Information‎ > ‎

Groninger Custom Homes


Entertainment Center Design -

posted Feb 24, 2016, 12:51 PM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Feb 24, 2016, 12:53 PM ]

We've designed and built countless entertainment centers over the years, but the old designs need some updating. Flat screen televisions are an obvious change to the design criteria, but the way that we interact with our electronic devices has also changed considerably. Unlike watching a moving in surround sound, surfing the internet or playing video games isn't done from the couch on the other side of the room. So not only has the entertainment center design changed, but the entire furniture arrangement in the room needs a look.
This modern entertainment center design can be modified to fit into a more traditional home. It's built with regular lumber and plywood, and covered with laminate flooring or similar pre-finished wood product.

The unit hangs on the wall but appears to be floating out from the surface. Space behind allows wires to hang and hookup to all of the equipment without being seen. 

LED light strips can be hidden around the perimeter to enhance the floating effect and puck lights can recess into the upper shelf.

See a short video on our YouTube channel.


The Southern HomeDesign and Construction Ideas and Information about Homes in the South. Florida and the Gulf Coast have unique climate and environmental conditions that have influenced the design of homes since long before air-conditioning was available. Lessons from “Olde Florida” vernacular design still apply today. With energy efficiency and a new green awareness on the minds of many in the industry, building systems and construction techniques are evolving forward with an eye on the past.
Note: Most of the forms and information on our site are available to view if you provide us with an email address. We'd like to send you our monthly newsletter with information and resources about new homes and residential construction. Thanks for your interest in Groninger Custom Homes.

Steps to Your Dream Home - 08 Construction Specifications

posted Feb 19, 2016, 8:45 AM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Feb 19, 2016, 9:11 AM ]

Specifications compliment a set of construction drawings as the written description of work to be performed on a project. Without detailed specifications, there's no way to verify that your builder has included everything you want in your new home.
The commercial construction industry has a standardized format for their specifications, but residential market does not. As a result, every residential project has unique written requirements if they exist at all. Good specs should provide all the information required by the builder, the trade contractors and suppliers working on the project. Concise information supports accurate bidding, enhances communication, improves quality, expedites the time schedule and prevents mistakes.

Specifications Resources
Construction Specifications Institute

Florida and the Gulf Coast have climate and environmental conditions that are unique from anywhere else in the United States. With energy efficiency and a new green awareness on the minds of many in the industry, building systems and construction techniques are evolving quickly. 

Contracts & Risk -

posted Jan 29, 2016, 3:17 AM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Jan 29, 2016, 3:18 AM ]

Essentially there are two common types of contracts between the Owner and Builder: “Fixed Price” and “Cost Plus”.


Also known as a Lump Sum agreement, with a Fixed Price contract, the Builder agrees to perform the work for an established total price. The price is based on the construction plans and specifications provided to the Builder.


When a Cost Plus agreement is used, the total price may not be known until all of the work is completed. The Owner pays for all of the construction costs, plus a fee to the Builder, often resulting in “sticker shock” when the final price is tallied.

 
On the surface, a Fixed Price agreement may seem like it offers less risk to the Owner, because the total price is known up front. Often associated with competitive bidding, the Fixed Price contract is usually awarded to the low bidder; or the Builder that has figured out how to build your home the cheapest way. This relationship creates risks and challenges that may result in other surprises.


In order to establish a fixed price on a project, the Builder needs an extraordinary set of documents to follow. The construction drawings and specifications must adequately describe every aspect of the project down to the finest detail, otherwise the fixed price may be based on assumptions or exclude omitted items.  Imagine the effort necessary to make every decision and provide accurate information about every detail before choosing a Builder.


Oftentimes, when designs and drawings are completed, they are done so without a detailed construction budget. All too often when the project is finally ready for bidding, the resulting bids exceed the budget expectations of the owner, resulting in expensive re-design fees or even abandonment of the project.


Fixed Price agreements also operate under a cloud of uncertainty. The Owner has no knowledge of the construction costs or the fees the Builder is charging for their work. If changes are requested, the Owner may be forced to pay whatever the Builder demands otherwise the change won’t be incorporated. To avoid this, it emphasizes the importance of the construction drawings and specifications. Again, imagine the effort necessary to make every decision and provide accurate information about every detail before choosing a Builder.


