HBAV Installed 2019 Officers

Richmond, VA — The Home Builders Association of Virginia (HBAV) installed its 2019 officers in a ceremony June 23, 2018 at The LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort in Naples, Florida. Robert “Rob” J. Frogale of the Top of Virginia Building Association succeeds Shawn Callahan of the Roanoke
Regional Home Builders Association, Inc., as president. The Home Builders Association of Virginia is a statewide trade association that represents the interest of the home building industry before state and federal lawmakers and regulators. The organization has more than 3,400-member firms.
HBAV’s 2019 senior officers are:

PRESIDENT – Robert J. Frogale has been elected to serve as HBAV President. He serves as President and co-owner of Annandale Millwork and Allied Systems Corporation in Winchester, VA. Frogale has been an active member of the Top of Virginia Builders Association, which is based in Winchester, VA, where he served as president in 2016; he has served as Associate Vice President and served as Membership Chairman from 2012-2015.  He has served as a 2016 HBAV Regional Vice President. Frogale served as the 2018 Chairman of the Membership Committee.



FIRST VICE PRESIDENT/TREASURER – Daniel T. Sandoval has been elected to serve as HBAV First Vice President/Treasurer. As President and Owner of Republic Home Builders based in Fredericksburg Virginia, Sandoval currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Fredericksburg Area Builders Association (FABA). He was FABA PAC Chairman. He served as President of FABA in 2015 and was named the Fredericksburg Area Builder of the Year in 2013. Sandoval has been a dedicated member of the association and has served on various committees at FABA for 16 years, including chairman of the Membership, Parade of Homes, and Legislative committees. Sandoval served the past three years as HBAV Regional Vice President, Second Vice President and has been a member of the HBAV Legislative Committee for four years. His enduring commitment to the association earned him the 2016 FABA President’s Award.

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT – David O. Owen has been elected to serve as HBAV Second Vice President. As President of Boone Homes in Richmond. David is a past President for the Home Building Association of Richmond (HBAR) and he Currently serves as HBAR’s PAC Chairman. David was named HBAV’s “Builder of the Year” in 2016. David and he has served as HBAV’s Legislative Chairman for the past four years.




ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT/SECRETARY – Skip Eastman has been elected to serve as HBAV Associate Vice President/Secretary. He will serve as Vice Chairman of the Associate Members Committee. He is currently serving on the board of Southside Home Builders and is a member if several other local home building associations. He is a Territory Manager for, Trus Joist a Weyerhaeuser business.




ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT – Ralph L. “Tripp” Costen, III has been elected to serve as HBAV Associate Vice President. He is a member and current trustee of the Home Builders Association of Richmond (HBAR). He is also a former two term member of the Executive Committee on the Board of Directors for HBAR. He was a 2017 Mayo recipient. He currently serves as the 3 rd generation President of Costen Floors, Inc.




Also installed were the seven regional vice presidents:
REGION I VICE PRESIDENT – Cat White (New River Valley) of Tyris Homes has been elected to serve as Region I vice president. He will represent the New River Valley Home Builders Association, the Roanoke Regional Home Builders Association, Inc., and the Home Builders
Association of Central Virginia.
REGION II VICE PRESIDENT – Jill McGlaughlin (Shenandoah Valley) has been elected to serve as Region II vice president. She will represent the Shenandoah Valley Builders Association and the Augusta Home Builders Association.
REGION III VICE PRESIDENT – Robin Newhouse (Blue Ridge) of Dominion Energy has been elected Region III vice president. She will represent the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association and the Piedmont Virginia Building Industry Association.
REGION IV VICE PRESIDENT – Mike Perry (Top of Virginia) of Perry Engineering has been elected Region IV vice president. He will represent the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association and the Top of Virginia Building Association.
REGION V VICE PRESIDENT – Mitchell Bode (Richmond) of Premier Insurance Agency, Ltd.,
has been elected Region V vice president. She will represent the Home Builders Association of Southside Virginia and the Home Building Association of Richmond.
REGION VI VICE PRESIDENT – Drew Ransone (Rappahannock) of Chesapeake Tree Services, LLC has been elected Region VI vice president. He will represent the Home Builders Association of Rappahannock and the Fredericksburg Area Builders Association.
REGION VII VICE PRESIDENT – Ricky Edgerton (Peninsula) of Edgerton Contracting, Inc. has been elected Region VII vice president. He will represent the Peninsula Housing & Builders Association and the Tidewater Builders Association.

