4 Types of Construction Contracts 

A construction contract is a legal agreement between all parties involved. Construction projects have numerous people involved both on and off-site: the project manager, owner, designer, contractors, subcontractors, and more. To ensure all parties involved are protected, the contract must be clear and agreed upon by all. 

Construction contracts clearly state project compensation, responsibilities of all involved, and risks assumed by all parties. 

The following contract types are used in construction projects and are customized to meet the needs of each new build. 

Lump Sum or Fixed Price Contract

A lump sum, or fixed price, contract includes a total fixed price for the entire project. The contractor estimates the total cost of the project, including costs associated with overhead and risk. With a lump sum contract, the contractor assumes all risk. Incentives or penalties can be included in the contract for timeline adjustments.

Cost Plus Contract

With a cost plus contract, the contractor is paid for actual purchases and labor costs. A pre-negotiated amount to cover the contractor’s overhead is also included. All expenses are classified as either direct or indirect. 

In this type of contract, the owner assumes all risk and is involved in construction administration. In addition, there is no incentive to reduce labor costs by finishing ahead of schedule. 

The most common variations for a cost plus contract are:

  • Cost Plus Fixed Fee
  • Cost Plus Fixed Percentage
  • Cost Plus with Guaranteed Maximum Price Contract
  • Cost Plus with Guaranteed Maximum Price and Bonus Contract

Time and Materials Contracts

With a time and materials contract, the owner and contractor agree on an hourly or daily rate. Similar to a cost plus contract, all fees must be included and classified as direct or indirect. Overhead and markup costs also need to be added, and owners can put a cap in place. Time and materials contracts are most often used for a small scope of work. 

Unit Pricing Contracts

For larger scopes of work, builders and federal agencies will often use a unit pricing contract. This contract determines the payment for a specific task (i.e., the number of residential units), which is multiplied by the quantity of that task. With unit pricing, the exact price will not be known until the project is completed. 

The type of project you are working on will determine what contract you will need. Always review your contract in full and discuss any questions with your builder or project manager. 

 

2019 HOBI Awards

Last week, we attended the 2019 HOBI Awards. We are proud to announce we left with two new awards for the Residences at 66 High Street

Best Luxury Condominium Community

and

Best Luxury Condominium 

The HOBI’s, or Home Building Industry Awards, are prestigious awards given by the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut. For 25 years, awards have been given to builders, developers, architects, and construction companies for outstanding work.

This is our fourth consecutive year taking part in the HOBI awards. Each year, we look forward to the awards ceremony, where we connect with other industry members, learn about projects in the state, and celebrate the hard work of everyone on our team. 

Additional HOBI Awards given to The Horton Group include:

2018 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Condominium Community 
  • Best Condominium Unit
  • Outstanding New Haven County New Commerical for 350 Goose Lane
  • Outstanding Vacation Remodel for 21 Palms, Marathon, FL

2017 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Luxury Condominium Community
  • Outstanding Luxury Condominium
  • Best Luxury Townhouse

2016 HOBI Awards:

  • 2016 Project of the Year
  • Best Condominium Community
  • Best Luxury Condominium Unit
  • Best Historic Rehab Overall

As we reflect on 2019, we want to say thank you to all who support our work. Keep following along, because exciting things are coming in 2020!

Benefits of a Hot Water Recirculating Pump

Most of us like to step into a hot shower to begin or end the day. How many times have you turned on the water, and then proceeded to brush your teeth or lay out your clothes as you wait for the water to get warm? 

In the average household, the shower uses two gallons of water per minute. If you and the other members of your home wait just two minutes for the water to heat up before every shower, it adds up to a significant waste of water. Hot water recirculation systems instantly provide water at a comfortable temperature, increasing comfort and optimizing energy consumption.

What is a Hot Water Recirculation System?

In systems without a recirculation pump, water sits in the pipes and must be pumped out of the faucet or showerhead. If the faucet has been off, this water will come out cold.

With a recirculation pump, cooled water is pumped through pipes back to the water heater to get heated, and a dedicated hot water line pumps water to faucets. The water is continuously recirculated, which means you don’t have to wait for hot water; it comes out instantaneously. 

A recirculation pump can be easily installed to the point of water distribution, without the need for additional piping. Of course, hot water doesn’t need to be recirculated all day long. To improve the efficiency of your recirculation pump, you can put the pump on a timer or use a hot water demand pump. 

Benefits of Hot Water Recirculation

The most apparent benefit of hot water recirculation is comfort. Recirculation pumps allow for more precise control over water temperature. Water instantly comes out to your preferred temperature, and remains steady throughout the shower, so you don’t finish rinsing off in lukewarm water. In addition, you don’t waste time checking to see if the water is warm enough.

