Tag Archives: residential construction

Going the Extra Mile

Woody Allen was quoted as saying that “showing up is 80% of life”.  There are different variations of the quote but the meanings are similar.  It can be assumed that the other 20% is consumed with doing whatever it takes to stay under the radar.

As we start a new year of business we are grateful that this quote does not apply to the  contractors and suppliers who budget and plan our projects with us.

Over the course of a year a lot of planning and budgeting goes into projects that either we are not awarded or did not move past the initial stages.  Many of the projects we pursue are unique so this can be frustrating as weeks or months of planning implode when one of these jobs does not go forward.

Everybody we work with goes the extra mile when it comes to budgeting a project with us, even though they know there may be nothing specific in return.  The contractors and suppliers take conceptual designs and work with us to develop detailed project plans that we can submit with confidence knowing that we have all costs, scope and potential pitfalls identified to the best of our abilities.

All of us at Crown want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supports us in our pursuit of projects through their time, knowledge and positive attitudes.

Owners and architects who ultimately work with Crown and our team of contractors and suppliers are rewarded with a well planned and successful project.

It is never too early to involve Crown Construction Contracting with a residential or commercial project.  We manage cost, schedule and quality from inception to completion.  Our experience is diverse and the contractors we work with are the best in the area.  Contact us at (219) 488-2400 or visit our Crown Point office.

 

IF YOU DON’T SEE A CONSTRUCTION FLAW… IS IT THERE?

There is a right and wrong way to do pretty much anything, and at Crown Construction Contracting we do it right and strive for continuous improvement.

On a residential development I was involved with years ago I marked out walls that were out of plumb and decking and stair treads that needed to be secured properly.  The response from the framer stays with me as he stated that the items would be addressed if they make the punch list…or it’s not a flaw if the homeowner doesn’t see it and it survives the warranty period.  He fixed it but only after tearing everything marked with orange paint out with a sledgehammer.

As we traveled around the country we have had subcontractors argue if we are building a Swiss Watch, and say our expectations are exceeding industry standards.  When it was all said and done the installations were right.

Our uncompromising attitude toward quality is right.  Add up all the attention paid to detail and the customer gets a great product.  It doesn’t matter if it is a house, restaurant, office or industrial building.  If the components are right and installed right the result is right and is also reflected in an on time and budget project.

Currently we work with some of the most experienced subcontractors in the area.  We make a great team as not only are we like minded in a business sense but we have the same uncompromising attitude toward quality.  We all watch out for each other and punch out the project as we go.  This attitude not only results in a great product but is somewhat self serving as it avoids doing things twice.  You know the saying about not having time to do it right the first time…

A friend of ours has a beautiful house in an upscale local development.  They investigated the builder, saw his houses, and contracted for a design-build project.  As you read this the wood floors are cupped throughout the first floor, drywall is water damaged in multiple locations and one room is infested with mold.  The culprit; poorly installed roof flashing and ice and water shield.  It is the things you don’t see that matter the most in construction.

Contact us or stop by our office to discuss your next project.  Our passion for excellence combined with our business ethics and resumes make us unlike any other contractor in the area.  Our staff includes highly educated, LEED accredited professionals who are creative, current on the latest construction materials, methods and design and dedicated to our customers and community.

Emil Turean, President

Crown Construction Contracting

NWI CONTRACTOR BUILDS ON NATIONAL SUCCESS

Businesses and home owners in Northwest Indiana now have the opportunity to build their next project with the nationally acclaimed staff at Crown Construction Contracting, located at 560 N Indiana Avenue in Crown Point.  The knowledge gained from completing successful commercial and residential projects across 16 states including award winning locations on Chicago’s Mag Mile, combined with Crown’s business ethics, teamwork and motivation makes them unlike any other General Contractor in the area.

Crown’s team brings over 70 years of construction and management experience gained on projects including some completed under the most severe site conditions imaginable, with schedules previously thought unattainable. LEED accredited professionals with MS and BS in Business are on staff.  Field operations and in-house safety program are managed by Crown’s General Field Superintendent.

In addition to staying current on design, construction materials, means and methods, Crown has relationships with the most talented architects and designers in the area resulting in the premier construction team in NWI.

All projects, residential or commercial, are managed with the same unique approach that brought years of success to Crown’s past clients that include nationally recognized owners and architects.

Clients working with Crown Construction Contracting are immediately part of a cohesive team dedicated to the success of their project.  Communication of cost and schedule is current, clear and transparent.  All team members are held accountable and responsible.  Through on going strategic team management potential problems are identified and resolved minimizing impact on cost and project schedule.

For a successful project and to see how Crown Construction Contracting will add value to your next project visit them at their office, call or e-mail them.  Crown is also active on Facebook, Houzz and Pinterest.

http://www.crownbuilds.com

http://www.houzz.com/pro/crownconstructionin/__public

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

http://www.pinterest.com/ccc560/

560 N Indiana Avenue  Crown Point, IN

Phone (219) 488-2400

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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