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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 1-28-15 – Worst Township Award (Weekly) – RREM / Fema Bill Update – Health tips II –Winter construction

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

1/28/15

Hello Sandsters –

Well, we made it through the Great Storm that Wasn’t, and thank God for that.  For the record, I pegged it at 5-8 inches at the shore, which wins me most Prescient Builder Regarding Weather Forecasts. There’s good press in being alarmist, but it’s hard on the brain living with constant fear of doom, at least for every Sandster I know. I like to deal in reality and most of the time weather items are just not as bad as the media drama portrays them to be.

As a note, spring 2015 is occurring in 53 days. Also, we have 38 minutes more daylight each day than we had during the holiday season. That’s positive. Any little bit of happiness will be accepted by the Sandsters.

Today we have more the joys of winter construction, fiberglass versus composite decking, enduring the CO process up and down the shore, health and nutrition tips II, news on our next Rebuilding Seminar, and anything else I write before I finish.

Seminar news: We’ll be holding our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar in Toms River on Thursday February 19th at the Ocean County Library. It is on Washington Street from 6-9. We’ll have great speakers, including Evan Hill, PE, Kathy Dotoli, Esq., Scott Lepley, AIA and Kris Pitcher, LS. As always, I’ll be moderating and providing general construction commentary and we’ll tell you how to design it, survey it, build it and protect it. As a note, the Green Room seats 30 at most, so please drop me a note or give me a call if you plan on attending, so you don’t have to stand out in the hall…JJ 732 300 5619 or vince@dreamhomesltd.com 

FEMA Clawbacks – Bill introduced in NJ legislature – Senator Menendez

Good Lord, this man is dear to my heart, though his politics skew way to the left for me….Senator Robert Menendez in addition to introducing a (fantastic!) bill to prevent the federal government from “clawing back” extra money they may have mistakenly sent to Sandy victims, actually expressed disapproval with our President at the State of the Union address!

Yes, he did. I swear it. Really. Integrity writ real. (Integrity is defined as adherence to one’s principles, and is quite a rare quality in a politician (or a human being)). Senator Bob actually refused to stand up and grovel when Osama spoke about Iran and Cuba. Kudos to him for adherence to principles.

As I have said, Bob Menendez’ politics are way to the left of my own, but he has been an effective voice for Sandsters throughout NJ, so we generally give him a pass here in BlogLand.

Most importantly, he actually stood up for his principles (extremely rare in anyone, let alone a politician) at our president’s (comical, insulting) state of the union address. The link to the Menendez article is below.

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/01/menendezs_toughest_hour_moran.html

As a note, you will never see a link in this blog to anything Barack Osama says, since it is usually absolutely untrue. I will not knowingly perpetrate idiocy.

(Also for the record, if you still believe Barack Osama is the be-all, end-all curer of all ills, and is not a complete flagrant fraud, you need to call me immediately since I have a few wonderful pieces of waterfront property to sell you in Arizona & New Mexico.)

RREM Travesty: Sad but true story. In relation to the above issue, we just lost a long time client who chose to switch back to Path C from Path B, because they received a letter from FEMA saying they might have to repay $5,000 in money they received when FEMA was first sending out money.

As a note, I quoted $95,000 for the project. The RREM price was > $150,000.

The client was scared and worried that they might have to repay the money, so RREM Path C got the job. It will take (a lot) longer and cost $60,000 more, but the state will supervise it so all will be well. (not)

How pathetic is that?

I have said for years that I’m glad to get up in the morning and fight on an even playing field, and will easily compete with any other serious contender in the market. However, the artificial constructs of RREM Path C are generally beyond my acceptance, primarily since we do not engage in fraud, subterfuge or nonsense. I have developed a deep, enduring mistrust of RREM and I think it is amazing that so much effort and resource has been expended to achieve so little. (We work for Path C contractors completing RREM projects and it has always been a MGF (Mongolian Cluster *&$^^#).