BUILDER OF THE YEAR – John C. Napolitano (Tidewater) of Napolitano Homes, of Virginia Beach, VA was selected as the 2018 Home Builders Association of Virginia “Builder of the Year.” This award is bestowed annually to the HBAV builder member who has offered exceptional service
and dedication to the state association.
ASSOCIATE OF THE YEAR – Jeanie T. Bode (Richmond) of Union First Bank of Henrico, VA was selected as the 2018 Home Builders Association of Virginia “Associate of the Year.” This award is presented annually to an associate member, as an individual or company, which has shown outstanding efforts at the state level of the home builders association.
EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE YEAR – Maria Moore (Fredericksburg) of the Fredericksburg Area Builders Association was selected as the 2018 Home Builders Association of Virginia “Executive Officer of the Year”. This award is bestowed annually to the Local HBA Executive Officer who has offered exceptional service and dedication to the local and state associations.

Add Value To Your Home With a Well-Tended Yard

yard Do you and your family have fun in your yard — or is it just unused space that means you have a long list of chores every weekend?

A well-planned yard gives you extra room to enjoy without adding a tremendous amount of upkeep. If your yard could use a little love, it’s time to make a master plan to add enjoyment and value to your home.

Step 1: Take Inventory

First, walk around your property. Note how your house sits on the lot, where your garage, tool shed, deck, pool or other structure is and what plants you have now.

Think about what you would like to have a year from now in your yard. Is it more trees for shade, more grass to play in, a flower or herb garden for cutting, or just reworking an area that takes too much time to maintain?

Once you know what you want, it’s time to start thinking about the plants you will need.

Step 2: Select the Right Plants

A healthy, lush and vibrant lawn or garden starts with your choice of plants. Choose trees, flowers, shrubs and other plants that grow well in your area. This may sound limiting, but by choosing plants that are native or tested to be tolerant of the weather in your area, your yard will require less work and give you better results.

Visit your local garden center, arboretum or botanical garden for advice and ideas. Look for sections that are like your yard, and choose plants that grow well there whether you want brilliant flowers, ground cover, shrubbery or herbs.

Step 3: Get to Know Your Yard

It is very important to monitor the cycles of light and moisture in your yard. Late summer is a good time to note where the sun is at different times of the day and to record how much water is available naturally. Watch for areas of day-long shade, and do not put sun-loving plants in those spots.

Likewise, don’t put shade plants where they get full sun all day. In addition, take a sample of the dirt in your yard to a county extension agent or garden center, and ask them to determine the pH and chemical composition of your soil. Your soil’s characteristics will have a significant impact on what you will be able to grow successfully.

While you are at the garden center or arboretum, listen for tips such as planting a low water-demand plant at higher elevation. Excess moisture from rain or watering will trickle down from the low water-demand plant to the thirstier plant nearby. In general, selecting disease-resistant, drought-tolerant plants makes sense no matter what you plan to do in your yard.

Step 4: Add Shape and Texture

Two key elements of a beautiful garden are shape and texture. Think of your landscape as a photograph or painting framed by plants. Larger trees and plants belong in the back of your yard, medium-sized shrubs and flowers go in the middle of the visual field and short, smaller plants go in the front.

To give shape to your garden, select a variety of plants with different shapes and sizes.

Texture comes from plants with a variety of leaves — shiny hosta, fuzzy herbs, dull azalea, prickly yucca or aloe. Also, keep architectural details in mind when you choose plants. Rough, textured plants will highlight stucco walls, but a picket fence will look better with soft flowers and gentle vines.

Don’t forget to look at your yard from all angles, including noticing what you’ll see when you look through the windows from inside your home.

