Category Archives: Process

Archadeck of Central SC Ensures Your Outdoor Living Project is Built Right From the Start

Our attention to detail is impeccable!Have you been left high and dry by a builder who offered you a very good deal on a new deck and then did not complete the project? Perhaps you know someone who has had this experience. When choosing a builder it is always wise to explore your options and research a prospective builder by looking at their reviews and looking at their portfolio of completed projects. It is also wise to be cautious of the builder that quickly brings the lowest price to the table and is ready to begin your project on a moment’s notice.

Columbia SC Deck BuilderKeep in mind that seasoned and reputable builders know what it takes structurally to ensure your safety and satisfaction. Securing proper permits and obtaining quality materials to complete the project takes a little time. Be very wary of builders who claim they can start on a dime because chances are they aren’t obtaining the necessary permits to build your structure. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a professionally designed and built outdoor living structure won’t be either. If a builder is ready to break ground immediately, chances are likely their services are not in high demand. This can be a direct reflection of their business practices and quality of work.

During our 13+ years of service, Archadeck of Central SC has rebuilt many projects where the homeowner hastily hired a builder, sometimes a relative or friend,  just to get the project completed quickly. Not only were many of these structures dangerous, they usually resulted in the homeowner spending more to make it right than they would had they hired us initially.

Have you checked your prospective builder’s credentials?  Does the builder have a license and insurance? Is your structure warrantied? These questions may seem trivial but are crucial if something goes wrong and the builder, or crew, is injured or has an accident while working on your property. A warranty is also crucial in protecting your investment. Keep in mind, all of these safeguards are set in place to protect you and the builder.

When you choose Archadeck of Central SC to build your outdoor living structure(s), you will be protected by two separate guarantees constituting the most expansive customer protection plan in the industry. Local oversight assures your property and privacy are respected as well. We attend to every detail required to complete your project with the highest quality control standards. These details include everything from securing any needed building permits all the way to final cleanup after we complete your project. We work very hard to be as unobtrusive as possible during the entire construction phase.

Columbia SC Deck BuilderArchadeck of Central SC strives to provide you with an outdoor living space that encompasses everything you want in your particular design, now, and with future additions in mind. We help fulfill your wishes the first time around with no surprises, no catches all while standing behind every structure we build. We realize your anticipated outdoor structure is part of your home. It is vital to ensure your addition adds value to your property. Anything less could degrade property values and leave you holding the bag.

Our commitment to excellence in outdoor structure design and building ensures your unique project will bring enjoyment and pride for many years to come! Call Archadeck of Central South Carolina today for a free design consultation at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu.

When it comes to choosing the right builder for your outdoor living project— quality is worth the wait

Archadeck of Central SC Screened Porch AdditionOnce you have made the decision to move ahead with your outdoor living structure addition, it is only natural to want it completed quickly, even if you finalized the design and signed the contract today. Anticipation and patience aren’t generally the closest of friends. However, it is important to remember that quality craftsmanship takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a professionally-designed and built outdoor living structure won’t be either. The important thing  to realize is that if a builder is ready to break ground immediately on your project, especially during the outdoor living season, chances are their services are not in high demand, or they aren’t intent on building your structure with quality and longevity in mind.

Deck BlueprintsHow our scheduling works:

When our client signs a contract,  the project start date is established according to the current backlog we have on schedule at the time. During the fall and winter months, backlogs and lead times are usually less, but during the outdoor living season, when the weather is warmer, project beginning dates are usually substantially farther out. Our timelines are also influenced by forces beyond our control such as permitting, inspections and in some cases inclement weather. Depending on what county or town you reside in, permitting may require a “walk-thru” permitting process, or may require a “drop-off” application. Drop-off permit applications are granted in the order they are received and could take up to three weeks during the busy season. The turnaround time for permitting could add wait time to your project, but permits are a necessary element in the building process.

AZEK deck in NE Columbia, SC.

Beautiful view and a deck to match in NE Columbia.

