Notes from the Field

May 2018 marks my thirtieth anniversary of entering the fine field of home design.  August of 2018 marks my twentieth anniversary of being an architect in Door County.  It’s all be a grand adventure and I’ve loved it all.  But I’m driven by challenges.  I’ve always striven to make better buildings, more energy efficient buildings, and now more cost-efficient ones.  But there’s a gap between what an architect knows and can control on a project, and what a general contractor knows and can control.  In that gap are the big questions:  where do all the costs come from?  Can costs by reduced through better processes?  And are there better ways to build in order to improve the entire construction process…to make it expedient without compromising quality; to reduce injuries; and to get the next generation enthused and involved in the field of construction.

In order to bridge that gap, I needed to actually get in the trenches and learn the nuts and bolts of the operation…all those little tasks and details that an architect typically leaves up to the contractor to work out.  I needed to become a General Contractor (GC).  And that is exactly what I did in October of 2017.

The following is a journal of the lessons I’ve learned and am learning about what goes on behind the scenes.  Another GC reading this will no doubt say “Well, Duh!.”  But homeowners, architects and other building designers could be privy to a world they normally wouldn’t see, and might come way knowing far more about what goes into a building than they ever expected.  I’m sure I will.

Virge Temme

General Contractor & Architect

When Cold is Too Cold

Today I ordered a 250-gallon propane tank delivered to the jobsite, for a temporary "construction furnace" that's due to be installed next Tuesday.  There's no insulation in the house yet, and it might seem wasteful to heat the house now.  But it's necessary in order...

Recognizing Our “Waste” Streams

As conscientious as we’ve always tried to be when it comes to selecting sustainable materials and methods in our projects, our first incursion into the world of design-build has made us realize that construction waste management is yet another puzzle to...

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