Recirculation pumps also save water from being wasted. Each time you wait two minutes before stepping into the shower, you waste four gallons of water. A hot water recirculation pump eliminates the need to wait for the water to become warm, saving time, water, and energy. 

 

Recycling Construction Materials

Sustainability and green living is becoming more evident in homes and workplaces. It’s one thing to create a green finished product; it’s just as important to make the construction process environmentally friendly. 

Construction & Demolition Materials

Many of the materials used in construction can be recycled. Construction & demolition (C&D) waste comes from building and tearing down houses, buildings, roads, and bridges. C&D materials can be recycled in the following ways:

  • Concrete rubble can be reused in new projects. 
  • Wood can be recycled into mulch, compost, animal bedding, wood pellets, and more.
  • Gypsum drywall can be recycled into new drywall, in the production of cement, and as an additive to composting operations.
  • Asphalt can be recycled an endless number of times, as it never loses quality.
  • Metals can be sent to metal scrap yards and reused.

Additional materials that can be recycled include glass, cardboard, and paper.

Many C&D materials can be reused. During a demolition or remodel, items that can be reused in new projects should be removed carefully before tearing anything down. Items that can be reused include:

  • Doors
  • Hardware
  • Appliances
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Windows
  • Brick and masonry
  • Excess insulation
  • Paint
  • Packaging materials 

Benefits of Recycling C&D Materials

In 2015 alone, 548 million tons of C&D debris was created, with 90% coming from demolition, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Recycling construction materials has both environmental and economic benefits. 

When recycled materials are used, the consumption of natural resources is decreased, saving energy. By reusing materials, less waste goes to landfills. Since landfills are filling quickly, it often costs more money to dispose of materials than it does to recycle them. This can help to reduce the building project expenses. 

Whether recycling of reusing materials, planning is essential to fulfill rules and regulations. Local recycling centers, landfills, and waste departments all work with construction companies to reduce waste and achieve green building practices. 

 

What is daylighting?

“Look at those windows!”

It’s a line people often say when in front of wall-to-wall or floor-to-ceiling windows. When paired with a spectacular view, like at the Residences at 66 High Street, it’s no surprise that people love grand windows. Large windows have more benefits than highlighting beautiful views, however. Continue reading to learn what daylighting can do for your home or office.

When builders use windows and skylights to light up a home or building, it is called daylighting. This process requires careful planning, but when done correctly, it has benefits for both residential and commercial properties. 

How does daylighting work?

For daylighting to work to its full potential, window placement is critical. The correct placement allows the right amount of natural light to enter each room, without excess heat or glare. 

In the United States, windows facing South and North are best. Windows facing South let in ample light during the winter months, and little direct sun in summer, when too much direct sunlight creates too much heat. North facing windows let in an even amount of natural light with little glare. 

East and West facing windows are not ideal for daylighting. East and West facing windows let in plenty of light in the morning and afternoon, but along with that comes glare and excess heat, which is especially cumbersome in summer months. 

Enlarged windows, glass doors, and strategically placed skylights optimize natural lighting from the sun.

Window Technology

With the advancement of window technology, daylighting is becoming more common. 

In the past, a wall of windows meant drafty winters and stuffy summers indoors. Now, windows are insulated, which helps to keep interiors cool in summer and warm in winter while providing loads of natural light. 

Tinted windows can be used to help reduce the glare from the sun. Electrochromic windows, or smart windows, go one step further, changing the darkness of the tint with the brightness of sunlight. Electrochromic windows have a variety of control options, which include an automated system or user control. 

Benefits of Daylighting

In buildings and homes with daylighting, windows and skylights provide most of the light you need, so overhead lights are not often necessary during the day. A light-colored ceiling enhances daylighting even more. 

When electricity is not being used for lighting, utility costs go down. In commercial buildings, where lighting accounts for a significant portion of electrical energy consumption, daylighting saves both energy and money. 

In addition, daylighting creates a more comfortable atmosphere both at home and at work. Sunlight boosts positive moods and increases productivity. This is particularly helpful throughout the winter, when shorter days means people have fewer chances to be outside during daylight hours. 

Daylighting fulfills the needs of some of the top needs in residential and commercial buildings: sustainability and employee health. Where would daylighting benefit you most?

5 Tips to Prepare for a Remodel

You’ve met with your contractor, set a budget, and are excited to see the vision for your updated home come to life. 

Now you have to live through the remodel. 

Remodeling your home is a thrilling venture, especially if it is something you have been working towards. Knowing the changes you want is the first step, and it is exciting when construction gets underway. If you plan on living in the home while renovations are taking place, you need to prepare for life in a work zone.

Here are some tips to make the construction phase as seamless as possible. 

