Dream Homes Ltd.
Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC
Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –
Builder Hall of Shame Blog – Trade Partners – Hale Built – Caution Bankrupt Contractors – September Rebuilding Seminar – Deadbeat Contractors and Warnings – Last Look & Working with your Favorite Contractor-
Hello Sandsters –
Long time no speak. I’ve been getting a lot of heat from my fans (bless their hearts) for not blogging regularly, so you have a double blog here for your bathroom reading.
Here’s hoping your summer (and your building project) is going well.
With any luck, you are not one of the (many, many) folks stuck cleaning up their project when their builder stops work, runs out of money, declares bankruptcy or simply disappears. To say that the landscape is bizarre is a vast understatement.
Today, we have a new one for you – a builder who abandoned a job after 15 months of inaction, waited until we finished the project and then posted pictures of our (lovely) completed project on Facebook (you can’t really make this stuff up). John Cafiero and Axis Builders get honorable mention in the Hall of Shame and the Deadbeat Contractor Category. Again we have bankruptcy cautions you should be aware of, and warnings (repeated) about having multiple contractors work on your home at the same time. We define the term Program Manager, which must be the most misunderstood concept under the sun. We caution you against multiple change orders and their inherent risks to your project in delays and cost overruns. Finally we mention our next Rebuilding seminar – which is Wednesday September 14th at 6 pm at Tuscan Bistro & Bar in Toms River.
September Dream Homes Events:
Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar –Wednesday September 14th – 6 PM – Tuscan Bistro in Toms River.
This seminar is going to be great – don’t miss it. We’re giving away a $50 Home Depot Gift Card to a lucky Sandster.
Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held Wednesday September 14th, 2016 from 6 pm at the Tuscan Bar and Grill on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, across from the Ocean County Mall. Once again, we’ll focus on Sandsters that are early in the process, and have not completed design work, or chosen a builder or architect. We offer engineering & architectural design advice, RREM guidance at the initial stages, and help with choosing the right builder or contractor. Please call to reserve a space if you would like to attend since refreshments will be served and space is limited.
Once again, our trade partners and professionals will be speaking. Tim Ferguson from Hale Built House Lifting will be available for questions about elevating and moving houses. Kathy Dotoli, who is a worker’s compensation lawyer in Toms River, will also give her excellent presentation on precautions to take to ensure a smooth relationship with your contractor. We’ll have one of our architects or engineers speaking, though we’re not sure exactly which one. This is a great chance to meet our professional team, and there’ll be plenty of time for discussion about your project so bring your info (or send it to us ahead of time) and get some questions answered.
Facts, Facts, Facts
I’ll keep this paragraph brief and stick strictly to the facts, for several reasons. For one, I do not wish to delve into my opinions on the matter or bore you with rhetoric (more than enough of that below). For the second, I don’t want Steve Smith from Shore House Lifters to file suit against me for slander.
Fact: In the last month, we have had 3 clients bring their unfinished projects to us from Shore House Lifters.
Fact: In the last 2 years we’ve had 17 clients come to use with unfinished projects from Shore House Lifters, which we completed.
Fact: In all cases, Shore House Lifters had accepted very large deposits and had left unfinished projects for 6-15 months.
Fact: Shore House Lifters has a very strong contract – to protect them from clients.
Fact: Shore House Lifters payment schedule requires a project to be 80% paid prior to the house being lowered onto a new foundation.
Fact: Shore House Lifters is the only company that regularly underbids us and other reputable companies to be awarded projects. Their projects are bid incorrectly – they are priced too low to be finished correctly in a timely manner.
Those are all facts, folks. My opinions are another story and would be much stronger and decidedly more colorful.
Be advised accordingly.
Final Fact: It’s disheartening to continue to have clients come to us when others have failed them and left them in limbo.
Opinion: For clarity– I want all the good business we can responsibly handle, but I sincerely wish that I never have to rescue another homeowner from a dishonest contractor. No one with integrity wishes to grow their company in that manner. Thank God we’re here to help, but wouldn’t the world be a better place if this type of help wasn’t required?
