""

3 Pillar Blog

Friday FAQ!

Categories: Friday FAQ | Posted: July 15, 2016

Q: Is the length of time a builder has been in business important?

A: Every contractor starts somewhere, and the best ones work hard during their early years to establish a good reputation. However, homeowners need to decide if they want to be part of someone’s learning process. One advantage of a contractor who has been in business for a decade or more is their longstanding relationships with subcontractors and suppliers. A high-quality contractor will develop relationships with high-quality subs, and these relationships have a lot to do with keeping the project on schedule.

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 Importance of Structure

Categories: Newsletter | Posted: July 6, 2016

Framing details have a big impact on all aspects of a new home.

Most people don’t think much about their home’s structural skeleton—unless there’s a problem. Small mistakes made during the framing stage can cause headaches later on that range from annoyances to health issues. Let’s look at how a home gets framed, and how the builder makes sure it’s done right.

Most homes use “platform” or “stick” framing. The framing crew builds the floor platform then adds walls and ceilings one piece (one stick) at a time. Other workers then route pipes, wires, and ductwork through the frame; stuff or blow insulation into cavities; and cover the structure with drywall, siding, and trimwork. The system is efficient and proven. And the fact that all tradespeople understand it makes for more predictable scheduling and cost estimating.

The system’s familiarity also means that a good framing crew knows the consequences of not minding the details. Inadequately glued subflooring can cause floors to squeak when walked on. A wall that’s not plumb (straight up and down), level, and perfectly straight along its length can mean wavy drywall and sticking doors. An out-of-square corner could make trim harder to fit and prevent a wood floor from visually aligning the way it’s supposed to. The framer has to take steps to prevent these problems.

There are also many small items that need attention. Blocking has to be added behind everything from cabinets to baseboard, so that nails and screws that penetrate the drywall bite into something solid. Window and door headers have to align perfectly, as do rows of recessed lights. And there has to be enough space between the framing in the right places to fit ductwork and plumbing stacks.

While the framing crew builds to a set of blueprints and specifications, it is important to view the framing skeleton as part of the overall finished product. That’s why the framer works closely with the job supervisor, the professional builder’s on-site manager. The super is someone with many years of experience, who sees the house as an integrated system, and who understands how the structural shell will ultimately interact with all the other elements.

The super also has to oversee plumbers, electricians, and HVAC contractors. These trades will be cutting holes in the frame to accommodate wires and pipes and ducts. The super needs to work with them to make sure they don’t compromise the structure or create leaks. Like everything else on a building site, it’s a collaborative effort, and one reason why professional builders seek out experienced subs with good communication systems.

Then there’s the issue of moisture in the framing. For one thing, moisture trapped in walls can lead to mold. For another, wet lumber will move as it dries, causing nail pops and cracks in the drywall as well as squeaky floors and stairways.

Avoiding these problems starts with dry lumber. In older homes, the walls were drafty enough that wet lumber and minor leaks could easily dry out, but that’s not the case with today’s code-mandated tight construction. Nowadays, the educated, quality-conscious builder uses a systematic approach to dealing with moisture—an approach that includes checking the framing with a moisture meter and, if necessary, taking steps to dry it out before hanging the drywall. It also means detailing walls so that they block energy-robbing drafts but give any moisture that does get inside a way out.

The point is that the framer and job supervisor have to constantly think ahead to all the work that comes afterwards, and make sure that the framed structure will support a quality end product. The knowledge and experience needed to make sure this happens is part of the value a professional builder brings to the table.

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 FAQ!

Categories: Friday FAQ | Posted: July 1, 2016

Q: What is fiber-cement siding?

A: Fiber-cement siding is one of an increasing variety of exterior siding products. It is made of a fiber-reinforced lightweight concrete that is most often manufactured to look like clapboard (or lap) siding. Smooth or textured, and occasionally containing recycled content, it is more durable than wood, vinyl, or aluminum siding products and therefore costs less to maintain. Fiber-cement siding also serves as an effective thermal mass to minimize heat loss or gain through the structure, thus reducing energy use and costs.

