Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –
Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC
4 – 20 -14
Happy Easter to all the Sandsters and I hope your holiday is filled with good health, family and great food.
Greetings to all and apologies from your favorite, not-prolific-enough blogger for not writing more often. I could actually write about building and rebuilding full time, but then wouldn’t have much time to build anything, so writing gets squeezed in like a guilty pleasure.
Lots to talk about today, as usual. Updated seminar schedules (Hello Riviera Beach Sandsters in Toms River!), scheduling inspections and delays, a You Tube link to our last seminar, recent changes to RREM Path B and some comments about the seminar held by the Toms River building and zoning department and attended by Bayville and Bricktown construction folks. .
We’ll talk time frames, the emotional unpleasantness of elevation and give some construction tips and hints.
Though obviously not in the best circumstances, I’ve met some wonderful people over the last year or so, many of whom have become clients and friends. A warm welcome to some of our newest clients – Matt & Claudia, Terry, Kitty & Ed, Chris & Ann – and thank you for your business.
Construction tip for the day: It is getting very busy out there in the world of building and rebuilding and we are running into delays up and down the shore. Each town is different, but most are legitimately quite busy and running behind on inspections and permit review. This is despite the fact that there are laws dictating maximum times for inspections and plan review.
Many towns (Brick, Toms River, Berkeley) are encouraging us to schedule inspections in anticipation of work being done by a certain date, as opposed to requiring that work be complete prior to calling in an inspection.
This is a new really helpful tool to use to manage a construction schedule and is good for both builders and inspectors. Important note: If you are not ready for your inspection, make sure you call and reschedule it so the inspector doesn’t waste a trip. If you don’t extend this courtesy to the inspectors, you will find that your inspection requests won’t receive the same priority, or you won’t be allowed to call in inspections ahead of time.
Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Schedule: Our next seminar is this Thursday, April 24th at the Egg Harbor township branch of the Atlantic County Library from 5-8. We’ll host Andrew Baumgardner from Baumgardner House Lifting, Kathleen Dotoli, attorney and Evan Hill PE from Dewberry Engineering. We will also have Steve Brasslett from Ivy First Hope Bank back on our schedule with some great financing ideas for you. We’ve had great response bringing a professional team to our seminars and we help a lot of people clarify their thinking and direction. If you haven’t signed up for this Thursday’ seminar, give me a call or an email since space is limited.
Note to Sandsters from AC, Brigantine, Margate, Ventnor and Egg Harbor Township – this is our first seminar in Atlantic County, so plan on attending if possible. Remember everyone to bring your surveys, flood elevation certificates and any other documents if you have them.
May Seminar Schedule: We have a busy schedule for May, starting with a special seminar on Wednesday May 14th at the Riviera Bay Beach Club at 203 Bay Stream Drive in Toms River. It starts at 6 pm and I am looking forward to meeting a bunch of nice people and helping clarify the rebuilding process. Thanks to the RBBC Board for having us and a special thanks to Margaret Q. for helping to set everything up.
Call or email to reserve a spot. In May we’ll also be in Shrewsbury up in Monmouth County.
You Tube Link to the last Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: A little late to the game, but 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 Blog: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. You don’t need to read every blog to find what you want – simply enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you are interested in is discussed.
(Private Note to Sandsters who are WordPress experts: I find WP very difficult to navigate and only use about 2% of the functionality. Any helpful tips would be greatly appreciated and will earn you a discount on your rebuilding project! :):))
HMGP Mystery – Where is the HMGP funding? Many are wait listed for both grants (RREM and HMGP) or have been approved for one and wait listed for the other. I don’t really understand what has held up the process with HMGP, which started as a welcome addition to bridge the gap between ICC funds and the actual costs of lifting the average house. Run by the DEP (not the DCA) it has turned into a confusing quagmire of delay (I know – you’re shocked).