It takes a Village, or Hire a Team, not a Person
You know, on a side note before I get into other business, a client recently told me how comfortable they were working with us, since they felt that we brought a team to the table and could handle anything that arose during a project. While this was a (very) nice and true thing for them to say, and for us to hear, it illustrates a deeper point about choosing the company who will build or rebuild your home.
It takes a village, folks. You need a good team to bring the ball from one end of the field to the other.
No one performs complicated projects alone. Your builder is the manager, the ring leader, the conductor and the orchestrator of the process. Ideally, behind him (or her) is a qualified talented team of employees, subcontractors, professionals and advisors who all participate and assist in getting a project completed successfully.
If you aren’t getting that feeling when you interview builders, look elsewhere. Your builder doesn’t have to know everything, or do everything, but he needs to be able to draw from a deep talent pool to effectively complete your project.
America is Good – and getting Better! Repeat
This was such a great article in the January 24, 2016 Sunday Star Ledger, that I summarized it in the last blog on 7/3/16. Go back and reread it for inspiration, or better yet, dig up the article online and read that. It makes you proud to be an American.
Deadbeats and Disreputable Contractors – Good Lord, does this song ever change??
Moving on to a topic in the same vein, I bring you today one of the more egregious, absurd occurrences in this rather bizarre business. I mean, we’ve been regularly underbid by builders who later abandon their projects, take their clients money or declare bankruptcy, only to have the poor Sandster contact us in tears to come fix things.
We do that regularly. I should be called The Cleaner. We have 26 active projects and 7 are “rescues”.
Usually they skulk off into the mud like the cretins they are and leave broken houses and lives, depleted bank accounts and manna for the attorneys.
But this is a new one. A builder who abandoned a job in Ship Bottom after 15 months of inaction (Hello John Cafiero from Axis Builders, now working under NJ Home Builder with Daniel Sachkowsky, who is now listed as the owner of Axis, and formerly of several other companies which have gone out of business) posted really nice pictures on Facebook of the wonderful completed project – that we finished for the homeowner after they fired Axis and instituted litigation. The poor woman called us for 8 months in tears while we finished the house next store, while waiting for the Axis shell game to wend its course through her life.
To add to the litany of the bizarre, John and his lovely wife are life coaches as well as being dishonest builders. Outstanding! How about this for some life coach advice, John? Perhaps a quick perusal of the Ten Commandments or maybe just the Boy Scout Motto would be appropriate.
Come on, really? If we must be deadbeats, must we also denigrate the work of decent folk? Is it not enough to steal, defraud, and not perform, without consideration for a person’s life, property, assets or sanity?
I’ve been building and developing for 23 years and in my entire career I have never seen this type of nonsense regularly being perpetrated upon the citizenry.
To say that our justice system is broken is an incredible understatement. How in God’s name can contractors and builders regularly defraud laymen, and not have the immediate might of our judiciary pounce upon them? How many times does one have to steal money from clients before they are not permitted to continue to pursue their craft?
Folks, we have greater oversight in a vast number of other professions. If you are a realtor, you are monitored closely and made to adhere to a code of conduct. If you are an investment professional, you are held to the highest standards of fiduciary conduct (I know – I had a Series 6, 7 & 3 licenses a long time ago). If you are a building inspector, you are overseen by the DCA and must behave in a proscribed manner by a set of rules. If you sell insurance, the department of banking oversees your behavior. If you accept people’s money, you should be held to a higher standard.
Why can people who can’t do simple math in their heads are permitted to accept a 40% deposit on a $150,000 projects without any oversight? (The real question is WHY ARE SANDSTERS STILL GIVING BUILDERS 30%-40% DEPOSITS TO START PROJECTS, but that is another, recurring topic).Why can builders who regularly defraud clients permitted to continue being contractors and accepting client’s money without any requirements as to probity, honesty, performance history or solvency?
