Danto Builders recently won an award for the CoLab / Grind Coffee Project given by the Fort Lauderdale chapter of the American Institute of Architects for New Building / Small Commercial. Another award was received for this project from the South Florida Business Journal for the Best Reuse/Rehab category in the South Florida area.

Danto Builders completed the site work and interior and exterior renovations for CoLab Worspaces and Grind Coffee in downtown Fort Lauderdale located at 599 SW 2nd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (down the street from the Publix, next to the railroad tracks).  This shared workspace, offices and coffee house has been one of the first commercial building major rehabs / renovations in this area; south side of the river. It features “repurposed” finishes and provides a laid-back, cool, and hip environment conducive to the many entrepreneurial projects being developed within its walls. Colab partnered with Grind Coffee to provide top-quality, freshly-ground caffeinated (or decaf) goods. Patrons can enjoy a cup of coffee, juice or soft drink sitting at the coffee bar or outside on the beautiful shaded patio.

Years ago, this building was supposedly a hardware store. It was bought by the owner and used primarily for storage for a number of years. Given the 3,000+ rental units being built in this area within a two-mile radius, the owner approached Danto Builders to help him lay out a floor plan and collaborate on design features for his shared office space and coffee concept. The design was then taken to an architect and engineer to complete the plans. The owner also owned the property next door, which is now used for additional parking.

This building went from a box-shaped, polka-dotted painted building to a clean, modern and cool design that catches the attention of many. Exterior work included Prodema wood siding, a new energy-efficient tapered-isoleen roofing system to run off the specially designed gutter system, new larger windows, and Nano glass folding (garage-looking) doors, which open up to the outside patio
area. In order to accommodate the Nano garage door, a structural beam header supported by structural columns down to grade beam had to be built. Additional structural support also was added for the larger windows installed. Site work also required new ADA compliant sidewalks, landscaping and lighting for parking. Unique, state-of- art lighting was used on the exterior as well as the interior.

An open-beam look drove the interior renovation. New A/C had to be relocated for aesthetics and electrical service upgraded. Some of the unique repurposed finishes include a conference table that consists of an airplane wing suspended from the ceiling. One wall is covered in “repurposed skateboard” tiles and the coffee bar is made of an old bowling alley floor. Other finishes consist of the open industrial ceilings, brick walls, and George Washington and the American flag painted on the walls. The flag painting quotes Wayne Huizenga. It says “The secret to success is hard work. If you want to accomplish twice as much as the competition, you have to work twice as hard.”

CoLab Workspaces encourages business pursuits along with people-to- people connections and networking. CoLab’s Workspaces are a go-to venue for professional, social, and community-organizing events; lectures, parties, and initiative startup meetings. Affordable memberships and rentable spaces are offered and conference rooms can be reserved. If you are a member, shared bicycles are also available to help members get around town and help preserve the environment.

See COLAB WORKSPACES for more information.

Provider License - Danto BuildersDanto Builders received its Managers CE Provider license in order to offer a course on the required 40-Year Building Recertification in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties to Community Association Managers for continuing education credits.


The purpose of this course is to educate Community Association Managers about the legal requirements for the required 40-year Recertification in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, and its safety, operational and financial ramifications. Other related considerations / studies and benefits are reviewed because the qualified professional(s) required for this recertification can also help with these items. These items also have safety, legal and financial ramifications, and include ADA requirements, Reserve Studies, energy audits, incentives and funding.

The 40-year recertification covers the background; key items being evaluated; benefits of a proactive process; the minimum processes; and fines for not being in compliance. This part also reviews case study inspections and provides common examples of where work is needed to receive the recertification.

The ADA requirement section reviews a checklist, compliance enforcement and common violations. Reserve studies are explained with respect to the requirements by law, the benefits, process, analysis, what items are covered, and how these studies contribute to the 40-year recertification proactive process.

