A Moment to Reflect and Remember


On a personal note, Crown would like to take a moment to remember those we lost on 9-11.  Sometimes it is easy to forget the terror we all felt the moment we were attacked, but it always seems to become real again once we hit September 11th each year.  We would like to pray for those families who lost a loved one and those who were injured during the attacks, as well as the military who serve and protect us every day and all police officers, firemen and women (and rescue dogs), and emergency responders throughout our wonderful nation.

My father, although he has passed, was a great supporter of the United States of America and was sad to be unable to join the military due to medical issues.  His parents as well as he, were immigrants from Germany who moved to Canada in the 50s and into the U.S. in the 60s.  He took pride in everything he did, and when he finally retired from Ford Motor Company, was proud to purchase a 1972 Corvette…a bit ironic.  To my dad, the Corvette was a piece of the American Dream and what inspired him to honor our servicemen and women within our country and overseas with the Stars and Stripes Corvettes Across America Tour ending at ground Zero July 4, 2002.  I am proud to have had such an influence in my life.  Here is to honor civilians and service members we lost as well as my dad, Rudy Regelin.


Patriotic Corvette Lovers Gather at Pentagon

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2002 – “The American eagle is sleek, fast and powerful,” a top Pentagon official said here today. “So is the American-made Corvette.”

“Just as the Pentagon and Washington, D.C., are symbols of our nation’s freedoms, so, too, is the Corvette in its own way,” he said to the audience. The Corvette fans had driven their vintage and new sports cars, bearing American flags, from throughout the nation.Ralph Newton, the Pentagon’s deputy director for real estate and facilities, spoke to about 100 Corvette owners gathered on the grassy knoll overlooking the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

The Stars and Stripes Corvettes Across America caravan came to Washington to pay tribute to those who lost their lives at the Pentagon, in Pennsylvania and at New York’s World Trade Center. The group came to show their patriotism and support for the nation’s military and the war on terrorism.

“I’m sure people out in the hinterlands and through the cities that (the caravan traveled) were inspired and moved by this showing of patriotism,” Newton said.

Since the attack, he noted, American citizens have demonstrated their tremendous support in many ways. “It truly helps the people here in this building to heal emotionally to know that so many people really support and believe in the work that we do here,” he said.

From the Pentagon, the Corvettes headed for New York, carrying an American flag from the Pentagon to the World Trade Center. Another 200 Corvettes were slated to join the caravan along the way to take part in a July 4 parade across the Brooklyn Bridge.

The patriotic caravan was Rudy Regelin’s idea. The manufacturing engineer from South Chicago had driven his 1972 red Corvette in a hometown parade a few weeks after the terrorist attacks. When the parade was over, he and his wife went for a 200-mile ride still bearing a large American flag on their Corvette.

“Everywhere we went, we got applause and salutes and cheers and thumbs up signs,” Regelin recalled. “It was quite emotional for us.” Afterward, he said, “a thought started to germinate. What if we did something like this coast to coast?”

He put his idea out to the 35,000 members of an online Corvette chat group, corvetteforum.com, in December. “People just jumped on it leaps and bounds and said, ‘Yes, let’s do this.’ It just grew from there.”

The Corvette caravan began June 20 at the Peace Arch in Blayne, Wash., on the U.S.-Canadian border. The route went down the Pacific Coast to San Francisco and then cut across the country on a southern route. The caravan grew and shrank throughout the trip.

“People would travel with us for two hours, from one stop to another or from one overnight to another as work and time permitted,” Regelin said. “There have been over 2,500 active participants en route. I imagine, when all is said and done, we’ll have in excess of 3,000 participants.”

The group also decided to raise donations, so they created a Web site and took suggestions on how the money should be used. People wrote in that they didn’t want to “sink the money into a black hole that has huge administrative costs and where we’re not sure that the money will ever really be useful,” he said. They wanted to do “something tangible.”

The Corvette enthusiasts chose from among donating the money for a rescue vehicle, to the firemen’s children’s education fund and for rescue dogs. “In the final tally,” he said, “the majority voted for rescue dogs.” To date, the group has raised about $12,000.

Regelin pointed out that the cross-country caravan and fundraising are purely grass roots efforts. “We’re a cross section of the country tied together by the Corvette bond,” he said. “What we did was come together to say that we respect our military, we respect our government.

“We don’t have any professional management in this event,” he said. “There’s no large corporate sponsorship. There’s no real political backing of any kind. We’re just everyday kind of people and we’re using the Corvette network as a venue to display our patriotism and our respect for the military and pay homage and honor to those that passed on 9-11.”

Valecia Parker, known as “Chee Chee,” was one of those who pulled into the Pentagon south parking lot in her brand new, electron metallic blue Corvette. Parker’s a civilian employee in Army personnel management, the offices that were the epicenter of the Pentagon attack.

