Tag Archives: home builder

Character Above All

Ethics seem to be popping up all over.  Politicians are signing ethics agreements, schools are teaching it and contractors are building ethically.  Are there business ethics?  We believe the same as Peter Drucker that no, there are just ethics.

Our staff has worked at various companies and struggled with their cultures, which is why, being like minded, we are here.  We grew tired of hearing “it’s just business” and the end result being if the action made money than it was OK no matter the expense to others.

Looking back all of us at Crown credit our character that we bring to our jobs to our parents.  When we say we treat a customer’s projects and money like it was our own, we do, as it is our nature.

My first and strongest introduction to ethics was when I was very young and found an inexpensive ball in a large open field, not near any houses including my own.  As soon as my Mom saw it she said to take it back right where I found it as it was not mine and someone will be looking for it.  So I did.

This lesson has stayed with me for decades twofold.  One being if it is not yours and you didn’t earn it, then don’t take it.  Two being the beginning of my empathy for others thinking about how someone was missing the ball.  Combine this with the Golden Rule and you have the basis for the character that we at Crown share with our customers, families and throughout life in general.

We like an Inc. Magazine article “The Only Ethics Guide You’ll Ever Need” (http://www.inc.com/harvey-mackay/the-only-ethics-guide-you-need.html) that listed the following questions.  If an action in question fails any one of the tests, just don’t do it.

  • Is it legal?
  • How will it make you feel about yourself?
  • How do others feel about it?
  • How would you feel if your actions were made public?
  • Does the behavior make sense?  Will it hurt others?
  • Is it fair?
  • Will people in authority approve?
  • How would you feel if someone did the same thing to you?
  • Will something negative happen if you don’t make a decision?
  • (Our favorite) Would you do this if your mother was watching?

We’re not perfect and you can be sure that we have all have done things growing up that failed the last test, but all that has combined to make us who we and Crown are today.  We feel that our culture combined with our unparalleled construction and management experience makes us the best choice for your residential and commercial projects in Northwest Indiana and surrounding areas.

Emil Turean, Principal

Crown Construction

Advanced House Framing – The Pros and Cons

photo 1

What is Advanced House Framing, or what some term it: Optimum Value Engineering (OVE)?  OVE is a method of framing in order to reduce the amount of waste during residential home framing.  Structural values are not affected with the use of less lumber, while energy efficiency is boosted by the use of insulation, resulting in a higher R-Value overall.

Techniques of Advanced House Framing include:

  • Design floor and wall framing at 24” on center, rather than the standard 16” on center
  • In lieu of using studs for backing, install two-stud corner framing with drywall clips or scrap lumber (another example of eliminating waste)
  • Eliminate headers in non-load bearing walls
  • Utilize in-line framing in floor, wall and roofing areas (vertical to each other) to transfer the load downward

Cost savings in material and labor can be achieved by using this technique however, structural engineering must be utilized to ensure the installation will meet local and international residential and building codes.

The good, the bad, and the ugly…

Some advantages to OVE:

  • Lower material and labor costs (framing material)
  • Less environmental impact due to reduction of waste, and less disposal costs
  • Lower energy costs thanks to thermal bridging (additional insulation allows for fewer studs and rafters with increased R-value)
  • Less incidence of drywall issues, such as nail pops and cracking

The disadvantages of OVE:

  • Expect higher design and engineering costs
  • Expect potential issues with local building officials and inspectors due to the unorthodox design
  • If you hire a framer without experience in OVE, there is a potential for higher labor costs due to a learning curve
  • Although there are framing material savings, other material costs can increase including but not limited to: steel plates, drywall clips and subflooring
  • Some siding specifies nailers at 16” on center, making them incompatible with the 24” on center OVE framing
  • Energy savings are not significantly substantial, in some cases only resulting in an additional R-value of 1

When you are ready to start a new home build, or a remodel of your existing home, please take these tips and suggestions into consideration with your architect, engineer, building officials, and especially yourself.  An insignificant amount of lumber savings may result in higher costs in the long run, however it is up to your discretion whether the lessened environmental impact, a slightly more insulated house, and a home that is just as structurally sound as a standard framed home is more important to you, and worth the value.

References:

Musings of an Energy Nerd (2010).  www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/pros-and-cons-advanced-framing

Advanced House Framing (2012).  www.energy.gov.energysaver/articles/advanced-house-framing

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

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crown-Construction-Contracting/1420513534844348

www.crownbuilds.com

Tips on finding the RIGHT general contractor for YOU!

Finding a general contractor is not an easy task for a homeowner.  Firstly, there are several contractors who lack the experience, precision, and commitment.  Secondly, the process of selecting a company that will be managing your biggest life investment must be researched carefully.  Finally, recommendations from friends and architects who have experience with the contractor, contractor references, and testimonials will assist in making this difficult decision.

Things have changed significantly in the construction industry since the United States entered a recession.  Contractors are neglecting to carry the proper insurance policies for general liability and worker’s compensation, which places liability in the homeowner’s lap, should something go wrong on the jobsite (http://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-are-risks-hiring-unlicensed-contractor.htm).  Contractors are requesting payments in cash, and commitments to projects without formal contracts or scheduling.  This can be dangerous for homeowners who trust their contractors to pay suppliers and subcontractors on time (or if at all).

We suggest the following in your quest for the right GC: (Additional suggestions from other reputable sources can be found at http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20539027,00.html, http://www.networx.com/article/top-3-things-to-look-for-in-a-general-co)

  • Investigate the contractor’s experience through website and other social media.  Read testimonials and contact their references.  Consider the high quality in the contractor’s past work and his abilities to manage previous projects depending on size, details and difficulty.
  • When a contractor does not treat your project as a priority, or refuses to break down your pricing, consider this a red flag.  A GC that is committed to you and offers an “open book” has nothing to hide.
  • Make sure your contractor is insured properly and forwards insurance certificates and a subcontractor list of workers on your jobsite.  Consider a builder’s risk policy on your project during construction.  Your contractor can have this policy issued through his insurer for approximately 1% of total construction costs (http://www.insurance4usa.com/home-insurance-whilebeingbuilt.cfm).
  • Carefully consider when a contractor refuses to work anything but “cash only”, without a contract or schedule, and without the proper legal paperwork for payout procedures (http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=16070471).  Require your contractor and his subcontractors and suppliers to issue waivers of lien with each payout.  Unless you have very deep pockets, and enjoy giving money away, consider comprehensive pricing up-front to assist you in keeping track of where your money is going.  An honest contractor that runs a true general contracting business will have no problem offering this in his services.
  • The best project will be completed by the contractor who has made you a priority, and has been involved since day one.  Make sure you understand what is included in the proposal, and be careful not to jump on the low bid…As the old saying goes “Pick any two”, cost, quality or schedule.

o        Design something quickly and to a high standard, but then it will not be cheap.

o        Design something quickly and cheaply, but it will not be of high quality.

o        Design something with high quality and cheaply, but it will take a relatively long time.

 

  • Shopping bids between contractors (i.e. showing a contractor another contractor’s bid) is unethical and tends to contaminate bids by losing the “apple-to-apple” comparison, especially in conceptual budgets.  Crown does not bid shop with our subcontractors – each price on your proposal is the price the subcontractor is paid.

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 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crown-Construction-Contracting/1420513534844348