Put another way, thus far Path C has shot 1 million bullets and managed to kill 9 bad guys. Path B has intelligently, judiciously deployed 68,000 bullets and killed 3000 bad guys. Hmmmm….let us ponder this calculus.

(Author’s note: Believe it or not, there are still people that are switching out of Path B into Path C. Complete insanity. There are also people that pierce their bodies, get tattoos and sky dive, and all of those habits have potentially unpleasant outcomes. Choose Path C over Path B be only if you really, really hate yourself. You are much, much better off trusting your own potential skill and common sense than a government entities’ fairly certain incompetence.)

Health Tips II for Sandsters:  For the record, yes I had boots on today, since the 2” Snow Rule has been violated and I was sloshing around in the mud at a number of sites.

Strangely (or not), I received as many comments last week regarding the health and nutrition notes as I did for my construction commentary, so here are some additional thoughts.

Upset stomach or nausea: Ginger (pills, tea or fresh ginger), toast, chamomile tea. I am not a fan of coke syrup, but it can help. No smoking or coffee.

Psychosomatic illness: Over 86% of the non-emergency visits to the hospital that last longer than 1 night are mental issues. (Google it). If you haven’t realized it, we can easily think ourselves sick. In fact you can think yourself dead if you work at it hard enough.

You manifest illness in your body through your power of thought. Simply saying “I’m sick” makes you feel weaker. (I absolutely never say those words, by the way. I also never say “Can’t”. Who invented that word anyway?).  “I’m feeling less than perfect” is much more of a positive mental positioning and allows for the possibility of improvement.

Why order (program) your body to do something negative? It’s ridiculous and too many people do it constantly without even thinking about it. Stop that today and start being nice to yourself.

And stop worrying about all the exotic things that might be wrong with you. Take care of the obvious items first before you diagnose yourself with Rare Unhappy Disease because of a few late nights on the Interweb.

Get more sleep. Eat better. Get rid of negative things in your life. Stop smoking. You’ll feel better.

Deal with what is, and not what might be. You’ll be much happier.

Repeat: daily vitamins & nutrition

Vitamins: Daily: 4000 mg of C (general health – read about Dr. Linus Pauling), 800 mg of ginseng (energy and mental clarity), Fish Oil, B-complex, Glucosamine Chondroitin (joint health), CO-Q10, magnesium, Echinacea, Vitamin D, Niacin (get the no-flush), and a multi-vitamin (to cover my bases).

General malaise / feeling sluggish: If you feel something coming on, get Zycam (zinc) lozenges and take one every 4 hours until you finish the bottle. If you don’t take Zycam, take zinc pills. When you feel tired, sleep more. Turn off the TV. Drink more water. Don’t talk to anyone and conserve your strength.

If you aren’t feeling 100%, increase Vitamin C to 8000 – 10000 mg a day. Take it every couple of hours throughout the day or your body will just flush it out.

We are what we eat. Truly, this is the case. GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). Cheese is binding. Wheat products (pasta) don’t generally sit well with your system. Lettuce and greens give you gas. Artificial sweeteners cause cancer. Soda and cookies make you fat and completely skew your sugar levels. Etcetera, etcetera. If you eat it, it will affect you, so think about what you put in your mouth.

When you eat or drink something, it directly affects your body. Don’t eat after 7 pm. Eat within an hour of waking. Don’t eat sugar in the morning (substitute the buttered roll or donut with an egg sandwich (and don’t eat half the bread)).

Sandsters, hope this helps.

No, it’s not building stuff, but you’re here and you’re reading it, so hopefully it is positive in some way. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t read it.

Back to building.

Winter Weather: We are slogging gamely through it (winter) and it is what it is (a mess). Many Sandsters up and down the sure right now have small Builder Ouija Dolls that they are abusing regularly in frustration. Everyone feels the same – annoyed and aggravated. Progress is being delayed for weather reasons (construction) and general reluctance to leave their warm cars or cubicles (inspectors). It helps that we have extra daylight but it’s still unpleasant to work or be outside on many days. I think the dividing line is the low 20’s with wind under 10 mph and a little sun. Anything worse than that in any area causes complete atrophy.

