We are approaching the end of the new bunker garage construction phase of our Bellevue remodeling project on Cougar mountain. With the waterproofing membrane, drain mat and drainage system complete we buried the garage. The owner likes the siding we installed during her main home remodel she has asked us to skin the garage with the same clear cedar to match the house. With the garage buried the yard has quite a bit more real estate and will look great once it’s the grass is planted and landscaping installed. Now that we’re done using the heavy equipment we demolished the driveway, regraded and installed a new asphalt driveway that looks great.
We’ve been building a bunker garage for a customer over the past several weeks. It’s been a fun custom builder project and I’ve been thoroughly documenting it for a future video montage of its construction. I thought however, I would go ahead and post some of the highlights of this custom builder project. We originally started working at this site about 18 months ago and completed an extensive interior and exterior home remodel for the owner. She liked things so much she asked us to design – build this bunker garage. Even though the house is situated on 2 acres the desired location for the garage construction made things tight. We basically maxed out the vertical cut for the excavation and if it were any bigger we would have needed shoring to keep the road above from falling in our hole.
Cabinets or casework is a really important part of any Seattle custom home builder or home remodeling project. Cabinetry breaks down into two basic categories; custom cabinets and modular or prefab cabinets. Custom cabinets are exactly what they sound like. Cabinets built to your specifications to fit the dimensions and look of a given room. Modular cabinets are cabinets that are built in pre-determined sizes and require fitting the room to the cabinets or mixing and matching the sizes of cabinets manufactured with filler strips to make the cabinets work for your home remodeling project or custom home builder project. The main advantage of modular cabinets is they are typically less expensive than custom cabinets and easier on your home remodeling or custom home building budget. The disadvantage is of course, they are not custom and if you have an odd shaped room or very specific ideas on the design of your cabinets they may not work. Most of the Seattle custom home builder and home remodeling projects we get involved with use custom cabinets as they are typical for higher end projects. More on cabinets next week. Thanks for reading!
We’ve broken ground for construction of an underground bunker garage. The owner of this Cougar Mountain home needed to add parking for visitors. So instead of building a traditional detached garage she opted for an underground bunker garage. The topography of the site lends itself to that type of building construction. There is an increase in cost for an underground structure but it will also add more level yard area to her mountain side lot. The garage construction is in a “critical slope “area which triggered a more rigorous permitting process with the city.
We’ve excavated and set up our foundation forms and today, poured the foundation. Unfortunately last night our sump pump that was keeping our pit from filling up with rain water died. When we arrived this morning we had about three feet of water in our pour area which is not conducive to successful concrete placement. With a little quick thinking and use of some local connections we’ve developed from years spent as Seattle custom home builder we were able to get a powerful gas powered pump to drain the water and get things back on track. So after a little scrambling we were able to get the footings poured. Tomorrow we’ll start forming up the walls. Stay tuned for more bunker garage posts in the future.
If this building was built safely and is structurally sound it’s an amazing construction accomplishment. Check out the time lapse video.
With all the money you’re going to pay your new contractor, shouldn’t you make sure he’s going to be worth it? Blindly choosing a contractor threatens your home, your safety, and your wallet. While online reviews and flashy websites lead you in one direction, they don’t tell you
who the best Seattle general contractor is.
Here are some things to consider when hiring a general contractor in Seattle.
Don’t be afraid to get multiple quotes. You may not realize how overpriced one contractor is unless you get a comparison quote. It’s like getting a second opinion before surgery. If you wouldn’t blindly trust a surgeon to cut you open, how can you blindly trust a contractor to cut your house open?
Perhaps you’re thinking everything will turn out okay as long as you have a thick contract. If something goes wrong, your State Contractor Licensing Board will set it right free of charge, right? Wrong.
Don’t feel pressured to make any decision. Salespeople who work for your contractor can be pushy. Contractors themselves may want you to make a decision immediately. Your job is to hire the best contractor you can find – focus on that only.
Don’t hire a contractor based on his promises. Just like anyone trying to gain your favor, exaggeration is plausible.
Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to problems because you chose the wrong contractor. Take your time, do the research, and find a Seattle contractor who will make your home beautiful.
Checking to make sure your contractor is licensed is actually easier than you might think. You don’t have to go downtown or spend the afternoon in a city building somewhere; you only have to go online.