By taking the time to think through what you want your yard to look like, and noting what your limitations are, you’ll have greater success with your efforts. In addition, you’ll spend more time enjoying your yard instead of working in it, and you’ll see an added benefit when you sell your home: A well-planned landscape adds value to any piece of property.

The landscape members of the SVBA can handle your every desire.  Scan the directory for a listing of qualified landscapers.

Air Conditioner Check-Up Time

Don’t wait until the first scorcher of summer hits to find out your air conditioner isn’t working. Here’s some advice to make sure your A/C stays in good working order and is ready for you when you need it.

Whether you have a central air conditioning system or room air conditioners, the maintenance is basically the same. If you have room air conditioners, unplug them before you start to clean and check them.

Vacuum Grills and Vents
First, vacuum the front grills, air registers and return air vents.

air conditioner vent

air conditioning filter in ceiling

Check Air Filters
Next, remove the grill on the main unit — and all window units — to check the air filter. Before removing the filter, notice how it is held in place so you can reinstall it correctly. Many filters simply slide in and out or are draped from prongs on the air conditioner body or the back of the grill. Be sure to read the filter packaging to see which side faces up.

Dirty filters are a common cause of air conditioner problems and inefficient operation. Filters should generally be cleaned or replaced every four to six weeks in the peak of the cooling season. To clean a washable filter, brush it free of lint, then wash it in warm soapy water. Squeeze and let the filter dry completely before reinstalling it.

Clean Fins and Coils
While the filter is out, check the condition of the evaporator fins or coils. These are normally exposed by removing the filter. Warm air drawn into the air conditioner passes through the filter and then over the fins or coil, where it is cooled and blown back into the room.

Vacuum the fins or coils carefully, using a soft brush attachment. Avoid bending the fins. If damaged, they may block the flow of air and cause the air conditioner to whistle. To straighten bent fins, insert a putty knife between them and pry gently.

Drain the Drip Pan
Beneath the fins or coils there is normally a small drain hole to channel condensed water to a drip pan in the rear of the air conditioner. Poke a wire or straightened paper clip through the drain hole to clear it, especially if you notice water. It should drain out right away. If a window unit doesn’t drain properly, use a carpenter’s level to check the mounting of the unit. It should slope at least a quarter of an inch downward toward the rear.

Does the unit smell musty? The smell is a sign of mold or bacteria growth in the water drip pan. If the smell persists after the drain hole has been cleared and the unit cleaned, professional servicing may be necessary.

Check Outdoor Surroundings
For maximum cooling, the outdoor part of an air conditioner should be shaded from the sun. Trees, shrubs or an awning can provide the shade, but they must be far enough away to allow warm air to escape. Foliage should be trimmed back at least two feet, and even more in corners where air is still.

Like any major appliance in your home, your cooling system should be checked and cleaned periodically by a professional. See your owner’s manual for the recommended frequency of this care.

The SVBA has HVAC contractors ready and willing to help you with your cooling needs.  Visit the directory to find the contractor closest to you.

9 Overlooked Spring Cleaning Jobs

Tackle those spring cleaning jobs now that winter is over!  It can be a lengthy process but it’s important that you don’t miss these often overlooked steps.

Exterior Jobs

Winter can be rough on the exterior of your home. So you should start on the exterior before the spring rains cause more problems.

1. Clean out the gutters of any debris leftover from the winter storms and check to make sure your gutters are still securely fastened.

2. Cleaning away all the debris from your exterior drains is important. This will allow the heavy spring rains to properly flow and prevent back ups.

3. Check your windows for any cracking or splitting from the caulk. If so, clean off the mildew and replace the caulk.

4. The warming weather will inevitably lead to outdoor entertaining, so don’t forget to clean off your patio furniture using a mild soap and warm water. Gently scrub away any dirt that has collected over the winter. If you have wrought iron and rust has started forming, gently sand it off.

Now, wipe off your shoes and head inside.

Interior Jobs

5. Unplug your refrigerator, slide it away from the wall and vacuum the dust that has accumulated on the condenser coils. This task may seem small, but can greatly extend the life of your refrigerator

6. Vacuum out the dust that is sticking to your air vents. After the vents are clear of dust, apply a thin layer of car wax on all surfaces of the vent to prevent dust from sticking and to allow for easier airflow.