Like I said earlier, we have only 53 days left until spring, at which time it will instantly be 60 degrees (in Charleston)!

New development: Dream Homes Mobile Web Site is now Live!

You can now log onto www.dreamhomesltd.com from your mobile device and see a mobile site tailored to a smaller screen. Yay!

Repeat – Reminder: Start your design work now to be in for summer 2015. If you haven’t started your design work, you’re just about cutting it too tight at this point to be in for summer. If that’s your goal, call us so we can help you make that happen. If you want to get your house finished by summer, and still take advantage of cheap winter rentals at the beach, you have to get started now.

If you have your design work done and RREM under control, what are you waiting for to get started??

Worst Town at the Shore, weekly update: Well we’re in it Sandsters (winter that is).  As if there aren’t enough challenges roofing, siding, framing, pouring concrete or doing earth work when the planet seems like we’re entering the next ice age, we have the Jersey Shore building departments, which have been consistently awful across the board.

This week, we’ll chat about Little Egg Township, since they’ve been abusing us this week. This is a real, actual conversation.

Us: “Hello kind Township Person. Is our CO ready on 111 Happy Street?”

Response: “What? You must be joking. We have no CO application on file for you, Mr. Builder.”

Our response: “We have a time stamped copy of our final survey, final flood elevation certificate, soils conservation and CO application that we submitted to you last week.”

LEH Response: Pause. “We don’t time stamp anything. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Our response: “Really? I am emailing you copies of what you stamped when we submitted it.”

Silence.

Silence.

Silence.

LEH Response: “I don’t know who stamped this. This is unheard of.”

Us: “Well, someone stamped it. You received it. You acknowledged it. What gives, kind Township Person?”

LEH: “Well, no one here stamped it. We don’t stamp things.”

(Yes, this is a real conversation.)

Us: “Ok, let’s move on. Since you don’t have what we’ve submitted to you, that you acknowledged receiving, how shall we proceed forward from this murky point, dear Township Person?”

LEH: “You’ll just have to resubmit everything for our review. Even though you’ll have to get 3 new copies of your sealed final survey, flood elevation certificate and soils conservation, that is tough toenails, too bad, so sad, and you are well and truly screwed, Mr. Builder.”

Us: “That is excellent! Thank you for the opportunity to perfect our administrative skills!”

This really happened. Happens all the time. This is why we are obsessively anal retentive about keeping copies of every single piece of paper that leaves the office.

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.

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 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

Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog · House raising and Moving · Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar · New homes and elevations in Monmouth County · New Homes and elevations in Ocean County · Pilings - Helical versus timber · RREM Path B · RREM Seminars

Dream Homes / Atlantic Northeast Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 1-16-15 – Worst Township Awards – FEMA & RREM news – Sandster Health Tips – Winter Construction & Inspector Nightmares

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

1/16/15

Hello Sandsters –

Hopefully this post finds you well and not suffering too badly, especially if you are building through the winter in balmy New Jersey. Pocket and foot warmers are useful. Or just think of me, wearing sandals all year. It’ll make you feel a little better or at least give you a laugh.

Want to know the absolute best solution to dealing with winter weather issues? Simple – stay inside as much as possible and wait for spring – or travel to a warmer climate! As of today, Spring 2015 is only 63 days away….

Today we have Serious Inspection Frustration for you, township complaints up and down the shore, health and nutrition tips for winter survival (finally), time out of your house, perspective and sanity comments, dealing with winter construction issues and anything else I think you might find useful.

Seminar news: We’ll be holding our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar in Toms River in February. I am shooting for the third week, either the 17th, 18th or 19th, but don’t have a confirmed date yet. It will be held at the Ocean County Library on Washington Street from 6-9. Please drop me a note or give me a call if you plan on attending. 732 300 5619 or vince@dreamhomesltd.com.

