HOME ARCHITECTS ® offers optional Construction Administration services on its projects, including home architecture. These services are hourly, and can include:
- Shop Drawing & Shop Submittal Review (for conformance to project documents)
- Substitution Request Review (for possible value engineering or project improvements)
- Contractor Pay Request Review
- Construction Site Visits & Reports
- Construction Coordination Communications
- Construction Problem Solving – Construction Document Addenda Creation & Distribution
- Construction Document Updates Conforming to Actual Construction & Addenda
- Document Reproductions
- Coordination of Engineering & Other Disciplines For Construction Site Visits and Issues
- Additional Detail Creation and Condition Clarifications
- Punchlist Walk-Throughs and Reports: Multiple Progress, Substantial Completion, Final Completion
- Selection of Appliances, Fixtures (Plumbing & Electrical), Colors, Finishes, Cabinets & Cabinet Hardware, Door Hardware and other items.
Our firm recommends that you always have your architect involved in the construction administration process of your house. Going into construction without your architect is like having an operation without your surgeon. The value of Good Design will typically pay you back when you have your residence appraised and sold, depending on market conditions. Similarly, Good Construction helps you to insure that the quality you thought you were getting during the design process is what you receive during the actual building of the project.
Several examples of some possible construction administration activities follow below (Not meant to be all-inclusive):
EARTH COVER & DRILLING PREPARATORY TO BLASTING
Blasting is a site preparation that can occur quite often for mountain houses. Shown here, one of company’s projects has recently had a clay & sand mix of earth cover 6’ tall compacted over the proposed blast zone, with a buffer of 5’ beyond. The drilling & blasting subcontractor is onsite with their drill rig pounding their bit down from 1’ to 15’ deep.
Next, they will insert small dynamite charges timed microseconds apart to minimize the seismic disturbance. The thick fill earth prevents the blast surge from ejecting fractured rock into the air.
Adjacent houses had a pre-blast survey with cameras to document existing conditions inside and outside. During blasting, the surrounding residences are monitored with seismographs, to document the actual seismic shock at the nearest exterior wall to the blasting. In this fashion, the blasting subcontractor can prove that their blasting had minimal effect on adjacent houses, thereby reducing liability.
It is extremely important to have responsible subcontractors like this, who have in their agreements liability for any damage done to surrounding houses caused by their work. Since they are experienced and responsible mechanics, the precautions they take reduce the likelihood of any damage to surrounding facilities. Make sure you have a capable, licensed mountain architect knowledgeable in matters like this, and state-licensed specialty subcontractors with adequate general liability insurance and specific coverage for your project, as well as worker’s compensation for their employees. As always, consult with your attorney for guidance in contractual matters for serious operations. As home architects, we want you to be prepared for whatever situations develop.
Blasted cliff face on steep site
Here you can see one of the company’s project sites with a blasted side slope. This granite face is about 10’ to 14’ high and was sheared off by several hundred pounds of dynamite, delivered in 4 separate blasts, with each charge several milliseconds apart to control the seismic disturbance. The boulders quarried from this were used to build a large boulder wall and will also be used by stone masons on the main elevation of the house, saving the owners hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Custom House Sites and Mountain Sites Often Require Septic Systems
A plastic septic tank costs a little more than a concrete tank, but is easier to move and position on site, particularly steep sites, where a heavy septic tank truck would have difficulty maneuvering. A concrete tank is frowned upon by health departments too, as they feel that the concrete is porous and therefore seeps into the soil, also there are joints between concrete pieces through which fluid can leak. Gravel is placed around the tank to allow rainwater to filter through it without hydrostatic pressure from the surrounding clay earth, removing the possibility of the tank popping up from saturated soil. The drain lines for this system required the Architect to negotiate two separate easements across 3 different pieces of property. The system is standard gravity and was very economical.
SITEWORK & MASTER PLANNING by Custom House Architect
One of our estate-home projects involves extensive culvert piping so large a person can walk through them. We have seen some extraordinary things working in some of the nicest communities, suburbs and mountains in the USA. A 1/3 mile-long road that we master-planned is being constructed on a mountain site in Franklin, NC.
In mountain environments, it is not uncommon for boulder walls to fall, because their substrate and manner of installation was not properly designed. Structural engineering consultants have informed us that the method indicated here (on a Home Architects ® project) is one of the best methods of securing this extremely heavy loading condition. A very wide, steel-reinforced high-strength concrete footing is excavated to solid earth or rock, pins installed, rebar mat placed and special curb detail provided to secure the first boulder course. Note the vertical diagonal steel hooks that the architect added to the engineer’s detail, to handle tension stresses imparted to the curb steel. The entire assembly is tipped back towards the slope to guard against over-turning, and a special geotextile fabric used to secure the various courses back into the slope. Kids, don’t try this at home!
Engage a structural engineer in your area to properly design to your circumstances.