Call in the Pros

There are still a few things left that should be done by professionals.

7. If you built a lot of fires over the winter, have a CSIA-Certified chimney sweep inspect your chimney and fireplace. This should be done annually to prevent housefires. As a bonus tip, throw a handful of salt into a fire to prevent soot and add some color to the flame!

8. Have a contractor certified by National Roofing Contractors Association inspect your roof for any missing, warped or loose shingles and check for loose seals on your skylights.

9. Before the weather warms up too much, have your HVAC system inspected by a qualified technician and, if needed, replace your filters.

Now that you’ve checked these jobs off your list, you can start enjoying the spring!  For a great resource on contractors to assist you with these items visit our membership directory.

Exterior Home Painting Tips

If you’re thinking about painting the exterior of your home yourself, your first decision shouldn’t concern the color or sheen of the paint but, rather, who’s going to do the painting. Deciding whether to hire a contractor or do the work yourself has implications for your social calendar, your peace of mind and your pocketbook.


With so much at stake, how do you make the right decision? This information from the Paint Quality Institute can help you make the right decision.

    • Do you have enough time to do the job? Repainting a home can take a full week or two. For many people, that translates into a lot of vacation days or weekends. Are you willing to make the sacrifice?
    • Do you have the patience to do the job correctly? While painting can be fun and psychologically rewarding, good surface preparation — essential to any successful paint job — can be tedious. Will you really take time to properly prepare the surface before yielding to the urge to paint? (Consider renting power-washing equipment to speed surface preparation.)
    • Can you afford to hire a contractor? By doing the job yourself, you can save a lot of money, however, having your home professionally painted will be faster and eliminates the need for you to buy equipment, prepare the surface, and do the actual painting.
    • Do you have the proper equipment? The highest quality acrylic latex paint costs more than $20 per gallon, but it takes more than paint and elbow grease to do the best job. You’ll also need ladders, scrapers, sandpaper, brushes or rollers and safety equipment. Do you have these items? Are you willing to invest in them?
    • Are you in good health and reasonably fit? Achieving professional-looking painting results is within the skill level of most do-it-yourselfers, but if you are out of shape, you may find the work somewhat taxing.
    • Do you enjoy physical work? From a psychological standpoint, many home owners get enormous satisfaction from completing a home improvement project. Along with the cost savings, this is one of the rewards that go to those who do their own painting.
    • Have you done exterior painting before? As with most home improvement projects, painting is easier “the second time around,” after you’ve mastered surface preparation and application techniques.
    • Are you afraid of heights? Look to the highest point of your house. Would you be nervous painting it from a ladder? If so, proceed to your telephone directory and check the listing for “Painting Contractors.”

If you ultimately decide to do your own exterior painting, proceed with confidence. Exterior painting is one of the top do-it-yourself projects (trailing only interior painting). Many home owners go it alone and get great results.

Whatever you decide here are a couple tips: Make sure the surface is properly prepared, and spend a few extra dollars for the best quality exterior paint. Properly-applied top quality acrylic latex paint can last up to ten years or more — so it will be a long time before you have to make this decision again.  Also, take time to consult our membership directory for a listing of paint suppliers and professionals.

Popular Trends in Remodeling

As result of the local real estate market having extremely low inventory again in 2018, the trends in remodeling kitchens and baths are what’s in vogue.  Low inventory and high demand means you may be ready and able to purchase a new home, but what you would like to purchase is not available or sells too quickly and for more than you may be willing to pay. So where does this leave you?  Remodeling what you currently have! We are seeing an increased amount of kitchen and bath remodeling because of clients deciding to stay in the home that they are currently living in and making it what they want. Whether your family has grown and you need more space or your homes interior has become overly used, here is what is trending in remodeling:

You can feel comfortable spending your money on cabinets, countertops and appliances. These items are used the most frequently and can simplify your life. No matter what the size of your kitchen or bathroom you are remodeling; the amount of storage you can create will ensure better use of your space, easier for you to find items and will reduce clutter. A few great ways to help create the most storage are simple and inexpensive. A trend that we see at Mossy Creek Cabinet Company is using drawers as much as possible in your base cabinets. Gone are the days of having to sit on your kitchen floor, pulling out every item in your lower cabinet just to get that one needed item in the very back of the cabinet.  With drawers as your base cabinets, just pull the drawer all the way out and everything in that drawer is readily available. A few other great cabinet accessories are pull out spice racks, pull out waste/recycle bins and organizers to keep your pots, pans and trays. It’s amazing how much more storage you really have with the basic cabinet organizers.