Lastly, a brief overview about energy audits and related PACE funding are presented. Importantly, energy audits also may utilize the same qualified professionals as does the 40-year safety inspection and contribute to operational and capital improvement savings under other legal requirements.



The learner objectives are:

  1. To understand the legal requirements of the 40-year recertification;
  2. To be aware of the ramifications of non-compliance;
  3. To be comfortable and proactive with the process, remedies and professionals;
  4. To take advantage of a qualified professionals’ time during a 40-year recertification and consider other related studies, which may have an operational and financial impact.

For more information and to schedule a presentation, contact Debbie Danto at (954) 229-2006 or Contact me by email.

40 year safety inspection identifies concrete restoration needed

Who Real Estate Forum, The Tower Club
Subject Presentation on Required 40-Year Safety Inspection and Related Considerations
Craig Danto, CEO of Danto Builders, was invited by Jill Johns with Century 21 to give a presentation on Broward and Miami-Dade Counties’ required 40-year commercial building safety inspection to the Real Estate Forum at the Tower Club this month. The purpose of this presentation was to educate professionals about the 40-year recertification requirements, processes, benefits, and related considerations while having qualified professionals looking at a building. The related considerations also have safety, legal and financial ramifications. They included ADA requirements, reserve studies and energy audits.
The 40-year recertification presentation covered the background regarding why these inspections are required; key structural and electrical items being evaluated; benefits of a proactive process; the minimum processes; and fines for not being in compliance. Typical examples of work needed in order to get recertification were discussed, including concrete restoration and electrical panels and grounding. Industry experts and Professional Engineers Robert Caine with Project Caine and Edgar Duenas with Bunker Engineering joined the presentation to share these examples.
The ADA requirement section reviewed a checklist, compliance enforcement and common violations. Reserve studies were explained with respect to the requirements by law, the benefits, process, analysis and what items are covered.
Lastly, a brief overview about energy audits and related PACE funding was presented. Importantly, energy audits may utilize the same qualified professionals as does the 40-year safety inspection and contribute to operational savings.

Client Invitation Homes / Blackstone
Project Multiple Home Remodels / Renovations
Danto Builders was hired by Invitation Homes (Blackstone) to renovate five homes within three months. Tight timelines and tight budgets were mandated, so Invitation Homes could quickly and cost efficiently rent the homes. The homes required new flooring, drywall, painting, and fixtures throughout the homes, as well as new bathrooms and kitchens. Electrical, plumbing, windows, doors and other miscellaneous repairs were also addressed.

For more information on Danto Builders’ general construction services, click here.

Location Broward County: Coconut Creek, Coral Springs (2), Margate and Oakland Park
Sample Exterior and Interior Renovations completed within tight timelines and tight budgets.

Coral Springs home remodel and renovation

Coral Springs home kitchen renovation

Home remodel and renovation

Client Miami Property Owner
Project Stucco and Concrete Restoration and Painting for 40-Year Recertification
Danto Builders was contracted by the property owner to complete stucco and concrete restoration and painting in preparation of the industrial building’s 40 year recertification required by Miami-Dade County. The cracks in the surface made it evident that there was water intrusion causing damage to the building, which needed to be addressed in order to ensure the building’s safety and reduce future building maintenance costs.
The process starts with a sound test which is when the surface is tapped around the cracks. A hollow sound indicates the stucco is not bonding to the surface which allows for water intrusion and causes damage to the structural concrete. The areas are marked with specific measurements, cut open with a grinder and the delaminated stucco is chipped out. The areas are left open to dry so proper bonding can take place. Multiple layers of stucco mix, finish and paint are then applied according to manufacturer specifications to ensure the warranty.
If the concrete behind the stucco is spalling (breaking up), then the effected concrete is removed. If there is rusty rebar behind the concrete and less than one third of it is affected, steel bars are treated with an anticorrosion agent, and a primer is applied to increase the thickness and strength. If the damage is more extensive, the effected rebar will be replaced with new material. In both cases, concrete is formed and poured, so that the stucco then can be applied to match the rest of the building.