FEMA Clawbacks – New bill introduced – Menendez – Palone Bill  Senator Robert Menendez in conjunction with Senator Frank Palone recently introduced a bill to prevent the federal government from “clawing back” extra money they may have mistakenly sent to Sandy victims.

Though Bob Menendez’ politics skew somewhat to the left of my own, he has been a tireless, effective voice for Sandsters throughout NJ. This bill is a positive step. You have to make less than $250,000 and have received a letter from FEMA stating that you owed money back, and to date there have been over 800 such homeowners, each being asked for an average of $7,000 to be returned. This bill would put the onus of any mistake on the federal government. Seems fair to me. Here’s a link to one of the articles. http://www.app.com/story/news/local/monmouth-county-bayshore/union-beach/2015/01/16/fema-sandy-aid-clawback-bill/21878813/

Moving forward, let us wallow miserably in the mud of poor inspector behavior.

Deplorable Electrical Service Inspection Story: You all may know that we make every conceivable effort to get our Sandster clients back in their homes as quickly as possible, since everyone on our team knows how stressful it is to be out of your home. (In fact that’s the most commented upon and admired aspect of our projects, and the reason that our advertising budget is $0. It is the first or second thing 90% of all clients say when they first contact us – “I notice you finish your projects very quickly. Can you do my house that fast?”)

So it is with much angst that I relay this story, which sadly is quite typical.

We lift a house (in the winter), get the foundation demolished (in the winter), dig a new footing and get it inspected, complete with pumping, dewatering and soaking up excess water with paper towels before inspection (in the winter), pour the footing, block up the walls (did I mention the winter making all of this activity exquisitely painful?), get the foundation inspected ( and don’t forget the extra mid wall inspection, which may be one of the most moronic of the contrived inspections ever perpetrated upon us), lower the house, secure the girders and anchor bolts with hold downs and hardware (in the winter – did I mention that yet?) and then immediately call Ray my favorite electrician from Kean Electric and implore him to get over to the house post haste to lower the meter mast so we can get a service inspection, and ultimately get an electric meter from the kind folks at AC Electric, so my wonderful clients (who are in their 70’s by the way) can move back in their home, forget about the accursed Sandy and get on with their lives. (How about that for a run-on sentence, Sandsters?).

Ray is wonderful and gets right over there and does his thing, and we call in for an electrical service inspection from an unnamed township which shall remain anonymous (but which might have been Stafford, which is part of the Sandy Holy Land.)

Now the fun starts.

The inspector breaks off his discussions on astrophysics with Steven Hawking, comes out and inspects the service outside and proclaims it all in ordnung. Our papers are in order and we are cleared for takeoff! He then asks one of our guys (George) if he can just see the electrical panel in the house (which is completely finished inside by the way – all interior work complete from a year ago. There’s really no need at all to see the stupid panel anyway, since there is no power to the house).

George says, “Sure, let me get a ladder and I’ll let you in.”

The inspector says, “Oh no, au contraire, I can’t climb a ladder. It’s against the rules. Insurance, you know.”

George gently reminds him that the house has been raised 40” from the ground and it is quite safe. There is a 4’, 6’ or 8’ ladder available, and I have four men here who are quite willing to simply lift you into the house so you can conduct your (bullshit) panel inspection.

The inspector says again, “oh no, absolutely not, no can do, nyet, neinte, no, non, n’est pas certainment, no way José, solly cholly.”

So George looks at him and says, “Really, you’re not going to walk up 4 steps on a ladder? We have 74 year old clients that really need to get back in their house and electric is kind of important. Can you give me a break here?” George, bless his heart, tried to shame him and appeal to his better nature.

(Robert Heinlein said, “Be careful appealing to a man’s better nature, because he might not have one.” Sadly that was the case here.)

The inspector left. We now have to complete the front or rear deck and stairs, prior to even scheduling the inspection, so His Gentleness can safely ascend the princely height of 40” (5 steps, less than 3 ½ feet) in comfort to inspect the panel. We are working over the weekend so as not to delay the project.

What’s the big deal? 6 calendar days. Multiply that by the 75 projects we’ll do this year and the 1500 other projects happening in NJ, and you see the effect.

