“Legitimate” vs. “Compliant” Contractors

As much as I appreciate the EPA’s concern for our children’s health and safety by implementing and enforcing the new lead based paint abatement guidelines, (or not. More on that later)
And Osha’s recent campaign to assure that asbestos is properly abated.
Due to lack of enforcement, the consequences for us “Legitimate” Contractors are less than favorable. Read more of this post

The Secrets to a Successful Remodel Project. Part I

Contract Negotiation

Negotiating a Successful Remodel.

Negotiating the Contract

Having negotiated several Residential Construction Contracts over the years, I would say there are 3 key ingredients to a successful agreement-
• Good communication by all parties involved.
• A well written contract.
• And a certain degree of trust.

Good Communication

Most importantly I have always advocated clear and concise communication on both sides of the table. This means negotiating with honesty, integrity, and all the necessary disclosures up front.
Both parties being able to listen, as well as convey their ultimate goals in a way that everyone understands is imperative.
Read more of this post

Making Communication Easier with 3D Studio Max

I’ve always been fascinated by the art of photo realistic Architectural Representation. And now
I’ve finally made the commitment to roll up my sleeves and dive into the world of
3D Studio Max and “Arch Viz.”

I’m a General Contractor who specializes in residential remodels and sustainable building.
Over the last 15 years I’ve sort of weaned my way into Architectural drafting. Using various cad, (Computer Automated Drafting), programs, starting with Auto Cad, Architectural Desktop, and now Revit Architecture. All of which are products offered by Autodesk Inc.

Although today’s cad programs are capable of producing 3 dimensional models of my proposed projects,

3 dimensional models

Revit Architecture offers 3d display capabilities.

there are more sophisticated rendering programs today that allow me to apply realistic materials and lighting while casting reflections and shadows. Creating images that are hard to differentiate from actual photos.

Exterior rendering

3d Studio Max exterior rendering.

Autodesk’s recent acquisition of 3d Studio Max software made it very easy for me to add a powerful new weapon to my suite of Design-Build tools.

‘I’ve always advocated anything to do with bringing clarity into the communication process. One thing that has frustrated me over the years is the difficulty in getting clients to have a clear visual of the finished product using only 2 dimensional illustrations.’

Programs like 3D Studio Max,

with it’s robust rendering engine, will allow me to illustrate finished interior and exterior representations. Including furniture, entourage, and whatever other enhancements I choose.

3d Studio Max Interior

Interior renderings can include all the details.

Another great feature of 3D Studio Max is the ability to create photo realistic animations.

I’m sure this will be the determining factor in giving me the edge over competitive bidders in the future.

Although I’m just getting started and the learning curve presents one of my biggest ever challenges, ( I love saying that ), I look forward to showcasing my work in the not so distant future.
Stay tuned.

Here are some links to some great Arch Viz sites. Bowen Studios , CGArchitects

Hiring a Design Professional for Your Remodel


“The planning and researching phases of a project are the most critical steps in the remodeling process,”
says NARI National President Art Donnelly

I might add they are also the most time consuming. But proper planning and preparation can save a lot of headaches and remodeling dollars.

A major home remodel can be a daunting task. Read more of this post

Proper HVAC Equipment Sizing- Why to Avoid Over-Sizing

Proper HVAC equipment sizingOver sizing HVAC systems is all too common among contractors who think they’re doing their clients a favor.
One of the problems with over-sizing is over cycling. Over sized systems have shorter run cycles because it takes less time to bring the temperature to the desired setting. It’s like starting and stopping a car. The shorter the run cycle, the more often your system turns on and off thereby dramatically shortening the lifespan of the system. Read more of this post

Phil Vanderloo Drafting and Design

Phil Vanderloo Drafting and Design logo

Phil Vanderloo Drafting and Design logo

Well it’s been a long time in the works but we’ve finally made the long awaited transition.
Hiline Builders Inc. has branched off with a new division- “Phil Vanderloo Drafting and Design.”
Although Architectural Drafting and Design is by no means new to our arsenal, we’ve actually been designing homes and custom remodels in cad for almost 20 years, we thought we would be better served by letting our prospective clients know that we are here to meet just their drafting needs only.
We are also currently working on offering a select few of our exclusive designs for purchase as stock plans for anyone who is interested.
We will offer different option packages starting from the most basic, which will feature 1 complete set of the selected plan for 1 time use, or you can choose to purchase the electronic files and the copyright for your unlimited use.
Keep an eye on our web site for further developments as we hope to be launching this addition to the site soon.
We are also working on complimenting our offerings with photo realistic renderings. We hope to launch this by fall of 2013.
Call Hiline Builders Inc. today to discuss your new home design and construction or remodeling needs.

