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Dream Homes Rebuilding Blog – 8-6-16 – Builder Hall of Shame – September RREM Seminar – Bizarre RREM & FEMA Behavior – Change Orders & Cost Overruns

Dream Homes Ltd.
Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC
Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

8-6-16

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?

It’s pathetic.

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 – awayFoundation 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!

Regards,

Vince

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

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog:http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: #foxbuilder


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Dream Homes Rebuilding Blog – RREM, Cheap Money, Foolish Behavior, The Last Look Concept, Seminar July 13th

 

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

6-5-16

Hello all –

Hopefully your weekend is going well and you are getting ready for the official start of summer.

For today’s blog, we have some fraud alerts and elevation contractor bankruptcies, which is always good reading. We have our (continued effort to) talk about foundation design ideas and options, we explore the concept of “Last Look” when you are getting estimates for your project, and we talk about cheap money and foolish behavior. Finally we mention our next Rebuilding seminar – which is Wednesday July 13th at 6 pm at Tuscan Bistro & Bar in Toms River.

July Dream Homes Events: Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar –Wednesday July 13th – 6 PM – Tuscan Bistro in Toms River.

Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held Wednesday July 13th, 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.

Once again, our trade partners and professionals will be speaking. Tim Ferguson from Hale Built House Lifting will be available for questions. Rich McGowan from Prospect Mortgage will talk about financing options with the SBA to help bridge the gap from your RREM and ICC funding. 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. This is a great chance to meet our professional team, and there’ll be plenty of time for discussion about your project.

Money’s So Cheap Now, It’s Almost Criminal to Wait to Improve Your Real Estate….

It’s always cost/benefit calculation at the heart of it.

Money’s cheap so the smart money invests in capital assets, which appreciate when interest rates rise.

Interest rates are definitely going to rise in the short term, although probably very little and very moderately.

So if you can borrow $50,000 more than your current mortgage while you are elevating or repairing, and add $75,000 – $100,000 in value to your property, and it costs you another $150 – $200 per month on your mortgage, you should probably choose to make the improvement.

We can help you with this calculation but a good rule of thumb is if the improvement serves a function and is not simply a vanity project, that’s a good start.

A new kitchen is great. Spend $10,000 – $20,000 – not $50,000.

Same with the pool, if you’re thinking about one.

You probably cannot overbuild adding a nice deck, unless it is much more than 10% of the value of your house.

These are only a few examples – there are hundreds.

Call me at 732 300 5619 to discuss. 

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.

These are the most common causes for project delay.

Assuming you are satisfied that the work that has been invoiced, is complete, pay your bill as soon as you are able.

Steady cash flow helps any building project.

Your builder should not be hounding you for money, and nor should they have to chase you.

95% of the time, if bills are paid within 1-4 weeks of invoicing (once you are comfortable that a fair amount of work has been completed), everything moves along fairly smoothly

Keep on top of RREM and keep your project moving as quickly as possible. It’s the most important thing for you to do and your most effective contribution to your project.

BANKRUPTCY – FRAUD ALERT –

Alert!!  A LEADING NJ ELEVATING COMPANY IN THE SOUTHERN HALF OF THE STATE HAS DECLARED BANKRUPTCY WITHIN THE LAST 2 MONTHS.

They are still in operation while reorganizing.

THEY DECIDED THEY WANTED TO BE GENERAL CONTRACTORS AND WORK WITH RREM CLIENTS AND MANAGED TO GO BANKRUPT IN 15 MONTHS.

Good show men. Screwing up in a raging bull market after a natural disaster takes a special talent.

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.

Definition: You can lose your deposit, or money invested.

Another leading elevation company, which I have been writing about forever, chose the inventive path of declaring personal (instead of corporate) bankruptcy.

So all his money is being sucked out of the company, which is why his client’s houses are up in the air for a long, long, long time.

WARNING WILL ROGERS! WARNING!! REPEAT REPEAT!!!WAKE UP AND DON’T GET RIPPED OFF! CHEAPER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER!

Don’t want to beat a dead horse here. See last 4 or 5 blogs for more detail on this.

Finding the Right Builder…Repeat – And the Really Interesting Last Look Concept that works!

I’ve written about this several times in the past, but it bears repeating.

Focus on finding someone you like and trust to manage your project.

You’ll be living with someone for 6 months or so from the signing of the contract through the completion, so it makes sense to do business with someone you like and are comfortable with.

They don’t have to be the biggest, or the one your friends all like, or have an office around the corner, or be someone who did your deck 8 years ago, but they should be someone you can talk to and understand.

