Read the Fine Print

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Many of the large insurance companies can make it very difficult for home and building owners to receive the maximum insurance funds in a catastrophe. Additionally, they will constantly move the goal post, re-writing their policy language. After you file a claim, insurance companies send out their inspection adjusters and you are notified of your final claim dollars. Often times building owners are in a situation where they need to negotiate with insurance companies and show evidence to get their full coverage on severely damaged exterior building products. I know this first hand.

Over the decades, after overseeing the completion of more than 50,000 roofs, I have seen insurance companies continually change claim coverage on crucial exterior building components. About 15 years ago my own home was hit by a horrific hail storm leaving nearly two inches of shingle granules in my gutters. Shingle granules are vital in preserving the lifetime of the roof by protecting the underlying asphalt from the sun’s harmful UV rays. This impact to my new 40 year shingles cut their life in half. I assumed my insurance company would cover such loss but they had discontinued granular loss coverage for some reason from hail damage. The news was quite a blow knowing that without granules the shingles will not last…period.

Through 40 years of field and personal experience dealing with hail and insurance companies, I have compiled a team to bridge the gap between building owners and the insurance companies. As a local engineering consulting firm it is our goal to help you in these situations and be your consumer advocate!

Storm damage is covered on your policy. It is my fear that all damaged pertinent materials should be replaced in order to protect your home long term and many times it’s not. Contact us, we want to make sure your home performs and is sheltered from the storm AND fine print.

Looking to Avoid a Construction Defect Lawsuit?

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construction-project-manager-picture

Construction defect is any contractor’s worst nightmare. Often times, thousands of dollars will be spent on lawyer fees and repairs while company hours are spent working on the case instead of current projects & sales. It can also mean endless headaches, stress, and sometimes even bankruptcy. This is why Complete Building Solutions, LLC is here. We provide support to contactors through the highest form of project management available.

Our expertise lies in building performance. We know how to make buildings last and perform according to state and international codes. Because of this, we often pair up with contractors to act as their overseer to ensure projects are constructed correctly. This brings satisfaction to both the contractor and client. We are a smart investment that is beneficial to all parties involved. Contractors save money in the long run by avoiding a potential lawsuits and clients feel at peace knowing an experienced consultancy has been on site.

Garage Apron Failure

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Garage Apron Failure

Most garages have a section of asphalt or concrete that extends 2-4 feet outside of your garage door. This is called a garage apron. It acts as a transition between your garage and your driveway and helps to direct water away from your home. This area is very susceptible to failing or damage if it has not been constructed correctly or does not seal properly between the transition of the apron to garage or apron to driveway. Have you noticed cracks, gaps, erosion, sink holes, or heaving around this area? If so, you may want to consider repair options before the issue progresses any further.

Why should I replace or repair?   

If moisture is getting under your garage apron, the integrity of your garage’s foundation is at risk. If water is not deterred from this area, the severity of the visible issues will progress. The issues you cannot see, such as degradation to your foundation, will also advance.
These common garage apron defects are typically due to settlement (ground movement). Settlement can occur for many reasons: inconsistent soil compaction, the wrong soil selection, tree root invasion, or water erosion. When you live in areas with drastic temperature changes, such as Minnesota, these problems become more prominent because of the frost heave cycle. If you are planning to sell your home and you have any of these conditions present, it is likely they will be addressed in an inspection report.
Failures in driveway and garage
The picture above depicts a transition between a garage floor and driveway that has failed. Water has been able to enter this transition and settlement has occurred causing a significant hole. This can lead to additional failures in the driveway and garage if this defect is not addressed.

What to do?
Depending upon the type of issue and progression, different solutions are available. It could be that the soil compaction was not consistent. In this case, the soil would need to be dug up and replaced. If sink holes are present, the entire apron may need to be removed, foundation filled, and base material raised. To determine the severity of your problem and a lasting and cost effective solution, call CBS today.

(612 ) 868-2922

Kickout Flashing…It’s Important!

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Did you know that one small piece of metal could be the difference between a healthy home and a home with serious moisture intrusion problems?

This piece of metal is called KICKOUT FLASHING.