Those of you who know me, know that I am absolutely not a proponent of big government, or most government for that matter. I feel that when one is free adult of majority age, one should be permitted to harm oneself however one pleases, without government protecting us from our own foibles. Our government was originally intended to provide for the common defense and maintain a republic where capital crimes were not permitted, and not a heck of a lot else.
That being said, when there is such a ridiculous preponderance of criminal behavior that it becomes a material percentage in an industry, the case could be made that there should be some oversight and guidance, and a barrier to entry that is higher than a $200 yearly fee and production of a general liability policy.
We should absolutely have different levels of home improvement contractor registrations, and they should be dictated by dollar amount. The person building your $4000 deck should not be permitted to accept a deposit for a $150,000 elevation project. They most likely are not capable (in numerous ways) to handle the responsibility.
As they say, while on a rant, stay on it….
How about a simple registry where all building projects over $25,000 must be registered, with the contractor, license number, start (and completion) date and the status of the project are listed? We could put that together in about an hour in our office.
If the builder abandons a project, becomes insolvent or has numerous complaints lodged against them, it is simply noted. An objective reference point, as opposed to a subjective forum (like Facebook).
That way laymen can simply consult the site and see how many times the company in question has sung the same song.
As a new home builder, we have to offer a 10 year warranty on our work, and if there is an issue and it is not resolved, it is a matter of public record, and our license is not renewed. There is no such device for home improvement contractors, nor is there a distinction in the amount or sophistication of various projects. All of this accretes to the consumer’s detriment.
Moving on in the same disgusting path, be aware that dishonest contractors are most often serial misfits. Talk about a sad fact of life. That means that the idiot that took your money took your neighbors last month and will take your other neighbors next month.
It’s true – most contractors who defraud people have done it over and over and over….and over….and over again. It’s like heroin addiction. “Let’s see how many people we can rip off this month!” “How much of a deposit can we get from this client so we can pay our subs for the last job?” “Once we have their money, let them sue us”.
It’s deplorable that we allow serial dysfunction on this level, to this degree, in this monetary magnitude. By my simple calculation, and based on an extrapolation of clients we have rescued over the last 3 years, there is $45,000,000 in fraud out there, whether in the midst of prosecution or simply abandoned due to lack of energy or resources.
That is simply abysmal oversight on the part of our regulatory system. RREM has a fraud fund with a $20,000,000 budget, to assist homeowners who have been victims of fraud or insolvency. The real question is why can’t we be able to access a list of projects that have failed and contractors who are guilty of this behavior?
Aggghhhh. Groan. What pathetic nonsense.
To all of the completely nefarious assholes out there that are taking Sandsters money and leaving their lives in shambles, a scourge and a pox on you, and a wish that karma will visit you with your just desserts. You deserve to be relegated to (at least) the 7th rung of hell in Dante’s Inferno. You are lousy, criminal, vile creatures.
Come pick on me – all 5’ 6” 150 pounds of me. Fight someone who can fight back. I’ll set you straight. Someone has to defend those who cannot defend themselves. Play in the Bigs – leave the innocents off the battlefield. Go out honestly and fight on the capitalist field of battle. Stop stealing money, peace of mind and sanity from innocent people.
It’s tragic Sandsters. We’ve been retained by 4 new clients in the last month, who’ve had their lives ruined by people such as this. BE REALLY CAREFUL WHO YOU WORK WITH.
Onward and upward but staying in the same pig slop.
Beware of fancy trucks and equipment – You’re paying for it – PRICE HOME GROUP is a notable example
The boys at Price Home Group were recently indicted for fraud and misappropriation of RREM funds, to the merry tune of $880,000 from RREM and $280,000 of clients’ money. That’s a lot of spoiled fish.
3 years ago they popped up out of the weeds – an attorney, a salesman and a small remodeling contractor. They decided they were going to (here we go again) open nice new offices, get a bunch of nice new trucks, pay everyone nice big salaries and – most importantly – take a whole big pot of money in deposits for modular homes they were going to build. We know how this worked out.
