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3 Pillar Blog

Blog Category - Build Process

Friday’s FAQ – Homeowner Deadline

Categories: Build Process, Friday FAQ | Posted: November 6, 2015

Question: Can you finish this job by my deadline?

Answer: The timeline is important to a lot of homeowners. They may be paying interest on a construction loan or need to ensure a child starts school by a certain date. But while timing is important, it’s unwise to make it the dominant criteria for choosing a contractor. Homeowners should focus instead on finding a quality contractor in whom they have confidence and trust. Then, they can work together to establish a realistic timeline that suits everyone’s needs.


3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

The Value of Trusted Associations

Categories: Build Process, Newsletter | Posted: November 4, 2015

You can tell a lot about someone by his or her associates, and that’s as true for businesses as it is for individuals. Every successful business understands the value of ongoing trust-based relationships with other industry professionals.

Take the example of builder trade partnerships. If a builder has top-notch trade partners working on its jobs, it’s a sign that the builder is top-notch as well. Birds of a feather do, in fact, tend to build together.

The rewards that come from partnerships between highly professional companies go to everyone—builder, trade partners, and customers—in ways that are obvious and also not so obvious.

First, the obvious. A builder who has a trusted cadre of great trade subcontractors—and who treats them well—earns the best value and the finest customer service those subcontractors have to offer. The builder’s customers enjoy fair pricing and timely work. Builders are really no different than homeowners in this respect: once they find a plumbing or landscaping company that consistently gets things done right and on time, without the need for micromanagement, they use that company again and again. It’s smart business.

A reliable trade partner can also be trusted to take care of the customer without the builder having to act as intermediary. Consider the process of choosing ceramic tile. As one builder put it: “It’s a waste of time for me to be in the tile shop with the clients as they go back and forth making choices. I add no value.” The ability of the tile shop to manage the process makes scheduling easier and helps control costs.

Less obvious but equally important payoffs have to do with continual improvement. A trusted trade partner won’t be afraid to tell the builder if something can be done more efficiently, and vice-versa. In fact, good builders schedule meetings with their trade partners at the end of big jobs for the specific purpose of sharing feedback. Over time, everyone becomes more professional and efficient, and customers reap the benefit of well-managed projects.

The best builders also go beyond their market. For instance, most professional builders belong to a trade association that keeps them up to date on trends in design, construction, codes, and business management. Some participate in the local chapter of a large organization like the National Association of Homebuilders, trading expertise and knowledge with other local builders. Others join networking groups with companies from noncompeting markets who work together to help one another strengthen and grow their businesses. By sharing what works and what doesn’t, each member company becomes more successful and better able to serve its customers.

Membership in a trade group is a good sign. That’s because these groups don’t attract builders out to make a quick buck. Rather, the willingness to pay (often steep) membership fees and to participate in the organization’s activities is the mark of a company that’s serious about adhering to professional standards and even helping to develop them. It’s a company that wants to improve the industry as a whole for the benefit of everyone. These are pros who treat homebuilding like the profession it is, and who take great pride in that fact.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

What Makes a Project a Success?

Categories: Build Process, Newsletter | Posted: October 7, 2015

It’s as much about the experience as the result.

Some homeowners have asked: How does a builder know when a project has been a success? Well, there’s good news—the answer to this question is one of the things that defines a great builder.

To a pro, every successful project crosses the finish line with three outcomes. First, the homeowners are thrilled with their new home; second, they walk away with good memories of the builder and the project; and third, they are eager to recommend the builder to friends, family, and colleagues.

While homeowners tend to focus on quality and budget, professional builders work to ensure that the clients’ experience is a good one. Builders work hard to minimize stress and eliminate surprises. Their business processes and communication protocols are engineered to do just that.

This effort starts during the sales process, where the builder helps clarify the homeowners’ vision and creates a project concept that satisfies that vision. It continues during design, where plans and specifications become the first tangible rendering of that vision. It includes a contract that eliminates surprises and clearly defines everyone’s roles and responsibilities. It then moves to a successful handoff, where the project manager studies the vision and outlines a plan for building it. The time invested during this planning stage is the foundation of a successful project and satisfied homeowners.

A successful project isn’t without occasional unforeseen problems or errors—from a defective product that has to be returned to a long rainy period before the house is weather tight. The professional owns these problems, makes sure the homeowners understand how they will impact the schedule, and corrects them where necessary.