The most popular item to replace in the kitchen or bathroom is the countertop.  The countertop is what gets used most frequently and tends to catch the eye most, so make it a statement piece. Homeowners are picking out more intricate designs in countertops with more pattern and natural stone like veining.  While using a natural stone like granite, soapstone or marble is always in vogue, we are seeing more and more clients lean towards quartz.  Quartz is an engineered countertop made out of 95% ground natural quartz and 5% polymer resins, which makes quartz super hard and low maintenance. Quartz not only gives you the look of natural stone, it also has a wide array of colors and patterns to choose from which makes it a more popular choice to make a statement.

You finally sit down to catch your breath at the end of the day only to realize that you forgot to preheat the oven for dinner.  With a lot of the newest appliances having wi-fi capability you can now preheat your oven by your phone, so stay seated and catch your breath! Having your appliances hooked up to your wi-fi means they can be accessible from your phone anywhere outside of the house.  If you forget to grab your grocery list on the way out the door there is no need to run back home, just pull it up on your phone. Convenience is vital when doing any home renovation, especially in the kitchen. Adding items such as a touchless motion sense faucet and smudge-proof stainless steel appliances will help will add ease to your day.

Other important items to consider when remodeling are your flooring and adding more lighting.  The most popular flooring in most homes is wood. If you currently have hardwood floors, consider refinishing them. If you are looking for a new look use a porcelain floor with a natural stone or wood look. This will not only save you some money it will also be less maintenance.  When working on design ideas for clients we try to incorporate as much added lighting as possible. It is best to use a mixture of lighting in your kitchen. Task lighting for cooking and food prep are a safety essential. Adding lighting underneath your cabinets will brighten your food prep area by illuminating shadows. Recessed ceiling lighting works to illuminate the entire room and decorative lighting adds ambiance and helps fill visual voids. Lighting can help enhance any style you are looking to create.

smiling woman popular trends remodeling

Melanie Woodard, Interior Designer

home construction planning

The Magic Triangle of Construction

All successful construction projects, large and small, new construction and renovation, commercial residential, production or custom, are successful because of careful attention to triangle of  Quality, Time and Cost. Focusing on any one of these categories too much, or conversely, focusing on any one of these categories too little, results in a project that falls short of expectations in some way.

The beautiful simple visual symmetry of this triangle diagram results when equal time and attention are given to each category, and the inherent beauty of a properly constructed project, with equal time and attention given to each category, is unmistakable. If each choice during planning, construction and warranty, is made with all factors considered, the result will be a timeless, durable, beautiful functional home or building. If, however, any of the three elements are improperly weighted, the result is an imbalanced triangle, and a structure that reveals this compromise in some way, either through an unattractive aesthetic, poor performance, high operating costs, and above average maintenance and repair costs.

Quality is the most difficult of the three magic corners to quantify. What is considered “good quality” by one Contractor or customer, may not be considered the same by others. The National Association of Home Builders  has published a document entitled: Residential Construction Performance Guidelines, which can be helpful for both Contractors and customers, so that reasonable benchmarks for quality in new construction and renovation can be established. Simply put, perfection is not a reasonable goal, but establishing expectations early in the planning phase of any project ensures that unreasonable expectations for quality will not bring imbalance into the magic triangle. Additionally, if a customer has stated expectations for quality that are above and beyond the industry standard, the magic triangle diagram provides and framework for how those expectations will impact the cost and time required to achieve those expectations. The level of quality attainable in any project, is related to the time and cost that can be allocated to it.