Prepare Emotionally

By preparing mentally to live in a home that is being remodeled, you will ease into the mindset needed. There will be a certain level of mess (after all, things are being ripped up and put back together), noise, and workers entering and exiting. Find a contractor who communicates clearly and plan extra time outside or visiting loved ones. Remind yourself that though things may get hectic, it is just a phase!

Pack Up

Pack up your belongings as if you are moving. This helps the workers, as they will not need to work around any of your things. This step will also be beneficial to you because the space you are living in will not be overcrowded. Keep your essential items, and put the rest in storage.  

Establish Living Zones

Where will you be spending your time when you are in the house? Decide how you can repurpose the rooms that are not being worked on to help you live as comfortably as possible. Perhaps the master bedroom becomes more like a studio apartment, with an area for sleeping and a space for a living room. If your kitchen is being remodeled, set up a countertop with a coffee maker, small fridge, microwave, and toaster oven for use at home. You will need to be creative when creating living zones, but it will help make the transition easier. 

Seal the Work Zone

Work zones are full of dust, construction materials, and tools. If possible, make a separate entryway for construction workers, and tape off the work site from your living space. 

Prepare to be Flexible

During a remodel, unforeseen issues may arise. Your contractor works to make sure everything runs smoothly. Plan to communicate with your contractor regularly, so you understand the progress of the project. This way, if a surprise does pop up, you can calmly decide what your next step is. 

Renovations do not have to be extremely stressful, but they do require preparation, communication, and flexibility. Are you ready to complete a remodel?

Drop Ceiling vs. Open Ceiling

Ceilings can change the look, feel, and even energy costs for a space. In commercial buildings, drop and exposed ceilings are the most common ceiling types. Keep reading to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

Drop Ceilings

 

A drop ceiling, also called a suspended ceiling, is what typically comes to mind when you think of ceilings in an office space, retail store, or school classroom. The drop ceiling is not a part of the structural foundation of the building. Instead, it is made up of panels or tiles that hang below the roof. 

Drop ceilings have been used for many years due to these benefits:

  • The panels conceal all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) installations. 
  • Panels can be easily removed when the maintenance of an MEP system is required.
  • Suspended ceilings provide an extra layer to block exterior sounds, which is especially beneficial in multi-floor buildings.
  • The drop ceiling creates a smaller space to be heated or cooled, reducing energy costs and making it easier to maintain a comfortable temperature. 

Of course, the design of drop ceilings doesn’t come without disadvantages. Here are some things to consider with drop ceilings:

  • Drop ceilings lower the ceiling, making the room feel smaller. 
  • Panels can sag over time and will show stains from water damage or discoloration.
  • While suspended ceilings conceal MEP systems, they also hide any issues that may arise.

Even with the disadvantages, drop ceilings remain a popular option because they cover MEP installations while providing easy access, and help keep energy costs low. 

Open Ceilings

The industrial look is gaining more popularity in both residential and commercial spaces. One way to easily attain this style is with exposed, or open, ceilings. With exposed ceilings, all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing installations are exposed. 

Here are some of the advantages that come with exposed ceilings:

  • The additional space of the exposed ceiling creates a vast and open feel in the office or retail area.
  • Exposed ceilings have a modern aesthetic appeal. MEP systems can be painted or customized to become design elements, and there is more room for creativity with lighting fixtures. 
  • There is also the option for more natural light with exposed ceilings, either with skylights or large windows. 
  • With exposed systems, MEP maintenance is easily attended to.

The industrial look is no doubt an appealing design, but open ceilings have disadvantages as well. These include:

  • Without the barrier of panels, sound travels and echoes with exposed ceilings. There are options to create a sound barrier in spaces with open ceilings, though this requires additional planning and labor. 
  • The additional space means there is a larger area to heat and cool, raising energy expenses. 
  • There is more work involved to make MEP systems attractive enough to be aesthetically pleasing. 

Although exposed ceilings can raise monthly costs, the modern design is eye-catching and creates a spacious feel. 

Which ceiling do you prefer: drop or open?

Inside the Residences at 66 High Street with Designer Maryellen Sullivan

It was an easy decision.

Four years ago, Interior Designer Maryellen Sullivan was asked to help design units at The Residences at 66 High Street. The development would break ground around the corner from her own home, and she immediately knew she wanted to assist in creating a community as distinct as the town of Guilford. 

“When I got involved, I felt it was important to help make it the best that it can be. I want the level and quality of it to be something that can be maintained throughout the years,” Maryellen explained. 

During those initial stages, Maryellen worked with us at The Horton Group to select materials and elements to attract people and remain timeless over the years. 

She continues to move forward with this vision in every unit she completes.

