Tag Archives: residential addition

40 Year Recertifications- South Florida Building Recertification

Planning is the Key to Understanding

If you are reading blog, chances are, you have received a notification from your City or County requiring you to perform a 40 year Inspection of your property within a given amount of time. Here at Scavuzzo and Associates P.A. we have performed many of these types and other construction related specialty inspections. The first thing that comes to mind for many is the expense required and aggravation to not only performing these inspections, but to perform any repairs that are needed as well.

First, you need to know that we are on your side. Many inspection companies want to “cover their basis” by requiring repairs that are not necessarily required such as: plumbing, site work, and mechanical. We will only mention items that are SPECIFICALLY AND ABSOLUTELY required by the criterion of the 40 Year Recertification. Provide you a detailed list (if there are items that are to be repaired)…and follow-up with an inspection to provide you with a “100% clean bill of health” so that you can then get your certification problem-free from your City or County. We make a commitment to you that we are with you every step of the way.

We have been performing these inspections for over 30 years, longer than most other inspection companies out there which afford us to provide you this service not only at a reasonable price but hassle-free and keep your repair costs at a minimum. Having a team of Architects, Engineers and General Contractors make us very familiar with all of the facets of the construction trade and have prided ourselves on the relationships we build not only with our customers but many of the Building Departments. Moreover, our staff has made a pint to work hand in hand with these officials, which is quite important… they are familiar with us. As a matter of fact, we are on the referral list of companies that the cities give out to those who need these services.

Selecting a company that will provide these important inspections is a very important step in the process. You need to ask:

  • Do they provide all of the professional inspections IN-HOUSE?….Yes, WE DO!-
  • ·Do they provide a list of repairs (if needed) and within the same report and a cost valuation?….Yes, We Do!
  • Do they provide IN-HOUSE structural and electrical professionals that can provide recommendations for repairs (if needed)?…Yes, We Do!
  • Are they a reputable firm that has been performing these inspections and how long?…Yes, We Have! Michael A. Scavuzzo R.A. has been in private practice for over 35 years.
  • Do they have a list of Satisfied Customers which can be called as a referral?…Yes, We Do

Hands down, in South Florida, Scavuzzo & Associates is absolutely the best value in town when it comes to performing the 40 Year Recertification. We take the extra steps to keep your repair costs down.

Give us a call at 305-776-8921 and/or ask for references or visit our company website at www.scavuzzoassoc.com

Michael Scavuzzo, R.A. 00004956

Marc Scavuzzo, CGC 1515090

Many of our customers ask, “Why do 40 Year Recertification’s exist”? When receiving their notice from the city or municipality advising that a 40 year recertification is required on their property?  A common reaction with disdain due to the additional and potential costs and aggravation that may be incurred through the process. Although it is true, there could be additional costs, the fact remains is that these 40 year re-certifications are at the forefront of a state-mandated program to ensure public and building safety. Many buildings undergo numerous changes throughout the years which many are performed without permits and pose a serious hazard. Other buildings are just old and contain hidden risks that may otherwise go unnoticed until it is too late. Through this policy, a design professional through engineering expertise is certifying and taking responsibility for the safety of the property.

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Should you Attempt to be your own GENERAL CONTRACTOR?

Architectural PlansNo easy answer but, “it’s the largest shopping experience you will ever go on in your life.” Examining all of the facets of a construction project can be compared to a puzzle with some of the pieces not quite fitting correctly and finding a way to jam them together. And a famous quote comes to mind every time I touch upon this topic by Karl Jaspers – “Even scientific knowledge, if there is anything to it, is not a random observation of random objects; for the critical objectivity of significant knowledge is attained as a practice only philosophically in inner action”.

Let me start with a little background about me, my name is Marc Scavuzzo and I am a Principal of T.M. Design Associates, Architects P.A. and Scavuzzo & Associates P.A., General Construction.  My background is in Architecture for the past 18 years, a general contractor for the past 4 years and a newly acquired Master’s degree in Accounting. I am involved in every facet of the construction project, from planning to the budgeting to construction to completing the project.

Everything in construction starts somewhere maybe, “an idea”. That idea is transformed into the thought processes that start the engines of design. In my opinion, this is where the manual is created to carry-out your ideas to become a reality. No one comes up with a perfect design on the first shot so now dialog between the Architect and Owner to get it perfect at times take a considerable amount of time; and it’s time worth spent. Now the complexities of Engineering starts and where a major part of the coordination issues arise, remember,  keep the dialog simple; you are merely looking a layout of walls, design and electric. This to ensure that all of your walls, down lights, electrical receptacles are where you want them and if the design is appealing. Later in the design, you will get into the details: cabinets, tiles, wall finish, roof finish, etc…

Once your plans are complete, I cannot stress enough upon reviewing them, ask questions; know what you are building.

Once the plans are complete the municipal review starts and depending on the city, county or state this process varies. So, allow enough time to obtain a permit and once that’s issued the fun starts. I would, however, offer a piece of information: when you are assembling a table, if the instructions don’t offer a clear description of the installation; it will make it difficult to assemble. Well, the same goes with construction, the better the quality of the construction drawings, the less anxiety during construction. Hire a good Architect! For renovations, ask for references…visit some houses that they designed; be informed before making that decision.

