined as the lowest grade immediately next to your house. There can easily be a foot or more difference between one side and the other, or back to front, so if you wish to use the least amount of fill (maximizing room in the crawl) make sure you find the lowest adjacent elevation.

Elevation: Elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. It’s easy to make a mistake with these descriptions and it causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising your home to elevation 11, your finished floor is 6 and your grade is 4.5, you are raising your house 5’ to elevation 11, or 6.5’ above grade. When you use the expression “elevating my home 5 feet” that means you are lifting it 5’ from where it is now. The expression “building or raising the home to elevation 11” refers to the height above sea level, not the distance you are lifting.

Survey: An exact depiction of what exists on your lot, from a top view.

Plot plan: A top view of what you are proposing to build, including new heights, stairs, entries, decks, etc.

They are not the same and you will need both for your project.

You Tube Link to a Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: If you’ve missed our seminars and can’t easily attend, here is a link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVI69KoM8DRXqoEblHd94xg

It is not edited and is about 2 hours so feel free to fast forward and skip around to watch what you like and need to know.

Go Pro Action – I’ve been strapping on my Go Pro, filming the chaos that is a house lift and have uploaded a couple of videos. Stay tuned for more laughs and (hopefully) greater clarity and understanding about what actually happens when we lift homes.

This coming week we’ll be doing a lift and moving a house, which will be extremely interesting to see if you haven’t ever seen that process. We use Ivory Soap….and 100 ton rollers…:)

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I’ll always try and help you or guide you in the right direction. If you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog to help as many Sandsters as possible, Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We actually do all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.

That’s all for today Sandsters. I hope it helps you move forward. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well.

Regards,

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Licensed NJ New Home Builder License# 045894

Licensed NJ Home Improvement Contractor License# 13VH07489000

PO Box 627 Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder


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After the lift – Foundation in place – Brick – 9-26-14

Hi Sandsters -

In an exuberance of creative marketing effort for a Sunday (not normal for me, believe me) I am posting another video of a home after the lift, prior to lowering on a new foundation.

Again, these videos are for times when you have nothing better to do than listen to me babble about construction.

Rely on the written blog for details, but watch the videos for color and amusement.

Click here to view the video.

Take care.

Vince


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Video – Preparing a house for Lift – 9-26-14

Hello Sandsters -

Hope you are well and enjoying your Sunday.

I will be posting a series of short videos that demonstrate various aspects of home elevation and construction. Comments and input are appreciated.

Note: I am not Francis Ford Coppola…this content is not edited…:)

Enjoy. Click the link below to view the video.

Preparing a house for elevation – 9-26-14 

Regards,

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Licensed NJ New Home Builder &

Home Improvement Contractor

PO Box 627

Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog:http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder


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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 10-25-14 New NJ Elevation Law & Seminar – Date Change – Now Wednesday 11/12/13 at 6 pm

Home elevation requirement – New Law – 10-1-14

Hello Sandsters -

Hope you are well and enjoying your weekend.

Believe it or not, this might just be the First Short Rebuilding Blog…:) Today, we’ll just talk about seminar date changes and touch on the new Home Elevation Law in NJ. And that’s all, folks…:)

Just a short note today about a change of date for our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar. It is now been moved up one day to Wednesday, 11/12/14 at 6 pm from the date I previously announced, which was Thursday 11/13/14.

For those of you who have responded already, I will be sending you an email with an update. Anyone else who would like to attend, please note the date has changed.

So the next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar  will now be held on Wednesday November 12th at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library in the fantastic Green Room. We’ll start at 6 and keep answering questions until they kick us out. We’ll be hosting Evan Hill, engineer, Scott Lepley, architect and Kathy Dotoli, an attorney in Toms River. I’ll be moderating and providing construction input and amusement. As always, we’ll be serving light refreshments since everyone’s hungry by 6:30. Please call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

On another note, on October 1, NJ passed a law requiring any contractor elevating houses in NJ to have a separate license. This is a fantastic thing for consumers in NJ and something I wholeheartedly agree with. Our preferred elevation contractor, Baumgardner House Lifting, was the first company in NJ to apply for the new license.

In typical NJ fashion, none of the new licenses have been issued pending document review, but thankfully there are provisions in the law that allow contracted work to proceed while NJ is sharpening their pencils and getting their file folders in order.