The Old and The New

The Residences at 66 High Street masterfully blend historical features of the town with brand new luxury design. The Mill Building was the first to be renovated. Initially built in 1884, the Mill once made everything from lollipops to torpedo switches. 

The Mill at the Residences at 66 High Street

Many of the original features, including antique brick, steel, exposed beams, mill trusses, and refurbished factory lighting remain in the units. These unique features allowed Maryellen to be creative when designing each residence, pairing the industrial elements of the building with luxury finishes to create functional living spaces.

“As a designer, I’m seeing things years ahead,” Maryellen stated. “No matter the style, there is still a range of what will be relevant in five years.” 

In every unit she completes, Maryellen selects home finishes that have staying power. With the rustic elements inside the Mill Building, it was essential to highlight the uniqueness of each living space, while ensuring the finished product would outlast a trend. 

The Leete, The Whitfield, and The Chittenden (currently being constructed) are new buildings with an entirely different style than The Mill. These modern luxury units feature thoughtfully laid-out open floor plans, high ceilings, crown molding, and high-end finishes. 

The Leete at the Residences at 66 High Street

The beautiful architectural features and an abundance of windows allow the incredible views of the marsh and Long Island Sound to be a central feature. In these units, Maryellen works to ensure the living space is laid out seamlessly, so residents feel like they are part of the exquisite landscape. 

Up next: Unit 27

As one of the two residences left in The Whitfield Building, Unit 27 is Maryellen’s current project. With each new space, her goal is to create a unique unit that fits with the rest of the building.  

How is Whitfield unit 27 going to stand out among the already completed units?

It begins with the floor plan. All residences have the highly desired open floor plan in the main living areas. In unit 27, Maryellen is working to create more defined spaces that naturally flow from one area to the next.

“I wanted to design a floor plan that is unique to itself yet as dynamic as the other units,” explained Maryellen.

Inspiration for Unit 27

For materials, Maryellen is mixing elements to create a fresh look. Classic mahogany instead of rustic wood used in The Mill, brass and gold fixtures, and the contrast in flooring and cabinet colors are creating a unique kitchen. 

The unit also has incredible geometric fixtures that give it great style. 

“In my mind’s eye, it looks awesome,” Maryellen says. “I hope when people walk in, they will see the qualities that highlight it as fresh.”

Working at 66 High Street

While Maryellen is continually inspired by the features and views at 66 High Street, she is most impressed with the community. 

Having lived in Guilford for more than 20 years, Maryellen feels a deep connection to the town. As new residents move into 66 High Street, she watches at how fascinated they become – not just of the luxury development, but of how special the shoreline town is. 

In turn, the people who live in the Residences are uplifting downtown Guilford in new ways. 

“66 has built a community that is changing the town. It is breathing a new energy: it’s a refreshing outcome to see how it is branching out into the community and the town center,” she said. 

What is an HVAC Zoning System ?

Have you ever been so cold in one room of your house that you jack the heat up, only to realize the rest of the rooms are now too hot? Or is one person in your family continually turning the AC on high and freezing out everyone else?

HVAC systems heat and cool an entire house, but a single thermostat can make it challenging to maintain a comfortable temperature for every room in the house.  HVAC systems controlled by one thermostat have just that – one thermostat. This means that it only reads the temperature in the room it is located. If the thermostat is in the main living areas, it can lead to the upstairs being too warm, or a room next to the garage too cold. 

In a home with varying degrees throughout the house, a zoning system may help to solve the heating and cooling issues. 

How an HVAC Zoning System Works

An HVAC zoning system uses multiple thermostats, a control panel, and dampers in the ductwork to regulate airflow. The thermostats read the temperature for different areas of the house, and the control panel takes those temperatures and signals the dampers. From there, the dampers either open or close, depending on if that room needs heating or cooling. 

Comfort at Home

In the heat of the summer and during winter’s freezing temperatures, it can be difficult to find a temperature where everyone in the household is comfortable from all areas of the house. Some people like it warm, while others prefer cooler temperatures. With a zoning system, each person’s preferences can be accommodated for different areas of the house. 

For houses with multiple levels, large windows, or rooms that you prefer to be cooler (like a workshop or home gym), zoning reads and maintains the appropriate temperature for each area. 

Sustainable Energy

There are usually areas in the house that are used less frequently than in other areas. With three to four different zones, you can avoid overheating or overcooling rooms that are not in use. The efficiency of zoned HVAC helps to lower your monthly bills, lengthen the life of your system, and decrease the amount of energy used in your home. 

The added comfort and energy savings you can achieve by installing a zoning system is worth considering, especially if you have already taken care of any air leaks and insulation issues. To determine if HVAC zoning is a good fit for your home, work with a certified HVAC contractor. 

 

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