Here you can see a backhoe laying down a scoop of earth onto the main horizontal and intermediate vertical geotextile fabric. The fabric is extremely strong, invented for this purpose and has a tensile strength more than 6 times that of normal geotextile fabrics. It contains the vertical clayey earth fill and keeps it from seeping through the rear of the boulders and the horizontal fabric acts like massive “brick ties” to secure the boulders and keep them from moving. If you look closely, you can see that the boulders are leaning slightly back to the earth side, to resist overturning, also you can see the overall racking-back of the exterior face of the boulder wall. It takes a lot of coordination and supervision to do this correctly. This is just one of the reasons why you should have your architect perform Construction Administration services.
Is used between boulder coursing to act like large brick ties, helping to stabilize the boulder wall and the earth behind it.
20’ Tall Boulder Wall over 100’ long
This Architect sees this quite often on mountain projects. It takes a seasoned mountain architect to know how to handle this, working in association with structural engineers. Notice how the wall angles back toward the earth fill, to resist over-turning.
In mountain environments, it is important to probe the geology of the site to determine if bedrock exists near the surface. If so, we may recommend pinning the foundations to the rock with epoxy-coated re-bars, to resist the tendency of the soil above from developing a shear plane during heavy rains. Also, quite often on mountain slopes, distances and slopes exceed the accessibility of concrete truck chutes and must be pumped, as the workers are doing on one of our projects to the left.
SOME MOUNTAIN FOUNDATIONS CAN BE TALL
particularly on steep sites. Your consultant structural engineers work with us to optimize and strengthen cast-in-place reinforced concrete walls with buttresses to handle the height, wind load and bearing conditions. This is one of our large mountain estate houses now under construction in Lake Toxaway, NC. Over 24 miles of reinforcing bars were used in this foundation. Being experienced residential architects prepares us for situations like this.
WE CAN SCHEDULE & ADMINISTER YOUR PROJECT, FAST-TRACKING THE WORK
During construction administration, the Architect can create detailed schedules if you desire, working with the Contractor and Subcontractors to stack construction activities, assisting the coordination of the project.
Roof framing and exterior moisture barrier installation on a large log houe Renovation & Addition, Scaly Mountain, NC. Being an experienced value-engineering design firm allows us to plan economical solutions like this for you.
Falcon Cliff Lodge under construction in Cashiers, NC. Special roofing underlayment will soon waterproof the entire structure, accelerating interior building activities. Large log front posts enhance the lodge image of the house. It takes decades of experience as a residential architect to create designs like this.
HYBRID SYSTEMS Created by Luxury Residential Architect ENSURE STRENGTH WHILE SAVING MONEY
Here we are using prefabricated economical gang-nailed scissors roof trusses, which are typically installed in just one day. Afterward, we often come back inside after the structure is dried-in and add large softwood timbers decoratively, to give the real look and feel of post and beam timber and log construction, for pennies on the dollar. We also design authentic mortise & tenon timber structures as well, in association with structural engineers. An experienced residential architect understands and prepares for solutions like this.
MANY HANDS MAKE THE WORK OF INSTALLING LARGER POSTS LIGHTER
HOME ARCHITECTS ® in association with consulting engineers, has developed a unique and surprisingly economical method of reinforcing tall gable window walls with timber posts that knit those 24 foot-plus tall wall framing members together to resist the 120+ mph winds that mountain homes can experience. The result is a wonderful exposed timber post detail that has a nice mountain lodge appearance that adds warmth to the space and value to the house.
12×12 posts & beams
define a structural coffered ceiling in a Kitchen-Breakfast-Keeping Room in one of company’s houses now under construction in the mountains. The firm designs post and beam and timber frame houses quite often, enjoying developing features like these.
7,000 pound, 35′ tall 2′ diameter debarked log post being set on one of the firm’s mountain house projects. Contractor used 23-ton crane to place the rear log posts and made short work of this mountain man-sized job.
INSTALLATION OF HIGH ALTITUDE WINDOWS
This firm is the featured author of an article in Keller-Williams Spring 2005 Issue of On The Mountain. The article is called “The Do’s & Don’t’s of Mountain Design & Construction: Windows” — In this issue, senior staff architect, Rand Soellner explains why thousands of windows in high-altitude locations have fogged, and how to prevent this. In the photo to the left, workmen install a clad wood double-hung window in one of Rand Soellner Architect’s projects. After installing special polymer sealant to bond the window’s nailing flange to the water barrier, special metallic tape is applied over the flange to further improve the substrate’s water-repelling characteristics. During Construction Administration visits, this is the sort of process for which we look on your behalf.