For more information on concrete restoration, waterproofing and painting, click here.

Location NE 185th Street, Miami, FL
The building is sound tested, marked, cut open and chipped in preparation of stucco and concrete restoration and painting. Industrial buildings that Danto Builders pressure cleaned, repaired stucco and concrete, and painted

Client Briarcliff Manor Apartments
Danto Builders Prepares and Paints Briarcliff Manor Apartments for its 40 Year Certification.
Danto Builders was contracted by Briarcliff Manor apartments to complete repairs, patching and painting in preparation of its 40 year certification required by Broward County. The chipping and cracking paint, and the powdery film on the building made it evident that the building needed patched and painted. The building will now be protected from water intrusion, which can deteriorate the concrete structure. Railings were also repaired, and windows and doors replaced.

For more information on concrete restoration, waterproofing and painting, click here.

Location Deerfield Beach, FL
Briarcliff Manor Apartments
After Patching and Painting

Apartment buildings that Danto Builders pressure cleaned, patched, painted and repaired.

Apartment buildings that Danto Builders pressure cleaned, patched, painted and repaired.

Patching and Repairs to the railings

Briarcliff After Pressure Cleaning And Before Painting

After pressure cleaning

After Pressure Cleaning, and before Patching and Painting
Briarcliff Manor Apartments Before Repairs and Pressure Cleaning

Before Pressure Cleaning, Patching and Painting

Before Pressure Cleaning, Patching and Painting for 40 year certification preparation

Lee Feldman, Pops Corn
Project Pops Corn – Design Build for Retail Popcorn Shop
Danto Builders worked closely with owner, Lee Feldman, to design and build another Pops Corn at the Boynton Beach Mall on an exceedingly tighter budget and timeline. When Danto Builders was contracted, a meeting was immediately set up with Feldman and an architect with whom Danto Builders has worked. Feldman’s needs for the retail store were identified based on the concept, equipment and work flow. The architect created a floor plan to accommodate the used equipment from which demo and building plans were created, and final floor, wall and lighting finishes were selected.
Danto Builders worked on a cost-plus basis to allow the owner the involvement and control of the project that he wanted. Sub trades were competitively bid out, and items were value engineered as much as possible to meet the tight budget.
President Craig Danto of Danto Builders also helped save money by designing the structural store front and hood system for the commercial popcorn popper as they both required customization. He then had both these items fabricated and installed. Danto Builders saved Pops Corn about 30 to 35 percent on these items by undertaking the design build in house.
With ingenuity, reliable subcontractors and dedication to this job, Pops Corn was completed within eight weeks despite strict mall regulations and permitting delays.

Pop’s Corn is opened now serving its signature chocolate-covered caramel popcorn among other irresistible treats.

Location Boynton Beach Mall, FL
Newest Pops Corn in Boynton Beach Mall
Owner, Lee Feldman, with friends in front of his new store at Boynton Beach Mall.

Pops Corn retail store front - structural drawing

Above is the structural drawing for the Pops Corn customized store front that Craig Danto designed.

Subject Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program in Broward
  PACE program will offer financing options for commercial and residential property owners interested in energy efficiency retrofitting by Spring 2014.

DATE: October 10, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Dr. Nancy Gassman, Broward County Natural Resources Administrator, Natural Resources Planning and Management Division
PHONE: 954-519-1295
EMAIL: ngassman@broward.org

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Until this week, Broward residents interested in saving energy by replacing air conditioners or installing solar panels had to have money in hand to perform the retrofit. Financing options to help defray the upfront costs for these energy efficiency improvements were limited. That changed on Tuesday, October 8, 2013, when the Broward County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to establish a commercial and residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program. The County received permission to engage vendors to administer the programs which will be available once Broward County enters into these agreements in about six months.


PACE programs allow property owners to pay for the cost of energy improvements and wind mitigation measures to their homes or businesses through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill. This assessment stays with the property when it is sold since the new owner continues to receive the benefit and cost savings of the improvements.