This magnitude of information and decisions associated with a one-of-a-kind custom home, is often the reason why some Owners opt for a Cost Plus relationship with their Builder.


While the type of contract is usually associated with the construction side of the relationship, some designers prefer Cost Plus agreements because it offers them freedom to make design changes even after construction has begun. From the Builder’s perspective, Cost Plus frees them from the risk of losing a project to the competitive bid process and eases the burden of creating a detailed upfront estimate for the project. Many Owners go into a Cost Plus relationship believing that it will save money because they can be involved in the “open book” nature of the project. In our opinion, each of these perspectives creates an environment where incomplete decisions and the production of loose information is deemed acceptable.


Nobody wants surprises related to the budget or time schedule of a project. A responsible Builder should provide accurate upfront pricing and an organized process that supports an efficiently managed project. Other approaches, regardless of implied benefits, are simply lazy attempts at moving the project forward.

Construction Management


Florida and the Gulf Coast have climate and environmental conditions that are unique from anywhere else in the United States. With energy efficiency and a new green awareness on the minds of many in the industry, building systems and construction techniques are evolving quickly. 

Note: Most of the forms and information on our site are available to view if you provide us with an email address. We'd like to send you our monthly newsletter with information and resources about new homes and residential construction. Thanks for your interest in Groninger Custom Homes.

Steps to Your Dream Home - 07 Construction Working Drawings

posted Nov 22, 2015, 12:27 PM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Nov 22, 2015, 12:28 PM ]

Construction Working Drawings are the instruction manual for a construction project. The quality of the information available on the drawings has a direct correlation to the performance of the entire workforce responsible for the construction. Poor drawings are often the culprit of mistakes and expensive change orders.
 
Groninger Homes has a checklist that we use to ensure that needed information is provided on the drawings. Our approach seeks to understand the needs of each specific subcontractor or material supplier, so that they can perform at their best without misunderstanding or missing information. Our goal is to manage our projects in an organized fashion such that the trades prefer to work on our projects instead of those of other builders.
https://sites.google.com/a/groningerhomes.com/gch/information/blog/_draft_post/151122%20Parklake%20site%20plan.JPG

Construction drawings typically include the following pages plus additional sheets depending of the complexity of the home and necessity to show specific details.
  • Site Plan - The site plan should show where the structure is sited on the property and indicate exterior features like driveways, sidewalks, patios and pool decks. Property and setback lines, utility locations and drainage patterns and structures should be clearly indicated. The site plan is often the first page in a set of drawings and may also include detailed information about the project and responsible parties.
  • Foundation - Footings, foundation walls and details about the slab or first floor level are usually included. Specific sizes and details of the foundation should be detailed by the structural engineer with perhaps reference to one of the detail pages. Plumbing dimensions for piping under the slab are a nice addition to a good set of drawings. If you've ever seen the plumber scratching around in the dirt trying to locate fixtures you'd understand why. Well planned drawings will show recessed door sill locations and even indicate electrical floor outlets and specific floor elevations.
  • Floor Plan(s) - The floor plans typically have the most information in the set. Sometimes there's too much information and they are difficult to read. The use of tables or schedules can reduce the clutter but sometimes additional pages may be necessary. A separate page for dimensions and sizes is frequently a good solution.
  • Elevations - Exterior views of all four sides of the home plus additional views necessary to expose all surfaces. Sometimes the front elevation may show more artistic flair, but the purpose of the drawings is for construction detail and "pretty" renderings may be needed as supplement.
  • Roof Plan - The roof plan frequently comes next but may not actually be used during construction. The truss fabricator will use the drawing to create a roof truss plan that shows the layout and crucial structural information. The truss fabricator may also supply a 2nd floor layout that needs to be incorporated into the set. Much of the information about hurricane wind loads is provided on this drawing.
  • Framing - Additional details and information is frequently needed by the framers depending on the complexity of the home design. Section drawings which are slices through a wall or the entire structure, show assembly details, dimensions and descriptive notes.
  • Details - Additional pages will likely be provided by the structural engineer, to show specific details for footings, structural walls and roof systems. Enlarged scale drawings are provided to clarify important details. Door sills, window flashing, roof overhangs and staircases are among the common items.
  • Electrical - Floor plans with electrical components indicated upon them are the typical way that electrical systems are indicated on the drawings. A legend with the associated symbols should be provided. Since electrical is the most-changed aspect of many projects, careful review and understanding is necessary.
  • Mechanical  - Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) drawings are not commonly part of the documentation shared with the owner although they are part of all construction projects. Likewise, plumbing drawings are usually not presented and approved by the owner. At Groninger Homes, we review these drawings with our customers and make sure that information is coordinated into the working drawings so that mistakes can be prevented.
https://sites.google.com/a/groningerhomes.com/gch/information/blog/_draft_post/151122%20Parklake%20sections.JPG