The common threads throughout the project are solid business processes, good service, and great communication. Builders at the top of their game have gotten there because they are skilled managers and good communicators. They understand how to listen to the homeowners’ needs, hopes, and concerns. And they know how to work with the homeowners to address them. This includes regular meetings where the homeowners are kept up to date about exactly what’s going on and what’s about to happen.

Professional custom builders understand that their success depends on satisfied clients. The most powerful advertising is a referral from a delighted homeowner. Builders work hard to raise their referral rate high above the industry average. This requires top quality work and strong, trusting relationships with clients. It’s a finish where everyone wins.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659

Treating Guests Like Royalty

Categories: Build Process | Posted: September 11, 2015

We see it every day…

No sooner do clients take ownership of their new home, out-of-town friends and relatives are anxious to visit and share in the excitement. In today’s higher-end homes, these guests may also be pleasantly surprised by their accommodations. Guest rooms are no longer limited to a den with a sleeper-sofa, a spare kids room upstairs, or a nearly finished attic or basement.

The boom of bounce-back children, in-laws, and out-of-town guests has created a generation of visitors who are more likely to stay longer and require ample space in the home for a comfortable visit. As a result, guest suites – complete with a full bath and other amenities – are moving into the mainstream of new-home design. In these homes, guests receive the royal treatment.

The latest (and greatest) version of the guest bedroom is a private suite. Luxury suites can come complete with a separate bathroom, away from the family’s bedrooms and in close proximity to public spaces, such as the kitchen. Many are accessed by a vestibule or short hallway to create privacy. Private courtyards or balconies, or at least exclusive access to a pool or outdoor eating area, are fast becoming expected (and appreciated) features, as well.

In addition, the guest suite may also have its own heating and cooling system, or at least a branch of the home’s main system controlled by guests on a separate thermostat. This provides maximum personal comfort without affecting the rest of the house.

In some cases, guest suites offer separate, private entrances. For guests or an adult-child living at home, a separate entry allows them to come and go without disturbing the rest of the family in the main living areas. Concealed from view and located on a side or rear elevation to maintain security, private entrances are a convenient perk for guests, live-in caretakers, or family members occupying the suite.

Today’s guest suites can be designed to rival the master suite in luxurious finishes, if not in square footage. For many of our clients, a regular, year-round flow of short-term guests is commonplace. Homebuyers in need of dedicated guest quarters appreciate the accommodation of space, comfort, and privacy afforded by guest suites in today’s upscale new homes.

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3 Pillar Homes is a custom home-builder in Columbus, Ohio.  For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035.  You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659

Does My Home-site Affect My Plans?

Categories: Build On Your Lot, Build Process | Posted: June 25, 2015

When considering a custom build, there are many questions you must ask yourself that will drastically affect the final result of your home.  The size and shape of your home-site will dictate what you can and cannot do in relation to your floor plan.

How wide a home-site is for example, to some it may just be an inconsequential detail.  To others it will decide if their home can accommodate a side-load garage or if a traditionally wider ranch plan will fit.

Ranch Home

If your chosen home-site in not in a community setting, there are a whole host of other aspects to consider.  Generally, when a home-site is not in a community setting, there is more acreage.  With more acreage you have more options as to where your house will sit on the lot, but there could also be areas within the home-site that cannot accommodate the home.  How will you orient the house?  Most homeowners will orient their home so as to take advantage of the views that their property offers.  Others will choose their home’s orientation based on the sun, and regulating their home’s temperature.  Not to mention, how the sun would affect them enjoying the outdoor spaces.

Rear Patio

Does your chosen home-site require a walk-out scenario?  If so, you may choose to utilize the basement space, instead of building “up”.  Many times homeowners will favor a ranch plan on a walk-out home-site, but that is not always the case.  Budget and lifestyle goals usually drive that decision.

As you can see, the home-site and the floor plan go hand-in-hand.  You can design a home to fit your needs, but if it does not fit the home-site you’ve chosen then complicated choices can arise.  It is always important to remember that while not every situation will necessitate a compromise, you should keep an open mind.

 


 

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio.  For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035.  You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659

Bath Trends: Enjoying the Royal Treatment

Categories: Build Process, Design, Newsletter | Posted: June 17, 2015

How far the bathroom has come in housing history! In a few decades it has transformed from an unheated outside shack to a treasured private retreat. Sure, the basic functions of a bathroom are the same, but in today’s master suites the space has evolved to include a variety of spa-like amenities and luxury features.