As the contractor, a big responsibility is hiring the subcontractors who will do the work. You on the other hand will start with the usual suspects. Who do you know who had some work done on their house? Who did they use? Was it done on time and within budget?

Talk to subcontractors you’ve already vetted. If your carpenter recommends an electrician he works with frequently (and it’s not his ne’er-do-well brother-in-law), that’s a solid lead. If you’re using a project manager, have him help you.

Once you get a handful of subcontractors you like (three to five), start penciling in what your picks will charge to do each job. And remember that the low bidder doesn’t necessarily do the best work.

One other wrinkle: The builder’s crew normally does the framing. But since you’re the builder, you have to find a subcontractor who will do it for you.

Another point to consider: Do you want subcontractors to buy the supplies or do you want to do it yourself? There is no set answer, and the standard practice can vary with the professional, the trade and even the area of the country. “It’s a mixed bag,”.

So, Mr. Handyman, you think you’re ready to build your own house. Or at least to supervise the people who do the actual construction.

You want to be your own general contractor and hire the subcontractors, set the schedules, coordinate with inspectors and suppliers and buy some or all of the supplies. Maybe you should think about it some more.

The idea, of course, is to save the cost of a general contractor. “If you’re really savvy, you can get the lot at a good price, get construction at a good price and save a lot of money,” says Robert Irwin, author. But it’s not that easy. “Everybody can do it, but not everybody wants to,”

C. Kent Conine, past president of the National Association of Home Builders, is not a fan of the practice. “There are just so many pitfalls that come up in the middle of the process of constructing a home,” he says. “It’s not a perfect science.” And the study of the building sciences is not easy as you would think.

It can also make it difficult to find financing. “The lender wants to see that the person who’s doing the work is qualified general contractor.”

Who’s best for the job?
This is will be the most important part of this passage. Getting the most out of your money and the least amount of headaches and sanity by the end of your construction project. I can once again say, no easy answer but there is. The most knowledgeable person on your team is your Architect and many Architectural firms are now offering construction services and will work with your selected sub-contractors. An architect will be more conscience of detail and quality i.e. how the project is being built. A contractor will on the other hand does not possess the educational background and will at times make the mistake first and then call the Architect after a failed inspection to find a resolve.

Thorough the years I have compared various contracts with clients that have a building contractor/Architect scenario and an Architect/Builder scenario office that does both. I normally see a 20% savings on the General Conditions costs and an 80% decrease in change orders.

Professionals agree on how much you stand to save. While some claim you can cut as much as 40 percent of the cost of your home (especially if you do some of the work yourself, too), others believe 10 to 20 percent is more realistic.

What do you want?
Before you build anything, you need a clear picture in your own mind. Tour homes. Read books and magazines. Look at floor plans. Start a scrapbook with information and notes on all the details you want to include before sitting with your Architect.

This also is when you want to learn about the building process. Study up on the latest materials and supplies, as well as what goes in when. Building a house is like reciting the alphabet, and the order of the steps is just about as immutable.

When you feel ready, engage an architect to draw up a complete set of plans. “Make all the changes you want on paper,” says Irwin. Later, “even the smallest changes cost you a fortune.”

This also might be the time to weigh hiring a building professional, under a management contract, to help you. This person would cost less than a general contractor, and could walk you through parts of the project where you feel inexperienced.

Draw up a plan of action that includes each step in the process. “Storyboard it out,” Woodson says.

Now the fun begins. “It’s the largest shopping experience you will ever go on in your life,” says Heldmann. “If you like to shop, you will have a ball.”

As a builder, the biggest responsibility is hiring the subcontractors who will do the work. Start with the usual suspects. Are they all licensed? Workman’s Comp? How many project they have previously done with the builder?

Drive around neighborhoods you like and find out who’s doing that work. Talk to subcontractors you’ve already vetted. If your carpenter recommends an electrician he works with frequently (and it’s not his ne’er-do-well brother-in-law), that’s a solid lead. If you’re using a project manager, have him help you.

Once you get names, you want to learn all you can. Google them. Get a long list of references and talk to them. Examine past work in person. Arrange to meet them on a current job site.

Once you get a handful of builders you like (three to five), start penciling in what your likes and dislikes. And remember that the low bidder doesn’t necessarily mean the best value. At times Builders will intentionally price low and find ways to get extra money throughout the project or use inferior materials. Remember, you will pay either way.

So, Mr. Handyman, you think you’re ready to build your own house and hire the subcontractors, set the schedules, coordinate with inspectors and suppliers and buy some or all of the supplies. Maybe you should think about it some more.

The idea, of course, is to save the cost of a general contractor. “If you’re really savvy, you can get more bang for your buck, hire an Architect/Builder. You will get experience as well as quality construction at a good price and save a lot of money,” says Robert Irwin, author of Tips & Traps When Building A Home.

Building your home or remodeling project is not easy. “Everybody can do it, but not everybody wants to,” says Carl Heldmann, author of “Be Your Own House Contractor.”

C. Kent Conine, immediate past president of the National Association of Home Builders, is not a fan of the practice. “There are just so many pitfalls that come up in the middle of the process of constructing a home,” he says. “It’s not a perfect science.”

If you are building a new home, adding to your existing home or a commercial project in the South Florida area, give us a call as we offer FREE Construction Planning and Consulting.
Scavuzzo & Associates P.A., Architecture / Construction – 305-776-8921 or visit us on the web www.scavuzzoassoc.com

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