Additional Drawings:
  • Reflected Ceiling Plan - Except for the simplest homes, every set of drawings should include or be supplemented with a reflected ceiling plan. This drawing shows details on all of the ceilings that includes architectural details and trim, lighting and AC vents. Without this plan, the location of many of these items is subject to onsite decisions.
  • Flooring and Tile - A convenient drawing that indicates all of the floor materials and patterns. Tile details for bathrooms and kitchens can also be shown, streamlining the installation process.
  • Architectural Interiors - Arched openings, cabinet elevations, fireplace details, entertainment centers and more, all need to be designed for approval by the owner. Most basic residential drawings don't include this additional information necessary to convey everything accurately to the project team.
  • Renderings and 3D Images - Artistic renderings and three-dimensional images are not usually associated with the construction drawings, although they can be helpful in conveying designs to the owner. Computer-aided design (CAD) is evolving quickly and many designers are on the leading edge of technology. However, many great designers still use hand-drawn images and don't seek to learn the new tricks. The availability of these enhanced images depends on the designer selected and you can expect that it can come with substantial additional cost.
https://sites.google.com/a/groningerhomes.com/gch/information/blog/_draft_post/151122%20Parklake%20foundation%20plan.JPG
 
Construction Management

Florida and the Gulf Coast have climate and environmental conditions that are unique from anywhere else in the United States. With energy efficiency and a new green awareness on the minds of many in the industry, building systems and construction techniques are evolving quickly. 

ResConServ.com provides construction and green management services and resources to businesses and consumers that want to optimize the residential construction process.

Note: Most of the forms and information on our site are available to view if you provide us with an email address. We'd like to send you our monthly newsletter with information and resources about new homes and residential construction. Thanks for your interest in Groninger Custom Homes.

French Country Manor

posted Nov 13, 2015, 10:21 AM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Nov 13, 2015, 10:27 AM ]

Designed for a repeat customer in Winter Park, this French Country Manor features innovative ideas and functional spaces. 
A grand entry turret welcomes visitors though the front courtyard to the foyer with a dramatic staircase. A hint of the secluded upper library is visible as the stairs wind around the foyer. A private study is just off the foyer and secluded from the busier areas of the home.

In the other direction, a grand room has enough space for a large family gathering. For a family that loves to cook and entertain, the kitchen is the heart of the design. The formal dining space adjacent to the kitchen can be used every day or for special occasions, and a quaint cafe off the corner of the kitchen is just right for a few to gather.

Off either of the dining spaces, the Indoor-Outdoor room can be part of the living space or opened up to be part of the back porch. The versatile design creates an outdoor living space that can be used any time of the year.

5772 sqft AC space
5 Bedrooms
Library
6.5 Baths
2) 2-Car Garages

FGBC Green Certified Construction
PV Solar Panels
Lighting Control System
LED Lighting
Water Efficient Plumbing Fixtures
Energy Efficient AC and Comfort Control
Controlled Ventilation and Fresh Air
Foam Insulation
Wood Clad Windows
Extensive Cabinetry with Stone Countertops
Stone and Wood Floors throughout
Retractable Screens
Large Outdoor Kitchen
Sustainable construction looks at the impact of a building over its entire lifetime, while optimizing its economic viability, performance and functionality.

