Blog

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • 12 Sep 2018 12:26 PM | Miller (Administrator)

    Lacking Labor


    Y-o-Y job openings are up 11.9%, hires are up just 3.3%, and the number hired has declined three months in a row. Moreover, job openings exceed the number of unemployed by 659,000; they surpassed zero for the first time in March. Additionally, quit rates hit 2.4%, their highest rate since 4/01, and a record 25% of small businesses say finding qualified workers is problem #1. Labor's in very short supply. 


  • 27 Aug 2018 2:45 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Chris Froelke,  President Central Minnesota Builders Association

    As children head back to school, it’s time for home owners to head outside and do a little “homework” themselves. Focusing on a few maintenance projects now will help prepare your home when the cold temperatures hit.

    Not only will these projects help you manage your energy bills, they also enhance and protect one of your biggest investments: your home.


    Minimize the Amount of Escaping Air

    Heated air can escape from gaps that develop where building materials meet. Some of the most common areas include where exterior siding meets windows and doors, around roof and foundation lines, around chimneys and where pipes protrude through walls or roofs. Check all of those locations to see if any gaps have formed and if so, apply the appropriate caulk or sealant.

    Heat rises, which mean heat from your home also can escape through any vulnerable areas of the roof. The most efficient way to stop that heat loss is by installing ceiling and roof insulation with an R-value of approximately 49 in Minnesota. The R-value refers to the ability of any material to resist the passage of heat.

    Strengthen Your Windows and Doors

    Your windows and doors are another area to ensure that the warm air stays in and cold air remains out. Look for any cracks around glass, sashes and window frames. Apply adhesive foam weather strips to the top and bottom window rails, or nail felt weatherstripping where window sashes and frames make contact. Newer homes are much more likely to have double or triple-paned windows, which can dramatically improve energy efficiency.

    Don’t Neglect Your Gutters

    Gutters and downspouts can easy become clogged over time, even if they have guards intended to keep out debris. Regularly inspect and clean gutters thoroughly, paying special attention to elbows and bends in the downspouts. Keep hangers fastened securely and plug any holes or cracks. You can also touch up any sections showing signs of rust with rustproof paint.

    Performing routine home maintenance projects like these will help you manage your energy bills during the cooler months and help to prolong the life of your home and enhance its value.

    Watch this blog For more tips on home maintenance.

  • 27 Aug 2018 1:50 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by Chris Froelke, president, Central Minnesota Builders Association

    Recent natural disasters remind us that our lives can quickly be turned upside down with little warning. September is National Preparedness Month, which makes now a perfect time to prepare your family and household for emergency situations that are most likely to impact our area.


    The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Ready.gov website and Ready.gov/minnesota provides information on how to be prepared for both natural and man-made disasters. FEMA recommends following these steps to plan ahead for emergency situations.

    Sign up for emergency alerts.

    Discuss with your family or household members how you will each receive emergency alerts and warnings. Check to see what wireless emergency alerts are offered by your state or local public safety officials and sign up to receive the latest news.

    Devise a shelter plan.

    Depending on the emergency, you may be required to evacuate or seek shelter in another location. Or, you may be advised to stay at home and shelter-in-place. Review the recommended shelter plans for the type of disasters that are likely to affect your area. For example, with a tornado warning, you should seek shelter in a basement or an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.

    Create an evacuation plan.

    If necessary, you’ll need to know an evacuation plan. You may have a few days to prepare for an evacuation or you may need to leave your home immediately. That’s why it’s important to assemble supplies ahead of time, both a “go-bag” you can carry if you need to you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling by longer distances if you have a personal vehicle.

    Develop a household communication plan.

    Your family or other household members may not all be together, or at home, when disaster strikes. That’s why it’s important to know how you will communicate with the members of your household during a disaster.

    A disaster can strike without warning, and the best way to protect your family is to be prepared. These tips, along with additional information available on www.ready.gov, are a good start to make sure your family is safe and comfortable following an emergency situation.

    Follow this blog for more home safety and maintenance tips.