This story is sad, but miserably true. Happens all the time. I could write an acerbic blog solely on the lack of human cooperation at the Jersey shore in the building industry. It’s pathetic. That whole spirit of cooperation, all pulling together for the common good thing is dead, and that is a sad commentary on our society.

When process becomes paramount to reason, we are doomed as a society. But I digress.

Health Tips for Sandster Winter Survival:  Many of you know that I wear sandals all year long, unless there is over 2” of snow. I do this for a number of reasons (I do save a tremendous amount on socks, for example) but one of them is that it keeps me grounded and healthier (I think). People always ask what I do as far as vitamins, health, etc. so I am commenting here.

In any case, I am one of the healthiest people (thank you God) you will ever meet. I do not go to the doctors and haven’t for over 30 years. Since I think “sick” is a state of mind and not a condition, I don’t ever get sick. I have never not worked because of “sickness”. (Note: there are times I feel less than perfect, but I pay them no mind.) Statistically, you are 102% more likely to die of a car accident than from heart attack, cancer or other disease, so being more careful on the road in NJ is probably your most effective protection against early demise.

Here are some of my daily habits for vitamins, nutrition, general health and dealing with the winter.

Vitamins: Each day, I take 4000 mg of C (general health – read about Dr. Linus Pauling), 800 mg of ginseng (energy and mental clarity), Fish Oil, B-complex, Glucosamine Chondroitin (joint health), CO-Q10, magnesium, Echinacea, Vitamin D, Niacin (get the no-flush), and a multi-vitamin just for fun.

If you start to feel something coming on, get Zycam (zinc) lozenges and take one every 4 hours until you finish the bottle. If you don’t take Zycam, take zinc pills. When you feel tired, sleep more. Turn off the TV. Drink more water.

Also, when you aren’t feeling 100%, increase your Vitamin C dosage to 8000 – 10000 mg a day. Make sure you take it every couple of hours throughout the day or your body will just flush it out.

As a note, whether you take antibiotics or not, viruses take about a week to work through your system. There is no cure, regardless of what anyone tells you. All you can do is treat symptoms.

Each day, I drink ½ cup of pure aloe, 3 ounces of Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar and 4 ounces of Univera Ageless Extra mixed with water in an old Gatorade bottle.

I do drink too much coffee and have been know to smoke cigarettes in the winter. I drink wine and vodka moderately. I work too much – generally between 70 – 80 hours a week. I don’t drink enough water at all. I am about 10 pounds overweight.

I don’t use any deodorant that has aluminum in it. I use Crystal (which I highly recommend – it is a solid piece of rock salt that lasts forever and you can now buy it at Shop Rite). It also doesn’t stain your clothes. Throw out your anti-perspirant and don’t let your kids use it. Rubbing aluminum on the glands under your arms is really bad for you. Google it.

I never eat anything “diet”. Throw out nutrasweet, sucralose, and all the other poisons that are designed to help you lose weight. They are dreadful and have many side effects. They weaken your immune system. Being thin and dead makes no sense to me. If you need sugar, eat it sparingly. Don’t eat chemicals.

I don’t eat too much sugar or too many processed foods. I try and keep carbs (bread, potatoes, rice and pasta) to a minimum. I do have a weakness for cheesecake and bagels, and feel that anything in moderation is ok.

I work out a whopping 5 minutes a day every other day (I try anyway. See Tim Ferris’, “The 4 Hour Body”. I wouldn’t make 10 minutes in a gym, because I have the attention span of a gnat and bore easily.)

I don’t watch or listen to sad, depressing, violent things. They take a tremendous toll on your mind and body. It’s a garbage in, garbage out thing. (Besides, I’m a sensitive builder…J)

When I am outside, I dress in layers, and wear a scarf, hat and gloves. I use Chapstick.

I try and see the glass as half full and constantly remind myself that we are all lucky to wake up in the morning. It gives me perspective and balance. I don’t stress about small stuff. I try to be pleasant, polite and courteous to everyone I meet, since I appreciate when I’m treated like that. I avoid negative people as much as possible.