What to Expect from LEED for Homes v4

We use LEED as our instrument of collective expression in the world for people who are doing something to improve the planet through the built environment. LEED is an instrument of common expression; that’s a beautiful thing.”
Scot Horst, Senior Vice President, LEED, U.S. Green Building Council

The USGBC recognizes that for LEED to continue to drive market transformation it must constantly evolve along with the building industry and needs of the marketplace.
Among other objectives, LEED v4 strives to reduce carbon emissions more than any of the LEED rating systems.
You can read more about the intents of the revised version on USGBC’s website here- About LEED v4

After months of hard work and review of public comments, the USGBC is finally wrapping up the details to LEED v4 and preparing for implementation in June of 2013. When introduced , the use of v4 will be optional and not become mandatory until some time in 2015. Those who wish to continue using LEED 2009 can opt to do so.
I’ll be highlighting some of the changes coming up in v4 as well as reviewing existing credits that remain unchanged. You may want to read the full v4 update on the usgbc’s website here LEED V4 Draft

The LEED for Homes certification process offers several different credit options to pursue as well as some mandatory prerequisites that are required in all LEED for Homes Certifications.
These credit options are grouped into 9 different credit categories. Some of which include Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Location and transportation, and Indoor Environmental Quality. We’ve included one credit example below and will continue to feature other LEED v4 credits and revisions in the weeks to follow.
Your comments and questions are welcomed as we continue to try to create awareness for LEED and the benefits that can be obtained in LEED Certification including Healthier indoor environments for you and your family and greatly reduced energy costs to name a few.

Credit Example
Integrative Process IPc1
Integrative Process credit 1 will remain unchanged for the most part.
This credit’s Intent reads as follows:
To maximize opportunities for cost-effective adoption of integrative green design and construction strategies.

There are 3 options associated with IPc1
The options listed below are abbreviated versions. To read the full IPc1 credit requirements click here Credit Details

Option 1 involves assembly of the integrated project team and involving the team in the home’s design and construction Process.

Option 2 Is the Design Charrette
This involves conducting a full day workshop or 2 half day workshops with the project team

Option 3 involves training project subs in LEED protocol .
The trades training must include at least the following trades
• Plumbing
• Insulation
• Air Sealing
• Mechanical Systems
• Framing

What to Expect From Your New Home

Several years ago I ran across this article in Fine Homebuilder Magazine posted by John Lemon titled “What to Expect From Your New Home”.
I’ve always shared Mr. Lemon’s opinion that it’s best to prepare my clients for those post construction regularities prior to beginning construction so there won’t be any surprises.
I’ve kept copies of this .pdf and given them to several clients before the construction begins.
I thought this would be a good article to share here in my blog for those of you who may considering new home construction or a major remodel
You can read it in full Here
I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful.

The Average Cost of Remodeling??

Sometimes pulling the trigger on that room addition or kitchen remodel can be a little tricky. One roadblock I’m seeing folks run into a lot is this-
The only way to get competitive apples to apples cost estimates from multiple contractors is to be able to provide plans and a detailed scope of work so everyone is clear on what the project involves.
The problem is that most homeowners don’t want to spend thousands of dollars for plans until they have a pretty good idea of what the cost will be. And rightfully so. Read more of this post

Installing an Energy Recovery Ventilator to improve indoor air quality

Did you know that indoor air in our homes is 3-5 more polluted than outdoor air.
Americans spend on average 90% of our time indoors. That’s why indoor air quality is so important to our health.
Without proper ventilation your home can trap pollutants brought in from outdoors or volatile organic compounds from paints and other finishes. Not to mention mold and mildew problems from lack of moisture control.
You might want to consider an ERV, or Energy Recovery Ventilator, to properly balance fresh air intake while saving energy at he same time.
Read more about ERV’s here- http://www.ultimateair.com/