Last Look: 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 might not really want to know all the whys and why nots and concerns of any professional builder.

If they can meet the price you need or at least the other valid estimate, so be it.

If they’re good and honest and they can’t, they should tell you.

Anyway, you have nothing to lose by asking.

That being said, your builder also should.

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.

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:

Short version – DON’T DO THIS! Maintain one field point of contact on your project – either the project manager or the owner – and one point of contact in the office.

DO NOT speak directly to your builder’s workers on the job.

DO NOT speak directly to sub-contractors on your project.

There are numerous reasons for this. The most important (to you) is that it will slow up your project and (definitely) cause mistakes.

Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth. One person steers the ship or it crashes into the rocks. One person has to own and accept responsibility for the completion and correctness of a project.

Lead, follow, or stay out of the way. If you are lucky enough to hire someone who is competent, try and stay out of the way and let them do their job.

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 a 75 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!

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. 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. 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 question

Good luck and good building!

Regards,

Vince

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

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog:http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: #foxbuilder

 


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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 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


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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 9-21-14 – World Record for House Lifting? – Rebuilding Seminar Review – More Crazy, Disgusting Delays in Permitting & Inspections – RREM Path B Secrets

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

9-21-14

Hello Sandsters!

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

Welcome to the Fall with some beautiful weather. If only it was in the 70’s and sunny during the day every day…

Today we’ll talk about just a few things, and my intention is to finish a Bloglet tonight before nodding off, without writing something as long as Homer’s Iliad. (Note from 2 hours later – failure again). For some reason when I leave the house at 7 am, I seem to get a bit tired around 8 at night and have trouble putting simple sentences together…if only I had the energy I had when I was 20 with just a tiny bit of the common sense I have now.

Most importantly (at least from where I sit), we’ll lay claim to the current World Record for Most House Elevations in a Single Week. We’re doing three this week (with one complete today already) which is a pretty amazing feat. We’ll review our Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar of 9/10/14, some more unforgiveable, miserable time issues with a shore townships and we give you the latest in RREM policy to speed things up (IE: get Sandsters more money, more quickly.

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Review – September 10th – Our Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar in Manahawkin was very successful and we helped a bunch of Sandsters move their projects along. Thanks to Jeff Barton, architect and Evan Hill, engineer who joined us and had some great thoughts and suggestions. Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library in November so stay tuned for an exact date.

World House Lifting Record – We’re claiming it now! Ok, we are proclaiming ourselves as the World House Lifting Champions (until someone else comes along and usurps us from that particular throne). We have 3 houses being elevated this week, with one already complete and I can’t believe any other company in NJ (the country? The world?) is doing that many in a single week. I don’t care who it is – if there is a company doing more than 3 lifts a week, I want to meet them.

Yes, it is a bit crazy and a definite challenge, but one must take the pitches as they’re thrown and struggle gamely to knock them out of the park. If the permit process was slightly more predictable and it didn’t take 7 weeks, 3 weeks and 1 week in 3 separate townships in 2 counties, we could possibly plan things a bit more evenly. But – when we get permits, we go. No excuses or delays. There’s no way we’ll ever be part of any delay – 5 minutes after getting a permit in hand, I’m scheduling the lift, the demo, the foundation and the decks…and ordering the gas to be reconnected.

Building & Zoning Departments – Warning – Beware of THE PUSH !!: That’s when you bring in a pile of paper and grovel before the person at the counter, who detects a period out of place and slowly pushes your application back to you with a smirk, a sad shake of the head and a, “Get what you’re missing and come back and try it again…better luck next time…!”.

Why do they do this at the township level? It usually buys them 3-5 days of being able to avoid dealing with another file. Instead of taking the file in and noting one or two items that are missing, they push it back to you and delay the process again. Sad but true.

Here we go again with The Blog Rant… (once again – justified and completely accurate). Question for ALL SHORE TOWNS – Aren’t you part of the Socialist State of NJ or are you sovereign nations like the Vatican?

In other words – Why don’t townships in NJ have to adhere to the laws concerning building permit review and time for inspections?

What am I missing here? Here’s an idea we should try – Calling all Sandsters – let’s go out tomorrow and start breaking petty laws with abandon in any Sandy affected town. When the nice police officers stop you and try to give you a summons, explain that you are in a Sandy affected township and you are trying your best.

Bam! The perfect Get Out of Jail Free Card!

I mean, it works for the townships so why shouldn’t it work for the common Sandster populace? Wait a second…in fact, don’t the Sandsters comprise the townships?

