by Tom Moore
Once that being a builder gets in your blood I don’t believe you can ever get it out, so I don’t see retirement as an option in my future. The reasoning here isn’t really about money, it’s about loving what I do, meeting the people I meet and working with the folks that I work with. I can see slowing down at some point in the future, taking more time off and taking more trips, but the idea of never having to get up to go to work again sounds like more of a death sentence to me than a way to live.
There are few thing as exciting as firing up a project, after what is sometimes more than a year of designing, planning, estimating and so forth, the feel and smell of the dirt, getting dirty, preparing everything for building is just a rush. Then the concrete, everyone loves to play in the mud and at the end of it all you have…well…something concrete. Then the project moves into framing and it seems like the noise never stops, saws, hammers, nail guns and cowboy music, this is when things should really roll ‘n’ roll, you see the walls go up and the roof go on and excitement in the owner’s faces as they get a real feel for the space that they will possibly spend the rest of their lives.
While I get to be out in my fantasy world, co-workers, namely Margie, are in the trenches making sure that decisions are made so I can have the parts and pieces I need when I need them – kind of like Christmas.
We move into the mechanical and finishes and the homeowners are really starting to get excited at the prospect of moving in in about a month (Them, “What do you think? Will it be done in about a month?” Me, “No.”). Once the walls are all finished, counter tops, cabinets and landscaping done, and when appliances are installed, there is a true sense of joy, accomplishment and a feeling between you and the clients that if you could go through this together, you could go through anything together. I don’t think I could live without this in my life.
Thank goodness that American ingenuity hasn’t figured out how to outsource custom home building to another country yet.
I hope they don’t in my lifetime.
by Paul Rose
The Central Coast Green Building Council has begun its Annual Membership and sponsorship drive. This organization has been adding a green perspective to the building industry since 2007 and continues to partner with other local organizations to provide educational programs and resources. The Annual Gala will highlight our Participation in the national Green Schools program. Please consider becoming a member or even better yet, a sponsor, and come to the Gala!
The event will be held Friday, November 4, 2016 at The Monterey Club in San Luis Obispo. Admission is just $25 for CCGBC Members/$30 for Non-Members. For more information and to buy tickets, see the event website.
Semmes and Co Builders is proud to support CCGBC with annual sponsorship and volunteer hours. Paul is currently serving on the Board of Directors.
If you are not a member, now is a great time to join! See www.ccgreenbuilding.org.
It’s that time of year when we’re sharing more than each others’ company – We’re sharing germs!
Read ahead for 7 places where those pesky germs hide within your home and what you can do to help eliminate them and have a healthier Fall and Winter. (Thank you United Healthcare for sharing these tips.)
Check out what may need a good cleaning now
So you might have a guess or two about where germs tend to lurk in homes. See a few hot spots below — some may surprise you.
Prime places for germs
Of course, there are lots of objects, nooks and crannies in the average home that may harbor germs. In fact, there are too many to mention here. So, let’s focus on a few that you won’t want to miss.
Make a habit of regularly cleaning these items to reduce your exposure to germs, including those that can cause illness.
1. Kitchen sponges and dishcloths. They pick up germs and spread them. Since they’re often damp, they’re also perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.
Quick tips: You can actually zap a wet sponge in the microwave for one to two minutes to kill germs — or run it through the dishwasher. Use clean dishcloths or paper towels. Wash dish towels and rags in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
Quick tips: Scrub toothbrush holders with hot soapy water. If you use a cup or other freestanding holder, put it through the dishwasher once or twice a week on the hot cycle.
3. Pet bowls and toys. You don’t want to fetch bacteria, yeast and mold during playtime.
Quick tips: Wash bowls and hard toys with hot soapy water. If you have hard water that calcifies in the bowls, fill the bowls with white vinegar and let them sit on the counter for awhile. Scrub them out and refill with clean, safe drinking water for your pet. Toss soft toys in your washing machine on a hot cycle. And always wash your hands after playing with household pets — especially before eating.
Quick tips: Clean counter tops with hot soapy water, especially before and after preparing food. After each use, wash cutting boards. To avoid cross contamination, always use separate cutting boards for fresh produce and raw meat, poultry or fish.
5. Knobs and handles. Items people touch frequently tend to get germ-y.
Quick tips: Clean doorknobs, toilet handles, faucets, etc., often with hot soapy water or disinfecting wipes — especially if someone in the household is ill.
Quick tips: Follow the manufacturer’s directions for your coffee maker. Most advise cleaning every 40 to 80 brew cycles — or at least monthly.
7. Finally, the kitchen sink. It’s last, but certainly not least. The sink can harbor germs from all sorts of sources, from dirty sponges to grimy pans.
Quick tips: Wash the sides and bottom regularly with hot, soapy water. And don’t overlook the strainer in the drain— clean it too.
You can also use a mild water-bleach solution* or other sanitizing solution to clean some items, such as sinks, counter tops, cutting boards and pet items. Rinse in clean water — and dry.
*Use 1 tablespoon unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water. A safety note: Never use a bleach cleaner with an ammonia cleaner. It can form a deadly gas.
The emergence of a transparent team approach is changing the building industry. Over the years, the model of competitive bidding has proven to be less efficient and potentially adversarial. A new model has begun to take hold of the custom residential industry: the Architect Builder Collaborative (A B C).
The collaboration of an early team can help to prevent a client from spending lots of money for construction documents and permitting, only to find out that the bids they receive are over the project target budget. Another situation a transparent negotiated price can prevent is when a low bidding contractor doesn’t include expected features that weren’t on the original plans. Understand that in an effort to manage costs, a custom home set of plans can be much less detailed than that of a commercial structure.