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 Advantage of a “Single-Source” Builder

Categories: Newsletter | Posted: June 22, 2016

As a professional builder, we understand the importance of being in tune with the expectations of our homebuyers. We engage in continuing education to stay up-to-date with current trends in residential design and construction. We seek to anticipate what our homebuyers are looking for in a new home. We offer choices that fit each client’s budget and lifestyle. At the same time, we commit to high quality standards, remain on schedule, within budget, and service our work and the components we use to build each new home.

To achieve these goals, we must be very particular about the materials and products we recommend to our homebuyers.

Occasionally, a homebuyer may suggest something that’s not within our package of standard, upgraded or optional products. Although we constantly look for new and better ideas, some of the suggested products and materials may not meet the expectations we and our homebuyers have for lasting performance and cost efficiency.

To better understand the value of our role in offering a market-savvy selection of finishes, products, and materials for use in our new homes, consider the following questions and answers:

Q: My builder insists that I choose certain products and finishes by a prescribed date after signing the contract. Why is it so critical to meet those deadlines?

A: Making product selections early in the construction process, often before your home is started, allows us to insure that the products will get to the job site on time and within budget. Coordinating vendors and trade contractors involves a certain amount of “lead time”. This is the time it takes to receive a product from a supplier and schedule an installer. With timely selections from our clients we are able to keep a project on schedule and avoid paying a premium for rush deliveries.

Q: A contractor in my area says he’ll roof my house for a lot less than what my builder quoted, but my builder advised against using him. Why?

A: As with most things in life, a lower price doesn’t necessarily mean a lower overall cost. We seek out the best trade partners (like roofers) and negotiate the price of their work based on a variety of considerations. These include their availability, skills, experience, and ability to meet our deadline and quality standards. A low-priced roofer may not be sensitive to our schedule, leave the job unfinished or fail to meet our quality standards. This delays construction, often resulting in higher overall costs and extra work. Simply put, if the roofer is unknown to you and us, that’s a risk we’re uncomfortable taking on your behalf.

Q: I found some great outdoor light fixtures that would be perfect for my house. Can I use them instead of the ones being offered?

A: Some builders provide their clients with allowances to purchase certain products (usually finishes, like light fixtures) on their own. Even in those cases, however, we’re going to point our clients to the showroom of a reliable supplier; one with whom we work with regularly, can stay within budget and steer an owner in the right direction. An off-the-shelf or mail-order item, even a brand name, carries some risk for both builder and homebuyer. The builder must guarantee its installation and durability without truly knowing how it will perform in your home. It may also be more difficult to install than the line of products we offer, raising costs.

Q: Why does my builder charge more for the exact same faucet I found online for less?

A: A builder’s cost is more than just the price of an item. It may include the cost to ship and install it, to service it, and a nominal markup to cover overhead costs, insurance, storage, and profit. For all the products and systems in a home, we assume certain risks and costs on your behalf.

In order for us to give reliable assurances and properly service the products and features of your new home, we must manage and coordinate every aspect of the construction process. While we offer plenty of choices, those choices are determined based on extensive market analysis and years of experience in offering the most valuable commodity of all: your peace of 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.

Friday FAQ!

Categories: Friday FAQ | Posted: June 17, 2016

Q: How many jobs are you currently doing?

A: With real estate prices rising, new homebuilders and remodelers alike are busier than they have been for years. Because of this, some homeowners worry that their contractor will be spread too thin. The best way to avoid such worries is to hire a pro. One reason professionally managed companies tend to dominate their markets is that they have the systems and staff in place to manage multiple projects. And their financial stability means they don’t have to scramble to take every project that comes along. The result is a higher-quality product and happier customers.

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.

Hidden Benefits of Building New

Categories: Newsletter | Posted: June 8, 2016

The advantages of a new home go beyond the obvious.

The allure of a new home fires the imagination and ignites the spirit. We’ve all dreamed of living in a home with our version of the perfect gourmet kitchen, a beautifully appointed office, and a luxurious master suite. Having everything just the way you envision it is reason enough for most people to consider a new home over an existing property.