Anyway, here’s a helpful hint: If you have completed the inside of your home and have only to elevate it, you probably won’t get approved for RREM. If you do, once all other funds you received have been subtracted from your grant award (ICC, insurance, etc), you may be left with an amount close to the $30,000 HMGP grant. HMGP is much easier to navigate and deal with than RREM, but it is a reimbursement program so you will have to spend the money (or work with a builder who can work with your budget needs) and then get it back from HMGP. Like RREM Path B, with HMGP you are in control of the process, unlike RREM Path C where you are not in control at all.
Progress at the shore: We have 2 houses up in the air right now and we’re busily constructing foundations under them. No matter how often I’ve done it, each time I see an elevated house, it strikes me as a most unnatural process. Houses just weren’t meant to be picked up from their foundations, where they were comfortably, happily resting. For the first couple of weeks on any lift, it is a messy, chaotic, intensely choreographed process.
Hint to Sandsters: If you can be travelling someplace warm while your lift is happening, you will be a much less stressed Sandster. Some folks like to watch every moment of the process, but even the most ardent interested people generally say “enough!” after a few days and wait until the dust settles before diving in again. It’s just not much fun seeing your house up in the air almost begging to be resettled once again.
Latest house lift: 1 day short of 5 weeks to have John & Helen back in their home, with all utilities reconnected and outside work almost complete. They are at 204 Catherine Lane in the Coves section of Manahawkin and some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Their elevated home looks great. Of particular note is the glass railing in the rear overlooking the water, which is something we try and put on all of our waterfront homes. Glass rail costs an extra $250 or so per section, so there is an additional expense, but it doesn’t have to be done everywhere. You can do the rear of your deck with glass rail and the sides and stairs with vinyl or pressure treated and still get the great effect for only slightly more money.
Our complete elevation projects are consistently running in the 5-8 week range. This is because of intense, insistent scheduling and planning and is not accidental. I told someone recently that when the building permit is picked up, it’s like flipping a switch and you’re suddenly moving at 100 miles an hour until the project is complete. There is no downtime and if you slow down or stop, it is not a good thing at all.
RREM happenings – Many Path B Sandster clients have gotten large checks in the mail from the program and this has caused a lot of excitement. The summary is you can now get up to 50% of your grant in order to start your project. You then request the balance of your grant in up to 2 additional draw requests. I wrote in more detail about this a few blogs ago.
Reminder – Sad but True: The design stage (surveying, soil boring and geotechnical analysis, foundation inspection and design, architectural design, utility disconnects and plan submission and approval) takes as long or longer than the actual construction stage, so get started on design as soon as possible and be ready to start construction when you want to.
Rule of Thumb: An average, realistic time estimate for your entire elevation project from contract signing to certificate of occupancy is about 4 months – 2 months for design and permitting and 2 months to finish the project. For new homes including demolition, figure an extra month or so.
REPEAT: RREM – Contingency fund Comment, Path C & Switching Paths (repeat): When you sit with your program manager to sign your grant documents, you’ll most probably be asked to contribute funds towards the contingency fund for your project. That may not be possible for you. You may need to choose Path B and modify your project to bring it in line with your budget.
Remember – you can switch from Path C (RREM manages the project) to Path B (you manage your contractor and project), but once you switch, you cannot switch back to C. I am averaging one new client a week who is fed up with Path C and switching to Path B.
Important Note worth repeating: Work with a builder who knows what they don’t know, and tells you that. If anyone tells you they are 100% certain what type of foundation you will need without a soil boring and/or geotechnical analysis, they are lying or misinformed. The reason the RREM program won’t commit to picking a foundation system before the design stage is completed is because no one knows for certain what you need prior to that study being done. It is reasonable to have several options for a foundation system presented in an initial estimate (I use my experience and give my best evaluation when I see each home, and am right about 80% of the time)…but the final foundation design and cost will be determined by your soil boring.
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 will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.
Reminder: 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 primarily to help as many Sandsters as possible, Dream Homes Ltd. is a new home builder and general contractor who actively does renovation and reconstruction projects up and down the shore. We actually are doing all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.
Hope this helps. As always, call or write with any questions.
Stay well Sandsters.
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