 

Kick out flashing can be found on roof to siding junctions where the wall extends out past the roof line. Rain is meant to run alongside of the wall and move into a gutter. However, it needs to be directed into a gutter by means of kickout flashing. Without this small detail, the water can migrate behind the siding and end up seeping into the wall. Remember, water seeks the path of least resistance. Leaks and serious damage occur this way.

Below is a picture of kick out flashing properly doing its job.

kick out Flashing

Photo credit: homearchitects.com

kickout-flashing

When kick out flashing is missing, moisture will indefinitely infiltrate the home. Often times damage is occurring without the homeowner realizing. Some side effects are mold, mildew, rot, and an overall breakdown of building materials.

Below is a photo depicting missing kickout flashing. Notice the water staining and mildew on the sheathing (due to lack of kickout combined with improperly installed WRB).

Missing kick out flashing

Call Today to have your roof inspected.

(612) 868-2922

Architects and Engineers Working Together

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Architects and Engineers Working Together

“Architects put the dream on paper, but it is the engineers who help make that dream a physical performing reality.”

Architect. The artist, the creator, the theoretical thinker. The contributions these individuals make to building form, space, & aesthetics is paramount. They are trained to be adaptive which enables them to develop original solutions to intricate design problems within homes.

Engineer. The mathematician, the implementer, the system builder. Left brained engineers assure building performance through their structural and code knowledge. Safety and functionality of the building design is their main priority.

The mindset from which engineers and architects approach projects is very different. Because of this, collaboration between the two can make for an outstanding final project.

Our engineering firm, Complete Building Solutions, has hired architectural firms to help implement new designs within condo/townhome complexes throughout the Twin Cities. One project we collaborated on required us to convert an attic with a sprinkler system into an attic with draft stops. This sort of project is very intricate, and the input from our architect was very beneficial.

Architects hire Complete Building Solutions regularly to ensure that their plans are structurally sound. I had the opportunity to interview a phenomenal architect in the twin cities, Rick Storlien, to ask him what he most regularly hires engineering firms for. Rick’s firm, RDS Architects, deals with anything from room remodels to luxury home design.  He explained that in the past he rarely required engineering services because certain codes were not enforced. However, this past year has marked changed times and he now hires engineering firms on almost 50% of his projects to satisfy specific code requirements.  Typically, these projects consist of load bearing structures like beams, headers, & lateral bracing. It is the engineer’s duty to verify that these structures are safe & compliant with code through calculations and other measures. Complete Building Solutions does this sort of work all the time.

If you are an architect looking for engineering assistance, do not hesitate to call Complete Building Solutions today. We love collaborating to ensure that homeowners are delivered the highest caliber projects on the market. (612) 868-2922

Choosing Ice-Melts

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Ice-Melts

As we speak, our social media newsfeeds are blowing up with snow warnings, schools are closing, business meetings are being rescheduled, and families are stocking up for the incoming storm in Minneapolis.  If you are making last minute runs to the store, be sure to acquire the proper ice-melt that fits your home’s needs. Below is a chart, put together by Consumer Reports, that can help you determine which product is right for your home.

Keep in mind that certain products effect asphalt and concrete differently. According to a recent study, magnesium products “are the most damaging to the concrete”, specifically Calcium magnesium acetate (Lee, 5). Within the same study, sodium chloride products were discovered to be the least detrimental to concrete.  As far as asphalt is concerned, acetate products can be disadvantageous because of their tendency “to break down the bonds between aggregate and asphalt binder” (consumer reports, 1).  The chart below provides many options for safe asphalt de-icers.

Ice-Melts Comparison

For more information and tips on de-icing best practices, check out the following link: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/02/best-ice-melts/index.htm .

 

If you are noticing large build-ups of ice around your home check out what our engineer and consultants have to say http://cbsmn.com/blog/?p=149 about PERMANENTLY fixing the problem.  

 

Sources:

“Best Rock Salt and Ice Melts Review – Consumer Reports.” Best Rock Salt and Ice Melts Review – Consumer Reports. N.p., Feb. 2014. Web. 02 Feb. 2016.

