Tag Archives: Green building

For Those Who Know

We have built homes for a number of our sub-contractors. I take this as a big compliment. They have seen innumerable houses in their careers. They have seen the quality of construction in the homes they work on. They know who keeps schedule and who pays on time. They know those who pass inspections on the first try. We have tried to collect a group of sub-contractors that know what they are doing and provide quality, every time. When one of them looks to you to build their custom home amidst hundreds of others general contractors, it should be taken as a compliment.

A few years ago we were asked by one of our contractors to design and build their dream home. They planned to live in this house into retirement. With that in mind we set out to provide a stellar product. This was the first house we used the Chief Architect software to design. The design was very complex and we were so new to the program that the process was tough. It was a “trial by fire” situation but I think the software paid for itself in this first job. There were so many custom details and tricky construction situations and the program allowed us to zero in tight before any material was purchased. It was sweet. Continue reading

Commercial Projects

The majority of our business has been in residential construction. In the last few years we have tried our hand at a few commercial projects to broaden our skill set and get some different perspective. We have since learned new things and met new people who have helped us become better contractors.
One of the major aspects we needed to learn was the code in commercial construction. We are very read in the International Residential Building Code, but commercial is a whole other world. Health Department and ADA regulations became familiar to us very quickly.

The Daisy Café used to be the Toulouse Café and we helped change that. We had to bring the kitchen up to Health Department standards. It was interesting to clean a commercial kitchen that didn’t pass the Health code in the beginning and improve it to pass a very stringent multiple point inspection. I appreciate the Health Department so much more now! We took that knowledge and used it at Greene’s Corner and Room2Think which both have kitchen facilities. The Daisy Café is now one of our favorite places to have “business meetings” and plot out our next ventures. It is a good feeling to eat at a place and think ‘Hey, we made this place better than what it was and I know the kitchen passed inspection!’ Continue reading

Raise the roof!

A few years ago we were hired to do a remodel project on a home in Ferndale. The family who hired us wanted to add a bonus room above their garage that connected to the upper story of their house. We drew up a design and a budget that fit.

Everything was going just as planned with the demolition until we came to the roof. It had to be ripped off so we could build a new floor above it. Taking a roof off a garage that size is not very difficult but it creates a lot of garbage that has to be hauled to the dump. We usually try to separate out all of the wood debris from the non-recyclable construction waste that is produced on our sites if it is possible. In this situation the idea was raised to just lift the roof and truss structure off the top with a crane, set it down on the ground during the construction of the second floor and put it back on top of the new walls. We added up the labor, time and cost of that demolition. Then we calculated the crane cost and time for detaching and reattaching the structure. In the end we figured it would save just a few hundred dollars, but the true savings was in the reuse of what we had. Continue reading

Not your grandfather’s insulation

Our insulation contractor, Northwest Insulation, has recently switched suppliers to Knauf Insulation. Knauf has a new product line called EcoBatt Glasswool Insulation and we think it rocks! We are always trying to find more “environmentally friendly” or ( insert ecological buzz word here ) materials. The reasons are numerous but when it comes down to it, we want to use materials in our projects that maintain industry standard and utilize our natural resources to the maximum. If a material is safe, clean and renewable, but it does not meet existing industry regulations, we are out of a job. If the material does not use our earth’s resources in a sustainable way and those resources disappear, we are out of a job. In our opinion, it is in the best interest of every industry to use what they have well.

Echo-Bat Insulation

EcoBatt is made of sand, a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled glass bottles and a renewable organic binder that takes 70% less energy to produce. The binder is the key part of the equation. The “glue” that holds other fiberglass insulations together is made with phenol, formaldehyde, acrylics and artificial colors. It is nasty stuff, not just for the customer’s home we are putting it in, for the contractors that have to install it in the walls in the first place. We have to handle it and breathe it in too.

This product meets all thermal values and industry compliances. It also meets low emitting standards for application in schools and hospitals. It currently comes in most of the standard sizes with a few exceptions and is about the same price as the old stuff! We are excited about this product and we hope we can put it in your home or office someday.

-Squalicum Builders Team