“This program will move us into the future. There are those who want desperately to make home improvements that are energy efficient and will add to the value of their property but they don’t have any finance mechanisms in order to move forward. We need to make sure that we’re creating an environment where they have that opportunity and that’s what these programs represent,” said Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs.


PACE programs promote economic development and expansion of a green economy, and support a community’s ongoing efforts to reduce utility costs, save energy and encourage the use of renewable energy, such as solar.


Broward County’s PACE programs will be offered through Ygrene Energy Fund Florida and EcoCity Partners, L3Cpartners. These programs operate on private capital, not taxpayer dollars, and will broaden access to affordable finance strategies to advance energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy options, and wind mitigation measures in existing structures.


Broward County became interested in pursuing energy efficiency financing programs several years ago, following the adoption of new state legislation in June 2010 related to the authorization of local property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing programs.


For more information, Contact Us.


RREM Program

  As of August 1, 2013, the RREM Program is no longer accepting applications.

$600 million in federal funds has been allocated to help eligible primary Homeowners repair or rebuild their Superstorm Sandy impacted homes. The Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program will assist you in Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) so that you can do the necessary work on your home to make it livable and to comply with requirements for structures located in flood plains. RREM provides grants to eligible Homeowners up to $150,000. The RREM program is intended to “fill the gap” between the cost of repairs and other funds the owner has received to repair the structure.


The calculation of RREM assistance takes into consideration the cost of repairs and amounts the owner has received for home repairs from other sources such as insurance, FEMA, SBA, and non-profits.


The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has contracted with a RREM Program Manager to assist Homeowners throughout the construction process. The RREM Program Manager will work with you to develop specifications for the work to be completed, obtain bids from a builder, assign a builder to each Homeowner, inspect the construction while it is in progress, and approve payments to the builder.


For more information, Contact Us.


New Building Upgrade Program Offers Miami-Area Property Owners Hurricane Protection and Energy Upgrades with Zero Upfront Costs.


MIAMI, Sept. 12, 2013 — Ygrene Energy Fund and environmental non-profit partner, Carbon War Room, today announced the launch of the Clean Energy Green Corridor program at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Ygrene Energy Center in Miami.The program launches with a $230 million bond issuance immediately available to fund hurricane protection, energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements for commercial and residential buildings.

“Property owners across South Florida can now benefit from instant access to funds to upgrade their buildings and protect their properties from major storm damage,” said Tomas Regalado, Mayor of Miami and member of the Green Corridor governing board.

Ygrene’s Clean Energy Green Corridor program is a public private partnership with the cities of Miami, Cutler Bay, Miami Shores, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, Coral Gables, and South Miami that provides 100-percent financing to property owners for hurricane protection, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects using zero public money. The program uses the property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing model to allow property owners to make payments as part of annual property assessments over a 20-year term.

“Miami property owners now have a comprehensive financing solution for upgrading the hurricane resiliency and energy efficiency of their buildings. With energy bills and hurricane insurance rates at record highs, property owners can now use Ygrene Financing via the Clean Energy Green Corridor program to address both vital issues at the same time,” said Stacey Lawson, President and CEO of Ygrene Energy Fund.

Ygrene is the only multi-state PACE administrator in the country and is backed by a range of local and international financial partners, including a large revolving credit line from Macquarie Bank being used to fund PACE projects nationwide. With current operations in California, Florida and Georgia, the company recently funded the nation’s largest PACE-financed energy efficiency retrofit. In the Green Corridor, Ygrene has already preapproved more than 75 applications for $18 million worth of eligible projects in the region, and recently completed construction on Florida’s first commercial and residential building upgrades of this kind. The company has also engaged with property owners on a local pipeline of over $65 million in potential building upgrades.

The economic and environmental impact potential of Clean Energy Green Corridor is substantial. With $230 million immediately available to implement energy and hurricane upgrades in Miami-Dade County, an economic model developed by independent research firm ECONorthwest projects that the program can create more than 3,400 new jobs and $600 million in economic activity, as well as $25 million in local tax revenue. Ygrene also estimates it can reduce carbon emissions by 29,000 metric tons and protect up to 2,300 homes from hurricane damage.

Since 2010, the Carbon War Room, an environmental non-profit set up by Sir Richard Branson, has been working to help the sector accelerate the widespread utilization of PACE, and directly assisted in creating the Ygrene-led consortia of companies that are now implementing PACE projects in Miami as well as Sacramento.

“The major barrier preventing home owners and businesses from adopting energy efficiency and building resiliency projects is often down to the large upfront cost that many find tough to justify. I am very pleased Ygrene and the Miami Green Corridor cities have eliminated this burden to create a universally accessible financing option,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Carbon War Room and founder of the Virgin Group. “As a business owner, an entrepreneur, and homeowner, I see tremendous advantages to this program for Miami-area property owners and hopefully it will act as a catalyst for other cities to follow suit in creating similar programs.”

To support the Clean Energy Green Corridor program, Ygrene has opened a state-of-the-art Ygrene Energy Center to serve as a hub for contractor trainings, education sessions, partner meetings and property owner consultations.

About Ygrene Energy Fund
Ygrene Energy Fund is the leading developer and administrator of clean energy financing programs throughout the United States. Ygrene’s fully funded Clean Energy Programs provide privately funded and immediately accessible financing for renewable and energy efficiency upgrades to both residential and commercial property owners at no upfront costs. Over the next five years, Ygrene’s Clean Energy Districts are projected to create tens of thousands of local jobs and invest hundreds of millions into local economies.

Contact Us for more information.


What You Need To Understand When Undertaking
a Design Build or Remodel of Your Home.


Many homeowners who have built or remodeled their dream homes end up having major challenges, which could have been prevented. Building or remodeling a home can be a very daunting task for anyone; however it should still be both enjoyable and educational for the homeowner. In one case, a home that was promised in six months ended up taking almost two years. It cost a lot more money that was not anticipated and was such a headache that the homeowner just wanted to tear it down and forget about it. This all started because the builder was not properly qualified; he was a friend of the family and everything he said was not questioned. In the end, this home was finished but it took firing a builder and hiring another.

This homeowner unfortunately learned from experience that a reputable and experienced builder who has your best interest at the forefront is paramount to the design build process. A good builder will educate the homeowner and make sure that he / she is comfortable and happy with the process and final product.

The following are guidelines regarding what you need to understand about the design build or remodel process of your home, so you will minimize any challenges.

State Your Needs, Desires and Budget.
Homeowners who clearly state their needs, desires and budget during the planning phase and understand the design build process will save both time and money and actually enjoy watching their dream homes be built. “Homeowners shouldn’t be shy about saying what they want, and builders and architects should ask for their direction,” advised Craig Danto, owner of Danto Builders. A fourth-generation builder with over 30 years of experience in South Florida, he strives to educate homeowners on how to have a positive experience building or remodeling their homes. “If it’s really important, don’t be afraid to over-emphasize it,” he said. “The more information the designer and builder have from the homeowner up front, the better it is for everyone.”

The process starts with the homeowner’s needs within a qualified budget. Homeowners need to think about their lifestyle and what is important to them. It starts with the family unit now and in the future. How many people live in the home? Are there children involved? Do any family members have special needs? How many cars will be parked at the home? Is a security system needed?

The next question involves what they’ll be doing in their homes. What are their hobbies? Do they like to entertain? Is a patio, pool and landscaping on their list of priorities? How about a home theater? Is cooking a key focus? Is electric or gas cooking preferred? Is privacy important? Are they environmentally conscious and is energy conservation a concern? Do they want to build “green” and have a “smart” home that automatically adjusts the electronics and lights according to natural sunlight coming through the windows? All the above items are important in planning and budget with respect to plumbing and electrical, which are two of the most expensive components of construction.

