Increase in housing starts nationally from August, 2009 to August, 2010
Source: National Assoc of Homebuilders
Increase in the median home price in metro Atlanta from August, 2009 to August, 2010
Source: National Assoc of Realtors
National unemployment rate in the construction industry at its peak in February, 2010 (down to 17% in August, 2010)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Atlanta Preservation Center recently selected Red Level Renovations to continue the restoration of the historic Grant Mansion in Grant Park. Constructed in 1856, the mansion is the oldest documentable antebellum structure in Atlanta and its history is a rich one. It served as a hospital for the Confederate troops during the Civil War, golfer Bobby Jones was born there in 1902, and writer Margaret Mitchell provided $3,750 for the purchase of the home in 1941. APC acquired the building in 2001 after it had suffered significant deterioration, and was in danger of being demolished for redevelopment. The organization now has its headquarters there, and has undertaken the process of slowly bringing the building back to life.
Our project will include restoration of the front and rear porches, as well as the addition of a new rear retaining wall, parking spaces and walkways with wheelchair access. This work will provide a sense of the building's great scale and style, and the reconstructed entries will restore much of its original functionality and flow. The new access will also allow the Center to double the usable square footage of the house.
In April of 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices in all home remodeling and repair projects on houses built prior to 1978 (the year lead paint was banned for residential use) where existing paint is disturbed. All contractors engaging in this work would need to pay a $300 fee to become certified, complete a training course in lead-safe practices and begin implementation of those practices by April 22, 2010.
That controversial announcement has been the subject of much debate, as industry groups have battled for changes to the requirements, and the deadline has been pushed back to allow more contractors to become certified. However, beginning on Oct. 1, enforcement will begin. All contractors engaging in this type of work will need to be certified (those who have enrolled in training by September 30 will not face enforcement, as long as the training is completed by December 30), and the specified practices must be carried out on all applicable jobsites.
Even with the extra time to obtain certification, not to mention the potential health benefits for consumers, the industry has been slow to adopt (one rough estimate has contractor compliance at only 10%). Many contractors are hesitant to believe that the EPA will follow through on enforcement, and are choosing instead to avoid the minimal costs involved in compliance (the EPA estimates that the new requirements will cost less than $200 per project). With potential fines of up to $37,500 per violation, per day, the risks hardly seem worth the reward. It will now be up to both the EPA and consumers that are hiring general contractors to ensure that the new requirements actually have the impact that was intended.