“I lost a lot of friends, including three members of my church,” she said. “I was helping one of the young women — she was an Army specialist — plan her wedding. That’s real hard.”

At the time of the attack, Parker recalled, she had about 30 miniature Corvettes lined up on her desk. They were all lost in the inferno. When she returned to work, coworkers had placed new ones on her desk to welcome her back. Deciding it was time for the real thing, she picked up her new car on June 30.

Parker, who now works a part-time schedule, said her love for Corvettes drew her to the rally. “I’m here for my coworkers who didn’t make it and for those of us who did make it,” she said. “We’re striving every day just to make it day by day in the building.

“It is really hard,” she added. “There are times when we walk through the building and we see people that we worked with – we know it’s not them, but we see people who look just like them and it’s so hard. I wanted to support my comrades as well as hopefully, my new family, the ‘vette family.”

After parading their cars past the Pentagon, the drivers and passengers gathered for a flag exchange ceremony. Regelin presented Newton with a U.S. flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol in April and then was carried cross- country by the Corvette drivers.

“Escorting this flag gives us an opportunity to tell the world, we’ve healed but we’ve not forgotten,” retired Air Force Lt. Col. Doug Webster, a local Corvette owner, said in an address to the group.

“This flag represents the common bond those in the Pentagon share with the World Trade Center in New York City,” he noted. “In a larger sense, this flag is also a symbol of a much broader bond shared by all Americans. Sept. 11 affected the citizens of this country more deeply and more broadly than perhaps any other single event in our lifetimes.”

The terrorist attacks were a “stark reminder that maintaining our way of life does not come without cost,” Webster said. “As we celebrate our freedom tomorrow, we shall also be remembering how much we owe to all of you in the Department of Defense.”

On behalf of the Defense Department, Newton presented Webster a U.S. flag that flew over the Pentagon. The Corvette caravan drivers will escort the flag to New York City and present it to the mayor.

The Pentagon’s exterior has been rebuilt and work continues on the interior, Newton said, but the nation’s emotional scars will only be healed when the American public knows the terrorists that perpetrated these acts have been brought to justice.

“We realize that all Americans were affected by these acts,” he said. “Your bringing these wonderful vehicles and this gift to the Department of Defense today is a great tribute to your patriotism and your support for the defense of our freedoms.”

As the Pentagon official prepared to present the flag, everyone cheered when he held it over his head and said, “Stars and Stripes forever!”

Article courtesy of: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=43684

Amanda Regelin

How to avoid potential disasters when building your home without a GC…

and possible consequences when you choose to DIY


Why hire an architect, designer or builder when you know what you want, and you know how to do it (or have some friends who are willing to help)?  Go ahead and start building!!!

Please don’t, for your own sake.  Are you aware of the local and national building codes?  Are you or your friends versed in civil, structural, mechanical, or electrical engineering?  Will you feel confident that you won’t be electrocuted because your home is not properly grounded?  How do you feel about paying out a large settlement to a friend who is hurt on your property?  If you are comfortable with any of these situations, you have more guts than anyone I know.

Please DO – Go through the proper channels and have your building inspected by the proper authorities (see permit point below) and built by the experts!

Building without a permit might sound like a great way to avoid delays in starting construction.  Plus you get the added bonus of not needing those pesky inspections that are holding back your moving into your dream home.  DON’T DO IT!!!  Building departments not only adhere to most local and national codes, but some may have their own requirements to hire contractors and subcontractors that are licensed and insured within the municipality (and state licensed in some cases).  Unless you want a big fat STOP WORK ORDER, we suggest playing by the rules for your own protection.  Permitting and inspections go hand in hand with doing things right (as noted in the above section).


  • Sourcing materials from multiple locations may end up with different lots (tile or flooring may not match even though the manufacturer is the same)
  • Tiles may lay uneven, have bad cuts, or large grout joints. In shower situations, leaking may occur if all proper steps are not completed
  • Ordering cabinetry from a big box store without a designer can leave you with cabinetry that does not fit (especially if the framing and drywall is not plumb and square)
  • Framing is not properly designed for loads on flooring or roof. This is not only an architectural issue, but a structural one that is unsafe!
  • Fixtures may not line up with electrical or plumbing in walls and floors leading to bad or awkward layouts. Ordering foreign fixtures online may have different connections that are incompatible with the S.

Amanda Regelin, Sr. Project Manager (Residential and Commercial Divisions)

Please feel free to contact us at info@crownbuilds.com or 219-488-2400 for more useful tips, and don’t forget to view our latest projects at http://crownconstructionin.houzz.com/ and



Proper Backfilling Is The Unsung Hero Of Residential Construction

Excellence in contracting is achieved by contractors who pay attention to all details; including the unglamorous ones that no one else pays attention to, like backfilling.