The Graphs below give a depiction of the potential savings of time and money during the ABC process:
The design process takes many forms: below are typical steps and how a builder can get involved at the various stages.
Programming (These are the earliest conversations about what you need and what the Master Planning Budget will allow).
- Semmes will site-assist the buildings for maximum passive solar, reduced grading and utility costs, retaining walls and day lighting.
Schematic Design (These are basic floor plan and elevations. This usually starts with two or three simple plans that are refined into a single plan).
- Semmes will use historical costing data to work up a preliminary estimate. We outline many options and begin to develop placeholders for finish allowances (ie. cabinets, tile, fixtures, etc.). This is the time to get pricing on all the bells and whistles and see what items are going to move forward in your project. If the Preliminary Estimate is not within your target budget we can revisit the Schematic Design.
Design Development (Details like interior elevations, mechanical design, and engineering comes into play)
- Semmes will assist with material development and system articulation.
Construction Documents (This is usually the most expensive part of the planning process, as this is where the full set of drawings for permitting and construction are created. Here we bring in all the consultants: structural engineer, civil engineer, energy analyst, fire sprinkler engineer, and perhaps even a mechanical engineer. This includes permitting coordination).
- Semmes will price the work and get “firm” quotes from our most trusted subcontractors where necessary and put together a final proposal for the construction of your home. We can also assist in any lending coordination efforts that you may need.
Construction Administration (During construction you will want your architect to stay involved so we can communicate openly about the best way to execute details throughout the process).
- Semmes will of course be building your home during this phase. We are schedule-driven so you will know what is happening and when we will need to have various decisions made; like flooring or roof color, for example.
The idea is that everything is very transparent throughout the whole process so a trust can be developed and you know that your team is constantly working for you.
Give the Architect Builder Collaborative (A B C) a try on your next project.
As consistent with the building industry, Semmes & Co Builders, Inc. partners with experienced Subcontractors for certain aspects of the job. The General Contractor-Subcontractor relationship is based on mutual respect and collaboration to ensure the highest quality construction project possible. At Semmes we are quite fortunate to work with some of the best Subcontractors in our area, and as the following letter confirms, our Subcontractors feel the same about us.
(Personal information has been removed to protect confidentiality.)
I have worked with many general contractors on the Central Coast over the last 34 years.
Working with Semmes has been a consistently gratifying experience for me on all occasions.
Semmes is deeply committed to all details of each project. They keep me up to date with scheduling dates, client change orders, and all technical aspects regarding my responsibilities as a subcontractor. Semmes is very fair regarding the situational changes that occur during a project. If something off-plan appears during production, we have been able to find solutions that get the job done with great efficiency. They even remind me of billing cycles, to insure that I get paid in the timeliest manner.
Subcontractors, like myself, are used to getting pushed by general contractors into tight time-frames and production requirements. Semmes has always taken my input and perspective into account, thus making jobs flow effectively. What is called for on plans drawn up in an Architect’s office doesn’t always translate into real-world practicality. Semmes and I have worked together to find solutions that were mutually beneficial for us and most importantly, for the client.
Semmes is a general contractor that allows their subcontractors to do their best work. Once the parameters are set in motion, I am encouraged to determine and work in partnership on the best way to take on each task. Checking in with Semmes during the work day allows me to ask any questions requiring answers. The Semmes team has a sharp eye, and understands what each subcontractor is accomplishing. I respect Semmes for these reasons which also make it easy to do great work for each of their clients.
I would not hesitate to recommend Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc. to build any project.
Semmes hosted a local interior design group at a recently completed home remodel project and the event was enjoyed by all.
It’s not often a client is gracious enough to open up their home to 30 local designers and their design and build teams but when this happens we are honored at the opportunity to show off our work. This particular home remodel project took just over one year to complete and encompassed remodeling the main house with a garage addition, conversion of original garage wing into home gym with sauna and bath and a media room, remodeling a horse barn into a guest house with garage and wine cellar, converting the horse dressage arena to an orchard with raised planter beds and storage, and extensive landscaping. The transformation of a “vanilla” house into a spectacular custom home was remarkable. Our clients now have a home they are proud of; a home that fits their personality, their lifestyle as new retirees and showcases their various collections. Semmes and Co. Builders, Inc. appreciated working with the Architectural firm Studio 2-G and Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture on this impressive project.
by Tom Moore
I had to cry today…
I have always believed that Will Rogers gave us the quote, “If you want to break your heart, give it to a dog”. It turns out that my dad may have been the only one to have said that. Although Rudyard Kipling in his poem, “The Power of the Dog”, (must read for any dog lover) wrote, “Brothers and sisters I bid you beware – Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.” I had to send my buddy, Jake to Heaven. (Now for Will Rogers, “If there aren’t any dogs in Heaven, I want to go where they went”). He was 105 years-old in dog years, a long life by any standard, and I have to say ninety-nine percent of those were great years.
The decision to take him in and have the vet do the duty was as hard as any decision I can ever remember. After the deed was done there was a sense of relief and the stab of pain that goes with losing a longtime friend. The days before of making the decision with my wife, Katey were much harder.
I want to give a shout out to the people at El Camino Veterinary Hospital, especially young Dr. Ramos. There was no judgement, only compassion and the only question was, “So you have made the decision?” I was lead into a room with Jake and left with only him and a box of Kleenex (which I used half of) and was left alone to say my goodbyes. Goodbye buddy, I hope to see you where you went.
This doesn’t have a lot to do with building but maybe it shows that we are real people, too. I would also suggest to people that are a little sad about something to take the time to look up Will Rogers online and read some of his quotes. His views, not only on dogs, but on politics are incredibly relevant even now, some eighty or so years later.