ROOFING reviewed by Residential Architects
Here is one of our projects receiving one of the industry’s latest innovations (as featured on HGTV): Slate composition roofing tiles. It looks just like the real slate for a fraction of the cost and weight. This particular pattern was developed to resist 120mph wind load. Workers are using our value-engineered copper-oxide kynar coated metal (looks like copper for half the cost) for flashing over EcoStar’s GlacierGuard waterproof underlayment (which seals around nails for a watertight peel & stick system). We are using stainless steel nails, which will last the life of the roof. This is a 50 guaranteed roof! Yes, the warrantee is transferable! Our clients are demanding low-maintenance materials and systems. We created a special mix of black, midnight gray and earth green to approximate real weathered slate roofs. Your architect should be able to help you obtain certifications like this.
CUSTOM HOUSE ARCHITECT MANAGES 50-YEAR ROOFING WARRANTEE INSPECTION & CERTIFICATION
Our clients want houses that are as maintenance-free as possible. At the top of this list is usually Roofing. Our firm likes to specify EcoStar’s Majestic Slate composition roofing tiles and Glacier Guard underlayment on many of its projects, as Carlisle, EcoStar’s parent company provides a 50-year warrantee on properly completed and inspected installations. Our desire is to satisfy clients’ dreams of a luxury resort mountain house. One aspect of this means we can provide Construction Administration activities like coordinating and managing the certification-warrantee inspection above by the roofer and roofing system provider to provide you with not only peace of mind, but a significant resale feature with a transferable half-a-century warrantee on your roofing! Where else can you find that? Just one of the benefits of using an experienced residential architect.
INSULATING MOUNTAIN HOUSES, LOG CONSTRUCTION, TIMBER RESIDENCES, CASTLES, by Green Architects
Our log houses, timber frame designs, castles and other residential designs feature significant insulation values to lower your operating costs. In this particular house, we used stick and truss framing with thick fiberglass roof insulation to result in the most economical insulation and structural solution. We are adding large timber members under the ceiling level to give the post and beam and log house feeling for cents on the dollar. Many people do not realize that a 6 inch thick pine log is only worth about R=7.5. The type of insulation we typically use in a 2×6 wall is R19 and in a 2×4 wall, a special high-efficiency R15. Today, our latest 2×6 walls (our Sup-R-Wall) is R=27+
CRAFTSMEN INSTALL COPPER GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
Old-world craftsmanship is exercised when our firm administers a project. Here, coppersmiths measure and cut copper gutters and downspouts on one of our log and timber frame projects. Our company value-engineers their projects so that you receive the maximum bang for your buck. We have found that when specified appropriately, copper gutters and downspouts can be affordable to many clients. We have found that many of our clients prefer these features.
SLATE TILE ROOF AND COPPER GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
The beautiful slate tile roof above is actually a value-engineered slate composition roof tile from EcoStar that is a fraction of the cost of real slate, and comes with a 50-year warrantee. Contact the HOME ARCHITECTS ® for log house, timber and other designs that result in solutions like this! This company knows quality, greeness and value.
HIGH TECHNOLOGY COMPANY WIRES HOUSES
one of the Carolinas’ wiring companies outfits some of our projects.
TECHNICIAN RUNNING HIGH-TECH CABLING
Our homes are typically prewired for:
- Satellite TV-Digital Cabling-DVD
- High-Speed Internet
- Whole-House Music Speaker CD Systems
- Surround Sound Media Centers
- Security Systems through their consultant companies
- Whole-house air-conditioning and heating remote phone adjustment via computerized controlled equipment
- Whole-house lighting control system for dramatic light dimming settings and timed lighting sequences
They also trim-out the systems with state of the art flat screen TVs, multiple CD players, DVD players and other systems to satisfy your every need and dream.
HEATING, VENTILATION & AIR-CONDITIONING observed by the firm
We will have a staff member be on-site if you wish, to coordinate HVAC supply and return air outlet locations. We work with subcontractors to locate ceiling and floor diffusers as part of the overall pattern of lighting, speakers, security and other systems to result in a “designed” pattern that reinforces the concept for your project. We also specify such outstanding features as flush hardwood floor diffusers and decorative ceiling and wall cast iron and brass grills to have all aspects of your project of a high-design quality. Also, we coordinate with your subcontractors to help them locate runs for supply and return and condensate piping through structure and crawlspaces to result in an efficient system for you. We also insure that noisy outdoor compressors are located away from your bedroom and deck areas. The firm can help you plan and specify these systems.
STONE MASONS WORKING WITH THE ARCHITECT
We enjoy participating during construction administration to see that you receive the quality of design conceived in our documents and maximum cost-savings for the best appearance and function. With this particular craftsman, a 3rd-generation stone mason, we guided the aesthetic placement of a combination of cultured stone and a new product, native stone which has been cut thin, which resulted in a magnificent Appalachian Lodge-Style fireplace that looks better than most native-stone heavy fireplaces for a fraction of the cost, weight, time and foundations. Our signature huge log “Fireplace Arms” will soon be supporting a massive maple mantel.
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