Making changes to your project once it has begun can often extend completion dates, especially in circumstances where additional permitting and inspections are necessary. Keep in mind, there are many influences that can affect your project timeline and scheduling. These include but are not limited to:

  • Does there need to be HOA approval? If so does your HOA meet quarterly or monthly?
  • Which county or town are you located in?
  • Is a variance needed?
  • Are the materials you have chosen for your particular design stocked locally or special order?
  • How many different trades are involved (plumbing, electrical, masons, HVAC or only carpentry)?
  • Weather or season, and site conditions?
  • What sort of backlog does the builder have?

Archadeck of Central South Carolina strives to provide you with an outdoor living space that encompasses everything you want in your particular design, now, and with future additions in mind. Our approach to the design and building process is to accommodate the customer’s needs and desires in every way. This means we help fulfill your wishes in getting everything you are expecting from your design, from the aesthetics you want to a space that serves the functions you desire. We understand the excitement you feel when you look ahead to using your new addition. Patience, as they always say, is only a virtue.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu.

If you are ready to begin planning your anticipated outdoor living project, we can help you get started today on making the backyard of your dreams a reality. Contact Archadeck of Central SC today at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net

 

Now is the best time ever to move forward with your outdoor living structure plans, and here’s why:

Central SC Sunrooms give you a front row seat to Mother NatureOf all the questions homeowners ask when planning their outdoor living space, the most frequent is undoubtedly  “WHEN is the best time to build?” While there is no unanimously correct answer to this question,  many factors come into play in order to satisfy each individual project. These can be lifestyle related, budgetary or even include preparations for HOA approvals. However, the answer comes down to your readiness to pursue your outdoor living addition. If you are ready, then there is definitely no time like the present to get the ball rolling!

Here in the Columbia area, we are blessed with a mild climate virtually year-round. With no danger of having to deal with frost-lines, and very little snow or icy weather, it is possible to begin your project in the winter and have it completed by the time it is warm enough to enjoy open-air structures such as decks or patios. Choosing a cooler-season project can also add unexpected benefits and value to your anticipated  outdoor living project.

Here are just a few advantages of choosing a fall/winter project timeline:

  • Patio in the fallLess Wait Time = More Enjoyment Sooner –– A good incentive to begin your outdoor living structure addition in the cooler months is that you’ll encounter less wait time before construction can begin. Gaining approval through HOAs and permitting may take less time because there is less backlog now. Deciding to build now will now mean you’re able to enjoy the benefits of your new structure sooner and in plenty of time for the arrival of the outdoor living season in the warmer months ahead. Keep in mind, when dealing with a quality builder, wait times can be longer, especially during the warm seasons. Deciding on a fall/winter project can greatly reduce those wait times.
  • Double pergolas on West Columbia SC wooden deck by Archadeck of Central SCThe Science of Wood — If you are considering a structure built from wood, a cooler-month project timeline will provide many benefits. Wood requires a time period of acclimation and curing. The laws of expansion and contraction always apply when it comes to working with wood. All wood is hygroscopic, meaning that when exposed to air, it will release or pick up moisture until it is level with the humidity and temperature of the air. Humid conditions, such as those in summer, will cause more rapid expansion and contraction of wood that is not yet sealed for protection against the elements. A structure built from wood needs to cure for a period of time before the sealer or paint will properly adhere to the wood and promote beneficial protection qualities. By choosing to build during the fall and winter, the least humid times of year, your new wooden deck or other outdoor structure may require less time to cure in order to properly accept the sealer or paint you choose.
  • Covered porch in NE Columbia outdoor combination projectThe Dormant Landscape — Your lawn and landscape will experience less stress from construction if you choose to build during the cooler months of the year — this is because most turf grasses, trees and shrubs and other perennials are in their dormant period during the winter. When dormant, these grasses and plants are less likely to experience permanent damage from being  trimmed or pruned to accommodate the addition of a backyard structure. This includes foot traffic from the construction crew.
  • Less Stress –Aside from the landscape, construction during the winter will cause less of an interruption to your day-to-day lifestyle as most people use their yards less during these months. The kids are in school and less likely to be playing outside during this time. The noise and materials required to complete your project will be less of an annoyance than they would be when you are using the yard a lot during the warmer months.
  • Archadeck 2013 PhotographyActing NOW = More Value — It is no secret that costs of materials used in outdoor living space designs, either wood or composite, can increase when moving into a new year. Choosing to move ahead with your project now will save you money in the long run on materials costs, and in addition if you intend to finance your new outdoor structure, the interest rates are still extremely low. Even if our project timeline extends into the next calendar year, if you decide on your design and sign the contract prior to December 15th, 2015, you will lock into this year’s pricing. For many homeowners, the savings  are reason enough to move ahead with getting all the logistics in place now, instead of waiting until later.
Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

