New Residential Construction Permits Climb 16.7% in December

The January 19th, 2011 report from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that December 2010 housing permits were up over 16.7% from November. Although multi-family permits fell, this is the fourth consecutive increase for single family permits. The lumber and building material industry has suffered greatly in the housing down-turn, increasing new home construction would give the economy in general and the building material industry in particular a significant boost.

The probability of a severe housing shortage this year has been predicted by several economists, as new home supply dwindles and the bargains in foreclosures become harder to find. A resumption of new residential structure construction will fuel new job creation as construction workers go back to work. This will have a positive affect on national homebuilders such as Ryan Homes, Lennar and Beazer. Also, manufacturing jobs will be created for building material products such as lumber, siding, windows and doors. There would also be an increased need for electrical and plumbing materials and fixtures. Many lumber and panel mills have been curtailed, shut down and even dismantled or turned into other businesses. An increase in new residential construction will help the remaining lumber producers, such as Georgia Pacific, RY Timber, and West Fraser.

Construction workers will need to purchase new vans and trucks. Most of the building material suppliers have closed, and the remaining ones have scaled down significantly. The few building material suppliers that are left will have to buy new equipment and hire new workers. Real estate agents that have been idled during the housing downturn will once again help clients buy homes. Community and regional and banks should benefit from increased loan demand, once they decide that it is safe to lend again. As employment increases, fewer homes will be foreclosed, and the inventory of foreclosures should begin to decline.

As new construction increases, employment in all of these areas will increase. As employment increases, there will be increased demand for housing as new household creation resumes its pre-2007 “normal” rate of 850,000. Consumer confidence and consumer spending will increase as a result of job creation. At some point, the increase in new household formation and new home construction reach the “tipping point”, and begin to increase at an increasing rate. It really is an intricate, far-reaching puzzle, but there is no question that new residential construction will become a self-fueling growth engine again.

Designing a New Home: Save Construction Costs by Using the System Approach to Home Design

Have you ever heard of a design described as “unrealized”? You know, that all too familiar description that fills many a volume of works by many famous, and not so famous, Architects and Designers. I would venture to say, that one of the primary, if not the primary reason, why these books are filled with unrealized designs is because someone didn’t realize there was a budget involved. Nobody point any fingers here. Everyone is to blame.

Construction costs that do not include all actual costs before construction starts (these are the famous allowances that always come up and bite us in the… , well, you know where). Operating costs (called repairs and utility bills) that are not factored in ahead of time will also cause problems down the road. Mortgage and construction loan costs, fees, and other miscellaneous cost overruns will bring down a project faster than you can say, “that costs what?”. So, how do you avoid these common problems and control the budget… that is what we are actually talking about here. The answer is pretty simple, as is the application, but I think a lack of patience (or just plain laziness) is the biggest reason why follow through is sorely lacking. The short answer is you must maintain complete control of the project, from the start. This means starting with the design stage and continuing right through to the final inspection and C. of O. The explanation is called the System Approach.

The System Approach

So what is the System Approach, and why is it so important? The System Approach, used for home design, is so named because it follows the principle that the entire house is part of one giant system… made up of many other systems, made up of other smaller systems, which are made up of other individual components. In other words, everything in the house is somehow connected and thus influenced by every decision you make… kind of a Domino Effect if you will.

If you compared a house to a car, you could say that a car is made up of the same type of systems, within systems, made up of individual components as well. As an example, a car is made up of many systems such as electrical, comfort, frame, power, and so on. A house has its own set of systems. A house is put together by interacting the structural, mechanical, esthetic systems and more. All of these systems depend on each other to make the overall system function properly. In the case of a car, you could have the most efficient fuel system in the world. Your car can get over 60 miles per gallon, but if the electrical system stinks, how good is the fuel system? In a house, if the HVAC system is the most energy efficient system known to man (or woman), but the shell of the house “leaks like a sieve”, what good is the HVAC system?

All of the systems depend on each other because they all interact with each other. For those that truly understand this, there is an opportunity to enhance the efficiency of all the systems… including the effect on the cost effectiveness of the decisions as to which system or component you choose to use. In future articles I will elaborate and show examples of how this works. For now, it is important to understand the concept.

Since everything is intertwined in the house, this means that every decision not made before you break ground will also influence all of the decisions you have made. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to make these decisions early in the design process. This also means, that even though you may make a decision to choose a more expensive option, that decision may actually be the most cost effective choice in the long run since the effect it may have on other systems could in fact drive the cost of those other systems down. This concept becomes very important when discussing some of the hybrid Energy Efficient systems now available. I have shown my clients you if you don’t build an energy efficient home you will lose money from the day you move in. There is no “payback” period like in the early days of solar design.

The Many Benefits and Wonders of Steel Buildings

The construction industry has evolved a lot. There were many materials being used nowadays that makes the construction work easier than it was before. Customers can now select from different design configurations that were specially engineered to fit together in different combinations. This new designs can meet the unique requirements of specific users.

The term prefabricated can also apply to be able to indicate the pre-site’s high level of construction work that usually goes on at the manufacturer’s factory before they are sent to the site of the construction. When the prefabricated buildings arrive at the construction site, there is very little work to be done to put them up together.

Advantages of Metal Buildings

Admittedly, there are still some people who prefer using traditional materials to erect their building rather than using prefabricated modules. This is because they are not aware of the many benefits and advantages that steel buildings can provide them.

Less Time Spent on Construction

This is maybe one of the most important benefits that you can get from using steel buildings. Typically, these buildings take so much less time to build than any other building structure types there is. More often than not, prefabricated building components were designed and pre-built so that it will be easy to assemble. The processes that usually take place on the site of the construction with other building materials are usually taking place before the steel building system components have left the factory. Using a prefabricated building, smaller buildings that usually take weeks and months to build can be erected in just a few days.

Easy Expansion

Because of its dynamic design, steel building systems can be modified economically and quickly during or even after the completion of the building. This makes it easier to accommodate all kinds of expansion that is needed for the building. Steel buildings can be expanded easily by simply removing the sidewalls or end walls. With this, you can erect new framework and add more walls and roof panels.

Material-Utilization’s High Efficiency

The processes used to fabricate structural members of a metal building are state-of-the-art computer-aided designs. Using steel itself has the highest strength to weight ratio than any other construction material. It is also around 25 times stronger than wood.

Durable and Weather Resistant

As was said earlier, steel is probably one of the strongest building materials that are available nowadays.

Because of this, metal buildings can withstand extreme weather climates like severe snow storms, earthquakes, hurricanes, and high winds. Also, steel is not susceptible to destruction caused by fire, rotting, cracks, creeping, and even parasites such as termites. Special coatings, such as galvalume, are used to treat steel building system structures to help them protect their surfaces and paint from rusts.

Less Construction Costs

Most importantly, people are recommended to use prefabricated metal building materials because of its promise to lower the cost of the construction project. Because it would take less time to erect a prefabricated building, you are giving yourself with more money to save. Also, the materials to be used are specially engineered to fit each other easily and are cut appropriately, cost of assembly is also reduced significantly.