Matina Bath

As in the kitchen, design professionals and product manufacturers have focused their efforts on the bathroom with an increasing variety of styles, finishes, and features. Consider these current bath trends:

Shower Power: Forget about a single showerhead hung from the wall. Today’s showers offer multiple, adjustable heads that can be set up on any wall, featuring control pads to manipulate spray patterns, intensity, and temperature. Some heads, called shower tiles, are set flush to the wall or ceiling to provide a gentle spray, while handheld shower wands allow users the ultimate in water control.

Paik Master Shower

Tub Time: Bathtubs are not only getting longer and deeper, and with requisite whirlpool jets, but also can include mood lighting and spillover troughs to create a more relaxing experience. Called “chromatherapy” by one plumbing manufacturer, these tubs feature underwater LED lights that gently change color and include effervescent bubbling action from multiple underwater ports to enhance the soothing effect. Meanwhile, overflow tubs enable a deeper soaking experience without the worry of making a mess.

Wellness Centers: In addition to featuring luxury items, bathrooms (especially master baths) are getting larger—large enough, in some cases, to include in-home spa amenities including massage tables and yoga or dance areas that offer more convenience, privacy, and cleanliness.

Clothes Care: Along the same lines as the in-home spa and studio concept is the idea of a home-based laundry center.  Here you may find personal dry-cleaners, closet-like clothes fresheners and flat-rack dryers in addition to traditional laundry equipment. If the bathroom has the footage, why not install such products that make life easier and cut down on errands while attaining a higher level of quality care for your clothes?

Coglianese MB

Personal Service: Master bathrooms have become destinations. As such, additional conveniences can include laundry and clothes storage as well as a place to prepare snacks and refreshments. Often called “morning kitchens,” these mini-service areas offer built-in coffee and espresso makers, compact refrigerators, bar skinks, microwave ovens, and perhaps under-counter dishwasher drawers to privately serve the owners as they get ready for work in the morning or wind down at the end of the day.

Universal Access: Whether to accommodate a temporary injury, a more chronic disability, a young child, or an elderly relative or guest, the concept of universal or accessible design can be easily and affordably achieved in any bathroom without sacrificing style or luxury. Multiple-height vanities, lever-handled faucets, D-shaped cabinet pulls, and zero-threshold showers with built-in seating and handheld heads are just a few design and product ideas that can support any family member.

To learn more about this and other topics, sign up for our newsletter here!

 


 

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio.  For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035.  You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Managing Your Family’s Future: The Customizable New Home

Categories: Build Process, Design, Newsletter | Posted: June 10, 2015

You may have heard the term ‘customization’ in your research for your new home. It typically means the process of making alterations to the floor plan or exterior appearance of a home to reflect your particular taste, lifestyle, and location.

But a subtle yet equally important variation on that term is emerging within the home design and building communities. Put simply, this newer usage of ‘customization’ expresses that new homes today are—by design—better able to adapt to the changing needs of their owners after they’ve moved in and for years to come.

This kind of customization has its roots in architectural features like the great rooms and so-called ‘flex’ spaces that many builders now offer. But true customization requires a more thoughtful approach to the floor plan, materials choices, and future lifestyle changes than simply including a room that allows flexibility in its use.

3 Pillar Homes 364

Obviously, rooms like the kitchen and bathrooms are spaces dedicated to a particular use. But there’s no reason that a dining room can’t eventually become a home office, then switch back or become something else down the road, depending on what the family wants and needs.

More dramatically, consider a back room—properly designed—that could evolve from a simple bedroom into a den, home office, or studio apartment, and eventually into a first-floor master suite as the owners age and tire of climbing stairs to their bedroom.

Similarly, a storage area next to a second-floor master suite could, over time and if properly designed, become another bedroom or swap with the master bedroom, which could turn into an upstairs family room or office, private sitting room, or home gym.

These examples are practical and can also be cost-effective… if your builder has the forethought to ‘rough in’ plumbing and other mechanical systems. This level of customization could set the stage for a future rental apartment with a small kitchen and a private entry. Another smart option: leave sufficient room for a staircase or design the roof frame to accommodate dormer windows to finish an upstairs area adjacent to the master suite.

The possibilities of being able to ‘customize’ a home you already live in are inspiring. As much as we want to build new homes (it is our business, after all), we also like the idea of creating long-lasting communities of people who can build tight neighborhood bonds—which proper home design and planning allows.

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We also like providing homes that serve our clients now and in the future, reducing ongoing maintenance needs and extensive remodeling costs. The built-in flexibility also helps make the house easier to sell when the owners are ready to move on to another new home.

This newer kind of customization works best in new homes. As professional builders, we specialize in working with you to design the floor plan and construction process from the beginning to accommodate your family’s changing lifestyle needs.