If you are on the fence about moving forward with the outdoor living space of your dreams, now is the perfect time to get your project on our schedule! Contact Archadeck of Central SC today to learn more. Our consultation is free but the benefits are priceless! You can reach us by phone at (803) 603-2160 or via email at centralsc@archadeck.net

Archadeck of Central South Carolina, a quality builder with a reputation for doing it right the first time

Central SC AZEK deck builderFor more than ten years, we have been in the business of helping central South Carolina homeowners design and build the high quality outdoor living spaces of their dreams to provide them with enjoyment for many years to come. Too often we’ve encountered homeowners with horror stories of shady contractors making them subsequently “gun-shy” when attempting to work with another builder. Their experiences have included previous builders that just walked away from an exterior project before it is completed, leaving the homeowners with an unfinished mess on their property, or unqualified builders who provided them with an outdoor living structure far from adequate or acceptable quality. Fortunately, we are here to help.

This is how we found the deck when we arrived on the project:

This is how we found the deck when we arrived on the project. We had to pull down what was already done by the prior contractor because it was built so poorly.

One of our recent projects involved the completion of a deck from which the previous builder walked away before finishing the job. Unfortunately, as we inspected the structure, we discovered quite a bit of re-work that we had to do to repair the other builder’s less than adequate building practices. Upon our replacement of much of the framing of the structure, we were then able to finish it out in the proper manner and provided the homeowners with a high-quality, stable deck addition to their home.

 

It’s “clean up” projects like this, along with the string of recent newscasts regarding several deck collapses in NC, that just re-affirm the importance of using a quality builder who does it right the first time. While some of the collapses were due to the advanced age of the decks and some were constructed of low-quality materials, too often they’re due to poor design and building standards of an underqualified builder. You don’t have to settle for poor craftsmanship or an underqualified builder.

Deck after Archadeck of Central SC stepped in and took over project:

Deck after Archadeck of Central SC stepped in and took over project:

Allow us to show you that we are a professional contractor that’s knowledgeable, provides high quality work that’s protected by meaningful warranties, follows building codes and requirements, carries the proper insurance and stands behind his work. With just a few short steps, you’ll be able to distinguish between Archadeck, a reputable builder, and those fly-by-night contractors quite easily.

Archadeck of Central SC is awarded a customer satisfaction achievment award

Archadeck of Central SC was awarded the customer satisfaction achievement award this past year.

First, verify licenses, insurance and warranties up front. A reputable contractor wants to show you these because he knows they set him apart from the crowd. The second step is tougher – judging the character and reliability of the contractor.  You can tell some things by his conduct in the sales process.  Was he on time, did he follow up like he said he would and did he explain things well? And the final thing you can and should do is get references from him and call them. You have the right to ask for references, and a professional contractor will happily give them to you because he knows his past customers will be his best sales force.

When selecting a professional contractor for your outdoor living project, please keep in mind that this is one area where you truly get what you pay for. If a contractor is properly licensed, carries proper insurance, offers a meaningful warranty, uses reputable subcontractors and gives the kind of reliable and competent service that keeps customers singing his praises, he is not going to be the low-price option. But if you want a high-quality, finished space that will provide you with enjoyment every day and a pain-free construction project, you should be thinking about maximum value, not low price.