There are 17 victims named in the indictment. The principals and the company have declared bankruptcy. They had 100+ other clients who were also defrauded in one manner or another. Many houses are sitting unfinished. Many were never even delivered.
Modular builders rarely know how to build or manage a building company. I say rarely as opposed to never because I’ve recently met a good modular builder who actually knows how to stick build and renovate. .That’s a rarity. Most modular builders are order takers.
Side note: 3 years ago PHG called us in and offered us the opportunity to finish a number of their modular homes, since they had sold so many in such a short period of time. (They sold that many because the homes were under priced by $40,000, which took me about 2 seconds to figure out. You can’t sell a house for $100 per square foot when finished cost is between $110 – $120 in NJ. Call me a genius). I went and met with them and said, “Sure I’ll take as many as you want. I’m a production builder. I’ll take 20-30 – whatever you need done.” I asked for a scope of work. 3 weeks later I got a rambling 2 paragraph email listing all the things needed to finish a house. I went to see several of their jobs. I remember coming back to my office and saying, “These guys aren’t going to be around in 2 years. They have no idea what they’re doing”. Chalk up one smart prediction for me – and chalk up 100+ miserable people who had their lives disrupted from PHG.
Debt is a killer, Sandsters. Though it is relatively impossible to determine, the amount of debt a company carries on depreciable assets (vehicles, equipment, furniture and fixtures) as well as their fixed overhead, dictates behavior. You can request a balance sheet and income statement but you might not get one. If it’s not audited, it means little anyway.
We have no debt. We own everything outright. We don’t buy new vehicles – ever. We very rarely buy new equipment. We have the same office we’ve had for 14 years. We have low overhead. Everyone rows or we throw them out of the boat. We are not flashy. I may be one of the most boring people on the planet – and my clients like that. We’re quietly competent. We don’t need to impress anyone with anything but our performance.
You want to work with someone who is not taking your deposit to make truck payments, pay high salaries, support a fancy office and dazzle you with nonsense.
The real questions are, “How many projects have you completed?” (We’ve finished 145 in the last 3 years, and over 1500 new homes in 200 + developments in the last 2 decades)
“How many projects are unfinished?” (We have 0 unfinished projects)
“How many clients are suing you for misappropriation of funds, fraud or consumer fraud?” (We have 0).
(Note: we do have several active lawsuits against fraudulent clients, who took RREM funds and decided they wanted to keep them for vacations and new furniture, and have decided not to pay us. Aside from being quite illegal to misappropriate federal funds, this behavior is pathetic and was unheard of prior to Sandy. People who work for their money don’t rip other people off. People who are given money may not be up to the task of responsibly disbursing it, but that’s another subject entirely.)
As they say, while on a roll, stay on it and bring out the cream cheese (actually no one says that since I just made it up, but it is pretty catchy…)
What is the Difference between Non-Performance & Fraud versus a Difference of Opinion??
I’ve written about this in the past several times but the topic bears repeating.
Sandsters, there’s a world of difference between the two and you are well served to understand this point prior to embarking on a renovation project.
Notwithstanding any of the drivel regularly posted on the evil monster Facebook (although I have to thank FB for making us aware of Dear John Cafiero, since within hours of his post, no less than 8 of our clients alerted us to the fact that since he couldn’t finish any of his own projects, he was taking pictures of ours), having a disagreement
with your builder, does not mean they are defrauding you or abandoning your project.
Avoid drama, take a deep breath and focus on the issues.
Let’s all say this again: You don’t get divorced because you had an argument with your spouse about where to go for dinner. You don’t fire your builder because your interpretation of the trim on the deck is different from his and the contract is vague.
What you do in that situation is behave like an adult, put personalities aside and come to a common ground that everyone might be slightly unhappy with.
(That may be one of the more important take-aways from this blog, other than the cream cheese joke above).
If there are issues to be worked out and personalities are getting in the way of completing the project, do what baseball does (I am not a sport fan at all) and bring in a designated hitter.
