Blog Posts

By:
Barry Shaw
December 22, 2014

Out-Of-State Building, with In-State Team

Haven’t had much time to update my Blog, with out of State projects requiring much coordination time.

Our Design-Build project in Erie, Colorado consisted of a major design and construction remodel to the existing 3,500 sq. ft. single family home, as well as outdoor amenity upgrades inclusive of:
barbecues; landscape design; stereo speakers and new lighting.

The labor and material requirements are similar to a project that is ‘local’ (Los Angeles), but necessitates a different format of ‘flexible structure’.

Since I’m licensed as an Architect and General Contractor in Colorado, we designed and built the home remodel utilizing our Design-Build system, but integrated local subcontractors and material suppliers with our Team, to optimize a timely, cost-effective and quality project.

We used our significant depth of resources, some of which I developed from my early building years in Santa Monica, along with my cabinet maker in Los Angeles; CAD drafting from our Brentwood site; supplier from Pacific Palisades and plumbing distributor from West Los Angeles. After field surveying, designing, specifying and coordinating with the on-site conditions, we had products shipped directly to this Colorado job site, thus our material supplier Team worked simultaneously with our new construction Team, alleviating the time commitment from our job site supervisor and at the same time optimizing the construction schedule.

When it came to finish work requirements, we provided two finish carpenters to further assist with the quality detailing and refinements of this custom home. Additionally, my on-site coordination for eight day periods at a time, provided the necessary alignment for continuation of a cohesive project schedule, with future goals and milestones being established, with subcontractors and material suppliers. Also, my strategic intersection with Building Inspector walk-throughs and obtaining progress Approvals, was influential to the continuous and seamless flow of work from all of the Trades.

Obviously there are many other important considerations, strategies and proactive initiatives that were implemented as well, in order to complete this substantial out-of-State remodel project in just
3 1/2 months, but for the most part, we relied on our considerable experience of designing and building for (32) years, as the foundation to the success of this job.

To learn more about this topic and others that may be of interest to you, please contact us at: bsadesignbuild@msn.com

Read More
Categories: Home Building
By:
Barry Shaw
February 26, 2014

Build During Winter Or Wait?

The timing of when remodel construction actually starts is actually one month after submittal of the architectural and engineering plans to the Building Department for a One Story Home Addition, or two months in the case of a Second Story Addition.  Therefore, this ‘readjustment’ time frame within the Design-Build package of services, is actually an opportunity to be utilized, with regard to Homeowner’s who choose to stay in the home and relocate within, as well as for Homeowner’s who choose to move out into a rental unit for the duration of construction.

Obviously rain water and moisture are considerations to be peppered for and abate, during ‘typical’ Winter months. Unfortunately here in Los Angeles, we are part of a CA State drought and not much rain to be concerned about, especially if the Design-Build Project is a One Story Addition. In this case, the openings or connections between the existing home and new One Story Addition/Major Remodel, should be covered with heavy plastic or tarps starting from the eave of one side of the existing house, going over the ridge/highest point of the roof and down the ‘opening’ to the ground, along with extending over the Addition part. Battening down with long wood planks and as few nails as possible, should withstand common wind pressures that could rip up this protective membrane. Simply covering the opening vertically with plastic will not protect the home, as water will find its way into the existing roof framing system and likely traverse down the rafters/ridge and into the house.

On the other hand, a Second Story Home Addition, one of which we are currently building in West Los Angeles, will involve removing much of the existing One Story roof structure, will pose a greater concern to be addressed, but will not negate construction during these months. In this case, there are many more ‘vulnerable’ parts of the existing home that need to be protected such as; the existing wood floor; drywalled walls and existing spaces that may not be part of the overall remodel like the Kitchen.

Mediterranean Second Story Home Addition

In this case, situations could occur where half of the existing roof is totally removed, preface to framing for the Second Story Addition and thus with an impending storm on its way, temporary rafters on a slope (preferably with plywood tacked down over them) and then heavy plastic installed as mentioned above, should shed the majority of rain and protect the existing home.

Also of importance, is the wood/lumber that is installed outside the home (i.e. if on the lawn, layed on top of wood ‘sleepers’), which should be covered with heavy plastic as well, in an effort to reduce the amount of moisture content that will thus be ‘contained’ within the walls of the home during construction. The Code allows a moisture content of 19% already, so additional moisture is certainly unwanted and should be avoided when possible.

