Monday, November 06, 2006

MODULAR MOVEMENT

Homes from one end of the Mississippi Coast to the other are being built in a hurry - finally.

In Ocean Springs, Chris and Carolyn Clark had their 2,400-square-foot custom modular home delivered Sept. 20. Two days later it was 80 percent complete. In Pass Christian, Barbara McCray had a more modest 1,400-square-foot design set last week. She plans to move in next week.

The Clarks' home is being finished out in the new Mulberry Grove subdivision near Taconi Elementary in Ocean Springs. Chris Clark is president of Mississippi Cottage Co., one of the first modular-home builders to open in Mississippi.

Clark is originally from Long Beach and his mother and sister lost their homes there to Hurricane Katrina. The engineer said he decided to return to the Mississippi Gulf Coast after 20 years away to help the people here rebuild. Read More

These prefab homes come with a view

The latest idea in compact living is a little box on top of a high-rise in the city or suburbs. Modular structures that might be placed atop flat existing buildings are already being produced in Europe.

Architect Werner Aisslinger designed an instant penthouse in a transportable 400-square-foot Loftcube (www.loftcube. net). The unit is light enough to be transported by helicopter and costs about $70,000. Including bathroom and kitchen, the price can be $173,000 to $230,000. With walls of glass, this could also be the perfect answer for a mountaintop retreat or an island hideaway.

The unit shown here is the sleek Hanse Colani Rotor House designed for young professionals who need minimal space. It began as part of an avant-garde project begun originally by design guru Luigi Colani and Hanse Haus (www.hanse-haus.de) to deal intensively with the topic of house shapes of the future. Read More

Builders take ecology into account

Whether it's using recycled carpet, denim for insulation or waterless urinals, buildings in San Gabriel and Pomona valleys are becoming more "green."

"Twenty-five years ago, environmentalists represented one fringe group of the community," said Gary Kates, dean of Pomona College in Claremont. "Now, those who aren't environmentalists are in the fringe."

As recycled materials become more available, and as energy costs continue to rise, experts said thinking green makes environmental and business sense.

"When we first started, we couldn't find recycled materials," said Annie Argento, operations manager of Pasadena-based Yorkshire Development. "Now, the industry has exploded."

Mark von Wodtke, co-founder of Environmental Design Group in Claremont, said he has seen a spike in environmentally friendly architecture. Read More

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Downtown Event Honors Builders

More than 400 construction industry and architecture professionals gathered at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel last week for the 71st annual Construction Industry Awards, hosted by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. The Oct. 5 event honored UCLA, USC and the Getty Center for "thinking ahead and planning for growth."

Harold M. Williams, president emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Trust and counsel at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, received the Ira Yellin Distinguished Achievement Award for his work on establishing the Westside venue. Peter W. Blackman, administrative vice chancellor at UCLA, was given a lifetime achievement honor for overseeing the retrofitting of the UCLA campus, and Curtis Williams, vice president of facilities management at USC, received a lifetime achievement award for the capital construction campaign on the university's two campuses. Read More

Modular Homes Slowly Replacing Hurricane Debris

Building inspectors in Pass Christian and D'Iberville praised the factory built homes. They liked the sturdy construction. And they loved how quickly modular homes allowed hurricane victims to move back home.

The early modular home building rush is out west, where hurricane victims in towns like Pass Christian don't have to wait for contractors to move back home. In fact, a modular homes was being hammered together Wednesday on the corner of East Second Street and Swanson Avenue.

Across the street, Lana Zeiss toyed with the idea of buying a similar pre-fabricated home for her lot. However, "I think that we'll go with the stick construction," she said.

In Pass Christian, where Katrina destroyed so many homes, people now have a choice. They can rebuild their homes the traditional way. Read More

Friday, October 27, 2006

Texas Log Homes Add to it's Range of Custom Cedar Homes

Texas Log Homes have added to its range of custom cedar homes a new series of modular log home plans aimed squarely at first home owners and those looking for an affordable log home as a vacation getaway.

Scott Steele, General Manager of Texas Log Homes added, “We have worked on producing a series of modular log homes that meet the needs of new home owners and second home builders. These modular log homes are affordable without compromising on quality, which has long been the hallmark of Texas Log Homes.”

Features of the range include one level and two story models ranging from under 1000 square feet to over 4000 square feet . While customers looking for the look of rustic, hand hewn logs will not be disappointed, there is still plenty of other siding options to pick from. Read More

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Easton Another Head Case: Skull Found In Home

A contractor cleaning out the basement of an Easton home on Friday found a skull in a paper bag in the back of a credenza, authorities said.

The skull found at 722 Bushkill St. was the second one found this week in the Lehigh Valley.
Read More

HandCrafted Homes and Builder-Partner anounce new model homes to ...