I don’t complain and think complaining about anything without offering a solution is a waste of oxygen.

I try to laugh as much as I can, since it is infinitely better than crying.

Sandsters, I sincerely hope some of those thoughts help you in some way.

Back to building.

Repeat, Continuation & New Comment – Winter Building – Sometimes You Have to Just Wait…

Yes, you can pour flatwork when the temperature is at least 25 degrees Fahrenheit and rising – but this condition has to hold for at least 4-6 hours in order for the concrete to cure correctly. It cannot drop to 15 degrees at night.

However even when it is 25 degrees, you cannot do blockwork or parging without the risk that the mortar will freeze and you will wind up having to redo the entire job.

Flatwork is different from block work. With footings, garages or driveways, there is a greater volume of concrete, and often it is reinforced with rebar, which helps to avoid freezing and cracking. When you are setting concrete block, the mortar joint is only ¼” thick and is much more prone to freezing than flatwork. It is a depressing thing to see parging crumbling off the face of your new foundation.

The moral of the story is that sometimes you have to just wait – until it warms up and stops raining/snowing/sleeting etc.

(This comment is coming from someone who doesn’t like to wait for anything and thinks quite seriously that there is no earthly reason why work cannot occur 7 days a week between the hours of 7 and 7. I wouldn’t wait for an audience with the Pope for more than 10 minutes.)

Winter weather conditions are one case where brute force and insistence upon bending the laws of the universe not only don’t avail you of any advantage, but needlessly tire you and deplete your resources.

Electric Reconnection – repeat – reference:  For a comprehensive understandable explanation about how exactly your electric is reconnected to your house, and what you have to do to make it happen, read the last blog from 12/13/14. There is a page that details everything.

New development: Dream Homes Mobile Web Site is Now Live!!

You can log onto www.dreamhomesltd.com from your mobile device and see a mobile site tailored to a smaller screen. Yay! Only took us 6 months to get it working, but we finally got there. Moving once again on the wings of fleeting snails, we are!

Repeat – Reminder: Start your design work now to be in for summer 2015. If you haven’t started your design work, you’re just about cutting it too tight at this point to be in for summer. If that’s your goal, call us so we can help you make that happen. If you want to get your house finished by summer, and still take advantage of cheap winter rentals at the beach, you have to get started now.

If you have your design work done and RREM under control, what are you waiting for to get started??

Worst Town at the Shore Aware & Winter Delays: Well we’re in it Sandsters (winter that is).  As if there aren’t enough challenges roofing, siding, framing, pouring concrete or doing earth work when the planet seems like we’re entering the next ice age, we have the Jersey Shore building departments, which have been consistently awful across the board.

This week, the winner for Worst Township at the Shore goes to Brick Township, hands down. They are far and away at the top of the list of the worst townships I have ever had the misfortune to work in.

(Lest you think I make that statement lightly, since 1993, I have built over 1600 single and multi-family homes as well as a number of commercial buildings in 8 counties and 40 municipalities throughout NJ. I speak from direct knowledge –not theory or conjecture.)

Honorable Mention and First Runner Up goes to Little Egg, but we’ll cover them next blog.

In my humble opinion, 75% of the Brick Building Bureaucrats (BBB) should be fired immediately (the 25% that are good are all inspectors by the way, not paper pushers). Everyone else is an impediment to progress, and takes great joy in slowing the process as much as possible at every juncture. BBB’s routinely interpret the building code as they see fit, with little regard for the actual code. They are nasty and uncooperative, act as if they are doing all of us a tremendous favor by performing their jobs and have invented and implement a plethora of rules as byzantine and ineffective as the US tax code.

It is a travesty that Sandsters and builders are treated in this manner. I don’t even want to work in Brick any more, and we have a dozen clients who have the misfortune to live in that town. It’s depressing, demoralizing and makes clients and builders miserable. You must add at least a month to any project in Brick, specifically because of Brick. If I lived there and endured a rebuilding process, I would move.