  • 22 Aug 2018 9:41 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Chris Froelke, RetroEnergy President

    Where did the summer go? Personally this has been the fastest summer of my life, as I mentioned back in June my family broke ground on a new home and was contemplating selling my home and living in a camper with a 7 month pregnant wife once we hit August. Currently, the house is well underway and cabinets are installed and looking to close on October 1st. We voted against selling our current home until our new home is completed. I grossly underestimated the amount of cleaning, organizing and detailing it takes to get a home that you have lived in for 14 years ready for market, meanwhile building a new one. We are very excited to see how this new home preforms, we opted for a very high performance building envelope doing 2” exterior polyiso insulation board on the walls and roof deck plus wall cavity and additional 5.5” of spray foam in the ceiling.

    Some of the challenges with an unconventional building enclosure is communicating with the subcontractors on how to actually assemble an exterior insulation system and make it work with window openings and nailing backer for the siding. I chose a fluid applied weather barrier from Sto for all of the exterior 2” window and door bucks that needed to be furred out to correct wall thickness. This is something that is very rarely used in residential application and used every day in the commercial world. Since this will be my “Forever Home” I really wanted to take advantage of the new technology to make a dry, tight and energy efficient home. I also installed a free standing wood burning fireplace in the living room that my inspector said she hasn’t seen in years. I expect the cost to heat and cool this home will be extremely low and will also offer very constant comfort throughout the home.

    Since I am an energy nerd and have extensive background in testing buildings for air leakage I was able to pick out additional opportunities to seal up energy and comfort robbing leaks before they get covered with sheetrock. I even did a preliminary blower door whole house air leakage test before sheet rock and tested at a .77 ACH (air changes per hour) which is almost 4 times below the code maximum. The German passive solar standard for building tightness is .6, not quite there but might be close after everything is done.

    I have to admit, these details defiantly suck up a lot of time which is why I had to strap on my tool belt and do all of the weather barriers, flashings and insulation and air sealing details myself. However those few extra days of “Dealing” with the details I know will pay off. I have made a career out of fixing homes where many of the details where forgotten or done incorrectly, therefore I feel very fortunate to have this once in a life time opportunity to be very hands on with this process of designing a high performance building envelope for my family.


  • 15 Aug 2018 8:48 AM | Miller (Administrator)

    Here are the results of those heading in to the November General Election as reported on the MN Secretary of State website:

    1.  US Representative District 6

    Tom Emmer  R 

    Ian Todd       DFL


    2.  US Senate

    Amy Klobuchar  DFL

    Jim Newberger   R


    3. Gubernatorial 

    Jeff Johnson & Donna Bergstrom   R

    Tim Walz & Peggy Flanagan   DFL


    4.  Attorney General

    Doug Wardlow   R

    Keith Ellison  DFL





  • 06 Aug 2018 9:41 AM | Miller (Administrator)

    On August 1, 2018, the MN Pollution Control Agency's (PCA) New Construction Stormwater Permit Regulations went into effect. 

     The MPCA has stated the permit was completely reconfiqured into a new format in order to be more linear and easier to follow.   Also according to the MPCA, the five most common construction storm water violations are:

    1. Missing or inadequate soil stabilization.

    2. Missing perimeter controls.

    3. Missing or inadequate inlet protection.

    4. Vehicle tracking

    5.  BMPs not contained.

    The MPCA also shares the following reminders:

    1. Ensure that you have a Construction Stormwater Permit and Plan if one is needed.

    2. Remember to inspect your site within 24 hours of a rainfall greater than 1/2 inch.

    3. Repair, replace or supplement all nonfunctional BMPs by the end of the next business day after discovery, or as soon as field conditions allow access.


    For further information --Visit https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/construction-stormwater 



  • 02 Jul 2018 2:26 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Chris Froelke, President, Central Minnesota Builders Association (NAHB)

    After the dust settles on your Independence Day celebration, you may notice that your home has begun to show the signs of an active summer – both inside and out.  Take the time now to do a few maintenance tasks to keep your home humming through the rest of the summer.

    mis summer check

    Keep hot air out. Hopefully you’ve already had your air conditioner serviced this year to ensure it can hold up during a heat wave. Now it’s time to re-check your windows and doors for drafts and air leaks that may have developed with kids more frequently coming in and out of the house. Caulk any seams and re-glaze windows if needed, and replace any worn weather-stripping around doors to help keep cool air from escaping. Also, replace or repair any screens that have tears.

