Construction Unemployment Rate

Take a look at this excerpt regarding the construction industry and the national unemployment rate. Spivey Construction & Spivey Homes are grateful to have made it through multiple economic recessions. Even though times are tough in every industry, we know that this is simply a season in our lives and we will pull through.

The construction unemployment rate jumped to 18.8% in November as the sector lost another 5,000 jobs since October, according to an analysis of new federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The data indicates that the construction sector has suffered more than any other industry during the economic downturn, association officials said.

“The unemployment report shows construction still has not broken free of the recession that has gripped the industry since 2006,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Other than the stimulus and other temporary federal programs, it has been a pretty bleak four yours for the industry.”

Associated General Contractors

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Lake Norman Gem

Just a few shots of our most recent completed project. Truly a joy building this lakeside estate…

View upon entrance

Front Entrance

Front Door

Lakeside View

Truly a gem of Lake Norman.

Photography courtesy of Jim Schmid.

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It’s December!

Happy December everyone!

As we are all beginning to think about what to do for our loved ones this holiday season, why not consider a home project?

What mom wouldn’t love a made over kitchen: Simple & Easy (loving the chalkboard cabinets!)

What Dad/Brother/Husband wouldn’t be in shock if you tidied up his garage?!

Simple Guidelines

How about an updated deck for the spring and summer? 5 deck updates

In fact, if you are considering redoing your outdoor living areas, check out Mt. Pleasant Grading. They truly are talented and do a great job!

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Green Renovations

It’s hard to pick up a newspaper today without reading another alarming headline about the impact global warming is having on our planet. This growing concern has caused a number of our clients to ask how they might be more environmentally-conscious in their home designs and renovations.

Spivey can help! We have experience with Green building as well as home renovations! Check out this article:

I have to be honest and tell you that it takes a lot of green to “go green,” so it often becomes a choice our clients make for ethical reasons rather than financial ones. Environmentally-friendly materials and products can bring long-term energy savings, but the initial costs of green materials may be nearly double that of traditional building supplies. Yet it is important to remember that going green can entail something as simple as lowering your thermostat setting to something as elaborate as installing a water filtration system to recycle household grey water.

Regardless of the scale of your renovation and despite the fact that the notion of going green is still relatively new, it is possible to go green in every room of your home thanks to a growing number of environmentally – conscious products, materials and installations. Demand from the commercial building sector has resulted in the growth of visionary companies, including Going to Market and Bettencourt Green Building Supplies to name just a few, which specialize in green and develop and promote several different environmentally-friendly materials and green products for the home.

At this point in time, however, many green materials have not yet made it to the consumer market and retailers do not necessarily see that green can be an incentive to their customers, so you have to look harder to find these materials – either by looking carefully at content labels or by specifically asking for them. They are out there, though, so since bathroom renovations are popular for many homeowners today, let’s take a look at the ways you can go green in the bathroom without sacrificing the luxuries consumers look for in this private getaway space:

*Floors: There are scores of rich floor surfaces available, ranging from those made of renewable bamboo and cork to carpets and tiles made from recycled materials such as rubber, glass, and plastic.

* Walls: A growing number of manufacturers are developing natural-based paints and clays as an alternative to latex and oil paints as well as mold-proof sheet rock. There are also many other environmentally-friendly wall surface materials to choose from, including translucent glass tiles, formaldehyde-free fiber panels made from agricultural waste products, and man-made stone products.

* Vanities and Counters: Thanks to commercial farming and harvesting techniques, elegant wood vanities don’t have to come at the expense of old growth forests, and soy-based glues are replacing formaldehyde adhesives in furniture plywood. Recycled lumber is available – at a price – for both cabinetry and floors. And a growing number of manufacturers are creating beautiful stone and tile counter surfaces made of recycled content – even paper.

* Plumbing Fixtures: In addition to low – flow and dual-flush toilets (which provide stronger water flow when needed), many toilets and tubs manufactured today feature porcelain that is made of up to 50 percent post-recycled content as well as super-slick surfaces that will save on frequent use of bleach cleaners. If you are doing a major plumbing make-over and remodeling several baths at the same time, look into water timers that can divert cold water to a recycling system until the warm water has reached the faucet (thus savings many gallons a day), or change your plumbing feeds altogether to a direct piping system such as PEX.

* Heating: Long-considered luxurious extras, things such as radiant floor heating and heated towel warmers are actually environmentally-friendly design choices. Unlike traditional room radiators which line (and tend to heat) the outside walls of a room, radiant floor heating warms the entire room and everything it touches, from floor tiles to tubs and shower floors. Many of our clients are surprised to learn that electric radiant heat pad floors are not exorbitantly expensive and ultimately offer more energy-efficient heating.