A well-designed home should be beautiful, function and efficient.

Lasting Value
Value is the best combination of price, quality, performance and service.

Good design maintains its appeal long after current trends have vanished.

Design and Construction Ideas and Information about Homes in the South. Florida and the Gulf Coast have unique climate and environmental conditions that have influenced the design of homes since long before air-conditioning was available. Lessons from “Olde Florida” vernacular design still apply today. With energy efficiency and a new green awareness on the minds of many in the industry, building systems and construction techniques are evolving forward with an eye on the past.

3D Design Allows Virtual Walk-Through -

posted Jun 15, 2015, 10:36 AM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Jun 17, 2015, 10:55 AM ]


3D Design Software allows our customers to experience a virtual walk-through of their home design, even in the early stages of the design process. Key design elements can be studied prior to committing to the production of construction drawings. The process stimulates creativity and even can prevent potential design mistakes that could be costly to resolve out in the field.

https://sites.google.com/a/groningerhomes.com/gch/information/blog/_draft_post/150615%20Retro-Mod%20front%20view.JPG

https://sites.google.com/a/groningerhomes.com/gch/information/blog/_draft_post/150615%20Retro-Mod%20rear%20view.JPG https://sites.google.com/a/groningerhomes.com/gch/information/blog/_draft_post/150615%20Retro-Mod%20right%20side.JPG

This featured design named "Retro-Mod" has styling influenced by Mid-Century Modern homes common in California and sprinkled throughout the US during the period. Modern but not contemporary, this is a design that you can actually live in. Tune in the this site or our YouTube channel for updates on this plan and others to watch the design progress.

https://sites.google.com/a/groningerhomes.com/gch/information/blog/_draft_post/150615%20Retro-Mod%20across.JPG https://sites.google.com/a/groningerhomes.com/gch/information/blog/_draft_post/150615%20Retro-Mod%20courtyard.JPG
https://sites.google.com/a/groningerhomes.com/gch/information/blog/_draft_post/150615%20Retro-Mod%20fireplace.JPG https://sites.google.com/a/groningerhomes.com/gch/information/blog/_draft_post/150615%20Retro-Mod%20kitchen.JPG



Rendering and Floor Plans

Design and Construction Ideas and Information about Homes in the South. Florida and the Gulf Coast have unique climate and environmental conditions that have influenced the design of homes since long before air-conditioning was available. Lessons from “Olde Florida” vernacular design still apply today. With energy efficiency and a new green awareness on the minds of many in the industry, building systems and construction techniques are evolving forward with an eye on the past.


Comparing Home Energy Use -

posted Apr 16, 2015, 4:42 AM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Apr 17, 2015, 4:22 AM ]

A new home built to the current energy code uses about 30% less energy than a home built in 2000, according to the US Department of Energy. This recently completed home actually uses less than half of the energy of other new homes.

HERS (Home Energy Rating Score) is performed by an independent energy rater once the home is complete. Many of the products and construction techniques common in Groninger Homes projects offer improved energy performance but the most benefit comes from the attention to details during the construction process.

Much like the stickers found on new cars or appliances, the HERS score card shows that the energy performance of a new home has been evaluated and compared against an established standard, otherwise how will you really know what you are buying?

Parade of Homes Open House this Weekend -

posted Apr 16, 2015, 4:24 AM by Keith Groninger

Come see our latest new home creation Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19 from 10AM to 6PM both days.

Designed and built by Groninger Homes for repeat customers, this fresh interpretation of a French Country home is inviting and comfortable. Distinct zones create separation for privacy, while maintaining an open feel and the flexible floor plan will accommodate changes as the household ages and evolves.


Open for viewing April 18 & 19 from 10AM to 6PM during the first weekend of the Parade of Homes 2015.