    Swap your HVAC filter. If your air conditioner has been working overtime this summer, check to see if the filter needs to be replaced. While some manufacturers recommend replacing your filter about once a month, the actual time will depend on your household: how often air conditioner runs, the number of furry pets in your home, the age of your unit, etc.

    Secure loose fittings. It’s a good idea to check the railings and posts on your deck to ensure that they are not becoming loose. If you have playset in your backyard, check to see if any connections need to be tightened. This is especially important during the summer months when playsets get the most use.

    Drain the rain. Summer rains bring extra water that can take a toll on gutters and downspouts. Visually inspect your downspouts to be sure they are draining away from the foundation. Clear your gutters from the debris that gathers during summer storms. Also be sure there is no standing water around your yard, which attracts mosquitoes and other pests. Water pools around your house also attract termites, so be sure to drain all the excess water.

    If you need help with your home maintenance, CMBA has a long list of local, trusted service professionals. 

    CMBA Member Directory

  • 11 Jun 2018 1:11 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Chris Froelke, President, Central Minnesota Home Builders

    Inviting, accommodating and a feast for the eyes—wet rooms are showing up in more and more homes and wowing visitors at new-home showcases.

    Wet rooms—essentially open-concept or barrier-free bathrooms—are tiled continuously from floor to ceiling and across the floor surface, giving a sleek, unified appearance.

    The shower is open to the room or enclosed in clear glass, and has no raised threshold to step over. Sinks, countertops and vanities mounted to the walls hover above the unbroken plane of the floor.

    The wet room’s uninterrupted sight lines give a feeling of space to even a relatively small room. The continuous floor surface makes for easy cleanup and allows people in wheelchairs or with restricted mobility to move freely.

    Here are a few things to consider when designing your wet room:

    Express Yourself

    The open spaces and abundance of tile that define a wet room invite you to splash on your own creative look.

    Whether you choose soothing earth tones and textures, cool minimalist grays, whites and blacks, or whimsical colors and patterns, the wet room creates an eye-catching display.

    Curbless Shower

    Because the entire room is waterproof, your curbless shower also can be completely open to the room, with no enclosure at all. Just be sure there’s enough space to place the toilet and sink where they won’t get splashed by spray from the shower.

    Glass enclosures with seamless glass doors are another popular option. They’ll contain water on all sides without impeding the view.

    Or sometimes simply a slab partition between the shower and the toilet will do the trick, leaving the front of the shower open to the rest of the room. The slab may be a foot or two short of the ceiling and face the doorway to minimize its effect on the visual flow.

    Threshold drains—or grates that are flush with the tile floor—may define the edge of the shower area without interrupting the floor’s flow. Some drains even glow from within, using interior colored or white LED lighting for an extra flair and to help orient a person under the shower’s spray.

    Another popular option is adding a place to sit in the shower. A built-in slate ledge, matching or contrasting with the wall tile, a wall-mounted drop-down bench in bamboo or a free-standing teak stool is a handy feature for anyone and contributes to the overall design.

    Fixtures

    Floating vanities, attached to the wall without legs, and floating countertops look great with today’s vessel sinks and minimalist faucets.

    In addition to their sleek look, these features also provide sink access for anyone in a wheel chair. Drawers or shelves attached underneath or on each side of the sink provide storage.

    Professional Installation

     To be sure your wet room keeps the water where it’s supposed to be, it’s important that everything be installed just right, and that might require a professional.

    Floor grading is key—constructed to slope gently and almost imperceptibly, but effectively, toward drains. Tile must be properly installed and sealed to prevent leaks.

    Once it’s done right, your wet room will be easy to use, to clean and to enjoy—a lovely oasis in your home.

    For more information or to find local contractor or remodeler search the CMBA Member Directory

  • 11 Jun 2018 9:07 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Chris Froelke, President, Central Minnesota Builders Association

    More than 21 million people are injured each year in accidents around the home. The National Association of Home Builders reminds home owners to be safe every day in 2018.


