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