Wondering I am, is there a special reason permit reviews that should be limited to 21 calendar days (by law) take 6 weeks? How about inspections that should be completed within 72 hours (by law) taking 8 or 9 days?

Did anyone pass a law that we all missed? Why are all of the Sandster population subject to the laws and restrictions of NJ and the townships that comprise the state of NJ are not subject to the same strictures?

Next time you get pulled over for texting, going 5 mph over the speed limit, not wearing your seatbelt or any other onerous transgression, try telling the police officer you shouldn’t be subject to that particular law because you were affected by Sandy.

Let me know how that works out for you.

I’m thinking we should move to a Domino’s Pizza format – 21 days or It’s Free! What’s wrong with that?

Every single Sandster I know would be delighted to save $2000 if the permit process took 22 days or longer!

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

An additional idea (kind of like the 2 free toppings) is to have the township pay us $100 for each inspection that is scheduled over 72 hours. If that happened, let’s all say it together, “Take your time Townships!! Just pay me if you’re late!”

I am rethinking my Call to Action…maybe all the Sandsters should be lobbying for the 21 Days or It’s Free Bill in the state legislature…and thank you Domino’s Pizza for an excellent concept!

For me to call out these townships is a strong statement – for them to continually delay this process is absolutely unconscionable. Repeat: Building departments in Sandy affected towns are the single largest cause of delay in rebuilding. Period. End of analysis. It’s not the building process – it’s the permit process that’s slowing everything down. I welcome intelligent dispute from anyone with knowledge to the contrary. 

Think I’m annoyed? You bet I am. You should be also.

If you are being delayed, call the building department every single day and complain. After they ignore you a sufficient number of times, call the mayor and the DCA and complain. Eventually something will change. Heck, most of the ridiculous RREM policies were changed after enough people yelled and screamed about them (and I wrote incessantly in this blog.)

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

Tip (repeat) to Speed Up Your Project: Reminder to apply for your zoning permits as soon as you are able, even if other items needed for building permits are in process. Zoning permits have become and will remain, a definite cause for delay. (see the last 2 blogs for more detail). Remember – every building permit application in NJ must go through zoning approval first and there is no reason not to take care of that step as soon as possible and avoid delays.

RREM Path B – Latest Secret: Ok, finally we’ve arrived at a performance based metric for evaluation of program managers, as opposed to a completely ephemeral vague guideline. Program managers are now being evaluated based on how much money they manage to release to Path B Sandsters in a given period of time. That is excellent news for those Sandsters who are prepared and ready to go, since yours is the file that is now most likely to be plucked from the queue and given priority. Really folks, think about it – this is cause for minor celebration. We’ve finally (and not a moment too soon) arrived at a rational evaluatory process to gauge how we’re doing with RREM.

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

RREM Path C Sandsters – Repeat: Unfortunately, I get a few emails each day about Sad Sandsters Stuck in Path C. The unfortunate truth is that if you are in that position, you pretty much have to make the best of it. If you love that long, your project will (eventually, hopefully) be completed.

For all the Sandsters who have written and asked if there is some nefarious process going on, generally there’s nothing weird happening other than typical inefficiency and contractor paranoia about the RREM process. If you’re dealing with a national out of state contractor, double your time estimate. No matter who you are dealing with, your costs will be 30% – 40% higher than the real market. Path C jobs do move forward, albeit very sloooooooowly…like elephants mating it’s accomplished with a lot of kicking and screaming, occurs at a high level and takes 2 years to achieve any results.

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

Definitions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay well and sane.

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


2 Comments

Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 9-9-14 – Rebuilding Seminar Tomorrow Night – More on Dirty Words to Avoid in Construction – Building in the Winter – RREM Path B Design Scope News – Zoning comments and Disgusting Delays in Shore Townships

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

9-9-14

Hello Sandsters!

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

We’re still in the summer and the weather has been beautiful. If we lived in California or South Carolina, it would be like this all the time, but we are coming into fall in NJ, which means we have to get our acts together and get projects going before the thick of winter. Last year we (unhappily) built right through the miserable winter weather and each year I pray that global warming will hurry up and land here in NJ. 

Today we’ll talk about a few things, like a reminder about our Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar tomorrow night, some miserable time issues with a few shore townships and how you can save time prepping your permit applications. We touch a little bit more on how to stay sane during the rebuilding process and we revisit some money items about GAP funding and RREM Design Scope costs under Path B.

