New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 6-23-14 – Changes to RREM Path B & C, Foundation ideas to Save $, Scheduling your fall project.

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

6 – 23 -14

Happy Summer Sandsters ! 

Summer’s finally here and I hope you’ve been enjoying the beautiful weather.

Today’s blog will talk about ongoing changes to RREM, particularly concerning Path B & C. We’ll talk about different options for the lower area of your raised house and discuss errors in your project and how to deal with them. We’ll offer some money saving tips and discuss sizing your new house correctly. We try and talk more construction today, but many of us are focused heavily on RREM so we discuss recent and proposed changes to both Paths. Finally, a call to action for anyone wanting to start in the fall and be back in their house for Thanksgiving.

Next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Date – Next month at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin: Our next Nearly Famous Seminar will be held at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin and will happen sometime in the 3rd week of July. I haven’t firmed up a date but as soon as I do, I’ll post it. Last year’s Manahawkin seminar was very popular and this year should be even better. Call me at 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Sandsters – Call to Action! If you want to enjoy your house this summer but still want to be back in your elevated home before Thanksgiving, make sure you start your design scope very soon. You will want to have your final plans, survey, plot plan, flood elevation certificate and permit packages ready to go immediately after Labor Day, which means you should have started already or be getting started in the next few weeks. If you still need a soil boring and geotechnical analysis, make sure you order it soon. In mid August, you will need to call for electric, gas, phone and cable utility disconnects yourself, and your builder will generally handle water and sewer cut and cap services. When you do call for disconnects, make sure you request a date certain for the shutoffs.

The point is to not procrastinate too much longer if you want start in September and be back in your house before Thanksgiving.

So carpe the old diem, tempus fugit, get the lead out and get going!…JJ

Another point to keep in mind is the fall season of this year will be extremely busy up and down the shore and you will definitely face scheduling and builder availability issues if you don’t get started soon. Reputed material shortages are not founded in reality, although material price appreciation certainly is a concern.

This week’s RREM Abbreviation:

RREM: Resoundingly Ridiculous Egregious Management

IMPORTANT NEWS – Change in policy – RREM Path C to Path B: Repeat from the last blog: I don’t know if this is public knowledge yet, but the policy is in effect. When you sign your DBA (Design Build Agreement) at your 5A meeting, you are committed to Path C and cannot change to Path B.

This is a very important note – until now you could sign the DBA and authorize the design scope (soil borings, surveying and engineering) but you were not committed to staying with Path C and could switch. That isn’t the case any longer. You have to decide at or prior to the 5A meeting (which is where the CM (construction manager) meets with your assigned contractor).

If you sign the DBA at your 5A meeting, you are stuck with Path C. Be really careful that you understand what is happening at your 5A meeting – if you are unsure, call me and I will talk you through it.

As always when unsure about anything with RREM, ask for a delay and consult with someone you trust.

New Sunset Beach Model arriving soon in Toms River! For those of you thinking of designing a new home, we’ve recently introduced a new model called the Sunset Beach. A collaboration between our clients Matt & Claudia as well as our long time architect Scott Lepley, the Sunset Beach is a very different house with a distinct island look and feel. This model is being done in about 1800 square feet but can be as small as 1400 and as large as 2500 square feet. Send me an email if you want to check out the new plan. We’ll be starting the house soon on Rt 37 West in Pelican Island so stop by and see us.

RREM “Footprint” Comments: This tip is a new one for me and comes courtesy of another excellent client I am working with in Forked River. Thanks Joanne!

Prior to this point, I understood that if your rebuilding new (reconstruction) the maximum increase in size to your new house was a total of 300 square feet. Now I’ve come to find that the 300 square foot maximum increase applies to the footprint only and not to the total square footage. That makes sense from the standpoint of impervious coverage – anything under 300 square foot increase does not normally trigger the need for a CAFRA or DEP permit and also requires just a minor soils conservation letter of eligibility.

That’s an important distinction and it means you can increase the size of the downstairs up to 300 square feet and still have an equal or slightly smaller upstairs in addition. So you can effectively almost double your square footage, assuming your budget allows.

As a note, I have not definitely confirmed this policy with RREM, but I suspect that it is true. It’s definitely something to consider when planning your new house.

Money Saving Tip #1:  This is a good technique I’ve used recently and is another good option to keep in mind as you are pricing your project. This idea comes to us courtesy of Jeff Barton, who is another good architect we work with in Stafford township – thanks Jeff!

The technique involves using concrete piers on either a continuous concrete footing or over piling caps (if you are building on helical or timber pilings) as opposed to a solid concrete foundation wall from the footing up to the house. Around the pier structure, a 2” x 4” skirt wall is constructed, over which either vinyl or fiber cement siding is installed. This technique necessarily utilizes less concrete block which is a definite savings, but does involve building a 2” x 4” wall and siding costs. You don’t have a solid block wall, but if that isn’t important to you, you can save some money.

The net result can be $5,000 – $10,000 in savings depending on the height of your crawlspace. The higher the crawl/basement, the greater the savings.

Money Saving Tip #2: I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Though the single most important step to take at the beginning of your project is commissioning a soil boring and geotechnical analysis, you probably don’t need one if you are demolishing your home and installing pilings. In that case, you can drive a test piling to determine the point at which the soils offer the correct compaction (8, 10 or 12 tons normally) and size the pilings accordingly. You save about $2000 avoiding a soil boring. Frankly, as long as your foundation is certified to be solid and able to support your house, does anyone really care about the soil composition under your home every 6” down to 30 feet? I don’t think so.

Elevation – Repeat – Definition: Please remember that elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above your grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. It’s easy to make a mistake with this and 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.

Elevating your home – Appearance and Exterior Finishes: Repeat – Good information about finishing the lower level of your elevated home – See the last Blog from June 7, 2014.

Repeat – RREM / HMGP tip of the day: Secret – What not to say to your housing advisor when asked about RREM or HMGP: See last week’s blog for more detail.

You Tube Link to the last Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: If you’ve missed our seminars and can’t easily attend, here is a link

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’re interested in was discussed.

Special Feature for clients from Dream Homes: We take photos of all of our jobs on a regular basis and upload them to Dropbox. We then send a link to each client with their houses folder, so they can see what’s happening each day. Everyone seems to like this – you can feel very connected to the process even if you can’t be there.

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 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 and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.

That’s all I have tonight Sandsters – hope it helps. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well.



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




Twitter: foxbuilder

2 thoughts on “Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 6-23-14 – Changes to RREM Path B & C, Foundation ideas to Save $, Scheduling your fall project.

  1. Question: How many homes have you elevated with federal grant monies? And do you understand the process from start to finish with Pathway B?

    1. Of course I understand it from start to finish. It would be a tremendous amount of work creating this content out of thin air if we weren’t actually doing it in the real world.
      To date we’ve elevated over 60 homes with some form of federal/state grant money.
      What I don’t understand is how to keep up with blog comments and preparing estimates.

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