I posted a link above to a flier that we received  which outlines some of the new requirements if you would like to review it further. You can also go to http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/HIC for more information.

Enjoy the weekend Sandsters.

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Licensed NJ New Home Builder & Home Improvement Contractor

PO Box 627

Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder


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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 10-21-14 – RREM News – Update World Record House Lifting – Rebuilding Seminar 11/13/14 – Worst Townships for Delays in Permitting & Inspections – RREM Path B Updates – Cost/benefit analysis for your project

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

10-22-14

Hello Sandsters -

Hopefully this post finds you well and moving along with your project.

It’s been too long since I’ve written, so we have a bit of catching up to do.

We’ll give you an update to the World Record for Most House Elevations in a Single Week (still holding, even though it was 10 days and not 1 week). We’ll mention our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar in Toms River on 11/13/14, list our first Worst Townships at the Shore, and speak about cost/benefit and adding value during your elevation project. We give you our latest thoughts in the world of RREM.

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar – November 13th – Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library in the green room. We’ll start at 6 and keep answering questions until they kick us out. We’ll be hosting Jeff Barton, architect, Evan Hill, engineer and Kathy Dotoli, an attorney in Toms River. I’ll be moderating and providing construction input and we’ll be serving light refreshments. Please call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

World House Lifting Record – Update – Ok, we didn’t make 3 in one week but we did do it in 10 days. 2 of the houses have had new foundations completed and had the houses lowered back down, and one is scheduled to be lowered this week. Not bad time considering we lost some days to lousy wet weather. The fall has been busy and it looks like it will continue right into the winter.

Cost / Benefit and Saving Money: I’ve written much about various aspects of cost, pricing and value in the elevation / new construction process and I thought I’d touch on that again.

Remember Sandsters – just because an architect draws a pretty picture of something you just need to have, a builder tells you a great ideas you should really add to your home, a mason shows you beautiful stone work and hardscape or a flooring person tells you how amazing porcelain tile would look in your kitchen or sunroom, does not mean that you should consider these options if they don’t work for you or your budget.

Assuming that money is a consideration (which it normally is to some extent), if the contemplated improvement does not add demonstrable value to your home or improve your quality of life in some manner, think long and hard about making an unnecessary improvements during your elevation process.

It is not necessarily the best idea to include every home improvement you’ve been dreaming about for the last decade, just because you must raise your house to avoid getting buried with higher flood insurance rates.

One action (elevating your home) is the minimum rational response to an unexpected event which you are undertaking to protect asset value and prevent greater expense in the future. The other action (adding in every new option you can think of while rebuilding) is not a necessary one, and can sometimes cause you more grief than you need to deal with while raising your home.

Consider breaking your project into “Need” and “Want”. Once you’ve covered the “Need”, if your budget allows, cautiously add options, with an eye towards both resale and immediate usability.

Changing a deck from 20 year old painted pressure treated wood to composite decking and vinyl rail is a worthwhile improvement and something that is more convenient to do while elevating. While not necessary, it offers great resale value as well as savings in maintenance time and cost.

Adding a course or two of concrete block to your foundation to get to base flood plus 3 is the most worthwhile investment you can make, dollar for dollar. The cost to add concrete is often saved in a year or two of lower flood insurance premiums.

Redoing the entire yard in pavers, extensive landscaping, repainting the house, installing $20 per square foot marble tile or $14 psf hardwood, changing a perfectly good 5 year old kitchen, getting new appliances or a new garage door may or may not add value and don’t have to be done with your elevation project. They can all easily be done at a later time.

These are just some thoughts to help you keep perspective.

Building Departments & Zoning issues – Repeat of THE PUSH … That’s when you bring in a pile of paper you have very meticulously prepared and present it proudly to the person at the counter. They detect a period out of place and slowly push your application back to you with a smirk, a sad shake of the head and a, “Get what you’re missing and come back and try it again…better luck next time…!”.

Warning: Begging, fainting, feigning injury, knowing the mayor, the governor, the Pope, threatening to call any of these people, explaining that your project is a RREM project (60% of active jobs are) or threatening to call the DCA will generally not work to motivate your local building department to move at any greater than a glacial pace. Cookies occasionally work. Caustic humor sometimes will move the needle a bit. Usually, you just suffer…and wait…and wait.