The project schedule is the source of much anxiety for both contractors and customers. Every customer asks, with great excitement and anticipation “when can I move in?” and soon excitement and anticipation is replaced with anxiety and frustration as every Contractor looks
at the ground, stutters and stalls, shuffles his fee, then looks to the heavens and replies “well it depends.”


Even the most detailed project schedules change from the time the contract is signed to the delivery of the keys, as many factors work against a fluid schedule, from weather delays, to non-performing sub-contractors, to materials selections and delivery schedules. Similar to quality, reasonable expectations for time must be established up front, with candid explanations of the many moving pieces of a construction project, and their respective potential impact on the schedule. If a customer is willing to pay expedited shipping on unique materials, and if contract payment is arranged to allow the Contractor to pay the subs in a timely fashion, it is possible to shorten the construction schedule. However, if quality expectations require the very best trades and luxurious unique materials, the time line for the project must be adjusted accordingly, and fit into the magic triangle, relative to these expectations. Custom handmade cabinetry from locally and sustainably harvested stock, built and installed by skilled artisan craftsmen, simply cannot be fabricated and installed for the same cost and in the same time line as stock cabinets from a national retailer. The time it takes to complete any project is dependent upon the level of quality that is expected, and the cost that the customer is willing to invest.

Cost is perhaps the simplest of the magic triangle concepts to grasp. Better quality appliances simply cost more than lower or poor quality appliances. Just like better quality cars cost more than lower or poor quality cars and just like an exquisitely prepared filet costs more than a Big Mac. Customer budgets are often just as unique as the projects themselves, but still impact the other two corners of the triangle; a customer with an unlimited budget can most likely expect a truly magnificently crafted project of the highest quality, but may have to compromise on schedule expectations. Likewise, a customer with a very limited budget, may still be able to achieve their desired outcome in a project, but should be prepared to make reasonable concessions of both time and quality to achieve their budget goal. Ultimately, establishing a budget goal early in the project, and managing those expectations carefully throughout the project will allow the project team to make decisions along the way that honor the budget, without ignoring time and quality. Successful projects of any type, function and size require the magic triangle to be balanced. Focus too much on any one corner, and the other corners (and the project itself) will become irregular and asymmetrical. Discuss the magic triangle early and often in your project. Establish expectations with your entire project team, and follow up regularly to make sure no one area of your project is dominating the others. And when your beautiful, durable comfortable and wonderful project is complete, celebrate with a nice triangular piece of pie, to honor the power of the magic triangle!

Aaron Yoder
AM Yoder & Co. Inc.

Most Important Construction Phase – Preconstruction!

One thing is always constant to the overall success of a project, final customer satisfaction, and profitability for all of the team members involved.  The most important phase of a construction project is preconstruction.

One of the unique aspects of operating a civil construction company is that we have a wide range of projects and clients. Our firm which is a 60 employee civil contracting firm often serves as a stand-alone or prime contractor on municipal, infrastructure, or development projects. We also play the role of subcontractor and work for a wide range of general contractors performing hundreds of millions of dollars of volume on an annual basis to small regional homebuilders.  Each of these worlds presents their own unique challenges, and opportunities. 

To those unfamiliar with the development and construction process this may be a bit of a surprise and you might be wondering why?  From an outside perspective the building stage is the “hard” work right? Well hopefully not!

Having personally managed large LEED certified projects for a general contracting firm, as well as serving as owner/developer on multifamily and commercial retail projects by the time a project gets to the “nail hammering” stage the hard work should already be in the rear view mirror for everyone involved from contractor to owner.

If this has not been your experience in the past then I apologize on behalf of our industry! These are some of the key issues that need to be considered in the very beginning of a construction project. Start by asking yourself these critical questions.