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar – Tomorrow Night – Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be tomorrow night in Manahawkin at the Holiday Inn, where we had our July seminar. We’ll have Jeff Barton, architect and Evan Hill, engineer joining us and I will be fielding general construction questions and concerns. We still have a few spots left so if you are interested call me at 732 300 5619 to reserve your space. Light refreshments will be served.

Building Departments & Zoning issues – Warning – Expanded !!: Reminder to apply for your zoning permits as soon as you are able, even if other items needed for building permits are in process. Zoning permits have become and will remain, a definite cause for delay. (see the last blog for more detail). Remember – every building permit application in NJ must go through zoning approval first. No reason not to take care of that step as soon as possible and avoid delays.

More importantly, here’s a drum I am going to start banging on like a mad Aborigine and I have a feeling it will become one of my (justified, completely accurate) rants. Question for Bricktown and Little Egg Harbor and a few other towns – are you folks splitting the atom or just reviewing building permits so we can rebuild our homes? Do you have to look on the Holy Face of God for inspiration or simply review our applications to make sure we’re at least one foot above base flood elevation?

For me to call out these townships is a strong statement – for them to continually delay this process is absolutely unconscionable and more importantly, economically counterproductive.

As a note, I am not that guy – I am always polite, pleasant, courteous and give people, companies and townships (too much!!) the benefit of the doubt. I’m done with that nonsense, at least where building departments are concerned. It’s getting me nowhere.

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

Let’s all say it together – the LAW in the State of New Jersey (also sadly known as the Socialist Republic of New Jersey) is that all building permits will be approved or denied within 21 calendar days or submission and building inspections shall occur within 72 hours of being called in and accepted.

Just to clarify in case you were watching a Seinfeld rerun, that’s not my opinion, that’s the law.

It’s not arbitrary, subjective, or subject to interpretation. It’s also quite easy to understand, assuming you have access to a calendar.

Next time you’re caught speeding, explain to the fine officer that your township has been Sandy affected and therefore you are not subject to the same strictures as the rest of the common peepul. Let me know how that works out for you.

Think I’m annoyed? You bet I am. You should be also.

Let’s all start picking up the phone and calling the DCA (Department of Community Affairs) when our permits are held up. We’re paying our towns for permits and inspections – we should receive the service we are entitled to.

Lest you think this is a nonsensical rant, consider these thoughts. My single small company with 18 active projects is currently being held up on 4 different properties because of illegal delays in permit approvals. We are constantly held up with inspections that are scheduled later than 72 hours from being requested – sometimes over a week late.

How many other projects are being unnecessarily delayed because of bureaucratic nonsense? Heaven help the State of NJ if I put in the time to do a fiscal analysis of what this means to all of us living in NJ on a macro level in real dollars. I don’t even want to see that result.

If you are being delayed, call the building department every single day and complain. After they ignore you a sufficient number of times, call the DCA and complain. Eventually something will change. Heck, most of the ridiculous RREM policies were changed after enough people yelled and screamed about them (and I wrote incessantly in this blog.)

Grrrrr…..isn’t this process difficult enough? Shouldn’t building departments be working with us and not against us? Isn’t it in everyone’s best interests to move the process along? How are the tax ratables going to be restored to pre-Sandy levels if building is delayed because permits and inspections take twice as long as they should? We have 35,000 houses to rebuild and last year we pulled 800 permits. At this rate, I’ll be collecting social security before we get close to finishing (I am 49, by the way).

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

RREM Path B – Design Scope News: It’s still not official, but is being approved on a case by case basis. If you haven’t received your first 50% payment from RREM, you can get your design costs paid by the program instead of from your Path B pocket. Ask your case manager about this item.

Helpful Note: Typical design scope costs, including full survey package, architectural/engineering design and plans and township building permits averages about $10,000 – $11,000. That’s a decent savings, if you can get RREM to pay for it.

Dirty Words and Other Unpleasant Subjects: From the last blog, I received a bunch of positive comments about the 11th or 12th Dirty Words, which are “problem” and “can’t”. Many Sandsters wrote how they immediately stopped using those words and felt much better about things!

Let’s all substitute these words and terms going forward and see how much better we feel each day.

Instead of “problem”, let’s try “obstacle”, “concern”, “issue”, “wart on the path of progress”, “opportunity for better understanding”, or “chance to learn and grow”.

Eliminating the use of the word “problem” from your lexicon will eliminate “problems” from your life.

Try it and let me know how it works. Keep a sense of perspective and remember what’s important.