Here we go again with The Blog Rant… See my last blog for more detailed cynical criticism of building departments up and down the shore…For this blog we’ll simply list the townships we’re working in, from Worst to Best…Brick, Toms River, Little Egg, Stafford all tied for worst in class…Point and Lacey are much better…Ship Bottom is ok…Barnegat  & Ocean Gate are ok…unfortunately over 50% of affected Sandsters are living in the first 4 towns, which are the worst….L The last time I went to Brick, there was actually a man in the waiting room who had died waiting for a permit and was starting to smell a little bad. (Yes, I’m kidding. They do clean the bodies up at the end of each day).

Like I said in the last blog, I think we should move to a Domino’s Pizza format – 21 days or It’s Free! What’s wrong with that? We would all be thrilled to save $2000 if the permit process took 22 days or longer!

We’re being charged for permit review and inspections – they’re not free.

Another idea is to have the township pay us $100 for each inspection that is scheduled over 72 hours after being requested. If that happened, no one will mind the delays, as long as they pay us when they’re late.

We should be lobbying for the 21 Days or It’s Free Bill in the state legislature. That would do more to speed up rebuilding the shore than any other single action.

Repeat: Building departments in Sandy affected towns are the single largest cause of delay in rebuilding. Period. End of analysis. It’s not the building process – it’s the permit and inspection process that’s slowing everything down. I welcome intelligent dispute from anyone with knowledge to the contrary.

Reminder – dealing with delays: If you are being delayed, call the building department every single day and complain. After they ignore you a sufficient number of times, call the mayor and the DCA and complain. Eventually they will get tired of your antics and you will get your permit.

Townships, Sandsters are really tired of being treated like we’re an annoyance. We’re paying your salaries and it’s time you started realizing that – and time that we started reminding you quite loudly.

Tip to Speed Up Your Project – Surveys/Foundation Location/Piling certs: Reminder to get your piling certifications and foundation / girder survey in to the township as soon as possible after your pilings & girders / concrete foundation is complete. Often you can’t schedule additional inspections until this inspection has passed. Surveys and certifications take time, so order them immediately after finishing your foundation so you won’t be delayed.

RREM Path B – Latest Secret – Repeat, review and comment: Since we’ve arrived at a performance based metric for evaluation of program managers, the money flow has really started to improve. Repeat: Program managers are now being evaluated based on how much money they manage to release to Path B Sandsters in a given period of time. That is excellent news for those Sandsters who are prepared and ready to go, since yours is the file that is now most likely to be plucked from the queue and given priority. We’ve finally (and not a moment too soon) arrived at a rational evaluatory process to gauge how we’re doing with RREM.

Tip: In order for your case manager or construction manager to be able to move your file along, you need a contract with a contractor who has been approved by RREM. Without that to review, as well as the insurance and license information so the builder can be approved by RREM, your project will not move, so the ball is firmly in your court Sandsters.

Summary: If you’re not getting movement on your file, look to yourself first because your PM is very interested in getting your money to you.

Reminder – Repeat – Good 1st step to get started: If you aren’t living in your home, and know you are raising or demolishing it, call for your electric, gas and cable disconnects. There’s no reason not to, and it will be one more item off the list. You can also go ahead and demo your house if you are certain you’re not raising it, and have chosen to rebuild.

Great Step #2: Start your design work. Soil boring, plans, survey, plot plan. If you haven’t found a builder who is handling all of this for you, there’s no reason other than sloth why you shouldn’t get it started yourself. You’re going to spend approximately the same amount anyway. There’s no reason you can’t be ready to go when you finally find a builder you’re comfortable with.

Remember, design and survey fees cost you the same amount whether you do them yourself directly with the architect, engineer, township, etc. or whether you have your builder or contractor handle that work. It’s just a question of being able to start working on your project, even if you haven’t chosen a contractor.

Important Note: DO NOT try and general contract your own home elevation project house yourself…unless you are very experienced in construction and management, have another house to live in that is close by, have an extremely competent flexible disposition, have more money than you think you need and enjoy mental anguish. You should be single also, unless you really don’t care if your spouse is around or talking to you when you’re finished. (kidding but only a little).

This is not a deck or adding a room. It’s complicated and professionals make mistakes on every job. It’s not something that you should undertake yourself.