* Lighting: Although halogen lights are always a better choice than traditional incandescent lights, they do tend to produce a lot of heat, so look for Xenon, compact fluorescent and LED lights (which produce low voltage from tiny semiconductor chips). One of the common complaints about these lights is their color, but advances are constantly being made to make these light sources appear softer and warmer.

* Fabrics: Of course, when selecting towels and rugs, you can’t go wrong with the plush, natural content of 100 percent cotton fabrics, but bamboo spun into a soft fabric is another alternative. Also, there are a number of mold-proof hybrid fabrics that were originally designed for outdoor living that are moving inside as shower curtains and liners as well as upholstered seating for moisture-laden bathrooms.

* Proper Installation: Don’t forget about opportunities to go green with some of the mundane, but necessary, bathroom accessories including fans and vents. By installing separate and timed fan and lighting switches (including a separate fan in the shower stall), you can run only the fans that are needed and eliminate wasted electricity and heat. Also, don’t forget to insulate exterior walls properly and install double-paned windows that resist moisture and minimize heat loss.

* Choose a “Green” Contractor: Talk to your contractor about your desire to go green. Question him or her about their interest in green materials and construction techniques. In general, check your contractor’s commitment to recycling and eliminating wasted materials. Ask that old fixtures and cabinets be recycled, if possible, and that demolition debris be separated so recyclable materials can be reused.

* Repair, replace, sustain: Although most of what I have discussed to this point refers to new materials, I would be remiss if I didn’t address another important facet of going green: the value of repairing and/or refinishing existing materials to help reduce the amount of waste going into our landfills. Renovations that sustain the things we already have through facelifts and some good old-fashioned TLC are as valuable to the environment as those that involve the latest eco-friendly products. For example, floors and other hard surfaces, including cabinets and countertops, can be refinished if they are structurally sound. Energy-saving elements, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, can be incorporated into existing fixtures rather than buying entirely new pieces. Regular maintenance on existing appliances and systems can ensure they operate at maximum efficiency and minimize energy use. When you make a commitment to use things until they are no longer operational, you can contribute as much to our environment as those who choose the latest green products.

For the truly environmentally-conscious homeowner, the opportunities to help the environment are growing every day and it is getting easier to be green.

( via Kaja Gam )

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How to Choose a Homebuilder

The National Association of Home Builders writes:

How to Choose a Home Builder

If you’re in the market for a new home, you should shop for your builder as carefully as you shop for your home. Whether you are buying a condo, a townhouse, a house in a subdivision, or a custom built house, you want to know that you are buying a good quality home from a reputable builder. Here are a couple of tips to help you choose a builder.

Once you have a list of builders, how can you find out about their reputations and the quality of their work? The best way to learn about builders is to visit homes they have built and talk with the owners.

  • Ask builders on your list for the addresses of their recently built homes and subdivisions. Builders may even be able to provide names of some home owners who would be willing to talk with you.
  • Drive by on a Saturday morning when home owners may be outside doing chores or errands. Introduce yourself and say you are considering buying a home from the builder who built their home. Talk to several owners, and try to get a random sample of opinions. The more people you talk with, the more accurate an impression of a builder you are likely to get. At the very least, drive by and see if the homes are visually appealing.
  • When you talk to builders and home owners, take along a notebook to record the information you find and your personal impressions about specific builders and homes. Doing so will help you to make comparisons later. Some questions you can ask people include: Are you happy with your home? If you had any problems, were they fixed promptly and properly? Would you buy another home from this builder?
  • Usually, people tell you if they are pleased with their homes. And if they are not, they’ll probably want to tell you why.

Shop For Quality and Value

Look at new homes whenever you can. Home shows and open houses sponsored by builders are good opportunities to look at homes. Model homes and houses displayed in home shows are often furnished to give you ideas for using the space. You may also ask a builder to see unfurnished homes.

When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trimwork, and paint. Ask the builder or the builder’s representative a lot of questions. Get as many specifics as possible. If you receive the answers verbally rather than in writing, take notes. Never hesitate to ask a question. What seems like an insignificant question might yield an important answer.

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Spivey Homes

Welcome the the Spivey Homes blog!

At Spivey, we take pride in our passion for detail, our distinctive differences, and our customer service. We know that your home should be built to fit your needs and lifestyle. Whether its for enjoying your retirement or raising a family, we want to work with you to build your custom home.

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