Lee, H., R. D. Cody, A. M. Cody, and P. G. Spry. EFFECTS OF VARIOUS DEICING CHEMICALS ON PAVEMENT CONCRETE DETERIORATION. Proc. of Mid-Continent Transportation Symposium 2000, Center for Transportation Research and Education, 2711 South Loop Drive. N.p.: n.p., 2000. 151-55. Print.

 

 

FINE PRINT ALERT

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read-fine-print2

Many of the large insurance companies can make it very difficult for home and building owners to receive the maximum insurance funds in a catastrophe. Additionally, they will constantly move the goal post, re-writing their policy language. After you file a claim, insurance companies send out their inspection adjusters and you are notified of your final claim dollars. Often times building owners are in a situation where they need to negotiate with insurance companies and show evidence to get their full coverage on severely damaged exterior building products. I know this first hand.

Over the decades, after overseeing the completion of over 50,000 roofs, I have seen insurance companies continually change claim coverage on crucial exterior building components. About 15 years ago my own home was hit by a horrific hail storm leaving nearly two inches of shingle granules in my gutters. Shingle granules are vital in preserving the lifetime of the roof by protecting the underlying asphalt from the sun’s harmful UV rays. This impact to my new 40 year shingles cut their life in half. I assumed my insurance company would cover such loss but they had discontinued granular loss coverage for some reason from hail damage. The news was quite a blow knowing that without granules the shingles will not last…period.

Through 40 years of field and personal experience dealing with hail and insurance companies, I have compiled a team to bridge the gap between building owners and the insurance companies. As a local engineering consulting firm it is our goal to help you in these situations and be your consumer advocate!

Storm damage is covered on your policy. It is my fear that all damaged pertinent materials should be replaced in order to protect your home long term and many times it’s not. Contact us, we want to make sure your home performs and is sheltered from the storm AND fine print.

Energy Savings

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Would you heat and cool your home with the front door and windows open?

Like me, many homeowners are look for energy savings in their homes because we know that energy prices will be and are skyrocketing! We check the efficiency of our furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, kitchen appliances, bathroom ceiling fans scouring our home for ways to save mother earth and our pocketbooks. Checking your home’s performance is the place to start, the ceilings, attic, windows and other energy loss areas. Many homeowners think that spending thousands of dollars on new appliances will save them from dishing out big bucks on heating and cooling their homes. Start with calling Complete Building Solutions, we work with many homeowner associations and homeowners to make their homes perform and become more energy efficient. Read the testimonial below from one of our customers who were elated by our completion of the elimination of bypass, insulation and ventilation correction and saving money far above their expectations!

Complete Building Solutions has saved money for over 115 homeowner associations, townhome and condominium complexes (around 2,000 homeowners in the Twin Cities area alone). Our engineering firm has concrete methods to measure a home’s energy inefficiency and create a path to mending homes. Aside from a detailed attic visual inspection we can also offer infrared camera analytics, moisture testing and negative blower door testing. The negative blower door test determines how many CFM’s (cubic feet per minute) of energy your home is losing. These tests are sometimes done before we work on a home and after the work is completed and sometimes, over a two year period. Typically after a home’s performance is maximized by fixing heat loss areas, a homeowner can save around 25-50% on their energy bills. These savings and your investment will actually pay for themselves over a period of time.

One of our homeowners, Dr. Tracy was elated when we saved him just under 50% of on his energy costs:

“So, thanks again for a job well done! In addition to this very noticeable drop in natural gas usage, we are also noticing that we don’t have to keep the thermostat set as high to keep the house warm, the furnace doesn’t seem to run as often, the upstairs rooms are nice and warm (they were cold in years past), and, of course, no large scale ice build up along the roof lines anymore. There’s some ice in some corner spots but nowhere near as much as in years past.”

—Dr. Tracy

Natural Gas Usage

This bar graph shows Dr. Tracy’s actual gas bill before our assessment and execution of our recommended work scope (left F) and after (right F). These represent the difference in gas usage between February 2014 and February 2015.

Contact us when you are ready to analyze how you can keep the energy you pay for in your home and not giving it away to heat your neighborhood!