Definitions & Important Considerations That Can Delay Your Project:

Lowest adjacent grade (LAG): This is an important elevation since the lowest point in your crawl space has to be even or above the LAG. That is important because even if you don’t want your crawl filled that much (so you have more storage space) you will not pass final zoning / final building if this condition is not met. LAG is defined as the lowest grade immediately next to your house. There can easily be a foot or more difference between one side and the other, or back to front, so if you wish to use the least amount of fill (maximizing room in the crawl) make sure you find the lowest adjacent elevation.

Elevation: Elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. It’s easy to make a mistake with these descriptions and it causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising your home to elevation 11, your finished floor is 6 and your grade is 4.5, you are raising your house 5’ to elevation 11, or 6.5’ above grade. When you use the expression “elevating my home 5 feet” that means you are lifting it 5’ from where it is now. The expression “building or raising the home to elevation 11” refers to the height above sea level, not the distance you are lifting.

Survey: An exact depiction of what exists on your lot, from a top view.

Plot plan: A top view of what you are proposing to build, including new heights, stairs, entries, decks, etc.

They are not the same and you will need both for your project.

You Tube Link to a Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: If you’ve missed our seminars and can’t easily attend, here is a link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVI69KoM8DRXqoEblHd94xg

It is not edited and is about 2 hours so feel free to fast forward and skip around to watch what you like and need to know.

Go Pro – I am going to get a Go Pro and film the chaos that is a house lift. Stay tuned for laughs and (hopefully) greater clarity and understanding about what actually happens when we lift homes.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I’ll always try and help you or guide you in the right direction. If you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog to help as many Sandsters as possible, Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We actually do all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.  

That’s all for today Sandsters. I hope it helps you move forward. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well.

Regards,

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Licensed NJ New Home Builder License# 045894

Licensed NJ Home Improvement Contractor License# 13VH07489000

PO Box 627 Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder


Leave a comment

Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 6-29-14 – The Emporer is Naked! Path C is Gone! Huge Changes to the Shore – The $200 Million Learning Curve

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

6 – 29 -14

The RREM World Champion Blog!!   

NEWS FLASH: Path C Didn’t Work – Emporer Revealed to be Naked!

Happy summer Sunday to you, Sandsters!

Today we have a ton of great news! This is the blog I’ve been waiting to write.

Many of you already know (since it is becoming more of an open secret by the hour) that the DCA is about to announce that as of 7/1/14, Path C shall be no more. Dead, muerte, finis, finito, over, history, omega, good bye, done. As of June 30, 2014, if you haven’t already signed up for Path C, you will not be able to. There will be only Path B.

(Author’s note: The DCA has not yet made the announcement but this news has been directly confirmed from a dozen sources as of this date.)

To which we say, “Good riddance Path C – we knew all along that the emperor was an overweight middle aged naked white guy”.

We will not gloat and speak of water under the bridge, however. We will be gracious celebrating the victory of the rational free market, or rather the rare successful government / market cooperative alliance, which has adapted correctly to the actual needs of the market. It took RREM a year to close Path C, but it might have dragged on for 5 more years before someone had the brains to stop it, so we’re doing ok, relatively. Compared to NY and Louisiana we’re positively world class.

As an important note, anyone who has signed up for Path C already is grandfathered in and your project will proceed normally. To any Sandster stuck in Path C, we will keep you in our prayers. 

Moving forward, other than the aggravating fact that we pissed almost $200 million or so figuring all this out, we’re in decent shape.

With the advent of Path B as the sole direction, a number of important goals will be accomplished, both immediate (tactical) and long term (strategic). Of immediate importance, and thank God someone in the Christie administration is paying attention (or reading my blog), is the fact that we will now be able to disburse enough of the initial $600 million grant to qualify to use the other $880 million which we’ve already been allocated from HUD. (Remember: our federal government has the quaint notion that there’s no sense giving a state more money if they can’t spend what they’ve already been given. It’s use it or lose it. There is a glimmer of truth to that).

In any case, now RREM is free to push people to make decisions since there is no more ability to rely on Path C. You’ll have to take a position – either scramble some eggs or get out of the kitchen to make way for the next guy.

That’s the stimulus that will get the money spent in time for the November deadline. I figure we’re about $150 – $200 million or so short of the goal of $450 million, which is achievable when you consider it’s going out in $75,000 chunks. 1500 or so new Sandsters in the mix and all of a sudden you’re getting it done, and now we have another $800 million to spend.