RREM Path C Sandsters – Unfortunately, I get a few emails each day about Sad Sandsters Stuck in Path C. The unfortunate truth is that if you are in that position, you pretty much have to make the best of it. Yes, it is cumbersome and inefficient, but it is the bed you’ve made and you should resign yourself to sleeping in it, regardless of bed bugs and crumbs. The good news is that your project will (eventually, hopefully) be completed.

The bad news is that there are so many cooks in your kitchen that no one can even get an egg boiled. For all the Sandsters who have written and asked if there is some skullduggery going on, generally there is nothing weird happening other than typical inefficiency and contractor paranoia about the RREM process. If you’re dealing with a national out of state contractor, double your time estimate. Path C jobs do move forward, albeit very sloooooooowly…think glacial melting, global warming and turtles mating.

Repeat by request – Building in the winter? Constraints and concerns: We can and do build through the winter (this past winter was miserable, unpleasant, wet, snowy, rainy, sleety, yucky, crappy, frozen…did I say unpleasant?) but we were still out there uncomfortably freezing our little butts off. Most of the listed items are inconveniences as opposed to critical path items that cannot be overcome. The one exception is the temperature as it pertains to masonry construction. You can pour concrete and do masonry work at a minimum of 25 degrees Fahrenheit (and rising) with the addition of calcium (antifreeze) to the concrete mix. Any temperature lower and the concrete will not set correctly. Above 32 degrees F you can pour with no problem. Also, the concrete should set prior to temperatures dropping at night, or be covered with thermal blankets. Summary: winter at the shore is generally not too much of an impediment to progress, although rain, sleet, snow and consistent temperatures under 25 degrees will definitely cause delays in your project.

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

Definitions:   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 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.

Author’s note: It is legal to have your architect or engineer include the plot plan on the engineered drawings, but I don’t recommend it since it will probably cause your zoning officer to grab the Maalox. You may think you’re saving money, but 90% of the time you aren’t since you will have to revise and resubmit.. Your surveyor generally does a much more thorough job including grades, elevations and setback notes than your architect or engineer.

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.

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

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 and 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


2 Comments

Ode to the Bitch…A Sandy Requiem on Black Friday

Ode to the Bitch…A Sandy Requiem

There once was a time, not that long past

Over a year has elapsed, it’s gone by at last

We never once thought about lifting our house

Let’s drink to Her passing, that miserable louse.

 

It’s Sandy who changed us and pushed us around

It’s Sandy we cursed – her issues resound

In her swirling flood waters, our belongings astrew

Things were worse than we thought…if only we knew.

 

Who ever wanted to deal with the mess?

The loss, the dreams gone, the horrible stress

Will it ever come back and be as it was?

We just couldn’t see, through all of the buzz

 

But a year has gone by, and we’re stronger for that

Nothing could beat us or lay us down flat

We reached out for help to neighbor and friend

Soon we could see that there might be an end

 

We learned some new terms, that we never would know

We were confused and so mad, looked for things we could throw!

Elevation and pilings, flood vents and RREM

Everyone thought “ But this happens to them!”

 

But it happened to us and we’re much better now

We wondered and worried and thought about how

To lift, renovate, flood proof and fix

New words and ideas – we’ve taken our licks

 

Now all of a sudden, the money is flowing

Though slowly at first, the Shore is now growing

RREM has finally been born

We’re now fixing our lives, which once were so torn.

 

There are meetings and visits and studies and plans

All of sudden it’s a cry for All Hands!

To hammer and fix, rebuild and repair

Renovate, refurbish and lift – don’t despair!

 

The Shore is alive, and growing once more

It’s in sight for so many, the old Jersey Shore

When beaches and barbecues with family and friends

Will happen again, our lives on the mend.

 

Let there be blessings and wishes for peace and good times

So important for all, more so than these rhymes!

We’re much better now, but have further to go

Working together, the Shore will now grow.

 

So when you’re upset and worried and sad

Take heart fellow Sandster, it’s not really that bad!

You’ve taken your licks and weathered the Storm

Get ready for “happy” to be the new norm!

 

Vincent

Dream Homes, Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Rebuild, Renovate, Raise or Repair Your Home from Storm Sandy

Rebuilding NJ One Home at a Time…

Residential Construction & Development for over 20 years in NJ

314 Rt.9, Forked River, NJ 08731 Mailing: PO Box 627, Forked River, NJ 08731

609 693 8881 x 102 Fax: 609 693 3802 Cell: 732 300 5619 New Home Builder License # 045894  HIC License # 13VH07489000

vince@dreamhomesltd.com  www.dreamhomesltd.com  http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

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