We serve Warren, Washington and Saratoga Counties, New York
CONSUMER WARNING: New York State licenses for construction trades DO NOT exist! All tradesmen licensing is done at the local county, city or town level.
So on the State level, your barber needs a license to cut your hair. Your Architect, Engineer, and local Code Official are licensed by New York State. Your Home Inspector to come in after the fact needs a state license.
The installer of your heating system? The General Contractor who may be hiring and overseeing all your on-site Crews and Subcontractors? No state license required.
Check with your local town or county! Chances are they are one of the many NY municipalities that do NOT fill in the New York State gap by requiring a local Contractor’s or Builder’s license.
To say nothing about requiring that each and every worker who walks onto your project will follow Best Practices for your health, safety, and energy savings.
What this means is that your most critical hiring decisions involve making sure your advisers and on-site Supervisors are up-to-date in the latest Building System Science.
What’s Your Property’s Miles Per Gallon?
You see, a Contractor who has pursued an education in this specialized field of science looks way beyond your need to stay within your construction budget.
He also cares about your property’s ongoing “Miles Per Gallon” for the entire life of the home or building.
When driving through Saratoga, Albany, and Glens Falls Area developments of (newer) homes in winter, David Sellers can look at the snow-covered roofs and tell which ones are bleeding heating dollars into the great outdoors
And it’s a lot!!!!!
Why so many Energy-Wasting Ripoffs?
Lack of Building System Science Education
Just what exactly is Building System Science?
Your home, office, factory, or store is a system and everything is connected.
The relationship between your insulation, air sealing, windows, heating, hot water, AND cooling system, is the key to your property’s overall performance in terms of health, safety, comfort, durability and energy efficiency.
Contractors who have pursued Building System Science training, regardless of their specialized trade, know how to evaluate EACH element of your property for its potential to effect other systems within the building.
Because of this Whole Building insight, they can help guide you in your decisions to maximize your energy savings, and ensure your comfort and safety.
For instance, a Heating Contractor who installs high efficiency heating equipment, may also advise you regarding where and how to employ air sealing to prevent mold & mildew while ensuring air quality, comfort, and savings.
Or a Building System Insulation Contractor may recommend a ventilation system along with insulation to make sure the building doesn’t become too tight.
Common Insulation and Indoor Air Quality Misconceptions:
- Think R-Value is the insulation be-all and end-all? This Avoid 3 Costly Insulation Mistakes is a must read.
- Want to make sure your home or building will “breathe?” Read why NOT to rely on costly air leakage to ventilate your home.
Beware of No School and Especially Old School
Building System Science is a dynamic field, with new discoveries and applications constantly being added to this specialized body of knowledge.
The sad fact is that the Contractor Industry is FULL of really nice people who have not invested their precious time, energy, and cash into their ongoing Building System Science education. Not just the hired Crew, mind you. That goes all the way to the Builders and Foremen who oversee them.
Even worse, there are some in our industry who insist on Old School. You know, the “This is how we’ve always done things, and this is how we’re always going to do things” mindset.
The challenge is that there are Old School building and renovation methods still being used by MOST tradesmen TODAY that result in:
- High energy bills
- Uneven temperatures from room-to-room
- Drafty areas
- Moisture, mold, & mildew
- Poor air circulation or air quality
- Ice dams on your roof
- Pest infestations
- Uncontrollable humidity levels
- Premature deterioration of building materials
- Rooms that overheat or don’t heat
- Ghosting (unexplained black marks on walls and ceilings)
- High carbon monoxide levels
Head spinning yet?
The Good News
Here’s what we hope is the good news: New York State has implemented Green Building Codes that should help all property owners.
You see, even though NY State does not license any of the trades at present, they do publish and update state-wide Building Codes.
And the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code (2010 ECCCNYS) became effective on December 28, 2010.
Compliance to these new codes are enforced through your building permit process that includes project plan review and inspections at your County or Town level.
New York’s Building System Science Educational Initiatives
In February 2011, Dave Sellers paid to attend one of the state’s first educational initiatives regarding these new codes. Most who attended that event along with him were state and university educators, as well as municipal Code Enforcers.
