Posted on November 6, 2014 by Amanda Glavin - Green Building
It can be easy to place blame on your builder anytime there’s a problem constructing your new home. While some of these issues may be out of your control, there’s a lot you can do as a homeowner to ensure your construction is not delayed by silly mistakes.
To help you achieve this, we’ve compiled three common home construction blunders as well as a few tips that will keep you from making a costly slip-up.
1. Designing a home you can’t afford
When you start talking to architects and contractors about building your “dream home,” it can be tempting to go a little overboard with your design. Maybe you’re so excited about the kitchen layout that you decide to change your countertops from laminate to granite. Or perhaps you tell your builder to add an extra three feet of square footage to the master bedroom, or you buy expensive hardwood flooring instead of carpet.
Although these may seem like minor changes, they can have a big impact on the total cost of your home. And without a budget in place, you may lose sight of how much you’re actually spending.
- Have a budget (and stick to it!)
- Secure a loan before you design so you know how much you can afford
- Resist the urge to make design changes without assessing the cost
2. Selecting the wrong builder
You wouldn’t make the largest purchase of your life without fully researching the builder, right? Let’s hope not. Of course, it goes without saying that not all homebuilders offer the same quality of work. This makes your decision to hire the right homebuilder especially important. A good homebuilder guarantees the work performed and helps you stay within your budget, so it’s a good idea to ask about these things before you hire someone.
- Get estimates from multiple builders or contractors
- Ask friends, family, and other relatives if they know of a reliable homebuilder
- Price isn’t everything—consider the company’s reputation, how long they’ve been in business, and online ratings or testimonials (if available)
3. Failing to get proper construction permits
You probably know that most places require you to have certain permits when building a home. While this may seem like something you can skip out on, it’s important that you obtain all of your permits before construction begins. If you don’t get them the city or county may order you to cease construction, causing project delays and many other headaches. They can also slap you with a considerable fine. More importantly, insurance won’t cover the work if an accident happens, so you might want to consider getting those permits if you haven’t already done so.
- Ask your builder or contractor about getting the right permits for you
- Research building permits in your area by going online or inquiring at your local city or county office
- Find out if you have to post your permits publicly or if you have to keep them on-site
Posted on October 13, 2014 by Amanda Glavin - Green Building
You’ve probably heard the terms, “eco-friendly homes” and “earth homes” buzzing around the community, but what exactly makes them different from a traditional home? To understand this, let’s define green homebuilding and take a look at how eco-friendly building standards differ from modern homebuilding, as well as examine how you can benefit from a green home.
Green Homebuilding Defined
Green homebuilding involves using environmentally-safe building materials and limiting waste throughout the entire construction of a home. Following the “ICC-700 National Green Building Standards®,” homebuilders are awarded points based on how much the project adheres to conservation efforts and green building standards. The point system is based on a LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) and there are four tiers:
- Certified green (40-49 points)
- Silver (50-59 point)
- Gold (60-79 points)
- Platinum (80+ points)
So now that we’ve defined green homebuilding and discussed how it’s measured, here’s how it differs from traditional building.
Green Homebuilding vs. Traditional Homebuilding: What’s the difference?
In general, green builders and traditional builders disagree on a few things when it comes to erecting a house. Specifically, a green homebuilder seeks:
1. Sustainable Building Materials
Green homebuilders are very careful when it comes to the type of building materials they use. They conserve waste by using recycled materials and they use products made from renewable sources. Traditional homebuilders are less concerned about sustainability when selecting raw materials.
2. Improved Energy Efficiency
A traditional builder is not as concerned about taking measures to improve energy efficiency. Low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, energy-efficient windows, water-conserving fixtures, and ENERGY STAR certified appliances are top priorities of a green homebuilder.
3. Economical Building Standards
The goal of a green homebuilder is to conserve raw materials and reduce the amount of waste in landfills by adhering to economical building practices. Traditional homebuilders don’t have this mindset and, as a result, they generate a lot of construction waste. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there is approximately 160 million tons of building-related construction and demolition waste in America, and 60 percent of it ends up in landfills. Unlike traditional builders, green construction companies strive to eliminate this problem.
Go “Green” for Increased Savings
Green homebuilding offers homebuyers significant benefits and cost savings over traditional homebuilding. If you’re looking to build or buy a new home, here are just some of the benefits of going green:
- Cuts energy consumption by 30 to 60 percent
- Saves $200 to $400 (20%) annually on energy bills
- Has an eight percent higher resale value over conventional homes
- Contributes to 48 percent of the affordable housing sector
Understanding what green certification is and how it differs from traditional homebuilding is your first step in realizing the benefits of an eco-friendly home. Give us a call at 360.601.6292 to get started today!