As a Columbia-area homeowner, if you find yourself in an outdoor living conundrum, we can help! Seeing your project become a reality can be enjoyable from beginning to end. With Archadeck designing and building your space, you can be a homeowner who is pleased with the outdoor space you purchased instead of one who is simply glad the project is over. We strive to make every phase of the process an enjoyable one! Making sure we are on the same page as the client during each phase will insure your dream outdoor space is a joy and delight from concept to conclusion.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

Our commitment to excellence in outdoor structure design and building ensures your unique project will bring enjoyment and pride for many years to come! Call Archadeck of Central South Carolina today for a free design consultation at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

Archadeck of Central SC discusses what to expect when beginning your anticipated outdoor living space

Ipe Brazilian hardwood deck with metal railing.Most of us begin planning our outdoor living project after weeks or even months of imagining how much we will enjoy it. The planning phase should be an exciting time! We first identify what we need from our deck, porch, sunroom or other outdoor space and how it will meet one or more of our outdoor living needs and aesthetic desires. From there, we begin looking for a builder who will turn our vision into a reality.

Archadeck custom projectMaking the initial call to a builder is sometimes the most daunting task in the construction process for many homeowners. Even if the builder comes highly recommended there is no “manual” of what to expect during your initial communication. Anticipation and venturing into the unknown is responsible for causing stress to many prospective clients even before they send the first email, or pick up the phone to reach out. Archadeck of Central SC aims to change that. We want homeowners to have a good idea of what to expect during planning phases of their outdoor living space addition(s). With this in mind, we have put together an outline of what to expect during the initial, and crucial, first stages towards bringing your dream to life:

  • Archadeck design guideThe inquiry call/email:  This is one of the most daunting tasks for many prospectives clients. However, with Archadeck it doesn’t have to be. Our goal is to put you at ease while we gather the needed information to make future correspondence smooth. During your inquiry call it is not uncommon to be asked what type of space you have in mind. When would you like your project completed? A member of our team will schedule the best time to meet you in your home when all decision makers can be present.

Archadeck offers a valuable tool to help homeowners, and your Archadeck representative, gain ideas about what you want from your outdoor living space. It is called the Archadeck Outdoor Living Design Guide and you can download it free by visiting http://www.archadeck.com/guide/index.html.

  • Finding the right contractorThe in-home consultation: During the initial in-home consultation we will discuss your needs, personal preferences and the function your space will primarily be used for. We will explore any material preferences and features that would best suit your needs and taste. At this time we will discuss your budget for the project and take measurements in order to prepare a design, which will be available during the follow-up consultation.  We will also show you some of our past projects and explain your construction material options.
  • PlansFollow-up consultation: At this time Archadeck of Central SC will present you with a custom design prepared especially for you. During this time, we will discuss any amendments or changes you would like to make to the design. We realize once you make the decision to move ahead with your project, the excitement mounts, and you soon envision utilizing your new space.
  • The next phase: Once you approve the design and sign that contract, you will be protected by two separate guarantees, constituting the most expansive customer protection plan in the industry. Local oversight assures your property and privacy are respected. We attend to every detail from securing any needed building permits to final cleanup. And we work very hard to be as unobtrusive as possible during the entire construction phase.
Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

Seeing your project become a reality can be a time that’s enjoyable from beginning to end. With Archadeck designing  and building your space, you can be a homeowner who is pleased with the outdoor space you purchased instead of one who is simply glad the project is over. We strive to make every phase of the process an enjoyable one! Making sure we are on the same page as the client during each phase will insure your dream outdoor space is a joy and delight from concept to conclusion.

Our commitment to excellence in outdoor structure design and building ensures your unique project will bring enjoyment and pride for many years to come! Call Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

Please visit our extensive outdoor structure galleries located on our website and on Houzz for more design inspiration!

