Dream Homes Ltd.
Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC
Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –
Hello Sandsters and Happy Thanksgiving (two weeks late).
I started this blog the day after Thanksgiving, which goes to show you how things have been lately.
In any case, I hope everyone’ holiday was healthy and drama free and there were no deep fried frozen turkey explosions. At this point we’re all deep into the (dreaded) holiday season, madly going and doing and visiting and rushing like mad. Joy. It almost feels like a rebuilding project that happens every year.
Hopefully this post finds you well and moving along with your project. If you missed our last 2 seminars, we’ll be having another in late January or early February. I will send dates when I have them.
I have many interesting things for you today, but I’m going to follow my own advice about getting something done though it may not be perfect or complete and just do a short Bloglet today. Maybe if I didn’t brain*%&$# each 3 page blog like it was being submitted to the Pulitzer committee, I could get blogs out more frequently.
RREM Payment & Draw Request Hints and Tips: Please note that I recently learned that you are entitled to 3 draw requests (as opposed to 2) in addition to your initial 50% grant request. I had previously written and believed it to be 2 additional requests, as opposed to 3. This may help if your project is taking longer then 60 days or so, which is a time frame that many builders are experiencing.
With us, we’re normally 90% of the way through the project by the time we do our second invoice, which is usually when our Sandster clients submit their first draw request to RREM. Remember, for RREM to advance their first draw after the initial 50% disbursement, work on your project has to be completed in excess of 50%. Otherwise you are wasting one of your requests. When the percentage of completion for each item or category is calculated, the total amount must be monetarily in excess of the 50% initial grant release, and over 50% of the project must be complete.
Electric Reconnection – Finally Explained: Ok, here it is finally – an understandable explanation about how exactly your electric is reconnected to your house, and what you have to do to make it happen.
The second part is easy for Sandsters – you don’t have to do anything. It is not like the gas company, where you have to call. Your builder and his electrician should submit the reconnection paperwork letting the electric company know that you want service to resume in the old name, so you shouldn’t have to contact anyone (except to bug them to set your meter, but that is later).
The reconnection part is a little confusing and I find myself explaining it about 12 times a week, so I thought I’d clarify it here for everyone.
When your house is set back down on the new foundation after a lift (or when your new house is sided), the electrician lowers the meter pan and stack so the top of the glass is no more than 6’ from the ground and no less than Base Flood plus 1. If your flood elevation does not permit the meter to be set low enough, a platform must be built so the meter reader can climb up and read the meter.
(Author’s note: It is absurd that in the age of wireless and remote everything, the electric company cannot read a meter unless it’s comfortably at eye level, which would alleviate the need for these stupid platforms which look ridiculous on the side of the house. They’re kind of like stairs to nowhere. Maybe AC Electric and JCPL have never heard of the water companies who have those nifty little $2 remote readers that can be read with an infrared scanner gun from 20’ away? Why is this? More nonsensical procedure.)
Back at the ranch, when the meter pan and stack have been lowered (new siding must be in place), your builder or electrician will call the township for an Electrical Service Inspection (not to be confused with a rough electrical inspection, which is completely different). The township electrical inspector (not the electric company) will come out, look at the outside pan and stack, check heights and grounding, make sure the top breaker in the inside panel is also not more than 6’ from the floor, and you will hopefully pass your Electrical Service Inspection.
At this the township will (hopefully) send in a Cut In Card to your electric company, which let’s them know that the service was installed correctly and they can come out and set a meter. I say “hopefully” because sometimes the township forgets to do this simple little task and you languish quietly and suffer, thinking the world is spinning correctly on its axis, when it is not.
(Author’s note #2: Because I am obsessive, need to triple check every item, have a deep fear of missing something and losing data, and have a contingency plan for up to 3 iterations of every event, we always call the township the day after the service inspection passes and ask if the Cut In Card has been sent to the electric company. This sometimes annoys them, which couldn’t concern me less. We also ask for a copy of the cut in card for the file, which townships will sometimes give and more often not. No one wants to give up control of the paper. They will tell you if they have sent it in to the electric company).
At that point, you can start pestering the electric company for a date for the meter to be set. When you call, it helps speed things up if you give them your DR Number, which is on your original disconnect letter (DR stands for Disconnect/Reconnect). In fairness, JCPL and AC Electric are very good about meter sets after they receive the Cut In Card from the township. They run a week to two. Delays are usually caused by a breakdown on the township end.
Usually within a week or so, a meter will magically appear at your house, you will have power at your panel and at least one circuit will be working.
Now the electrician can complete the balance of the reconnections to the house, or installation of the wiring if it is a new home, and your builder will call for a Rough Electric Inspection. Once that passes, you can get frame inspection or insulation inspection if needed and close your walls.
Thanks again 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, this blog has been amazingly effective. Thank God I am in this place at this time to counsel this many people. There aren’t many other pursuits in life that are more gratifying than helping people return to their homes. I’m going to post a testimonial page on the web site and blog with all the wonderful comments.
House Lifting – Fall / Winter schedule – Delays: We have 22 active projects going between Point and Atlantic City with a bunch more starting after year’s end, and all are being plagued by permit and review issues. As usual, we’ll be struggling and suffering right through the winter. Thank you Jersey Shore building departments near and far for the delays – permits are taking an average of 4-5 weeks between zoning and building reviews.
Building departments in Sandy affected towns are still, and will be, 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.
That’s pathetic. We’re building houses, not running the Hadron Collider at CERN. (In fact, a nuclear physicist from CERN has been hired recently in Brick to perform a quantitative analysis of the permit process. No promises, but his preliminary prediction is that the system can be improved within 10 years! (yes I am kidding).
Repeat: 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.
If you want to get your house finished in the spring, and take advantage of cheap winter rentals at the beach, get started now.
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’re moving along with windows in, roof on, rough mechanicals going in and siding coming this week. Stop by and see us.
Repeat – 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 building 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 unless you regularly bungee jump or rock climb.
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.
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