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How does Pretty Good sound?

Would a "pretty good" house be good enough to earn your money? How would you feel about buying or building a "pretty good house"? That's the code standard, a Pretty Good House (PGH), would be just north of Code Minimum.

Think I'm kidding? Serious industry thinkers wonder whether PGH should be a certification or standard, like LEED,  net zero, etc. to inform consumers about what they're buying. For those who don't know, building TO code is a minimum legal standard of structural integrity, performance and safety. PGH would be just above that lowest bar. Sound appealing in exchange for your hundreds of thousands?

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Introducing BuilderFish Cam

BuilderFish TV is live. Check out our BuilderFish Cam at Castlebrook Farm estate.

The BuilderFish Cam is live. View and manipulate the camera for our Castlebrook Farm project at BuilderFish.TV.

Here are a few basic user tips and I believe you can figure out the rest. Email me if you have questions and I'll describe more advanced features later (after I learn them myself-ha).

There are two primary tabs, Control Panorama and Control Camera. The panorama shot is compiled once daily after the camera completes an entire sweep, its software automatically stitches together all the shots throughout a 360 degree pan.

Control Camera is closer to real time and also takes time lapse photos. Control Camera is fixed to show the main house site. You move the camera by first clicking the plus (+) button and increasing the zoom. You'll notice the directional arrows light up after you begin zooming. This will make more sense once you see the building construction as you'll be able to zoom into parts of the home you want to see more closely. Right now it's zoomed all the way out.

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How would you rate the QUALITY of your house?

Did you get your monies worth in quality and workmanship? (And when was the last time you saw a big builder promote the craftsmanship of its new construction?)

At one time the house above was brand spanking new and the owners beamed. Obviously time takes a toll on everything but how long will your house last relative to how long you plan to stay?

These may seem like dumb questions. I'm certain you at least care, maybe even worry, about maintaining and paying for your residence. But I wonder more deeply about what I presume most people rarely consider. Is your current home just a roof over your head or do you intend to never leave? In any case, are some parts of your home a hassle to use or maintain? How will you adjust or rectify, or will you make due in some way you haven't yet figured out?

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Why do you cost more?

Wish we had a dollar for every time we're asked, "Why are you expensive?" Answer: quality, the best or nothing, we refuse to do anything inexactly. The time, labor and top shelf materials required to do excellent work costs money. True craftsmanship isn't cheap, there are no "good deals", you're not buying a can of corn.

If you don't read another sentence, understand that, more than most industries in which you get what you pay for, most often you get LESS THAN what you pay for in construction because companies squeeze profit margins to win business and then take shortcuts racing to completion within a cost intensive industry (e.g. labor, materials, equipment, company overhead). We go against the grain because we don't want to build slop that falls apart inside of seven years.

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Thumbs up for Wind

We've cleared the first hurdle. We have ideal wind conditions for powering a new home to be built in Madison County in Central Virginia. Next hurdle, we're going before the Madison Planning Commission seeking a special use permit to operate a wind turbine and erect a 100-foot tower on the property. We're blazing a trail for all Madison residents to explore this natural energy alternative if their wind conditions suit.

If you're wondering, that thing atop the pole is an anemometer, used to measure wind direction, speed and pressure

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How we charge for our work

You see what we see. Transparency is integral to The BF Way, particularly in our pricing. We'll show you every invoice of project costs if you wish to review, just be aware (or beware ;>) this will be hundreds of pages, but you're paying the bills so you're entitled to see them.

You pay what we pay plus a margin that covers your project costs (e.g. research, logistics, management, etc.) and a contribution to our company profit. Schedule of Values is also known as progress billing, "open book" or cost-plus. Bottom line, unless someone works for free or invents a new and better way, project pricing cannot be any more transparent. You're billed, review all invoices and pay as work progresses. We shepherd so you stay within budget. Change orders should be an exception, and only for upgrades or additions not included in the original scope.

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Integrated Project Delivery

From the moment we begin, we adamantly adhere to a total team effort, known as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), technical jargon for collaboration.

We call it "The BF Way", from start to finish we partner with you and everyone including vendors and trades with but one goal, your satisfaction of our standard for top quality and meticulous performance.

For example, the architect doesn't simply produce blue prints and say, "Here ya go, have a nice day." The architect (and maybe a designer too if not the same person) fly alongside us and you during design and throughout construction too.

The IPD method encourages and holds accountable the design, engineering and construction teams; surprises are rare with everyone starting and working from the same page as the project progresses to completion. Put another way, we do NOT start unless everyone understands the plan, and we take a timeout if someone isn't 100% clear.

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Exactly HOW Windy?

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How windy must it be to generate enough electricity to power a house? We're testing to find out.

We're helping a client measure the prevailing wind at their property to determine if they have ideal conditions for generating power. Just because a location feels windy 24/7 doesn't mean it has the right kind of wind consistently sufficient to generate enough electricity to meet demand. The current VA wind map shows their location in Madison, VA is marginal.
 
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Why Pre-Construction Protection is Important

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After spending thousands of dollars improving your home, do you also want to clean up after the builder? We don't think so, which is why we go the extra mile in treating your brand new home how we'd treat our own. I don't mean to brag but inform about an area that many builders slack off in order to pinch pennies, but you should expect, even demand, extra attention and cleanliness from any contractor working on your house.

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When remodeling, how worried should I be about lead paint?

 



Worried about the lead in your life? The EPA is because, regardless of whether you reside in a house built before 1978, lead dust can be tracked into your home or drift over from the neighbor's home improvement project.

Please read this if you reside in a home or have a young child who attends child care facilities or schools built before 1978. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented a new law April 22, 2010 requiring any contractor who disturbs paint in homes built before 1978 to be certified as "lead safe" by following strict procedures when renovating. The work practices include comprehensive methods for protecting neighbors from drifting lead dust.

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Why should I hire a general contractor?

Someone has to supervise, if not who, then it'll be YOU. Hiring a Captain of Construction as your general contractor is a Good Choice (G.C. get it?) unless you enjoy shouldering the job yourself.

I hope this undeniably biased post doesn't read like a sales pitch. Please grant latitude as I explain the answer to the legitimate question, "Why should I hire a general contractor to do this project, won't that cost more?"

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