 

At Archadeck of Central SC, our careful attention to process is one of the factors that sets us apart from other builders

The third part in our series “The Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor” is about the importance of processes.

In any business requiring handoffs with multiple people and multiple variables (weather, materials, environment, etc.) it can be difficult to get consistently good results.  In fact, many businesses that worked fine when they were very small (one man builders, for example) struggle as they grow to achieve the same consistent, high-quality results.  This has been the downfall of many a contractor – and why success can be their own worst enemy.

Process plays a key role in the success of your outdoor living project.

Process plays a key role in the success of your outdoor living project.

Processes – or the lack thereof – can be the biggest differentiator between a contractor who delivers good results on time and on budget, and one that is constantly battling chaos at your expense.  There are thousands of variables that a contractor faces on every project – it is a rare project that goes without something unexpected happening. However, experienced contractors that have learned from past mistakes will incorporate processes into their workflow to avoid making the same mistake again.

For example, taking the time to have utility lines identified and marked before construction begins is often an overlooked step, and 9 out of 10 times, nothing bad will occur. But every once in a while a gas or power line or fiber optic cable is cut, costing the contractor money, interrupting the customer’s service and causing an unforeseen delay in the project. If a contractor has to “remember” to do this every time, it will often get overlooked. However, if his processes require him to check the item off for every job, it should not get overlooked.

Deming said, If you can’t define what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Archadeck patios and hardscapesThere is a huge contrast between using well-thought-out processes and procedures to control the construction process versus jumping into a job without proper planning and processes. Amazingly, many contractors go from job to job thinking that because they “know what they are doing,”  they don’t need to waste time planning. And they wonder why they are continually hit by “bad surprises.”

How do you know if your contractor effectively uses good processes?  The easiest way is simply to ask during the vetting process. Find out what your contractor’s method for planning and monitoring construction will be. Do they actually use written check lists for ensuring that all steps get addressed before, during and after construction? Is there a supervisor or manager holding the crews responsible for following these processes?

ProcessYou can also tell a lot about how effectively a contractor uses processes by watching the sales process. Is it well-coordinated, clear and purposeful?  Or is it more chaotic? Does the contractor proactively address key concerns in advance, setting your expectations, or does he seem to want to get in and get out without helping you to understand the process you will be going through together in building your project? If the sales process has not been well thought out and executed, you can be pretty sure that the construction process will be the same.

At Archadeck of Central SC, our careful attention to process is one of the factors that sets us apart from other builders:

  • Our process begins with a free design consultation.
  • We then conduct a comprehensive needs analysis uncovering what you’re looking for in an outdoor living space.
  • Our in-depth site survey buttons down the particulars.
  • Our detailed photo gallery and portfolio of completed projects will stimulate your imagination.
  • We work with you to refine or streamline your design.
  • Rather than an estimate, you’re given a precise price quote.
  • Our quality-focused Job Process Methodology (JPM) is put into play.
  • Archadeck of Central SC obtains all necessary permits necessary for your project.
  • Once your project is started, progress almost always proceeds without lags.
  • Our workers respect your property.
  • Construction debris is removed regularly and project site is kept clean and orderly.
  • You approve the final structure and enjoy!
Archadeck pool deck dining area

The success of a project can be measured by not only the end result, but the way the project itself takes place – beginning to end.

After we determine your needs and the specifics of your site, you can choose to move forward in one of two ways. With a project retainer, Archadeck of Central SC will draw up custom plans using three-dimensional drawings to illustrate your proposed structure from a variety of angles. You can work with us to refine that plan to your satisfaction. Or, instead of developing a custom plan, you can choose to move forward in stages as part of our staged, or phased, building program. This will allow you to complete your ideal outdoor living space in stages as your lifestyle and budget affords.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

Our knowledge and experience in outdoor structure design and building over the years can ensure a space that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Call Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation (803) 603-2160.
centralsc@archadeck.net

Please visit our extensive outdoor structure galleries located on our website for more examples of our lovely designs.