You know, a million here, a million there and pretty soon you’re talking about some real movement in the economy…J

Strategically, the effects of this change in policy are even broader. A mindset has been changed. We can dispense with the subterfuge and artificial crutch of Big Brother fixing our homes and do things for ourselves as we should have right from the beginning. When you want to build a house, you go to a builder, not an accountant, a data entry clerk, a middle manager, a DCA attorney, a HUD accountant, a senior manager, an auditor, an inspector and the guy who delivers the water. Much momentum will immediately be created without all that additional unnecessary friction of process.

On the negative side, in the short term we will experience both price increases in material and labor, as well as skilled labor and construction management shortages. Prices for both material and labor have increased quite a bit in the last 6 months and they will continue to do so. More importantly, all businesses have capacity issues – one can wait for the person or team you’ve chosen or try to find someone else. Soon, there won’t be many “someone elses” that are not also very busy. However, there’s no sense worrying about it other than as an added encouragement not to waste any time moving forward. It is what it is – one can complain about the market and wait until it changes or jump in and deal with existing conditions.

Back to the light – on another extremely bright note, it appears through the RREM grapevine that GAP funding will shortly be available to Path B recipients! That is outstanding news and long overdue. I mean, one would rationalize that without a Path C towards which to artificially direct valid Red Cross funding, GAP funding will now be available to Path B Sandsters, but that is unconfirmed though broadly acknowledged as of this date. Once again, great news. Remember, GAP funding is income based, so if you qualify you get it. $30,000 is $30,000 and I specifically know it will help bridge the gap for a lot of people.

Next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Date – Next month at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin: Our next Nearly Famous Seminar will be held at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin and will happen sometime in the 3rd week of July. I haven’t firmed up a date but as soon as I do, I’ll post it. Last year’s Manahawkin seminar was very popular and this year should be even better. Call me at 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Repeat from 6/23/14 Blog – Sandsters – Call to Action! If you want to enjoy your house this summer but still want to be back in your elevated home before Thanksgiving, you must start your design scope very soon. You will want to have your final plans, survey, plot plan, flood elevation certificate and permit packages ready to go immediately after Labor Day, which means you should have started already or be getting started in the next few weeks. If you still need a soil boring and geotechnical analysis, make sure you order it soon. In mid August, you will need to call for electric, gas, phone and cable utility disconnects yourself, and your builder will generally handle water and sewer cut and cap services. When you do call for disconnects, make sure you request a date certain for the shutoffs.

The point is to not procrastinate too much longer if you want start in September and be back in your house before Thanksgiving. So carpe the old Diem, tempus fugit, get the lead out and get going!…JJ

This week’s RREM Abbreviation, about the demise of Path C:

RREM: Resoundingly Respectable Excellent Mutation

New Sunset Beach Model arriving soon in Toms River! For those of you thinking of designing a new home, we’ve recently introduced a new model called the Sunset Beach. It’s a very different house with a distinct island look and feel. This model is being done in about 1800 square feet but can be as small as 1400 and as large as 2500 square feet. Send me an email if you want to check out the new plan. We’ll be starting the house soon on Rt 37 West in Pelican Island so stop by and see us.

Repeat from 6/23/14 – Important for House Sizing – RREM “Footprint” Comments: Prior to this point, I understood that if your rebuilding new (reconstruction) the maximum increase in size to your new house was a total of 300 square feet. Now I’ve confirmed that the 300 square foot maximum increase applies to the footprint only and not to the total square footage. That makes sense from the standpoint of impervious coverage – anything under 300 square foot increase does not normally trigger the need for a CAFRA or DEP permit and also requires just a minor soils conservation letter of eligibility.

That’s an important distinction and it means you can increase the size of the downstairs up to 300 square feet and still have an equal or slightly smaller upstairs in addition. So you can effectively almost double your square footage, assuming your budget allows.

Money Saving Tip – Repeat from 6/23/14: I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Though the single most important step to take at the beginning of your project is commissioning a soil boring and geotechnical analysis, you probably don’t need one if you are demolishing your home and installing pilings. In that case, you can drive a test piling to determine the point at which the soils offer the correct compaction (8, 10 or 12 tons normally) and size the pilings accordingly. You save about $2000 avoiding a soil boring. Frankly, as long as your foundation is certified to be solid and able to support your house, does you really care about the soil composition under your home every 6” down to 30 feet? I don’t think so.