    The five most frequent home accidents include poisoning, falls, choking or suffocation, drowning and fires. It’s sobering stuff – but the good news is that many accidents are preventable. Here’s how:

    Poisoning. Store household and chemical products – including those colorfully tempting but very dangerous laundry detergent “pods” – securely and out of children’s reach. Install a battery-operated or battery back-up carbon monoxide detector and remember to have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances serviced yearly.

    Falls. These are a big problem for seniors: Falls are the No. 1 cause of death for people 65 and older. Remove trip hazards such as throw rugs, electrical cords, clutter and debris. Make sure you have adequate lighting in your home, especially on stairways. Install grab bars in the bathroom near the toilet and in the shower – or find a professional on the CMBA Member Directory to help make your home safer for older adults in your home. 

    Choking. Do you know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver when someone is choking on a piece of food or foreign object? Take a class or go online for a short tutorial. Remember to childproof your home to keep small objects out of reach of children. Always supervise children while eating and playing.

    Drowning. Most of these deaths occur among small children, and most can be prevented just by paying closer attention. It’s easy to be distracted by your cell phone when your child is happily playing in the bathtub or wading pool, but these accidents can happen in seconds. Always be vigilant when your child is in or near water.

    Fire. The National Fire Protection Association reports that cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Heating equipment is the second-most common cause. That’s another reason to have your heating systems checked – and most importantly, to ensure that you have the right number of smoke detectors on each floor and that each smoke detector actually works.

    For more information about heating and ventilation safety click the CMBA professionals directory and search "heating".


  • 04 Jun 2018 8:26 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Chris Froelke, President, CMBA

    Creating outdoor rooms remains a popular design trend with homeowners. It’s a simple, budget-friendly way to increase your home’s square footage and to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you have a large patio or a small porch, your outdoor room can easily reflect your style and become a treasured gathering spot in your home.

    Yet, many homeowners quickly become frustrated when the beautiful furniture and fabrics they select do not survive Minnesota's outdoor elements. Fortunately, manufacturers are now creating more durable outdoor furnishings to help your decorating dollars go even further.

    Outdoor fabric companies, offer weather-resistant products that are made to withstand harsh weather. These resilient fabrics are low-maintenance and can easily be cleaned by hand. 

    Retailers also are responding to the popularity of outdoor rooms by increasing their inventory of indoor/outdoor rugs, weatherproof cushions and fabrics, and all-weather furniture. Residential architect Amy Stacy, owner of Stacy Studio in Silver Spring, Md., has noticed the difference. “Even last summer, big-box stores may have only had three or four color choices for outdoor cushions. Now, you can choose from a wide variety of durable solids, patterns, florals, and stripes, both online and at all of the major home retailers,” Stacy said.

    Home owners also want to spend more time enjoying their outdoor space and less time maintaining it. “Screened-in porches are hot right now,” according to Stacy. “Home owners are looking for low-maintenance options and decks require a lot of upkeep.”

    Not surprisingly, today’s screened porches reflect the growing trend of creating outdoor spaces with indoor amenities. Stacy says her clients are requesting fireplaces and other features – such as finished wood floors – to help their screened porches feel like luxurious indoor spaces. Other home owners are adding kitchens to their screened porches, allowing them to more easily cook outdoors year-round.

    Easy Maintenance Tips

    After you’ve furnished and decorated your outdoor space, be sure to follow a few simple tips to ensure that you can enjoy it for years to come.

    •        Protect outdoor furniture with weatherproof covers during the times of year when it’s not in use. Or, bring smaller furniture items inside.
    •        Store cushions in weatherproof containers during winter weather.
    •        Spot clean spoils or spills on outdoor fabric right away to prevent the growth of mildew. Use a mild, bleach-free soap-and-water solution and rub gently with a cloth or sponge.
    •        Always air dry outdoor fabrics, which generally are made of synthetic materials. Never dry clean or tumble-dry these fabrics – or the protective finish will begin to erode.
    Central Minnesota Builders Association's designers can provide outdoor designs specific to your needs. Click to search for area designers here.
<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >>