Homeowners Seeking Increased Comfort, Not Increased Resale Value

According to ServiceMagic’s recently released Home Remodeling & Repair Index containing information compiled from 3.1 million service requests received through online marketplace from January to June of this year, as well as results from a survey of homeowners and service professionals conducted in July, homeowners are still looking to invest in home improvement projects that increase their home’s energy efficiency and contribute to better overall living quality.

When asked “Why are energy efficient home improvement projects important to you?” 35% of homeowners cited saving money on energy costs, 25% responded that saving energy helps the environment, and 23% responded it would increase the comfort of their home.

The majority of homeowners, 82%, said they were investing in home improvement projects to increase overall living quality. Only a very small percentage, 13%, were seeking to increase the value of their home. 4% were putting their house on the market and wanted to increase its value and 1% were putting their house on the market and wanted to increase its curb appeal.

Chuck Miller GMB   CGB  CGP  CAPS  MIRM   CMP   MCSP   CSP
President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.
(208) 229-2553


Americans overwhelming consider owning a home essential to the American Dream

I realize it has been awhile since I posted anything. But I am back and I believe this is too important not to share.

A recent survey of people likely to vote in 2012 conducted on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that despite the ups and downs of the housing market, home owners and non-owners alike consider owning a home essential to the American Dream. 75% of the people polled said that owning a home is worth the risk of fluctuations in the market and 95% of home owners said they are happy with their decision to own a home. Follow the link below to download the slides and listen to an audio recording of the June 7 presentation of the results of the survey.


But don’t stop there. If you agree, contact your elected officials and let them know.

President / Builder
Chuck Miller Construction Inc.
(208) 229-2553


The Happiest Careers in America – Where’s Homebuilding?

Forbes published an article today titled “The Happiest Careers In America.” The article highlights the results of a new survey from job site CareerBliss.com that revealed the top ten happiest professions in America. The survey results measured nine factors of workplace happiness, including the individual’s relationship with their boss and co-workers, their work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and job control over the work that they do on a daily basis.

Homebuilding was not one of the ten happiest careers. As I read the article and viewed the slideshow of the “10 -Happiest Jobs in America”, I realized that they had obviously made a mistake. Why do I say that? Let me explain.

I teach the National Association of Home Builders “Business Management for Building Professionals” course. One of the slides from that course contains a picture of 14 different hard hats – each one representing a different role or job within a small volume building company. The building professionals in the class are asked “How Many Hats Do You Wear?”

According to the Census Bureau, as of 2007, there were almost 2.6 million nonemployer residential construction and specialty trade contracting firms, including foundation, framing, siding, masonry contractors, stucco, electrical, plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, drywall, painting, flooring, and landscaping contractors. So, naturally, the typical small volume builder wears many hats and fills many roles in his company. As I viewed the slideshow of the “10 -Happiest Jobs in America”, I realized that a career in home building typically encompasses 7 of the 10 careers listed as the happiest.

No. 2 – Customer Service. Customer service professionals enjoy working directly with customers, helping people, managing conflict, and problem solving.

No. 3 – Education. Home builders are educators. We educate our customers about the building process and we educate our trade contractors on how we prefer our homes to be built

No. 4 – Administrative – Clerical.  These professionals simply feel good about their daily tasks. They keep things running smoothly.

No. 5 – Purchasing – Procurement.  These professionals are responsible for purchasing the materials and goods for their companies. Their satisfaction stems from relying on their superior negotiating skills to secure the best deals possible.

No. 6 – Accounting.  The professionals hold the purse strings and ensure that their companies are run efficiently, that records are kept accurately, and that taxes are paid properly and on time.

No. 7 – Finance.  These professional handle transactions and provide guidance to make sound investment decisions.

No. 8 – Non-Profit Employees.  According to the National Association of Home Builders latest “Cost of Doing Business Study,” the average small-volume builder in 2008 had a net loss $53,000 or 1.4%. Non-profit employees derive satisfaction from doing good. Abraham Lincoln said that “The strength of our nation lies in the homes of its people.” Seeing a family move into a new home you built just feels good.

The only careers not encompassed by home building were No. 1 – Biotechnology, No. 9 – Health Care, and No. 10 – Legal. So, if you’re chosen career in home building, you’ve chosen one of the happiest careers in America. Don’t you agree? I do.


President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.

(208) 229-2553


Building material prices continue to rise

Single-family housing starts in 2010 totaled 475,000 – a 7 percent increase over 2009 but still substantially below the 1,256,000 average starts per year from 1995 through 2003.  .Think the decrease in demand for new home construction has resulted in lower prices for building materials.  Think again.

Prices for materials used in construction actually increased 5.4 percent in all of 2010.  Prices increased at double-digit rates over the year for four key construction materials. Diesel fuel prices climbed 28 percent in 2010; steel mill product prices rose 12.5 percent (think rebar, nails, kitchen sinks, appliances, etc.); copper and brass mill shape prices were up 12 percent (think electrical wiring, water supply valves and fittings); and prices for aluminum mill shapes rose 12 percent over the year.  Other items that contributed to the climb included lumber and plywood, 5.7 percent; architectural coatings, primarily paint, 1.5 percent; brick and structural clay tile, 1.0 percent; gypsum products, 3.4 percent; asphalt, 4.6 percent; and insulation materials, 4.4 percent.  The National Association of Home Builders predicts single-family housing starts will increase 21 percent to 575,000 in 2011.  Although the demand for construction in the United States will remain relatively weak, the price increases are likely to intensify in 2011 as global demand for construction materials grows.