But the advantages go beyond the obvious: a custom home built by a professional builder offers performance benefits that only a new home can. These hidden benefits are as crucial to the homeowners’ ultimate happiness as the design, if not more so.

Many of these benefits are the happy offspring of the drive to save energy. Everyone understands that thick wall and attic insulation, careful air sealing, and better heating and cooling equipment make new homes very energy-efficient. But what some homeowners don’t realize is that these details do more than reduce monthly heating and cooling bills: they also make the home more comfortable, healthier, and quieter.

Energy-efficient details are mandated by many building codes, a fact that has raised the quality baseline for all new construction. Most professional custom builders go well beyond this baseline. They work with designers and use the latest software to analyze how the thousands of items that go into the home will determine its performance, and they hire employees and subcontractors who will do the job right.

The result is a home that offers superior performance in more ways than one. Consider…

Comfort. Properly detailed insulation, along with careful sealing of the building shell and the HVAC ductwork, minimizes drafts and helps keep temperatures even throughout the home. Comfort can be further enhanced by optimizing the home’s space design and windows to the local climate. High-performance windows can even be ordered with coatings that protect furnishings from ultraviolet light.

Health. Those comfort-enhancing, air-sealing details also help keep pollen and dust out of the home. High-performance windows resist condensation that can lead to mold growth. Today’s efficient heating, cooling, and ventilation systems are very good at removing unwanted humidity and other pollutants from the home, while bringing fresh filtered air in. Sealed-combustion heating equipment makes everyone safe by keeping carbon monoxide out of the indoor air.

Quiet. Double- or triple-pane windows, quality doors with good weather-stripping, and of course the air sealing and insulation already mentioned, make a new custom home naturally better at blocking outside noise than an older one. If there’s a busy nearby street, sound-deadening windows can be ordered to further muffle traffic noise. Inside, if there’s a home theater or a teenage musician, sealing gaps in those rooms’ walls and using sound-dampened drywall can give everyone what they want for less effort and cost than it would to retrofit an existing home.

A new home also provides a certain peace of mind and confidence that everything in the home will work the way it’s supposed to for years to come. That’s why professional builders use proven products with good warranties, along with highly skilled installers.

In fact, a lot of people build new homes for the same reason they buy new cars: to avoid unexpected, costly repairs. The big difference is that while buyers can add options to a new car, they have to choose from one of the dealer’s stock models. With a custom home, on the other hand, the buyers get a finished project that reflects their own vision. And the skillful use of energy detailing eliminates annoyances that could get between them and their enjoyment of that home. This superior performance is something an old house just can’t offer.

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 FAQ!

Categories: Friday FAQ | Posted: May 27, 2016

Q: What is flagstone?

A: Commonly thought of as large, thin, tan-colored stones, the term “flagstones” actually refers to any natural stone that measures at least 24 inches across and 1-1/2 inches deep, regardless of shape or color.

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 Opening Act: Preparing the Site

Categories: Newsletter | Posted: May 18, 2016

If you’ve ever driven past a new subdivision, you’ve likely seen a fleet of earth-moving equipment, multiple colored stakes in the ground, and the beginnings of streets, sidewalks, and foundations. These are the tell-tale signs of the building site being prepared for construction.

Site preparation includes several steps. A survey comes first. Topographical features — trees, streams, rocky outcroppings, relative elevations, and open areas — are carefully marked, providing the basis for everything that follows. Property lines must be located precisely to confirm setbacks (the allowable distance between a structure and a property line) in compliance with local codes. Streets and sidewalks are mapped and flagged. Then the surveyors stake out the location of the various underground utility conduits through the neighborhood and to each house. In the case of a single house under construction, the existing utility services in the neighborhood must be located and the connections to the proposed house carefully plotted. Finally, a soil test is ordered to help determine the type and design of the foundation construction.