I am blessed with a wonderful team of people around me and we regularly designate different people to deal with different clients, as the situation dictates. (Though it may be inconceivable, some people find me annoying. I know, unbelievable right?) Result: We have someone else deal with that particular client (Tim, Valerie, George) and life goes on.
On the client side, sometimes the husband is very difficult and the wife becomes the voice of reason (or vice-versa) and all moves along swimmingly. As my mother used to say, the train gets back on the track.
The result? The project moves forward, which is the ultimate (and only) valid goal. Once a project is done, everyone is happy, harsh words are forgotten and life goes on.
That is materially different from contractor fraud, abandonment, mismanagement or incompetence.
PLEASE Sandsters – learn and understand the difference, and it will serve you well.
The objective is to complete the project and move you back into your home. It is not about personalities, or who is right or wrong. It is about dealing with, and accepting, that human communication is complicated and fraught with misunderstanding.
Foundation Thoughts: Repeat but Important if you are currently considering options
This is one of the most important (and complicated) topics in rebuilding and one we don’t spend enough time discussing. When you are trying to decide on the best method, there are numerous options as well as varied cost differences.
Without discussing the entire range of options (which is a book in and of itself) I’d like to bring your attention to one design concept which can save you money and help you with some of your exterior finish decisions.
Instead of running a complete concrete block foundation up from your existing block or your new footing, consider partial or full wood framing for your above ground foundation system.
Though it is not a traditional concrete block foundation, wood framing affords different options for interior as well as exterior finished. It also weighs significantly less than concrete block, which may be the difference between constructing a completely new foundation and adding on to existing block.
Wood frame construction for your foundation walls costs less than block (15% – 20%) but must be finished on the exterior in some manner. Concrete block is usually parged with 2 coats of mortar and is in itself a finished surface.
On the other hand, frame walls need either cement board as an exterior sheathing material, need siding extended down from existing siding, or need to have some other wall treatment such as cultured stone.
Summary and take – away – Foundation choices: Frame construction above grade is a good alternative to using only concrete block, and has advantages in weight, but to get a true financial and practical picture of your foundation choice, you have to consider both the inside and outside finishes you will want to use.
Trade Partner – Honorable Mention & Congratulations: Hale Built House Raising – a Great Trade Partner: Dream Homes and Atlantic Northeast Construction have been working with Hale Built House Raising for about 2 years and have completed over 60 successful lifts with them thus far. From simple 2’ elevations to hairy, unpleasant house moves and 12’ raises, Tim Ferguson, Will, Eve & the rest of the Hale Built team have been one of the most professional and competent organizations we’ve worked with since Sandy the Beast roared into town. We’re proud to say they are our exclusive home elevation contractor and look forward to years of successful partnership. Thanks guys for the continued great advice, and competent timely service. It makes life so much better when we can provide the best elevation service to our clients – you’re an important part of that package.
Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – Reader Survey: Do you have any specific topics you would like covered in the Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog that I haven’t mentioned? Send me an email or give me a call and I’ll try to include them in one of the upcoming bogs. Construction science is a pretty varied field and there is always something new, whether it is a method, a material or a design technique. Let me hear your questions, especially if it’s an item I haven’t written about.
Delays – 2 Reasons that cause the Biggest Delays & Biggest Issues:
Excessive change orders and lack of, or slow, payment are the most common causes for project delay.
If you don’t have money on hand to fund your project and are depending on RREM, it’s really important that you keep on your RREM Program Manager about the progress of your payment requests. If you don’t say anything, disbursements take much longer and this can translate to delays in paying your builder, which could slow your project.
See the June 5th blog for more detail.
BANKRUPTCY – FRAUD ALERT –
Alert!! A LEADING NJ ELEVATING COMPANY IN THE SOUTHERN HALF OF THE STATE HAS DECLARED PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY WITHIN THE LAST 2 MONTHS.
They are still in operation while reorganizing.