  1. Am I allowing myself sufficient time for all phases of the project from Design, Permits, Construction and do I understand the sequence of events?
  2. Are the people that I am working with capable of delivering on my timetable?
  3. Do I have a realistic budget verified by a professional?
  4. Am I allowing myself needed contingency and what is appropriate for my situation?
  5. How is my project going to be funded and do I understand the steps and cost involved in financing a project?
  6. Do I honestly feel like I have the financial and technical acumen to make good decisions or should I seek an advisor?
  7. What is more important to me time or money or a combination of the two?
  8. Are there any zoning related issues that will create hurdles or challenges for me in obtaining permitting for my intended use including setbacks, parking, restrictive uses etc..
  9. Are there any local taxes, utility availability, connection fees, or ordinances that will be a hidden cost to me or affect me down the road?
  10. Do I have the ability to expand my project over time if this is a potential consideration?
  11. Are there site related issues such as topography, wet lands, rock, utilities that need to be relocated or brought to the site for my needs, water quality treatment or detention that may be needed?
  12. Are there any concerns related to demolition or potentially hazardous materials like asbestos, contaminated or poor soils etc..
  13. Is the project well specified so that everyone understands EXACTLY what the finish product should represent. i.e. am I getting a $5000 Viking range or a $500 glass top stove? Am I getting $150 commercial door hardware or $15 door hardware and how do I know what is appropriate?
  14. Do I feel like I can truly conceptualize what I am getting? (for those not used to looking at drawings etc. this can be tough and where renderings become very helpful)
  15. Do I feel like I am working with a team that is communicating expectations clearly and working in a neat and well, ordered fashion, and most importantly do I have a high level of trust with them and their reputation.
  16. Are my team members presenting value added or alternate ideas to make the project go smoothly?

The reality is depending on the project dynamics I could probably draft several hundred questions to consider but the most important aspect is that the team that you are working with either as an owner, as a prime contractor or as a sub-contractor is well organized in answering and addressing all of these questions above and more. If someone is not asking and engaging you in these types of questions then that should raise caution!

In summary a well planned construction project in most cases takes as much time or more in pre-construction planning as it does during actual construction.  If a project is not “right” before the first Momentum Earthworks excavator and bulldozer hits the ground on your job site then it will NEVER get right and will be a potentially dreadful and probably costly experience leaving all involved unsatisfied because of poor planning, communication or organization.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”- George Bernard Shaw

Finally every construction project will present its unique set of challenges along the way. Selecting preconstruction project partners that have a high level of trust and integrity and who are capable or meeting your needs is the most important piece of the project puzzle.

Hans Harman

Hans Harman is the President of Momentum Earthworks located in Harrisonburg VA. Hans is an active member of the local community serving in leadership roles for the Shenandoah Valley Builders Association and AGC of Virginia. Hans also serves on multiple community boards and was recently recognized as the Harrisonburg Rockingham Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Entrepreneur of the year. Please follow us on Facebook or visit us at Momentumearthworks.com.



Housing Remains a Priority for Most Americans

Even as housing markets continue to recover at different rates around the country, the American Dream of homeownership remains strong. In fact, an overwhelming four-out-of-five Americans believe that owning a home is a good investment, according to a recent poll commissioned by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“Most Americans believe that owning a home remains an integral part of the American Dream and that policymakers need to take active steps to encourage and protect homeownership,” said Jeremy Blosser, President of the SVBA.

The survey responses highlight the many benefits of homeownership, including the solid investment opportunity. Indeed, 82 percent of respondents rate “a home for you to live in” as a good or excellent investment (the highest of six choices), far ahead of the second option, retirement accounts, at 67 percent. They recognize the fact that homeownership is a primary source of net worth for many Americans, and is an important step in accumulating personal financial assets over the long term.

And, contrary to some concerns about Millennials rejecting the idea of homeownership, 81 percent of 18-29-year-olds want to buy a home. Some Millennials may be taking longer to purchase a home as they work to overcome the primary hurdles to homeownership.

Among those polled, 55 percent said the biggest obstacle to buying a home was finding a home at an affordable price, followed by 50 percent who cited insufficient savings for a down payment and 41 percent who reported difficulty getting approved for a home loan.

Perhaps that is why 72 percent of respondents support the government providing tax incentives to encourage homeownership. Tax benefits, particularly the mortgage interest deduction, which has been included in the tax code for more than 100 years – have been key in developing the American Dream and supporting the aspirations of countless families at all income levels who want to become established home owners.

You can learn more about the homeownership survey at nahb.org.

By Jeremy Blosser
President, Shenandoah Valley Builders Association