Have you been waiting to build your new home or remodel your existing home hoping prices will continue to fall?  You might have already waited too long.

Chuck Miller GMB   CGB  CGP  CAPS  MIRM   CMP   MCSP   CSP

President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.

(208) 229-2553


What are you thankful for?

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” — Eric Hoffer 

As we prepare for another Thanksgiving holiday, I would like to encourage everyone to count our blessings. It has been a challenging couple of years for many of us. But I sincerely believe in the Law of Attraction and the importance and power of developing an “attitude of gratitude.” Learning to appreciate what we have makes life more valuable and meaningful. Sharing our gratitude improves your quality of life because it can only result in positive emotions. So let’s spread some positive emotions. I’ll start.

  •   I am grateful for my faith and my connection to my Source of Being.
  • I am grateful for my ability to think and reason and choose and for my desire to learn and grow.
  • I am grateful for having been born in the USA and for the freedoms we enjoy – the freedom to worship and believe as we choose, the freedom to express our opinions, the freedom to elect our leaders.
  • I am grateful for my family and friends and for the love and friendship we share
  • I am grateful for my health, for the food that nourishes me and the fresh water that sustains me.
  • I am grateful for my home and for a warm comfortable bed to sleep in
  • I m grateful for my successes in life – personal and professional
  • And I am grateful for the challenges that I face – for the opportunities they provide to face and overcome my fears and to learn and grow.


Your turn.
President / Builder
Chuck Miller Construction Inc.
(208) 229-2553

Building material prices edge up again

Think the decrease in demand for new home construction is resulting in lower prices for building materials.  Think again.

According to the September 16 producer price index (PPI) report by the U.S. Labor Department, prices for construction materials edged up 0.2% in August. Prices are 3.6% higher than one year ago.

Nonferrous wire and cable prices increased 1.8% for the month and are up 8.7% compared to August 2009. Prices for plumbing fixtures and fittings were up 0.6% in August and up 1.2% from the same time last year. Prices for concrete products inched up 0.5% for the month, but are down 1.1% from August 2009 levels.

Softwood lumber prices slid for a third straight month, down 3.1% in August. However, prices are still 6.8% higher on a year-over-year basis. Iron and steel prices were down 1.5% in August, the third straight monthly price decrease. But, prices are still 18.2% higher than they were one year ago. Steel mill product prices were down 3.9% August, but were still up 17.1% from last August. Prepared asphalt, tar roofing and siding prices slipped 0.9% in August, but were up 8.6% over the last twelve months. Prices for fabricated structural metal products decreased 0.2% for the month, but were up 2.8% compared to August 2009.

Overall, the nation’s wholesale prices increased 0.4% last month and are 3.1 percent higher from August 2009.

Are you waiting for the price of that new home you’d like to build to drop further?  I wouldn’t.

Chuck Miller GMB   CGB  CGP   MIRM   CMP   MCSP   CSP

President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.

(208) 229-2553


Improved insulation increases energy-efficiency

 Insulation is a key element in building a more comfortable and energy efficient home in Boise, Idaho or elsewhere.

 Insulation materials are rated according to their ability to resist heat flow. The thermal resistance rating is known as an “R-value”. The higher the R-value of a material, the better its ability to resist heat flow.

 Most new homes are insulated with fiberglass batt insulation.  However, improper installation of the fiberglass batts can significantly reduce its effectiveness.  Gaps or voids can provide paths through which heat and air can easily flow into or out of the home.  Compressing the insulation behind piping and electrical wiring also reduces the thermal resistance.

 Newer types of insulation like blown-in-blanket fiberglass, batts made of denim, blown cellulose, and spray foams have higher R-Values and protect against convective heat transfer because they penetrate around obstructions and into odd-shaped cavities, completely filling gaps or voids and providing a monolithic blanket of insulation that forms a tight seal around wiring, plumbing, and framing materials.  

 Benefits of improved insulation

 Improved insulation provides:

 Improved comfort

 Improved insulation reduces conductive heat losses and gains resulting in warmer interior surfaces in the winter and cooler interior surfaces in the summer. As noted in my article on advance framing, approximately 40 percent of our physical comfort is due to the radiant heat exchange between our bodies and the surrounding interior surfaces. Improved insulation reduces this radiant heat exchange and minimizes temperature differences between rooms, thus maintaining a more consistent level of comfort throughout a house.

 Improved indoor air quality

 When insulation materials are properly installed, there are fewer gaps and voids through which unconditioned air can leak into a house. This helps avoid dirt, dust, and other impurities that can negatively affect indoor air quality. A tight building envelope is a critical component to ensure good indoor air quality.

 Reduced heating and cooling loads

 Improved insulation also helps to reduce heating and cooling loads, allowing smaller “right-sized” heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. The cost savings from using smaller HVAC equipment can be used to offset the additional cost of high efficiency heating and cooling equipment.

 Lower utility bills

 More than 40 percent of the energy consumed in a typical household goes to heating and cooling. Proper insulation reduces this energy consumption which results in lower utility bills.

Chuck Miller GMB   CGB  CGP   MIRM   CMP   MCSP   CSP

President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.

(208) 229-2553