Elevation – Repeat – Definition: Remember that elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. It’s easy to make a mistake with these descriptions and it causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising to elevation 11, your finished floor is 6 and your grade is 4.5, you are raising your house 5’ to elevation 11, or 6.5’ above grade. When you use the expression “elevating my home 5 feet” that means you are lifting it 5’ from where it is now. The expression “building or raising the home to elevation 11” refers to the height above sea level, not the distance you are lifting.

Repeat – RREM / HMGP tip of the day: Secret – What not to say to your housing advisor when asked about RREM or HMGP:  See 6/9/14 blog for more detail.

You Tube Link to the last Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: If you’ve missed our seminars and can’t easily attend, here is a link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVI69KoM8DRXqoEblHd94xg

It is not edited and is about 2 hours so feel free to fast forward and skip around to watch what you like and need to know.

Searching the Rebuilding after Sandy Blog for Your Topic: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. Just enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you’re interested in was discussed.

Special Feature for clients from Dream Homes: We take photos of all of our jobs on a regular basis and upload them to Dropbox. We then send a link to each client with their houses folder, so they can see what’s happening each day. Everyone seems to like this – you can feel very connected to the process even if you can’t be there.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.

Reminder: if you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog to help as many Sandsters as possible, Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We actually do all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.  

That’s all for today Sandsters – generally good news and I hope it helps you. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well.

Regards, 

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Licensed NJ New Home Builder License# 045894

Licensed NJ Home Improvement Contractor License# 13VH07489000

PO Box 627 Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog:http://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder

 

 

 


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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 6-23-14 – Changes to RREM Path B & C, Foundation ideas to Save $, Scheduling your fall project.

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

6 – 23 -14

Happy Summer Sandsters ! 

Summer’s finally here and I hope you’ve been enjoying the beautiful weather.

Today’s blog will talk about ongoing changes to RREM, particularly concerning Path B & C. We’ll talk about different options for the lower area of your raised house and discuss errors in your project and how to deal with them. We’ll offer some money saving tips and discuss sizing your new house correctly. We try and talk more construction today, but many of us are focused heavily on RREM so we discuss recent and proposed changes to both Paths. Finally, a call to action for anyone wanting to start in the fall and be back in their house for Thanksgiving.

Next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Date – Next month at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin: Our next Nearly Famous Seminar will be held at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin and will happen sometime in the 3rd week of July. I haven’t firmed up a date but as soon as I do, I’ll post it. Last year’s Manahawkin seminar was very popular and this year should be even better. Call me at 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Sandsters – Call to Action! If you want to enjoy your house this summer but still want to be back in your elevated home before Thanksgiving, make sure you start your design scope very soon. You will want to have your final plans, survey, plot plan, flood elevation certificate and permit packages ready to go immediately after Labor Day, which means you should have started already or be getting started in the next few weeks. If you still need a soil boring and geotechnical analysis, make sure you order it soon. In mid August, you will need to call for electric, gas, phone and cable utility disconnects yourself, and your builder will generally handle water and sewer cut and cap services. When you do call for disconnects, make sure you request a date certain for the shutoffs.

The point is to not procrastinate too much longer if you want start in September and be back in your house before Thanksgiving.

So carpe the old diem, tempus fugit, get the lead out and get going!…JJ

Another point to keep in mind is the fall season of this year will be extremely busy up and down the shore and you will definitely face scheduling and builder availability issues if you don’t get started soon. Reputed material shortages are not founded in reality, although material price appreciation certainly is a concern.

This week’s RREM Abbreviation:

RREM: Resoundingly Ridiculous Egregious Management

IMPORTANT NEWS – Change in policy – RREM Path C to Path B: Repeat from the last blog: I don’t know if this is public knowledge yet, but the policy is in effect. When you sign your DBA (Design Build Agreement) at your 5A meeting, you are committed to Path C and cannot change to Path B.

This is a very important note – until now you could sign the DBA and authorize the design scope (soil borings, surveying and engineering) but you were not committed to staying with Path C and could switch. That isn’t the case any longer. You have to decide at or prior to the 5A meeting (which is where the CM (construction manager) meets with your assigned contractor).

If you sign the DBA at your 5A meeting, you are stuck with Path C. Be really careful that you understand what is happening at your 5A meeting – if you are unsure, call me and I will talk you through it.

As always when unsure about anything with RREM, ask for a delay and consult with someone you trust.