Backfilling, if done improperly can lead to problems like basement wall cracks and water leakage which can start during construction and continue long after it is complete.

There are four basics to proper backfilling:

  • Protecting the foundation from damage during backfilling
  • Placing proper backfill material
  • Compacting the backfill material
  • Grading to slope water runoff away from the house

The best way to protect the foundation wall from the pressures and potential damage caused by backfilling is to begin after the basement floor slab and first floor deck are in place.  The slab and deck will support the walls against the inward pressure created by the backfill material being placed.  An alternative to this is to brace the walls once they have reached proper strength.  Bracing the walls allows for early backfill and easier accessibility to the house for carpenters to begin framing.  Applicable bracing design and local codes apply.

Proper backfill material that restores the equilibrium of the moisture system is the goal.  Design drawings, engineering standards and local codes are to be followed and heavy, moisture laden and expansive materials should be avoided.

Proper backfill material that is placed in thin sections of 6” lifts and vibrated or compacted in place will minimize future settlement, which leads to drainage problems.  Larger sections of say 24” when compacted from the top can appear satisfactory on the surface, but only the first 8”may be adequately compacted.  Compacting in thin sections by qualified operators takes more time, but is time well spent.

Sloping the grade away from the house per local building code combined with downspout splash blocks are one of the most effective means of avoiding basement water issues by diverting water away from the house.

Properly supervised and correct backfilling maintains the integrity of a residential foundation and together with a proper drainage system works to keep the basement dry long after construction is complete.

Reference: Bartley, R.T.B. (1991).  Backfilling Basics: Backfilling the wrong way often costs more than doing it right.  The Aberdeen Group

Emil Turean, Principal, Crown Construction

Please feel free to contact us at info@crownbuilds.com or 219-488-2400 for more useful tips, and don’t forget to view our latest projects at http://crownconstructionin.houzz.com/ and


What exactly are you paying for in a builder’s fee (OH&P) and general conditions?

Often, home builders and general contractors (as well as subcontractors) are questioned about “what is included in general conditions and contractors’ fees”, and perhaps, “why is it so expensive when I can just do the contracting myself?”  While this may seem like a valid question, there are many things included in these costs that are not so obvious to a homeowner.

What to expect in a general contractor or home builder’s fee (overhead and profit):

  • Contractors work for a profit…just as any other business. We offer free estimates in ALL cases, which cost us a lot of time, energy and money, and when we do not get a project, we do not collect a fee.
  • When we perform our services, we expect a payment for management of scheduling, assisting with material selections, maintaining ongoing daily communication with all parties (including subcontractors, architect, building officials (inspectors) and municipalities, and the client), managing and assuring the budget stays on track, as well as office and administrative costs.
  • A reputable general contractor will carry the proper insurance including general liability and worker’s compensation which is a hard cost and must be maintained to protect the client, ourselves and others working on the job. He will also ensure that all of the subcontractors on site are properly insured in both GL and WC, another form of protection to the client.
  • General conditions can include:
    • Salary for on-site supervision during your construction project.
    • Safety, barricades, protection, clean-up (including final cleaning), travel time, temporary toilets, dumpsters, temporary driveways, equipment rentals, jobsite trailers and storage containers, etc.

Many television shows have been deceitful to the public by touting ridiculously low and impossible costs of construction, as well as many that can be done DIY (and within days).  Please take a moment to ponder the thought, “if it looks to good to be true…it probably is”.

We love what we do here at Crown, and our goal is to make our clients happy and gain a referral for another project.  We are not in the business of ripping off our customers…we are here to do an important job that must be done right, or it may suffer terrible consequences in the future.  Some disastrous examples will be shared in our next blog article!

Amanda Regelin, Sr. Project Manager (Residential and Commercial Divisions)

Please feel free to contact us at info@crownbuilds.com or 219-488-2400 for more useful tips, and don’t forget to view our latest projects at http://crownconstructionin.houzz.com/ and


Foundation Drain Tile

An easily overlooked and often unsupervised installation is that of foundation drain tile.  The tile system’s job is to collect water that naturally flows toward the foundation and move it away from the house.  An improperly installed or incomplete drain system can lead to water problems for the homeowner and builder long after construction is complete.

The tile used in residential applications is usually a four inch diameter perforated, corrugated plastic pipe covered with an approved filter membrane.  It is best installed at the side of the foundation footing and set in a stone bed with stone cover to keep the water level around the house as low as possible.

Depending on the grade of the area surrounding the house the pipe will either channel the water to daylight and discharge it down a slope or to a sump pit where it will be pumped away.  If a sump pit and pump are necessary it is important that the water is discharged far enough away from the foundation that it does not flow back and create a continuous loop of water.

Always follow local codes for foundation drainage installation and discharge of water.