Brick epitomizes the saying, “When you can’t build, inspect. When you can’t do anything productive, make damn sure you stop anyone else from moving forward.” Brick Building Bureaucrats (BBB) regularly exhibit deplorable, inconsiderate, unconscionable behavior with no regard for Sandster homeowners or their concerns.

Hello BBB – if you weren’t so busy telling us how you have the 1st or 2nd largest number of Sandy affected homes, or how you are extremely busy and can’t schedule your inspections on time, or can’t give us any kind of approximate time when you will conduct inspections, you might actually accomplish something. We all get it – you have a lot of volume.

A very wise man once said, “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.” That’s in the Bible, by the way.

How about Bricktown looking at Sandy rebuilding as an opportunity to rise above instead of a chance to impede forward momentum?

Hello DCA and Governor Trying-to-Be-President Christie. Hello to anyone with a glimmer of an idea about how to speed up the rebuilding process. Fix what ails the bureaucracy in Brick and all others (may) follow.

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 now have a ton of video I have to get up on the blog. I’ve been strapping on my Go Pro, filming the chaos that is a house lift and have numerous videos. Stay tuned for 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

Monmouth & Atlantic County · New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean

Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 1-5-14 – RREM Lunacy – Health tips – Repeat: Electrical Reconnection Explained – Winter concrete and scheduling – Time out of your house – Delays and Helping Your Builder

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

1/4/15

Hello Sandsters and Happy New Year!

I hope everyone’s holiday was healthy and drama free. Let’s raise a glass (or several) to a happy, healthy, prosperous, stress free New Year. May your life be peaceful and your project proceed like greased lightning.

This blog has some provenance. I started it 3 times since the last one, which goes to show you how things have been lately in Rebuilding Land. (Note to Vince: If you want to run with the Big Dogs and not snooze with the Fat Chihuahuas, you will survive on 5 hours sleep per night and not complain.)

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

I have a ton of interesting things for you today, but I’m going to follow my own advice for a change about getting something done though it may not be perfect, complete or comprehensive. Maybe if I didn’t try to write a whole book each time and cover 10 topics….

On the subject of books, I promised myself I’d write a book about Rebuilding after Sandy / Dealing with RREM when I got 100 requests and at this point I’ve received more than triple that number. So look for the Sandy Iliad by Vince sometime this spring. The blog is a good resource but it would be nice to have all the info organized in one place that you can actually refer to without a computer.

New development: Dream Homes Mobile Web Site is Now Live!! You can now log onto www.dreamhomesltd.com from your mobile device and see a mobile site tailored to a smaller screen. Yay! Only took us 6 months to get it working, but we finally got there. It’s the whole turtle/hare thing personified in living color.

Let’s jump into this, shall we? I have RREM Retardedness for you, health and nutrition tips for winter survival, time out of your house, winterizing your home, dealing with concrete and foundation issues and about 50 other things I want to write about. We’ll see where we end up.

Jumping in the deep end of the pool, this weeks Insanity, brought to you courtesy of RREM….

In pursuit of blinding inefficiency and in a typical effort to slow recent tendencies towards solid forward motion, RREM has come up with some new hurdles for you and your poor builder to endure.

Ready for this time sucker? We all now have to supply all professional licenses from all design professionals involved in a project to the RREM program manager when submitting an invoice.

So that stamp, seal and signature affixed to your plot plan, survey, piling certification, and engineer or architects drawing is no longer sufficient to establish ones qualifications.

Evidently the entire building department infrastructure throughout NJ (complete with zoning officers, licensed building subcode officials, and township engineers that review our submittals) are unqualified to determine that our professionals have the required qualifications to perform their services.

Calm your heart though. The Rhodes Scholars who are sitting in as RREM program managers can opine on these qualifications! Whew! Lucky we have them to perform the same work we are already paying for when we receive a permit! One can never have too many safe guards and you know what they say, 200 idiots are vastly superior to one thinking man. Who said that, Stalin? Mao? Some blithering moron.