BEWARE. BE CAUTIOUS. WHEN IN BANKRUPTCY ALL EXECUTORY CONTRACTS OF ANY TYPE CAN BE VOIDED IF THE TRUSTEE DEEMS IT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CREDITORS. Your elevation contract is an executory contract and could be voided.
Definition: You can lose your deposit, or money invested if the federal bankruptcy trustee deems the contract invalid for any reason.
Again, in the “I can’t believe these people are not in jail” category, a HOUSE LIFTER at the SHORE (READ BETWEEN THE LINES HERE SANDSTERS) who is a very popular (read: cheap) elevation company, which I have been writing about forever, chose the inventive path of declaring personal (instead of corporate) bankruptcy. They are screwing their clients throughout NJ and under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s office – We signed 4 clients in the last month who instituted suit for lack of performance.
BE CAREFUL Sandsters. Make sure the people you are dealing with are representing solid, real companies.
Finding the Right Builder…Repeat – And the Really Interesting Last Look Method that works!
I’ve written about this several times in the past, but it bears repeating. See the last blog – this blog is already approaching novel length.
Last Look or If you don’t ask, you’ll get no where: If you are making a final decision and are between 2 builders that you like, where one is slightly more expensive but you like them much more and one is cheaper but you have concerns over him,
Ask the builder or contractor you like and want to use to meet your proposed budget number or the other estimate.
I recommend this particular technique for discussion because it is easier for you. There is less detail and discussion about particular pricing and ultimately you don’t really want or need to know all the whys and why nots and details of a particular estimate.
If your first choice can meet the price you need or at least the other valid estimate from another contractor, that’s good enough for you.
Anyway, you have nothing to lose by asking.
That being said, your choice should also:
1) Have an office that you can visit
2) Has been in business for long enough time to have learned how to do what you are contracting for
3) Have completed numerous projects similar to yours
4) Have current insurance and licensing and
5) Not be asking you for a huge non-refundable deposit up front.
This category, as well as worker’s compensation and social security disability, is something Kathy Dotoli, who is an attorney in Toms River, covers in depth at our Rebuilding seminar. Feel free to call her directly at 732 228 7534 for further discussion.
Signing Blind Contracts – PLEASE STOP DOING THIS SANDSTERS!!
If a builder or contracting is asking you to sign a contract with a non-refundable deposit, without plans or a defined scope of work, be careful. If an estimate is based on a set of assumptions which turn out to be inaccurate, you should have the right to cancel the contract and have the unused balance of your deposit returned to you.
Further detail in past blogs.
Repeat: Good Advice – Contractor’s Corner – Tips and Warnings about Speaking Directly to Workers and Sub-Contractors on Your Project:
See the last blog – this blog is already approaching novel length.
Repeat: Does Anyone (Carpenters, laborers, helpers, contractors) Really Want to Work Rebuilding New Jersey? Atlantic Northeast Construction is running 6 RREM crews for elevation work and 3 crews for new home construction and we’re constantly hiring (and firing!!) at least 2 new people a week. We’re one of the best builders out there (we pay promptly and are very honest) and always have room on our team for the right people, but good people are 1 in 10 at best. If you are competent and positive and looking for work or know someone who is, give them my email or phone number and have them call me.
Note: If you are looking for a part time job for which you will not show up, DON’T CALL US.
New Townhome Announcements: Some great news for Sandsters on the new home front – we’re planning an 88 unit town home waterfront community locally which will open at the end of 2017 and be very affordably priced.
Facebook: Please visit us and like us on Facebook! I am a social media illiterate but thankfully there are some great people on the Dream Team that are Facebook addicts and will communicate with you on Facebook 25 hours a day…
Dream Homes – New satellite office – 2818 Bridge Avenue in Point Pleasant:
Dream Homes has been so busy in the Point, Brick, Manasquan area in the last year that we recently opened a branch office for client service, sales and construction at 2818 Bridge Avenue in Point Pleasant. You are welcome to bring your surveys, plans and paperwork to that location if it’s easier than scanning, faxing or bringing documents to our main office on Rt. 9 in Forked River. Please call us for hours if you want to visit this location.