Most, if not all, of this information is mandated by the local building authority. Copies of the surveys and tests, usually signed and stamped by a registered professional engineer, must be attached to the proposed construction drawings and submitted for permits or approvals from that authority.

Once those steps are taken and the plans are approved by the building department, the next “site prep” step can be taken. The location of the foundation or footprint of the home is staked to provide a guide for excavation. Typically, the stakes and batter boards (which demarcate every corner or turn in the layout) are connected by nylon strings to outline the exact perimeter of the foundation to be built.

Then backhoes or excavators can get to work, digging ditches to extend existing or new utility conduits — for electrical, plumbing, natural gas, etc. — to serve the house. Foundations are excavated using the staked-out lines as a guide. The plans will call for footings and — according to individual designs — a crawl space, full basement, concrete slab, or perimeter foundation walls in preparation for concrete forms, blocks, or other materials to support the main floor.

Every new-home project requires these site prep steps, and it is important for our homebuyer clients to understand this phase of the job enabling them to track our progress and get a complete picture of what is required to build their new home.

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 FAQ!

Categories: Friday FAQ | Posted: May 13, 2016

Q: Can I pull my own building permit?

A: No. It’s important that all permits be pulled by the general contractor and its subcontractors, not by the homeowner. Before issuing the permits, the jurisdiction will ensure that these companies are licensed to do the work and that they have the necessary liability and workers comp coverage needed to protect the homeowner. When pulling a permit, the contractor essentially promises that all work will meet the requirements of all current building codes, and there’s usually a third-party inspection to make sure that’s the case.

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.

Controlling Project Costs

Categories: Newsletter | Posted: May 4, 2016

A successfully managed budget is a partnership between the builder and the homeowners.

Custom builders work hard to make sure their clients get the home they want at a price they can afford. Cost-control strategies include value-engineering the structure, writing clear product specifications, and managing the construction in the most efficient manner possible. Controlling costs is a responsibility that professional builders take very seriously.

But the builder is just half the equation: a new home is a partnership between the builder and homeowner, and there are things a homeowner needs to do to keep the project from going over budget. Most of these have to do with decision-making.

Most homeowners understand the importance of making timely decisions and minimizing changes once the project starts, but many lack a framework for making those decisions. The following five concepts will help a new home to come in on time and on budget.

1. Complete the creative process before breaking ground.

Some people have difficulty imagining how a finished space will look, so they postpone some design decisions until after the house has been framed, which can mean reframing certain spaces. Building something twice obviously costs more than building it once. People who have trouble envisioning spaces should be clear with the architect and builder on this difficulty early in the design process. Good tools are available—from 3D design software to physical models—to help homeowners get a better grasp on how their rooms will look and feel.

2. Choose as many products as possible before work starts.

Even people who don’t have trouble envisioning spaces often want to change their minds about products and finishes after construction begins. But changes always add cost, even if the substitute products are comparably priced. Take the example of choosing a different tub for the master bath. There will be administrative charges for ordering the new tub, canceling the original order, and maybe even returning the original tub. Depending on the stage of construction, the change could also delay the drywall while the builder waits for the new tub to arrive. That, in turn, could throw off the rest of the construction schedule.

3. Understand that every item has a cost.

Some people approach the process of designing their new home as they would an all-you-can-eat buffet. They sign the contract and then act as if they can add anything they want to the plate without financial consequences. Even if the extra costs are small—a more expensive faucet in the kitchen, a better grade of carpet in the bedroom—in the end it all adds up.

4. Learn to love multiple choices.

Rather than settling on one particular product, pick good, better, and best options for each product category. If the budget numbers start swelling, it may help to substitute that top-of-the-line lighting package for something less expensive that still works with the rest of the decor. Defining these options ahead of time makes the process a lot more efficient.

5. Leave plenty of lead time.

The more days or weeks between the homeowners product selections and when those products have to be installed, the better. That way, an unexpected delay from the product manufacturer or distributor won’t hold up the job.

The above guidelines are a proven framework for controlling project costs. Following them will reduce stress and help ensure a more satisfying project.

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.