New Sunset Beach Model arriving soon in Toms River! For those of you thinking of designing a new home, we’ve recently introduced a new model called the Sunset Beach. A collaboration between our clients Matt & Claudia as well as our long time architect Scott Lepley, the Sunset Beach is a very different house with a distinct island look and feel. This model is being done in about 1800 square feet but can be as small as 1400 and as large as 2500 square feet. Send me an email if you want to check out the new plan. We’ll be starting the house soon on Rt 37 West in Pelican Island so stop by and see us.

RREM “Footprint” Comments: This tip is a new one for me and comes courtesy of another excellent client I am working with in Forked River. Thanks Joanne!

Prior to this point, I understood that if your rebuilding new (reconstruction) the maximum increase in size to your new house was a total of 300 square feet. Now I’ve come to find that the 300 square foot maximum increase applies to the footprint only and not to the total square footage. That makes sense from the standpoint of impervious coverage – anything under 300 square foot increase does not normally trigger the need for a CAFRA or DEP permit and also requires just a minor soils conservation letter of eligibility.

That’s an important distinction and it means you can increase the size of the downstairs up to 300 square feet and still have an equal or slightly smaller upstairs in addition. So you can effectively almost double your square footage, assuming your budget allows.

As a note, I have not definitely confirmed this policy with RREM, but I suspect that it is true. It’s definitely something to consider when planning your new house.

Money Saving Tip #1:  This is a good technique I’ve used recently and is another good option to keep in mind as you are pricing your project. This idea comes to us courtesy of Jeff Barton, who is another good architect we work with in Stafford township – thanks Jeff!

The technique involves using concrete piers on either a continuous concrete footing or over piling caps (if you are building on helical or timber pilings) as opposed to a solid concrete foundation wall from the footing up to the house. Around the pier structure, a 2” x 4” skirt wall is constructed, over which either vinyl or fiber cement siding is installed. This technique necessarily utilizes less concrete block which is a definite savings, but does involve building a 2” x 4” wall and siding costs. You don’t have a solid block wall, but if that isn’t important to you, you can save some money.

The net result can be $5,000 – $10,000 in savings depending on the height of your crawlspace. The higher the crawl/basement, the greater the savings.

Money Saving Tip #2: I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Though the single most important step to take at the beginning of your project is commissioning a soil boring and geotechnical analysis, you probably don’t need one if you are demolishing your home and installing pilings. In that case, you can drive a test piling to determine the point at which the soils offer the correct compaction (8, 10 or 12 tons normally) and size the pilings accordingly. You save about $2000 avoiding a soil boring. Frankly, as long as your foundation is certified to be solid and able to support your house, does anyone really care about the soil composition under your home every 6” down to 30 feet? I don’t think so.

Elevation – Repeat – Definition: Please remember that elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above your grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. It’s easy to make a mistake with this and causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising to elevation 11, your finished floor is 6 and your grade is 4.5, you are raising your house 5’ to elevation 11, or 6.5’ above grade. When you use the expression “elevating my home  5 feet” that means you are lifting it 5’ from where it is now. The expression “building or raising the home to elevation 11” refers to the height above sea level, not the distance you are lifting.

Elevating your home – Appearance and Exterior Finishes: Repeat – Good information about finishing the lower level of your elevated home – See the last Blog from June 7, 2014.

Repeat – RREM / HMGP tip of the day: Secret – What not to say to your housing advisor when asked about RREM or HMGP: See last week’s blog for more detail.

You Tube Link to the last Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: If you’ve missed our seminars and can’t easily attend, here is a link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVI69KoM8DRXqoEblHd94xg

It is not edited and is about 2 hours so feel free to fast forward and skip around to watch what you like and need to know.

Searching the Rebuilding Blog: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. You don’t need to read every blog to find what you want – simply enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you’re interested in was discussed.

Special Feature for clients from Dream Homes: We take photos of all of our jobs on a regular basis and upload them to Dropbox. We then send a link to each client with their houses folder, so they can see what’s happening each day. Everyone seems to like this – you can feel very connected to the process even if you can’t be there.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.

Reminder: if you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog to help as many Sandsters as possible, Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We actually do all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.

That’s all I have tonight Sandsters – hope it helps. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well.

Regards,

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Licensed NJ New Home Builder License# 045894

Licensed NJ Home Improvement Contractor License# 13VH07489000

PO Box 627 Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog:http://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder

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