Doesn’t unnecessary procedure just piss you off? The only thing that happens when payment requests are delayed needlessly is that work slows. Every bit of unnecessary nonsense serves as friction – and costs Sandsters and others living in Sandy towns in numerous ways.

Grrrr! Why are we coming up with activities that have nothing to do with expediting reconstruction? It is the Peter Principle writ large. The level of paperwork will inevitably increase to fill the capacity of the idiots hired to administer it, with no consideration of cost / benefit. Quite sad.

Sandsters – What Exactly are you paying your builder for? As we’ve said numerous times in the past, it’s not a good idea to general contract your own home elevation project yourself…or to try and help your builder do what you’re paying them for. Remember that construction is a complex system, where every component affects a number of other items, some of which are critical. Keep constant changes to a minimum and stick with the plan as much as possible. Every change causes delay and additional cost – make sure the change is worth the result (again the cost/benefit issue).

Remember Sandsters – You are paying for a finished project delivered in a timely fashion in budget. You are not paying for an education of the specifics necessary for the 1000 decisions that are made during a project or how to specifically perform them.

A general clear understanding of what is happening or going to happen is important – an intimate understanding of how every nail in the house is placed is not only not important but will hinder progress and inevitably cause frustration. Put another way, it’s one thing to boot the computer and log on to the Interweb; it’s another to understand the science of exactly how this the Interweb gets into your computer so you can watch YouTube.

Repeat: Electric Reconnection –Explained: I wrote this last time and it received a number of calls and emails thanking me, so I am throwing in a brief repeat paragraph here. For a comprehensive (finally) understandable explanation about how exactly your electric is reconnected to your house, and what you have to do to make it happen, read the last blog from 12/13/14. I do a page that details everything.

Summary: 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: Platforms for electric meters are Dippity Doodle Dumb – see last blog for detail. Yes that is a construction term).

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.

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 rest of the reconnections to the house, or installation of the wiring if it is a new home, and your builder can call for a Rough Electric Inspection. Once that passes, you can get frame inspection or insulation inspection if needed and close your walls.

Again, see the last blog for mind numbing detail on this subject.

Repeat – Reminder: Start your design work now to be in for summer 2015. If you haven’t started your design work, you’re just about cutting it too tight at this point to be in for summer. If that’s your goal, call us immediately so we can help you make that happen.

Repeat: 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. Design and survey fees cost you the same amount whether you handle 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. It will definitely take you longer if you handle it yourself though.

If you want to get your house finished by summer, and still take advantage of cheap winter rentals at the beach, you have to get started now.

If you have your design work done and RREM under control, what are you waiting for to get started??

House Lifting – Winter schedule – Delays: We have 28 active projects now going between Point and Atlantic City with a number starting in the next few weeks, and in addition to being plagued by permit and review issues, we now have weather issues to deal with. Joy.

Though building departments in Sandy affected towns will unfortunately be the single largest cause of delay in rebuilding and the permit and inspection process will sadly continue to slow everything down, you should be aware that an average of 10 days (more for incompetent builders) will be added to the cycle time for projects that begin in the winter.

Remember: The temperature has to be at least 25 degrees Fahrenheit and rising in order to pour concrete and this condition has to hold for at least 4-6 hours in order for concrete to cure correctly.

In addition, footings have to be dry when inspectors come out, which means you may have to dewater or pump your footing both to get inspection as well as to actually pour the concrete.

Concrete costs more in the winter also, since inevitably calcium hydroxide (anti-freeze) is added to the mix (which is a winter mix) to retard the water from freezing and allow the concrete to form correctly. Costs are easily 10% higher than normally.

Over the last 2 years we’ve averaged 7-8 weeks to have a house reset on a new foundation and all utilities on, I’ve noticed that no matter what we do projects are always delayed in the winter.

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 now have a ton of video I have to get up on the blog. I’ve been strapping on my Go Pro, filming the chaos that is a house lift and have numerous videos. Stay tuned for 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