New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Dream Homes Blog 5-23-13 – 7 months after Sandy

       Activity at the Shore, Seminar & Interest Rates

Stairs in Setbacks, Flood Vent Notes & Concrete Piles


Happy Memorial Day, New Jersey!

Hope this blog post finds you well and getting ready for a great weekend. Governor Christie cut a 5 mile ribbon today in Seaside and many other shore towns did the same – 7 months and the Shore is coming back strong!

Activity Report: This week has been very busy everywhere at the shore, with everyone scrambling before the weekend. There is MUCH rebuilding activity up and down the Jersey Shore, getting ready for the summer leisure and business (and also to avoid violating idiotic summer restrictions imposed by HOAs, but that is another story). 80% of the beaches and boardwalks are open, some to a greater extent, but there is a lot of good energy happening. It’s going to be a great summer at the shore. Generally, I think we will have many more day trips than week long stays, since lodging is still an issue, but we will take one day at a time.

Seminar Schedule: Our next Free Rebuilding seminar will be held at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library on June 13, 2013 at 6 pm. We’ll focus on alternative financing options, insurance appeals and other options for rebuilding. We’re hosting an excellent panel of professionals including Scott Lepley, architect, Steve Brasslett, Ivy First Mortgage, Tracey Giery, realtor, and Sandra Guage, attorney. I will be moderating and it’ll be an open forum for discussion to get your specific questions answered. Remember to bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates. Seating is limited and cookies will be served. Call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Mortgage Rates & Housing Supply:  Rates are increasing slightly, supply has been very tight and absorption rates are improving throughout the state. This will lead to further price appreciation in real estate (although slight) which is a good thing. More people will be motivated to act before rates increase further.

Flood Vents:  Yes, you probably need them, they are important and they are expensive. (The Smart Vent guys have the only FEMA approved vent. It is an excellent product and is worth it). Generally each vent is rated to protect 200 square feet of living space.

In a V zone, since your house is up on pilings, so unless you enclose a space underneath, there is no need for flood vents. However, whether you are in an A, Coastal A or V, any enclosed area needs flood vents. If you enclose a garage or entry foyer, you need flood vents. If you are on a crawl foundation and are raising your home, you need flood vents, If you want your detached garage to not increase your flood insurance, you need them. Flood vents automatically open and allow water to flow through, equalizing the pressure between the outside and the inside of a wall or foundation. They also protect against rodents and insects when they are in the closed position.

Concrete pilings: We are exploring the use of concrete pilings as an alternative to regular treated wood pilings. They are used often in mid- or high rise construction and common in other parts of the country. Concrete piles are 12” diameter, as opposed to 10” for a wood piling, and generally require 40% – 50% less pilings.

The steel reinforced concrete pile is driven into the ground just as a regular pile is, and then run directly up to a continuous concrete bond beam that the house sits upon. Interesting concept since the wooden girder system is eliminated, there are half the number of visual obstructions and the design life of the piling is significantly longer. We’ll keep you posted.

Stairs and Entries in Setbacks:As we go about the rebuilding process, specifically through the design stage, we’re often choosing to increase the footprint of the home slightly, or possibly move it on the lot for a particular reason (adding a deck or addition). The question often comes up about whether stairs can extend into the front, side and rear zoning setbacks.

Each township is different, but generally, as long as the stairs do not have a roof over them, they are allowed. Often there is also an upper limit on the amount of square footage that can extend into the setback (100 – 150 square feet is generally standard) and occasionally there is a percentage limitation (no more than 50% of the total square footage of entry ways).

Decks that are elevated above one step or 12”, are considered accessory structures and generally must be within the setbacks. Decks at grade or not needing railing can generally extend into the setback. The same goes for pavers and concrete.

Reminder: Four Basic Choices about Rebuilding  (see my blog of 4-12-13 for detail).

  1. Stay where you, don’t raise your home and remodel your house in place.
  2. Sell your home as-is and move.
  3. Lift your home to at least BFE + 3, install a new foundation and renovate.
  4. Demolish your home and existing foundation and build a new foundation & new home.

Those are your options, even though they come with numerous iterations. Hopefully this will help focus your thinking. The main variables to cost and feasibility are the age and size of your home, the current foundation structure (slab or crawl), and the specific flood zone where you are located.

I hope my post helps you today.

Stay well NJ and Enjoy the Memorial Day Weekend.


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



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