He found the climate among his particular group that day to be very progressive and accepting of the Health, Safety, & Energy Savings Best Practices that were built into this new code.
So we’re cautiously optimistic about maybe those Old School building & remodeling errors eventually fading away. Time will tell.
Bottom line is, whether or not the Green Building Code is applied to your project will depend on the individuals involved, from the Designers to the Code Officials to the Contractors and their Crews.
Here’s what’s important to know when you’re Hiring Smart:
NEW YORK STATE KNOWS IT CAN’T GET 100% COMPLIANCE!
The NY State Division of Code Enforcement published information regarding how they plan to help professionals to learn and implement this new code.
“As part of New York State’s plan to achieve compliance with the 2010 ECCCNYS in at least ninety percent of all new and renovated residential and commercial building construction, the New York State Department of State has launched a major training and enforcement support initiative…” (The entire article can be found here.)
The state officials hoped that 90% of the Code Enforcers and Building Pros will get on board with the Best Practices.
Will the rest who won’t budge from their Old School state of mind add up to only 10%?
And which group do you want your local Code Enforcer and Contractor to be in?
So here’s the key question to ask EVERY Contractor BEFORE YOU SIGN THE DOTTED LINE:
“What do you think of the State Energy Conservation Construction Code?”
It’s a simple question, right?
The answers (or blank stares) you get will easily help you to identify which group your prospective Contractors fall into:
1. Thrilled that they may not have to stand on their head to get their colleagues to apply Health, Safety, and Energy Savings Best Practices to your project
2. Open to learning & complying with the latest Building System Science (and just need some time to get caught up. New York State is periodically updating and supplementing the 2010 code.)
3. Will always be part of that ??% Staunch Old School.
Hire Smart & INSIST On This
When he went to that Green Code event, Dave bought his own copy of the Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State, 2010 Edition.
If you want to Hire Smart and protect yourself from expensive, aggravating, and yes even deadly problems, INSIST that the people in charge of your project own it, understand it, agree with it, and apply it to EVERYTHING they and their Workers touch on your project.
The really good news is that you won’t PAY double for a Building System Contractor, but you’ll GET 3 times the value that their dedication to your lifetime of energy savings brings.
Already Hired Your General Contractor?
What if you’ve already chosen a Builder who either hasn’t heard of or dislikes the Green Building Code? Who in turn employs Workmen or Subcontractors that don’t look at your Whole Home or Building as a System? Who are not well-versed about your property’s Miles Per Gallon?
In this case, you can specifically request that the Heating and Insulation Sub-Contractors for your project be separated from the General Contract, so that you can directly hire someone who’s properly trained. (Contrary to your best interests, not all Builders will agree to this, unfortunately.)
As a Heating & Cooling Subcontractor over the years, Mr. Sellers has been known to be the Building System Champion on behalf of his clients.
This at times has meant standing toe-to-toe with on-site construction Crews & Foremen regarding their Building System Worst Practices that Dave knows will adversely impact the property’s Miles Per Gallon.
In some volatile situations, he’s had to go over their heads to the property owner to say, “If this is how the building will be sealed, I can’t warranty my heating system design for your ongoing comfort, safety, and energy savings.”
Looking to Hire a Builder or Contractor for your Saratoga, Albany, Glens Falls, or Lake George NY Project?
David Sellers has invested tens of thousands of his hard-earned dollars into his Building System Science continuing education, design software, and testing equipment.
And he spends many hours for each of his heating, cooling, and snowmelt system designs to painstakingly build the latest Building System Science into your property.
Call (518) 623-9760 today to arrange for a FREE Energy-Saving heating, cooling, or snowmelt consultation.
We can also refer you to our Capital, Saratoga & Southern Adirondack Region Building System Science classmates and Partners in the trades who have applauded NY’s Green Building Code along with us.
Give us a call! We love to chat with smart property owners like you.
Know Anyone Else in Upstate New York Who’s About to Go to Contract With a Builder or Tradesman?
Feel free to forward this message to them, BEFORE THEY SIGN!
And don’t forget to Hire Smart and ask, “Are you a Building System Contractor?”