Features and Amenities
FGBC Green Certified (gold level pending)
Energy Star Roofing and Windows
Multi-Zone AC System with Controlled Fresh Air
Tankless Gas Water Heaters
Ten Photovoltaic Solar Panels
Foam Insulation and Sealed Attic Construction
Sub-Zero and Wolf Appliances
Elegant and Rustic Trim and Details
Wood and Stone Flooring
Large Swimming Pool and Deck area
Masonry Privacy Walls

Products and Vendors
ADP Surfaces (counter tops)
Builders First Source (lumber, trim, windows)
Chehal Engineering
Floor & Decor (stone & tile material)
Greg Jameson Masonry (brick porches)
Griffen Painting & Stucco (stucco)
J&N Stone (brickwork)
JRD Contractors (concrete work)
Knight Flooring (carpeting)
Magic Masonry

Steps to Your Dream Home - 06 Preliminary Estimating

posted Feb 28, 2015, 12:00 PM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Feb 28, 2015, 12:04 PM ]


One of the most effective ways of creating a budget for a new home is by comparing the costs of similar homes.  Our budget comparison spreadsheet allows us to create a side-by-side analysis of homes we have built recently and establish a good initial budget to work from.

Honestly, this is one of our most powerful tools for demonstrating our capabilities to our potential customers. The data we have collected from numerous completed homes is incredibly valuable is assessing the costs and value of the services we provide for our customers. We welcome the opportunity to show you why this step in the process is so important.

Note: Do not select a builder based on a preliminary estimate. You might decide to proceed with a particular builder if their presentation is thorough and professional, but not because they have quoted a price. It's very likely that the price may change substantially before construction is ready to start.

https://sites.google.com/a/groningerhomes.com/gch/information/blog/stepstoyourdreamhome-06preliminaryestimating/CostComparison.jpg

We can discuss the budget comparisons with you and help you understand the design details, amenities and features that have the most impact on the total cost of construction.  In order avoid "sticker shock", this process is essential before proceeding too far into the design process.



Design and Construction Ideas and Information about Homes in the South. Florida and the Gulf Coast have unique climate and environmental conditions that have influenced the design of homes since long before air-conditioning was available. Lessons from “Olde Florida” vernacular design still apply today. With energy efficiency and a new green awareness on the minds of many in the industry, building systems and construction techniques are evolving forward with an eye on the past.
Note: Most of the forms and information on our site are available to view if you provide us with an email address. We'd like to send you our monthly newsletter with information and resources about new homes and residential construction. Thanks for your interest in Groninger Custom Homes.

Crazy for Solar Panels -

posted Jan 11, 2015, 7:14 AM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Feb 2, 2015, 12:41 PM ]

The pictured solar array was installed on a current project we have underway in Winter Park, Florida. The ten photovoltaic panels were installed at a total cost of $9,775. Our customer will receive a 30% tax credit bringing their net investment to $6,843. If you have an adequate south-facing portion of roof, we think it would be crazy if you don’t install PV solar on your home.
Keep in mind that this is a new home under construction, so the access and ability to install the panels and run the wiring was pretty easy. 


Don’t tell my wife how I took this photo...


When the sun is bright, the 10-panel PV array will generate 2650 watts of electricity. A rule of thumb for the industry suggests using eight hours per day that the panels will generate power. We purchase electricity from the utility company based on kilowatt hours and here in Winter Park pay about $0.13 (13 cents) per kilowatt hour.


Put your thinking cap on:

2650 watts

x 8 hours per day

x 30 days per month

/ 1000 (divide by 1000 to convert to kilowatts)

x $0.13 (cost of electricity from the utility company)

= $82.68 savings per month

x 12 months

= $992.16 savings per year


Let’s look at the numbers two different ways:


1.  Our customer is going to save $992 per year from their net cash investment of $6,843. 
992 / 6843 = .145 (14.5% ROI) 
A 14.5% return on investment is a pretty good return and will likely only get better as the cost of electricity from the grid goes up over time.

2.  If the cost of the panels were included in the mortgage of the new home, they would increase the monthly payment $34.62 (4.5% interest rate for 30 years). The panels would save $48.06 every month.
Design and Construction Ideas and Information about Homes in the South. Florida and the Gulf Coast have unique climate and environmental conditions that have influenced the design of homes since long before air-conditioning was available. Lessons from “Olde Florida” vernacular design still apply today. With energy efficiency and a new green awareness on the minds of many in the industry, building systems and construction techniques are evolving forward with an eye on the past.

1-10 of 70