architectural home design

Mid-Year Construction Forecast

by Engineer Designer on August 16, 2011

Mid-Year Construction Forecast (reprinted from “design+build”) According to economists, the recession ended in June 2009, but for most Americans it doesn't feel that way. And for builders, that's the reality according to information out of the Mid-Year Construction Forecast conference held by Associated Builders and Contractors on June 8, 2011. Speakers on the Web conference included: Anirban Basu, chief economist, ABC; David Crowe, chief economist, National Association of Home Builders; and Kermit Baker, chief economist, American Institute of Architects. "Residential construction usually leads [the country] out of a recession," Crowe said in the webcast. However, residential construction is not going to be the cause of a recovery this time around, but rather job recovery will lead us back to normal levels. Crowe discussed positive events taking place today:
  • Low mortgage rates
  • Ratio of house prices to income are at normal levels: People used to buy homes three times their income, but were buying at five times their income during the boom. The ratio is now back down to three times the income - the normal level.
  • Affordability is high
  • Low inventory of homes
  • Pent-up demand
Crowe also discussed negative events:
  • Lacking job market
  • House price declined again: This might affected by recent flood of foreclosures.
  • Consumer confidence
Kermit Baker emphasized job and consumer confidence recovery as key to a positive construction forecast. "[The housing market] began to recover in 2010 then stabilized in 2011 and declined in April 2011," he said in the webcast. "Recovery is expected in the latter 2011, but 2012 will be better." Baker listed the top 10 growth markets: Boston, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Columbus, Ohio, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, San Diego, and Riverside, Calif. The top 10 markets that declined included many areas that were over-built during the boom: Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Fla., Orlando and Miami. Anirban Basu projected 2016 as the year when the housing market will be back at a complete recovery. Baby Boomers will retire which they've been putting off, and more jobs will available, Basu said in the webcast. When asked specifically about the custom home market recovery in regards to new construction, Crowe said: "The custom market has put a floor on total production.  While it has fallen like other components of the market, the level of production has leveled off for that component of the new construction. The component of the new home sales has been about one-third of the market but fell to under 20 percent in the mid-2000s as speculative homes became the norm. Custom is back up to about 30 percent of the market and should continue to be one steady element."
Hangar Home Loves LandingLight Sports Aircraft (LSA) are an exciting new area of aviation that has spurred much interest to new and old aviators alike. It is a very exciting type of flying though it does have a few limitations. More pilots are opting towards this new genre of flying and are looking for places to fly. Aviation Communities can offer an exciting and affordable way for pilots to have, keep and fly these little possessions right at their own home. What is LSA? LSA aircraft are limited to a gross weight of 1320 lbs (1430 lbs for sea planes). Their stall speed is limited to 51 mph and their level flight speed may not exceed 138 mph (which is pretty fast). They are limited to one or two seats, a single engine, fixed props (that do not change pitch), fixed landing gear and numerous other but quite reasonable criteria. Additionally, getting the license, if not already a regular pilot, is easier that getting the full pilot's license. Many older pilots, feeling very healthy, none the less worry about the day the medical examiner says, "You can't fly anymore". This can be a sad day to a person who has loved aviation all his or her life. One big benefit is that with LSA there is no medical exam required to fly. Pilots are left to make their own judgments as to their own fitness to fly. This can be a big deal to many aviators. Not only is gaining a license to fly LSA airplanes, seasoned pilot, often after long careers in aviation, sometimes are seeking simplicity. They want to get into a simple aircraft, that burns less gas than their more standard brethren and simply soar the heavens as they dreamed of doing as kids. Though simple in many ways, many of these new LSA models are all but simple. Many are made of very modern composite materials, have sophisticated navigation and other avionics and have other qualities that turn the heads of the most ardent pilots. And with 100's of manufacturers out there, the competition is helping to keep the prices in line. Also, as the fleet ages, we can expect prices to come down even more. With more and more getting into aviation by way of LSA, there becomes the problem of where to keep these little puppies. Most of us love to have our most valued possessions close by - in our garage or out in the yard. With any type of aircraft, including LSA, this poses a problem. Runways are required to takeoff and land these airplanes. Usually this means keeping one's airplane several miles away at the local airport and enduring commutes back and forth to fly or just "be" with you airplane. Fortunately, airplanes can be stored near home. There are aviation communities out there (most every state in the United States has them) where the homes have hangar (small or large) and the communities share one or more runways. You will see, in these communities, airplanes, large and small, taxiing along the same streets as the cars, as they make their way to or from the runway. These unique communities are populated with the most interesting folks who share a common interest. Living in one of these communities, you can decide you want to be in the air and literally be flying within minutes. What freedom! Building lots and even existing homes in such communities are being offered at surprisingly excellent prices these days as all segments of real estate remain in recovery mode. If you have ever dreamed to be a pilot, or if you are a current pilot who has not flown in a while or even seasoned and active, and dreamed of being able to fly with the birds on a moment's notice, free of large airports, free of the commute to the airport, perhaps it's a good time to get out there and see what is available in your local fly-in community. One can but a hangar home that is already built or a lot to build upon. Right now purchasing a piece of land and having that "perfect" home and hangar designed can be an excellent enterprise because there are some excellent construction deals out there (mid-2011). There are many builders who are just looking for something to do. Why not take advantage? It is never too late to take the action to land yourself in one of these communities. The perfect time is now. For season pilots or even for those yet to learn, LSA aircraft and a personal hangar home are likely less costly than you might have predicted.

Screen to Screen Technology (Distance is No-Factor)

by Engineer Designer on March 13, 2011

Regardless of where you are located, with today's screen to screen technology all design activities can be done easily and with full collaboration regardless of distance between the designer and client.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Mid 2013 we are using Join.Me which is even easier than the software noted above. There is NOTHING to download. You just go to your browser and type in "" and hit <ENTER>. I give you the 9 digits to enter and we are linked.
  • Save travel costs
  • Collaborate from the comfort of your own space - as you work and meet directly with the designer.
  • Take advantage of the designer's design equipment and software in real time.