Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Our Contractor and Local Suppliers

This recent sunny day photo was taken 12-23-08 on-site, and since then there's been just a few holidays and snow days. Given those conditions and the learning curve of installing SIPs on this project, our builder DeMaesschalck Restoration ( been doing quite well. In my experience it is best to work as a team, and over the past 6 months we have enjoyed a good working relationship with Mark DeMaeshalk and his partner Walter Collins.

Generally through the interview and bid process you find people you can have confidence in, and most folk's intentions are to do a good job. This is critical to remember, because it is easy to get frustrated during a construction project especially when it is rainy and snowy and there are plenty of details. On this project, Mark and Walter are in the process of becoming certified R-Control installers. Not only is this a smart growth project, it is a smart build project that requires the discipline of collaboration. Each member of DeMaesschalck gets this.  As designer I have seen there's a lot of detail in this project, which will be considered differently in future projects. It's a humbling experience.

Tony and I first met Fred Jacques and Kevin Arcand from Branch River Plastics ( at the Build Boston Convention. Located in the South Coast area, we contacted Branch River Plastics to prepare the first estimate when deciding to use SIPs. We looked at suppliers all over the Northeast and there are quite a few good suppliers to price panels. Branch River has a well-equipped production floor and the R Control system for producing panels. A building system should impact a design, and R Control details helped shape the townhouses.

When finalizing our construction drawings, the entire perimeter of panels in elevation was laid out. Walter and Mark made useful suggestions and pushed us to work with the advantages unique to SIP construction. The 4-foot module of the SIP panel was coordinated with the existing conditions, the intended form, and the available coastal window sizes with the intention of keeping the manufacturing and install as repetitive as possible. 3D representations tied to the shop drawings are a good idea, and even a 1/4" scale model would aid the construction process. (see model)

Our engineered framing supplier is Reliable Truss in New Bedford, who has worked very well with us. Identifying and working with Reliable Truss has been part of the strategy to support local business and support New Bedford. I really appreciate RT's understanding when our small site and trouble with the weather has delayed the shipment of our trusses. Reliable Truss and National Lumber have an extensive facility off exit 5 of Route 140.

The coastal windows arrived on-site Monday. We chose Jeld-Wen windows suggested to us by STOCK Building Supply in Lakeville. Because of the protection they offer, coastal windows cost significantly more than average windows and there are a limited number of suppliers in the Northeast. STOCK provided valuable guidance, because Jeld-Wen offers a good price, clear documentation, and availability in 3-4 weeks. The Smart Growth Residences have been designed to meet newly released updates to the Massachusetts State Building Code for 110mph windspeeds and improved energy performance; another example of smart design and smart investment.

Below is a list of other excellent subcontractors and suppliers we have used from New Bedford and the surrounding area.

Medieros Electric, Dartmouth, MA
Reliable Truss, New Bedford, MA
Beacon Sales, New Bedford
National Lumber, New Bedford
Franklin Bros, New Bedford, MA (508) 998-8270
Star Glass, New Bedford, MA (508) 995-0166
Jorge Drywall, Inc, North Dartmouth, MA (508) 999-2940
H.R. Cardinal HVAC, Fairhaven, MA (508) 995-5110
JCM Electrical Contractors, Inc., New Bedford, MA (508) 995-0165
Roger Caron II Plumbing, Fairhaven, MA (508) 991-6674
C&M Flooring, New Bedford, MA
S&L Rolloff, New Bedford, MA (508) 996-9939
Santos Masonry, New Bedford, MA (508) 997-3722
Labor Ready Systems, New Bedford, MA
Stock Building Supply, Lakeville, MA
Rivet Street Hardware, New Bedford, MA (508) 994-3211
Rogers Paint & Wall Coverings, New Bedford, MA (508) 992-2844
Blue Eagle Printing, South Dartmouth, MA (508) 994-2064
Fairhaven Lumber, Fairhaven, MA
A#1Crane Co.
South End Business Association

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