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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 8-30-14 – Dirty Words to Avoid – Building in the Winter – RREM Path B GAP & Design Scope News – Zoning comments – Keeping Perspective & Sanity

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

8-30 -14 

Hello Sandsters!

Hopefully this Labor Day post finds you healthy and enjoying your weekend. Everyone please keep in mind that the summer does not officially end until September 21, regardless of how many naysayers tell you it’s all over after Labor Day. Any Sandster worth their sand knows that beautiful September weather is the super secret that you just don’t know about until you’ve experienced it. So let’s not talk about fall until sometime in October…or later. Winter is an even more forbidden subject.

Today, I will experiment with a Rebuilding Bloglet, which is a shorter version of my regular blog. I keep telling myself that if I write shorter blogs, I will write more often (which is a very common request from my beloved Sandster following). I’ve gone down this road before and only managed to write about 50 fewer words out of 1000, but today I am determined to post this quickly…J

We’ll see…I started this at 9:06 am…update 9:55 – still writing…10:18 wrapping it up and about to post…10:27 posting….sooooo the final Bloglet Grade for Vince: D-.

Happy Birthday wishes to my brother James, who turned 46 years young yesterday. Recently back from living in Holland for several years, I am glad to have him back in Jersey where I can see him and my adorable niece and nephew. James was also smart enough to come back at the best time of the year…wishing you 100 more healthy birthdays, brother!

Today we’ll talk about some soft stuff, like how to stay sane during the rebuilding process and some Dirty Words never to use while in the throes of your project…we revisit some money stuff since GAP funding was approved (finally) for Path B and RREM Design Scope costs under Path B might (will) soon be eligible for payment outside of your grant. We talk again about the urgency moving through the market as we enter the fall rebuilding season, and in what weather you probably shouldn’t do work. So, once more into the breach, friends… 

Seminar location change – Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be a week from Wednesday in Manahawkin at the Holiday Inn, where we had our July seminar. Sorry for the change but both locations in Toms River were booked for our date, so we’re back to the Manahawkin Holiday Inn. Call me at 732 300 5619 to reserve your space. Light refreshments will be served.

RREM Path B – Design Scope News: Ok, it’s real, although still not announced. I now have 3 clients that are having design costs paid by the program instead of from their Path B pocket. Ask about this before you are about to go into the Locked Room Where They Pressure You To Sign (that’s real speak for what happens when you go to sign your grant documents. You get a phonebook sized pile of contracts that you are supposed to read, comprehend, not ask questions about and sign, all in the time it takes to have a small cup of coffee. Completely ludicrous.)

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: Was it George Carlin who listed the 10 Dirty Words we shouldn’t ever use? Some profanity can be quite useful, often amusing and a necessary part of the rebuilding process (the judicious use of the word “F$%&” can be very helpful in the construction business) but George missed a few. He didn’t list the 11th or 12th Dirty Words, which are “problem” and “can’t”.

When I was growing up, we were grounded for using the word “can’t” and I’ve found that is a great word to eliminate from your vocabulary. Try “won’t”, “would rather not”, “choose not to”, “have found another alternative”. “Can’t” is usually not true and is extremely psychologically limiting – you’re much better off choosing not to do something than thinking that you cannot do it.

The word “problem” is even more of a problem, and you should stop saying that word right now. More importantly, as the leader of your team, forbid the use of that word by your builder, kids, spouse and anyone else you speak with regularly. For reference and perspective, problems are when people die or suffer grave illness, Obama’s foreign (and domestic) policy, genocide, armed insurrection in the streets, Ebola, etc. Missing an inspection, having a contractor not show up on time or installing a piece of trim incorrectly are not problems.

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

Let’s use “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 – Switching to Path B?: As you know, Path C is no more, except if you’ve been grandfathered in as of 7/1/14. Though the rules say that if you were Path C you have to stay there, on a case by case basis, RREM will evaluate your request to move to Path B. It’s something to consider, especially if you haven’t had your Step 8 meeting yet, or if the design work for your home has not been completed. As always, move in the direction that is right for you and will get you back in your house soonest. If you’re 2” from the goal line, don’t get disgusted and scream and yell about switching paths. If you’re not, it may be an option. The important thing to remember is that if you hadn’t signed your grant documents by 7/1/14, you absolutely can switch to Path B, regardless of what you may have been told.

Reminder – Great News: Since 8/11/14, GAP funding (now $20,000, not $30,000 as before) is now available to Path B recipients! That is outstanding news and long overdue. Remember, GAP funding is income based, so if you qualify you get it. If you haven’t applied, or don’t know about it, talk to your PM or go on and click on GAP funding.

Standard Fare – Repeat – Sandsters Call to Action! If you want to be back in your elevated home before the end of the year, you must start your design scope now. You need final plans, survey, plot plan, flood elevation certificate and permit packages ready to go by October 1, and even that is tight for year end, assuming 3 weeks for building permit review. If you have all that material, or much of it, you’re ahead of the curve.

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. 

Common Sense Reminder: 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.

Zoning issues – Repeat: 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. The real reason, which is quite sad, is that the majority of zoning officials are not equipped or knowledgable enough to evaluate many of the new scenarios caused by home elevations. Given the choice between making a common sense call or erring on the side of extreme caution, most zoning folks are choosing caution. Land use can be quite complicated and it is much easier to say “no” than it is to research details in the code. 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.

Definition:  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.

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. It’s 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.

You Tube Link to a 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 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.

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. You can feel 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’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 – generally good news & suggestions, and I hope it helps you move forward. 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




Twitter: foxbuilder

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