Either way, the positive and rewarding result of building during Winter, is the fact that by the time Summer and the Holidays arrive, construction will likely have been completed and you will be living in and enjoying your new One or Two Story Master Suite Addition, Great Room and Remodeled Kitchen, or New Home.

To learn more about the possibilities for your ‘new home’, please contact us at: www.bsadesignbuild.com

Best Always!, Barry R. Shaw AIA, GC

Read More
By:
Barry Shaw
July 27, 2013

Open Floor Plan Home Construction

As a follow up to the previous Blog, “Open Floor Plan Design”, is the construction of our architectural plans that bring life and reality, into 3-D living enjoyment. In this case, a new Kitchen and Family Room.

After building permits are pulled, one of the first steps we take is to protect the Homeowner’s existing home and respective materials, that are to remain post-remodel work. For instance, another job we designed and built in Brentwood, CA had wood flooring in one space that we were going to ‘connect to’ with new wood flooring, so we layed down protective paper first, followed up with ½” thick plywood. This ensured that the underlying wood floor would not be affected, for the duration of the remodel project.

Equally important, we take significant precautions to try and maintain a healthy living environment for our Client’s during construction. This involves constructing temporary walls and dust shields, at strategic locations in the home.

Next step is shoring up existing structure, such as ceiling joists and rafters, preface to removing load-bearing walls. As well, disconnecting existing kitchen utilities, removal of old cabinets and demo of the existing flat ceiling to make room for the ‘volume/higher’ ceiling, is part of this process.

Now our way is cleared for installation of structural components such as foundations, posts and beams. Part of this process involves heavy steel connections and Building Inspector approvals, along the way.

Installation of the new utilities, followed by drywall; new cabinet/countertops/fixtures; flooring, lighting and then painting, will round out the general parameters for completion of the new open floor plan construction.

A Final sign-off from the Inspector; final detailing of the project and seeing the Client’s finally enjoying their home to it’s real potential, is actually just the beginning, of an everyday happy life for this family, that we had an opportunity to assist with.

To learn more, don’t forget about our new Online Design and Construction Consulting-let us know about your Project questions and within (24) hours you’ll receive professional guidance!

Best Regards Always,
Barry R. Shaw AIA, GC,

www.bsadesignbuild.com

Read More
Categories: Open Floor Plan
By:
Barry Shaw
July 26, 2013

Open Floor Plan Design

Our society has evolved with much technology, a desire for collaborative and transparent communication and a more relaxed environment to live in.

Transferring these aspects to the built environment, architecture, and in particular to one’s home, presents some really interesting, fun and functional architectural design results.

Within the ‘public areas’ of the home and likely the space(s) where most family time is spent, is the Kitchen and Family Room. Just about all of the older homes we have remodeled, have existing conditions whereby these spaces are separated by walls and are more or less compartmentalized. Thus family members that are in these areas at the same time, find it difficult to communicate audibly, or have visual contact, or be able to jointly enjoy a TV program, or be able to participate one-on-one with certain tasks (i.e. a Mom helping her child with homework).

So the evolution of open floor plan design. With the above considerations in mind, our approach with the design and construction/reconfiguration of these existing spaces (rooms), is to first receive input from our Client regarding any specific requirements or priorities, that should be incorporated into the plans. Then we combine this input with our (30) years of general contracting experience, budget considerations and logistical concerns, to formulate a Scope Of Work to design from.

We remodeled a one story ‘house’ on the Westside of Los Angeles that was approximately (50) years old and had the existing floor plan configuration that is described above, into a beautiful, functional and energy efficient ‘home’. In addition, their home value spiked up considerably upon completion, which was within (6) months time.

Several walls were removed, ceilings rebuilt to achieve a volume of heights and outdated carpet removed and replaced with a contiguous new wood floor. Additionally, low voltage halogen lighting, sustainable materials, ‘healthy home practice’ (i.e. water based sealers; lead free paint; hepa filters for the a/c and heating system, etc.) are always incorporated into our jobs.

In the end, the TV, along with the Family Room and its occupants, could enjoy interplay from the kitchen sink; view to the backyard was available; communication between kids and parents was readily accessible; this open floor plan created a soaring depth of space, along with additional light into the Family Room; and skylights provided daytime lighting as an energy efficient resource, so that conventional lighting/electricity is not needed during the daytime.

