Why do I torture myself?

I am not one who gets very excited about trade shows.  Mainly because most of the time the information the product representative is telling me I already know due to my own research.  So typically I  just walk on through and stop at the booths that have something I have not seen before or new company that I have not heard of.  However, when I leave the trade show I felt as I at least learned a couple of things and found some new and interesting products.

However year after year my wife and I torture ourselves and attend the local home and garden show.  Now if you want to experience high pressure sales and be steered into the cheapest way to do things, you must attend a home and garden show.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good home builders and remodeling contractors out there, but I seriously doubt you will find one at one of these shows.  Because the good ones out there don’t need to attend because they get work through referrals.

With the exception of a new home energy auditing company and few insulation contractors, I couldn’t even tell you the headache I had after I left.  So many of us out there are trying to do good quality work and try and reduce our footprint on this earth.  But I couldn’t believe a conversation that I had with a remodeling contractor.  I asked if they had any experience installing fiber cement siding over 2-4 inches of foam.  Now I will give you a second to think about what his response was…….  They actually remove the foam board insulation.  Can you freaking believe it?!  My wife walked away when she saw my jaw drop.  I mean seriously?  So we hopefully improved the look of the home, but we  just removed at least 20% of the wall insulation and increased the home owners utility bills.  He continued the conversation that if you install the siding over furring strips, the siding will snap.  So I politely took his business card and told my wife, this goes in the do not hire pile.

So where does it start?  Do we continue our efforts and try and educate the home owner or do we need push harder to get people in our industry on board and bring them up to date on today’s building practices?

Brutally Honest Attack on Homebuilders? 

I debated for a long time whether I should re-post this article or not, because it definitely belongs in the Burning Bridges category.  However this is not representative of all builders.  My primary reason for re-posting is for consumer education.  If one potential new home owner reads this and questions their builder on something/anything.  Then re-posting this was worth it.

Brutally Honest Attack on Homebuilders?

by Mr. Dorris via Consilience: The blog

As I have previously posted, the 20% of homebuilders who build 80% of all homes are not in the business of building homes, they are in the business of making money (increasing shareholder value) and, therefore, do not necessarily know how to build.

Continue reading the article at Consilence: The Blog

NCARB raising the ARE fees in October

So my return to blogging is not starting off on the right foot.  I must have a lot of pent up anger that I do not know about.  Well anyways it was announced a couple of months ago that the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) is going to be raising the exam fee beginning October 1st of 2009.  They are raising the fee from $170 to $210.  Only $40? Those of you not in the profession may be asking why are you bitching about $40.  Well multiply that by 7.  That brings the grand total of the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) to $1,470.  That is more than the bar exam that lawyers have to take.  And in most cases they make much more money than architects.  And what make this number even more difficult to swallow is that most architectural firms do not reimburse their employees for taking the exams, let along giving them the time off needed to take the exams that range from 2-6 hours in length.

The attached blog post from the Architectural Record (NCARB Increasing Test Fees), gives some incite into why NCARB is raising their fees.  However this is not a good thing for the profession.  Already the trend for most architecture graduates is to never obtain their architectural registration that would allow them to legally practice architecture on their own.  As long as they are working for an architectural firm they see no need.  However this is resulting in less people getting registered every year.

Home Builders Green Washing – Energy Efficiency

I return to blogging with a rant that has been rankling with the home building industry.  Again, I know it is not good to burn bridges, but the home building industry is taking advantage of the uneducated home buyer so they can make some extra money.  This is all in regards to their claims of energy efficiency.

Builder Energy Efficiency Claims

Builder Energy Efficiency Claims

I borrowed this image from a home builder here in Ohio (I removed any reference to the company’s name).  Take a look at what they are claiming that is going to protect our investment and on another page our environment.  They even created their own cute little “Energy Wise” logo.  The materials listed are standard building materials found in every building in the United States.  And don’t get fooled by the Thermo-ply, its name has nothing to do with thermal efficiency, it more of an air barrier.  Standard structural sheathing has a higher R-Value.  The SEER rating on the air conditioning unit is the minimum size you can even purchase now.  The biggest kicker is the insulation levels that they state.  If you see the attached chart from the Ohio Building Code, R-38 ceiling and R-13 is code minimum for climate zone 4. Well most of Ohio is Climate zone 5.  So that R-13 does not cut it according to the chart. Still time after time I see homes going up everywhere that is 2×4 wall construction and no exterior insulation.  I mean the easiest thing a builder can do is to switch to 2×6 wall construction.

TABLE 1102.1 INSULATION AND FENESTRATION REQUIREMENTS BY COMPONENT

TABLE 1102.1 INSULATION AND FENESTRATION REQUIREMENTS BY COMPONENT

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Home builders model green home….Really?

I know it is inappropriate to burn bridges; however I find it frustrating when home builders market their homes as green.  Yes, some of them may be, however the most are not and the features they typically list as “green” are required by code when it comes to energy efficiency or water conservation.  So really what builders are typically selling you are materials, not durability and energy efficiency.  Inhabitat recently posted a great article about a green model home that is nothing more than green wash.  I encourage you to read the article and tell me what you think and answer this question.  Is a large home really a green/sustainable home when you have to use so much more of our earth’s resources to build it and then keep it a comfortable place to live in?

IS IT GREEN?: The New American Home via Inhabitat.com

by Adrianne Jeffries

New American Home 2009

New American Home 2009