Builders Race Against the Clock on New American Home
With the finish date for The New American Home 2009 in Las Vegas only a week away, family-run building company Blue Heron and some of the city’s most experienced tradesmen are working overtime to have the home ready for its scheduled photo shoot on Oct. 27.
“There is still a lot of work to be done, but this home is on target,” said Tucker Bernard, executive director of the National Council of the Housing Industry (NCHI) — The Leading Suppliers of NAHB and project executor for The New American Home. “We always see a race against the clock in the final weeks. But the folks at Blue Heron have been very organized and they are very much ready for this final push.”
An Oct. 15 status report from Blue Heron Principal Tyler Jones suggests that the builder and his team will meet the deadline.
“We’re working on every finish trade right now,” Jones said. “The drywall is all hung. The pool is in. The Jacuzzi is in. The cabinets are pretty much complete. The counter tops are complete. The flooring is mostly complete, as is the painting. The closets and the closet built-ins are complete. All the stucco and doors are complete. We’ve got light fixtures going in right now.
“We’re working on landscaping,” Jones added. “Most of the big trees are in. We’re getting started on hardscapes today. We’ve got some different pavers going in. We’ve got travertine around the pool. We’ll be pouring the slabs for that over the next couple of days and the tile guys will come in immediately after that.”
While progress on the home has gone relatively smoothly the last few months, Jones notes that there are a couple of time-consuming details remaining. “We still have a lot of finishing detail in the yard. There is an outdoor living room and several water features. We have quite a bit of work to do on those things,” Jones said.
“Another big challenge is the central stairway, which spans four floors from the basement to the third floor,” he said. “The finish work on the stairway is now underway. Six guys are working on it right now.”
Sponsored by NCHI and Builder magazine, The New American Home is one of NAHB’s most successful and visible programs. NCHI is made up of the leading product suppliers of the residential construction industry, and the show home enables members of the council to highlight their new and innovative products.
“We’ve had a great experience with all the product suppliers,” Jones said. “Everybody has bought into the project. It’s very much a team effort. When the suppliers and contractors come to look at the house and they see how this home will showcase their products, they get very excited.”
One of the features of The New American Home 2009 that is expected to get a lot of attention is its heating and cooling system from Japanese manufacturer Aisin. The HVAC system includes 24 zones, eliminating most ductwork in the home, and runs on natural gas, which is much more common in Japan than in the U.S.
“It is an extremely efficient system,” Jones said. “They use clean-burning natural gas, and it is much more efficient to run the heat pumps on site rather than draw electricity to run the heating and cooling system.”
The technicians from local contractor All Air Systems, which installed the Aisin system, “were very knowledgeable and great about helping us understand it,” Jones said.
The home was designed by Irvine, Calif., architecture firm Danielian Associates, with the interior design and furnishings by Robb & Stucky Interiors, the largest, high-end interior design firm in the country.
Equal parts laboratory, educational tool and product showcase, the home incorporates builders’ best practices and the latest take on energy efficiency, indoor-air quality, safety, convenience and aesthetics.
Jones said he is looking forward to the International Builders' Show in January, when the home will play host to thousands of visitors. “I think the house is going to absolutely blow people away.”
For more information, e-mail Blake Smith at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8583.