To learn more, don’t forget about our new Online Design and Construction Consulting-let us know about your Project questions and within (24) hours you’ll receive professional guidance!

Best Regards Always,
Barry R. Shaw AIA, GC

www.bsadesignbuild.com

Read More
Categories: Open Floor Plan
By:
Barry Shaw
July 16, 2013

Plans and Permits

Except for very minor projects, such as painting, fences not over 6’-0” high and such, building permits are required if a structure is to be enlarged, altered, repaired, improved, etc.
So typically this would involve the design and engineering of plans and specifications by a licensed Architect or licensed Engineer. Upon completion of these documents, they are submitted in person, as an example, to the Los Angeles Department Of Building and Safety for review. Other building departments, such as the City Of Santa Monica, have implemented an electronic submittal process.
Many various departments, including Planning, Zoning, Engineering, etc., are a part of the review and approval requirements.  Therefore, it is most important to have a complete, accurate and professional set of plans drawn up, so that the interrelationships of the many, many different aspects of architectural design and engineering can be transmitted in a clear and precise manner, to the respective Plan Checkers.
For a modest sized project, such as a one story addition of less than 500 square feet, or a significant interior remodel, I prefer to ‘walk the plans through’ these departments and meet with the various Plan Check Engineers ‘over the counter’, one on one.
In this manner, a professional interplay of question and answer, between the licensed Architect of record and the reviewer, can resolve issues in an expeditious manner. We have been quite successful ‘pulling permits’ for a project of this size in one day. This is quite unusual, but again accomplished recently with our plans for a West Los Angeles design and construction job of this size being Approved with issuance of a building permit, in less than one days time. We feel this is a testimonial to our successful Design-Build system that has been developed and refined, over the past (30) years of practice.
For a larger project than in the above example, or one that is in ‘particular locations of concern’ (i.e. Coastal areas) adjunct to the above Agencies would be additional reviews by the Coastal Commission, City Design Review Boards, etc. As was the case with two projects we did in Pacific Palisades, our professional, trustworthy and friendly approach to the various entities we request Approvals from, has benefited our Client’s significantly.
Some of these benefits include: savings from additional filing fees; savings from additional Architect and/or Engineering work; savings in interest paid daily on a building loan; savings in material price increases and savings in temporary housing costs.
To learn more, don’t forget about our new Online Design and Construction Consulting-let us know about your Project questions and within (24) hours you’ll receive professional guidance!
Best Regards Always, Barry R. Shaw AIA, GC
www.bsadesignbuild.com

Read More
Categories: Home Construction
By:
Barry Shaw
July 16, 2013

Home Construction Management

Typically a project such as a large new home or commercial building, could involve the Owner’s request for Construction Management (CM) services. Also, on occasion, a substantial home addition project may receive the services of Construction Management, whereby the Owner pulls the permit as Owner-Builder.
In either case, the CM firm is positioned between the Owner and the Design-Build firm or the Prime General Contractor. Their main function is to monitor and manage the project so that it is built in a timely, cost effective and quality manner.
Depending on the size of the construction project, an on-site Superintendent and/or off-site CM firm that observes the construction process once or twice a week, would handle the ‘field’ work.
In the office, support personnel regarding scheduling, budgeting, lien releases and payment requests, would round out the typical scope of services for a project.
With the above services and data, the CM would then be able to act as the Owner’s Representative in pertinent meetings with the Architect, Engineer, General Contractor and Subcontractors. In this manner, an Owner who is out of State from the project; has multiple project’s under construction; requests a single point of contact for job summaries; and likely comprises many different corporations, can streamline the massive amount of details and processes, significantly.
Adapting this service to single family dwelling construction for resort, vacation or second home projects, can be quite helpful to an Owner as well.
For example, we have design plans for construction of an Austin, Texas luxury home underway for an Owner who primarily develops commercial properties and has requested our residential design and construction expertise, in the capacity of Construction Management.
In this instance, we will hire, coordinate and provide on-site supervision for all Trades needed for this construction project. Our Design-Build system will be utilized for this part of the project, ensuring that a timely, quality and cost effective job is realized.
His in-house accounting and operations departments will in turn interrelate with us as the CM, thus freeing up the Owner’s time and availability to his other projects, as well as saving him the expense of a full general contractor fee, as he will pull his own permits with related responsibilities.
To learn more, don’t forget about our new Online Design and Construction Consulting-let us know about your Project questions and within (24) hours you’ll receive professional guidance!
Best Regards Always, Barry R. Shaw AIA, GC

Read More
Categories: Home Building
By:
Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

Consultations Between Homeowner and their Design Build Firm

During the initial consultations between Homeowner and Design-Build firm, discussion of mutual strategies and goals should be discussed.

Obviously the major categories of cost, quality and schedule should be included, but also expectations, from both Parties viewpoints, should be a part of this meeting. It’s always best, in my opinion, if these ‘touchy’ yet quite pertinent parameters are concluded with a mutually accepted level of understanding.

‘Common Goals’ are not only a part of people relationships, but an integral part of the built environment with the natural environment. Our Kailua-Kona Hawaii, Couer d’Alene, Idaho and Sun Valley, Idaho projects have ‘common goals’ with the local Design Review Boards as well as the micro environment.

Further integration of these important sensitivities, is with our Green Building and Sustainable Design materials, systems and installations (please visit Luxury Resorts and Second Home Projects on our website). For our Hawaii project, we are specifying solar energy panels; long roof overhangs; energy efficient windows, bath fixtures and insulation; low VOC paint and sealers; bamboo flooring; and skylights for natural light.

To learn more, please contact us at: www.bsadesignbuild.com

Read More
Categories: Design-Build
By:
Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

References, Past Home Projects and Walk-Throughs

Written as well as telephone communication with the Design-Build companies past Clients, can be a valuable resource for consideration. In particular, a Homeowner who has lived in the same home for lets say 3-6 years, will be able to provide the actual daily living evaluations, resulting from the design and construction decisions.

Also, maintenance; fixture/equipment materials; and functionality parameters is able to be evaluated over time. In person walk-throughs of past projects will reveal the results of the house plans and designs created, when building the house (please visit Testimonial: The Bardwills on our website).

That open floor plan design you saw on the plans that was about 7 inches long, is now a three dimensional reality of excitement, with natural light from skylights, volume ceilings and interesting interior design finishes. As well, the door that was drawn on the plans not even 2 inches long, is welcomed as a piece of art with white translucent glass, iron work and select grade wood rails.

Read More
Categories: Design-Build
By:
Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

Design Build Firm’s Presence Signifies Stability

A design-build firm’s years of practice in a particular city likely signifies stability on many levels. Firstly, it substantiates ‘acceptable practice’ for delivering a Project on time, on budget and with quality.

Also, a professional understanding of permit processing, inspector approvals and client satisfaction is evidenced, whether it be a Luxury Home, Remodel or Addition.

As well, an amenable working relationship with subcontractors and material suppliers is thus part of the Team package, working to the client’s benefit.

It’s also worthy to note, that after the project is completed, the general contractor’s proximity to the home site can be quite valuable. Our 24/7 construction management support is available for very timely responses. Repeat client’s are coveted with special interest upgrades and continuity with the same seasoned, quality minded and cost-effective Trades.

To learn more, please contact us at: www.bsadesignbuild.com

Read More
Categories: Home Building
By:
Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

License and Bonding of Architects & General Contractors

Architects must first obtain a minimum of (8) years experience graduating an accredited School Of Architecture, such as Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, along with practical full-time work with licensed Architects. This is the minimum requirement in the State Of California to even be eligible to apply for the (42) hour State Board Exams and then upon successful completion, become a licensed Architect.

Other States such as Hawaii, Idaho and Texas have varying tenure requirements. Most States though, also require Architect’s to participate in yearly continuing education courses, which adds greatly to the value of your home design and renovations.

A General Contractor (as I recall from 29 years ago anyway), must have completed (4) years of full time work with another G.C. and then be eligible for a one day exam. Upon successful completion of the exam, Surety Bonding and Workers Compensation requirements need to be met.

Also, the General Contractor’s license number is an authentication of how long he has been practicing, regardless of ‘words’. For instance in California, a G.C. license that starts with a ‘9’ indicates licensure for less than three years or so. On the other hand, a G.C. who’s license number starts with a ‘4’ has been licensed over (26) years. The lower the starting number the more experience you will benefit from.

Read More

Copyright © 2018 Barry Shaw & Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.