""

3 Pillar Blog

Blog Category - Design

Keeping Projects on Track

Categories: Build Process, Design, Newsletter | Posted: March 4, 2015

Failure to make timely decisions is the number one culprit behind schedule and cost overruns. Homeowners play a key role in preventing these problems.

Some homeowners find it a challenge to make their final selection of products and materials. It’s easy to see why—with practically limitless choices in countertops, fixtures, tiles, windows, and other products, it can be difficult to settle on one model, style, or color.

Countertops Jerome Village

But decisions must be made at some point, and making those decisions in a timely manner is crucial to keeping the project on schedule and on budget. Indecision and delay can cause costs to rise dramatically.

Professional builders always include enough time in the schedule for homeowners to sort through these choices, but they also set firm deadlines for when each choice must be made. Those deadlines are based on how long it takes to obtain each item, and whether other work depends on the decision.

Take the example of windows and doors, where frame openings have to be sized to fit each particular model. If the homeowner chooses the windows after the framing is underway, that could mean going back and reframing openings. The same goes for decisions about plumbing fixture locations that would require the moving of pipes.

Foyer Tartan West

What about items that don’t affect infrastructure like framing or plumbing? The answer is that late selections anywhere can cause problems. Custom-made products like shower surrounds, cabinets, and counter-tops can have long lead times, so late selections can easily push the job past its original finish date. The same goes for decisions on flooring, paint colors, and landscaping.

The problem with extending the finish date is that time is money—every day the builder’s crew is on the job, expenses are adding up for labor and overhead (for example, items like the job-site office, the perimeter fence, the power pole, and so on).

During those extra weeks and months, homeowners run the risk of paying the costs for two separate homes: the expense for the home that’s being built, as well as the mortgage payment for their current residence.

Savvy homeowners reduce this risk by working closely with the design team, made up of the architect, interior designer, and landscape architect. Selection problems are minimized when the homeowners and designers work closely together. The design team helps the homeowners to narrow the choices in models, styles, and color, and guides them to selections they will be happy with.

The most effective thing homeowners can do to ensure a smooth project is to work with the builder and design team to make as many decisions as possible before work starts. Early selections eliminate a lot of stress and expense. The process of building a home requires a lot of decisions, and savvy homeowners help keep the project on track by meeting decision deadlines.

 

To see more articles like this, sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter here!

Friday’s FAQ | Windows

Categories: Design, Maintaining Home, Newsletter | Posted: February 20, 2015

This week’s Friday FAQ is related to the livability of a home.

Wall of Windows

Q: What is an “insulated” window?

A: Newer windows are often referred to as “insulated” because of technology that retards, blocks, or slows the transfer of air through the unit. Most people are familiar with fiberglass or other types of insulation material in a wall cavity. In a window, the “insulation” is a combination of several factors. Most common are windows with at least two panes of glass enclosing a ‘dead’ airspace between them. The airspace may also be sealed to contain a clear, odorless gas (commonly argon), which is heavier than air and thus an even more effective insulator. Better yet, one or both inside surfaces of the glass can be permanently laminated with a clear coating that further retards thermal transfer and protects the home interior against solar heat gain and damaging ultraviolet rays.

Study Windows

Capturing Natural Light

Categories: Design, Newsletter | Posted: February 18, 2015

Walk into most new homes and you’ll notice a big difference from many older homes: an abundance of natural light. In older homes, poor thermal performance forced builders to scale down the size of windows and glass doors.

Today’s builders, however, are able to maximize the capture of natural light by taking advantage of advanced technologies and materials, a wider range of sizes and styles, and a number of new products and creative applications.

For clients who prefer a modern look, glass walls can be used to maximize natural light. For those preferring traditional housing design, professional builders usually work within historic housing forms to increase interior natural light. Window manufacturers have helped this effort by providing a wide variety of products to match traditional house styles.

Wall of Windows

For example, a roof window (or series of these units) over the center of the kitchen can bring in a tremendous amount of natural light without having an adverse impact on a traditional façade. This is especially true if that room is on the back or side of the house and thus out of view from the street. Unlike skylights, roof windows can open to vent stagnant or hot air and odors. They have a flat design, only slightly raised above the roof finish, which further reduces any intrusive appearance.

For smaller interior rooms, such as a water closet, walk-in shower, or storage area, traditional approaches to bringing in natural light are almost impossible, or at least impractical. Tubular skylights offer a solution. From a small, unobtrusive opening in the roof, light enters a tube lined with mirrors and reflective material that magnify available light into the room below. These small devices pour large quantities of light into tight spaces, making them feel more spacious and comfortable.

Fixed or operable transom windows may also be used to bring natural light into interior rooms. Set above passage doors to bedrooms and bathrooms or even in interior walls, transom windows can carry natural light from rooms on the outside perimeter into otherwise dark, inner spaces.

JV Model Stairs

A kitchen backsplash can be used creatively to increase natural light. Glass block or fixed panes of glass may be installed in the space between the countertop and the wall cabinets. Light is brought onto the work surface without sacrificing kitchen cabinets for a large window expanse.

When homeowners prefer traditional architectural styles, experienced home builders will assist homeowners with design and product solutions, made easier with the wide array of technologically advanced windows now available. With new products to choose from and some creative design work, home owners are able to enjoy both their home style of choice and the aesthetic and cost-saving benefits of natural light.

 

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