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10/14/08

SIPs Modern House Kit Construction Continues: Smooth Sailing With A Great Contractor!


You know your contractor is awesome when the entire day sails by and suddenly, you stop and realize, "OH MY GOSH We poured the foundation today!" Choosing a great contractor for your modern house kit makes all the difference between SMOOTH SAILIN' and STORMY SEAS! (Ok, forgive my analogy, I'm a pirate! I can't help the comparisons!)

Any-hoo, *That's* how much I trust and am confident in our fabulous contractor, Ron Bernaldo of Giant Oaks Construction.

Here's his account:
"At 5 a.m. The crew showed up.
The plumber had pressurized the radiant heat tubing yesterday and I checked on that and the gauges, it all looked good.
The first truck arrived at 6, and they came one after the other, we never had to sit around, but worked continuously.

I felt like there would be enough cement, so I called the factory to put the last truckload order on hold. It *was* enough, and I was able to save you the cost of that truckload- $1,000.

(Copeland's note, yes, at this point I kissed him!)

...And by 8 a.m. the trucks had left."
(Here's a picture of Ron and his wonderful wife dining with us on the land at our picnic table last year, he's looking over the casa ti elevations in this photo.)

I asked Ron if he had any advice for working with a contractor.

RON'S CONTRACTOR TIPS FOR WORKING WITH A HOUSE KIT:
  • He recommends working with a contractor that has a variety of experience, not just residential, as commercial / light industrial skills also come in handy with modern SIPs homes
  • He enjoys the fact that when constructing a house kit (vs. a developer with modern house plans) you have a LOT more contact and decisions with the home owners, so make sure the contractor you hire is interested in your journey, and enthusiastic about SIPs, your questions, and your education as a home owner building their dream
  • And in that regard, if you feel like there are ANY reservations in ANY of the people involved: the wife, the husband, the contractor: Don't do it!

    Without a successful team your house kit journey is much more difficult. You must deal with and enjoy dealing with other people.
    (Copeland's note: Our interaction with Ron underscored the many, many decisions we all had to sit down and make together, and the education we had to go through with Ron as we, like most of you, are not architects but home buyers.)
  • He also emphasized contractor's experience. In his opinion many younger contractors don't yet understand the importance of promptly returning phone calls, showing up (and your crew!) to the job site on time, coordinating the flow of trucks and people and materials so that it is seamless... which then saves YOU time and money.

    Now I know I'm going to get flack for this ; ) ... but in Ron's opinion he thinks a contractor needs fifteen years of experience to have the depth of conducting all these pieces (cement trucks, crew, SIPs delivery, cladding...) together into a final symphony!
  • And don't forget the subcontractors! Ron says he has never been happier with the people with whom he's working on these projects.
Anyway, we will post more pictures and videos this weekend... in the meantime, please cross your fingers that the bears won't walk on the foundation tonight!

(Although that *would* be kinda cool, no? Immortal bear tracks across an otherwise smooth-as-glass surface?)

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