CONWAY, S.C., September 28, 2006 HandCrafted Homes, an award-winning custom modular homebuilder based in Henderson, N.C., has partnered with Coastal Land Construction to build two model homes in Conway, S.C., to be completed by mid-October, 2006, as part of the new Country Manor Estates community.

The homes are the first to be built within the new Country Manor Estates community, a 140-lot neighborhood that will offer single-family homes, including ranches, Cape Cod homes and two-story homes, priced from the $180s to $280s. The community is located in Conway, S.C., approximately ten miles from Myrtle Beach.

Country Manor Estates is an excellent community for families seeking a home at the coast thats also central to great shopping, schools and other conveniences, said Scott Limehouse, president of Coastal Land Construction. Read More

Monday, October 23, 2006

Home sales sag, hit builders

Sales of existing homes in the Denver metro area fell 13 percent in September compared with the same month last year, according to statistics released Thursday. The median sale price of a single-family home declined 2.2 percent, to $243,500, during the same period.

"However you slice this, the market is slowing down," said Larry McGee, managing broker of the Berkshire Group.

Of 31,450 houses on the market, McGee estimates up to 7,000 are foreclosure properties and another 3,000 are at some level of distress.

"That means we're going to have a market adjustment," he said.

McGee said the weak market for existing homes is taking its toll on homebuilders, who are increasing the commissions they offer Realtors from 3 percent to as much as 4.5 percent.

"The higher the co-op commission goes, the more they're saying, 'Gee, we're a little desperate,' " McGee said. Read more

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Barbour Signs Modular Tax Cut To Help Katrina Rebuilding

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Thursday signed a new state law reducing the sales-tax rate on modular houses - a measure designed to speed up Gulf Coast redevelopment more than 13 months after Hurricane Katrina destroyed thousands of homes.

The law took effect immediately, cutting the modular tax rate from 7 percent to 3 percent. Barbour said it could shave $4,000 to $6,000 off the price of a modular house.

"This will significantly help the reconstruction efforts of many thousands of our neighbors in south Mississippi," Barbour said.

The homes are made in factories, shipped in large pieces and erected on slabs. Manufacturers say modulars look like traditional homes to the untrained eye, and can go up in a matter of days if local building crews are available. Read More

Home Builders Association Donates Tools To Vocational Classes

The Ashe County Home Builders Association donated approximately $2,500 in tools to the vocational classes at Ashe County High School last week. This donation came as the result of the Association wanting to do something to help the community and make a positive impact on it.

Read More

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pacific Ethanol Completes Construction of First Plant

FRESNO, Calif., Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (Nasdaq: PEIX - News) today announced the completion of its first ethanol production facility in Madera, California. A ribbon cutting ceremony to take place on October 16th. The plant will commence the start up process the next day, and is expected to be operating at its nameplate capacity of 35 million gallons per year by mid November, 2006.

"This is a significant milestone for Pacific Ethanol. The startup of the Madera Plant will contribute ethanol production revenues during the 4th quarter of this year, ahead of our internal target date," observed Neil Koehler, CEO of Pacific Ethanol, Inc. "We anticipate it will take roughly thirty days to bring the plant up to full capacity, and that from mid-November forward the plant will be producing ethanol at or above our designed level of 35 million gallons per year. Read More

These prefab homes come with a view

The latest idea in compact living is a little box on top of a high-rise in the city or suburbs. Modular structures that might be placed atop flat existing buildings are already being produced in Europe.

Architect Werner Aisslinger designed an instant penthouse in a transportable 400-square-foot Loftcube (www.loftcube.net). The unit is light enough to be transported by helicopter and costs about $70,000. Including bathroom and kitchen, the price can be $173,000 to $230,000. With walls of glass, this could also be the perfect answer for a mountaintop retreat or an island hideaway.

The unit shown here is the sleek Hanse Colani Rotor House designed for young professionals who need minimal space. It began as part of an avant-garde project begun originally by design guru Luigi Colani and Hanse Haus (www.hanse-haus.de) to deal intensively with the topic of house shapes of the future. Read more

Trucks Versus Trains

Say you've got a client located across the country who is serious about using modulars, but trucking costs are too prohibitive? That's the conundrum builder Grant Smerecynsky ran up against with a developer interested in using a modular building system in Southern California.

"Then we thought, 'what about by rail?'" says Smerecynsky, CEO of The Building Systems Network (Mount Gilead, NC), which sets and finishes dozens of homes annually.

So with the help of modular supplier PBS, which provided a modular section 48' long by 12' wide and 35,000 lbs, Smerecynsky arranged for sudden stop tests using a 70'
wood floor bulkhead flat car with 15" of cushioning. The conclusion? It is economically feasible to ship modulars by train, and the floating load concept performed as intended, although there was one floor joist that rolled and cracked due to catching on the rough wood floor as the load moved in the reverse impact. This did not structurally affect the unit. All the doors, windows and drywall were intact.