 

To learn more about this and other topics, sign up for our newsletter here!

 


 

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio.  For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035.  You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659

Friday’s FAQ | Insulation

Categories: Build Process, Newsletter | Posted: May 22, 2015

Q: What’s the difference between “batt” and “blown” insulation?

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A: Batt insulation is formed into long sections, sometimes with a kraft-paper facing on one side, and rolled up for shipping and easier installation. The batts are made to fit snugly between wall and floor framing members. Blown insulation is essentially the same product, just not molded. The loose material is forced by air pressure through a tube into the floor cavities of an attic space to insulate it. Blown insulation is typically used only in horizontal applications (like attic floors), but is thought to provide more coverage and better insulating value because it is able to get into every nook of the structural frame. Batts are more easily installed in vertical applications (such as walls) or fastened to the underside of the floor framing to insulate the house from the ground temperature.

 


 

 

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio.  For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035.  You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659

Prefinishes: The ‘No-Name’ Construction Phase

Categories: Build Process, Newsletter | Posted: May 20, 2015

After the structural framing stage and the installation of the preliminary—or “rough”—plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling components are complete, there is a no-name phase of construction we’ll call the “prefinishes.”

The reason this stage of the process has no common name is because several different activities—by several different trades—occur during this time. All of them combine to prepare the house for the finish products to come, from flooring to trim to lighting, and are vital in the overall performance of the house. Indeed, the sum of these prefinishes is called the “thermal envelope.” These critical steps include:

Housewrap. Also called an air or vapor barrier, this tough, woven sheet-like material is installed on the exterior walls around the entire house. Sections are fastened and taped together to keep water and air outside the structural frame. Housewrap protects the “thermal envelope,” improving the home’s energy efficiency and indoor comfort. The wrap covers the rough openings of the windows and doors. Once it is installed, we carefully cut out those openings and fold the material around the rough openings to ensure complete protection from the elements.

Woodford Home Wrap

Windows and doors. Once the housewrap has been cut to expose the rough frame openings, we carefully install each window and door. Attention to detail is critical at this stage to make sure that the windows and doors not only operate smoothly and properly, but also deliver maximum thermal benefits. Good quality windows and glass patio doors are now designed for improved control of thermal transfer, solar heat gain, and harmful ultraviolet rays.

A home’s main entry door is often a signature feature of the house. Depending on the home’s design, the entry door might include windows on one or both sides (sidelights) or over the top of the door (transom), or perhaps even a glass insert in the door itself. These design elements add character to a home’s design and heighten curb appeal.

At this stage, we install the garage door(s). Like windows and passage doors, garage doors have come a long way in their design options and insulating value.

Insulation. Insulation is typically installed in the exposed framing cavities of the exterior walls. Good quality insulation retards the transfer of warm and cold air through the home’s structure. Insulation makes the home more energy efficient and comfortable inside.

Different insulation products are sometimes used for different sections of the house. In the walls, for instance, formed batts of fiberglass insulation are designed to fit snugly between the studs. In the attic, a loose-fill (or “blown”) insulation is often more appropriate to pack the spaces between the roof framing.  An expanding, spray-applied foam might be most appropriate in the slight gaps between the window and door frames and their rough openings to seal the house more completely against air infiltration and thermal transfer.

Drywall. The last of the “prefinishes” is drywall, or gypsum wallboard panels. These familiar panels are cut to fit and fastened to the framed walls and ceiling, creating a smooth surface and substrate for paint, paneling, wallpaper, and other finishes.

Because whole and cut sections of drywall panels are pieced together, the seams between the sections must be filled and smoothed before the wall or ceiling finishes are applied. Taping the drywall joints is a process that requires several days, as multiple layers of “mud” are applied and sanded to deliver a smooth and uninterrupted substrate with no visible joints between the panels.

Great Room Drywall

The completion of the “prefinish” stage creates the home’s thermal envelope, fully protecting it and its occupants from the elements and from thermal transfer through the exterior walls and openings.

To learn more about the build process, subscribe to our 3 Pillar Newsletter!

 


 

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio.  For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035.  You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659

Friday’s FAQ | Roof

Categories: Build Process, Design | Posted: May 8, 2015

Q: What is a cool roof?

A: A cool roof is defined as a roof that either reflects the sun’s heat away from the roof or is designed to ventilate a narrow airspace under the roof finish to keep it cool. Either way, the result lowers the temperature of the home’s attic space, which helps reduce the amount of energy needed to cool the house.

Woodford Exterior

Garage and Roof

 


 

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio.  For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035.  You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.