Start your search at http://contractors-license.org/.
On this page you’ll see a map of the U.S. Click the state you live in (let’s say Washington in this case since we are Seattle Contractors), and the next page will provide a link to the government website that houses the information.
For Washington this site would be https://fortress.wa.gov/lni/bbip/.
Next you will be asked to enter a name, city, license number or UBI number. Of course you probably don’t have those last two because you’re just checking in on your contractor, so you’ll have to go with name and/or city (Keever & Associates Seattle Contractors).
However, searching by name will be just fine. (We checked out our own and it led us to a page that showed that our license is indeed active).
From there you have the option to look even further into the contractor and will be able to see how long the business has been licensed, how much insurance it carries, and so on.
Making sure your contractor is licensed is important. And, as you can see, it’s also easy.
Keever & Associates Seattle Contractors have been providing licensed Seattle Contracting Services since 1977.
A General Contractor is a person or company that is in charge of a construction project from beginning to completion, whether commercial or residential. Responsible for the coordination of each assignment, a General Contractor’s duties include:
Gathering bids from subcontractors
Your General Contractor will have a list of trusted subcontractors. This allows him to gather and evaluate bids in a quick and efficient manner.
Hires, schedules and pays subcontractors
The General Contractor will hire and schedule every subcontractor needed for a project. This can include plumbers, electricians, and even interior designers.
Answers Questions/Resolves Issues
Because a General Contractor spends so much time on-site, they are available to quickly answer client questions and resolve any unexpected issues that may arise.
Acquires permits and arranges inspections
In Seattle, and across the country, permits are needed before certain construction actions are taken. A Seattle General Contractor will acquire all necessary permits and will arrange for building and site inspections.
Your General Contractor will:
A good General Contractor will also have the following traits:
Keever & Associates Seattle General Contractors have been assisting customers with their contracting needs since 1977. We can be reached at 206-200-5582 or via the form on this website.
Design-Build is a method of construction where one entity is contracted to provide both design and construction services. This entity, the Seattle Design-Build Contractor, will handle all aspects of the project from its initial concept to its completion. The Design-Builder is usually a General Contractor who employs professionals from both the construction and design sectors. The Design-Build Contractor oversees the entire project.
Why choose Design-Build?
Design-Build is quickly becoming a popular alternative to the ways in which construction projects have traditionally been handled. It is estimated that by 2015 more than 50% of all Commercial Construction projects in the U.S will be Design-Build. In a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University, researchers found that the Design-Build method of construction cut overall project costs by up to 6% and project completion time was also found to have an improvement of 33%.
Keever & Associates provides Design-Build Contractor services in Seattle WA and throughout King County WA.
I was struck by the look of this new house that was built by a Seattle builder as I walked out of a coffee shop meeting in Seattle. I’ve seen this look before but usually on commercial buildings. There are some obvious benefits to this system. Low maintenance, breathablility and a variety of new aesthetic detail possibilities.
The siding system on the house pictured is a “rain screen” system. It consists of weather resistant barrier applied over the wall sheathing, vertical furring strips (typically 1/2″-3/4″ thick) and pre colored horizontal cement plank siding. Using the pre colored siding makes for a faster installation and lends itself to lower maintenance as factory paint is usually more robust than one applied on site.
The rain screen system also allows the building envelope to “breath”. Since the system is relatively open water can not get trapped and is allowed to be eliminated naturally through drainage, evaporation etc. The biggest problem in water intrusion events is the water can not escape and rot develops and insects move in causing damage. So this “self drying” siding system is a real advantage to Seattle builders that want a high level of confidence in the building envelope.
This house exemplifies the possibilities that exist with using a rain screen cladding system. From a distance the house looks like any other house with horizontal siding. As you get closer you notice the shadow lines that are the gaps between the siding planks. You will also notice the corner detail is not your typical corner batten but a piece of galvanized flashing. There are many ways a Seattle builder can exploit the rain screen system to develop different siding looks.
Siding can be done correctly or incorrectly as a traditional system or a rainscreen system. It’s all about the details and application overseen by your Seattle builder. Each system has its place as an appropriate building envelope depending on the project. This Seattle custom home caught my eye because of the interesting textures at play on the exterior, the low maintenance implications of the design and the use of the rain screen design.
An itemized approach to planning your construction project and getting qualified bids
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