Contingency funds vs. Design scope funding:
I’ve written and spoken extensively about this item but Sandsters are continually confused about it, so I’ve started to include it below in the glossary of definitions which is a part of each blog. See below for more information.
Tip – Follow the Nearly Famous Blog: If you don’t want to miss any of my blogs, go the blog and “follow” it directly. Some times I don’t send email alerts when I blog. If you “follow” the blog you will get an email reminder whenever I post. We’re also on Facebook if you want to Friend us or post a comment.
Stop FEMA Now Association: We’re a proud sponsor of Stop Fema Now which is an excellent organization trying to save and protect NJ Sandsters (as well as other states) from FEMA tyranny. George Kasimos does a great job and needs your help also. To get involved and either donate or volunteer your time to this worthy effort, please visit their web site, which is www.stopfemanow.com
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.
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. The numbers on your Flood Elevation Certificate indicate how high in vertical feet your crawl, finished floor and grade are above sea level at the ocean beach. 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.
Footprint: A building “footprint” is defined as the disturbed area of the lowest level including the garage.
Ex: a 1200 square foot ranch with a 240 square foot deck has a footprint of 1440 square feet.
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.
HVAC Elevation height in crawl space: This must be considered when planning your lift. This is the elevation of the lowest duct, furnace or air handler in your crawl space. Most townships require a minimum elevation of base flood, some townships have no restriction, and some are at minimum BF + 1 to the bottom.
Design scope: These costs are defined as architectural and engineering fees, all survey costs (survey, plot plan, foundation as built, flood elevation certificate and final survey), soil boring & geotechnical costs, cribbing diagrams, permit fees, soil conservation design, and wind load calculations.
Please note – you do not get $15,000 in cash to spend on your design scope. You get up to $15,000, depending on what your actual costs are. So if your design costs are $9,200 you get $9,200. If they are $14,000, you get $14,000. If they are $16,600, you get $15,000. The balance of any remaining money in the $15,000 design scope budget does not go back into your grant and you don’t get to keep the extra cash.
If you signed your grant prior to October 1, 2014, you are not eligible for the extra $15,000 in design scope funding. Note: I have seen a number of clients kick, scream & please enough to have the $15,000 added to their grant, even though they had signed before 10/1/14, but that is not the policy.
Contingency costs: This item is part of your grant package and is designed to provide for unforeseen events or conditions that must be corrected in order to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and finish your project.
These are not mistakes, omissions or errors on your part, your builder’s part or the design professional that did the plans. Rather they are items that are not knowable or evident in the actual structure until it is elevated, or the result of one of the shore townships deciding arbitrarily to change, invent or augment the existing building code. These items include (but are definitely not limited to) rotten or termite infested sheathing, wall studs or sill plates, twisted, broken or rotten girders, site conditions or changes needed to comply with current codes which were not in place when the house is built, upgrades to water pits or valves required by the MUA, installation of hard wired smoke & CO2 detectors, installation of condensate lines to the exterior from the dryer, and about 50 other items that we’ve encountered. These items should be itemized by your builder in a separate sheet and submitted to RREM. 95% of the time you will be reimbursed.
There is not a monetary limit to this contingency, although it is generally 5% – 10% of the grant amount.
The contingency does not come out of your grant award.
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. Don’t wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point. 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 an email or left a voice mail and haven’t received a response, try and contact me again. Messages are lost occasionally.
Note to Sandsters: Though I write this blog to help Sandsters, 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 elevate & move homes, demolish and build new homes, and develop and build new neighborhoods. In the past 23 years, we’ve having completed over 1500 new homes, 125 elevation projects and 500,000 square feet of commercial buildings. We work with private clients as well as Path B clients in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for a free 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.
Good luck and good building!
Dream Homes Ltd.
Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC
New Home Builder #045894
Home Improvement Contractor #13VH07489000
PO Box 627
Forked River, NJ 08731
Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802
Cell: 732 300 5619