After homeowners understand and communicate their family units and lifestyles, then floor plans can be designed to meet their needs. The architect and builder should work together from the very beginning. This will help ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of the project and its specifications. Questions should be asked and details provided from the start. Additionally, this allows the builder to work in cooperation with the architect and discuss any designs that are not practical in the field or cost efficient, and present solutions. This will save homeowners time and money from start to finish.

Best and Highest Use of Your Property
The floor plan begins with the lot size and its dimensions. The lot is like a canvas on which homes are “painted.” The idea is to make the best use of the lot size in laying out a home and outdoor living space. Natural sunlight is taken into consideration for the position of rooms and entertainment areas, especially the pool area. If homeowners have small lots and large families, then the only option may be to build second and third stories. Many homeowners think about expanding their home or adding a pool later, but it is always more economical to do it all at once. For example, the ground that is available from digging out a pool can be used to fill the building pad for the home, which saves money.

Danto said that today’s trends focus on open living for entertaining family and friends. “Kitchens are often open to the main living areas, since they are the focal points for entertaining,” he stated. “The use of French doors and sliders are popular ways to open homes up to outdoor living space, including decks, patios, pool areas and summer kitchens. Homeowners need to be specific on the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, game/hobby rooms, garage parking spaces, office space, pools, driveways, etc.”

If the homeowner is elderly or the home will be used by someone with disabilities, then special considerations on floor space need to be made with respect to doorway, hallway and bathroom accessibility for wheelchairs and walkers.

Clearly Understand the Specifications of Your Future Home.
Unfortunately perception is not always reality, so homeowners often find it helpful to visit homes of similar size and layout, so they know what to expect. It’s one thing to look at the floor plan on paper and quite another thing to live in a home. Homeowners need to clearly understand their floor plans and be practical. They should take measurements of items such as furniture, home entertainment centers, pianos, beds, couches, china cabinets and tables, and have their designers lay items out proportionately on the floor plan in order to make sure everything fits.

Along with the floor plan, homeowners need to decide on the exterior design. Magazines, driving through nearby neighborhoods and home shows can provide ideas for the style they want, i.e. contemporary, Old World or traditional.

Homeowners should also take into consideration how much maintenance they are willing to undertake. For example, metal roofs and paver driveways cost more up front, but they last longer and require less maintenance and repair over the years. Artificial turf is maintenance free and “green” due to water conservation.

Homeowners should start selecting finishes as soon as possible. Finishes include flooring, cabinets, vanities, countertops, plumbing fixtures, lighting, closet systems, doors, millwork (door casings, molding and trim), paint and appliances, which is a short list of items. (Decorator design finishes are separate from construction finishes. They include color, textures, fabrics, furniture and window treatments, to name a few.)

The Devil Is in The Details.
Once homeowners agree on the layout, they need to confirm that floor plans are detailed with the finishes. This includes the specifications with the names and numbers of suppliers. Again, homeowners need to make sure architects and builders work together to ensure everything is covered so a solid budget can be provided. Without these detailed plans, extra time and costs are typically incurred due to lack of information that is found as homes are being built.

Detailed plans for homes should be bid out before a shovel hits the ground. Every square inch is accounted for and costs assigned for materials, labor and overhead. Important to know is that subcontractor bids are only good for 30 to 90 days because material and labor prices change. Once bids are qualified and contracts signed, the builder is able to schedule the tradespeople and provide timelines and critical paths.

“Builders and architects want homeowners to be pleased with the final product,” added Danto, who has built and remodeled hundreds of homes. “Designers and builders who work the best together along with the homeowners will have the best results, and everyone can enjoy the process.”

For more information, contact Debbie Danto at (954) 229-2006 or fill out our Contact Us page.

Client Homeowner on Las Olas Isles
Project Major Foundation and Plumbing Repair Due to Seawall Damage.

Homeowners, especially on the water, need to pay attention to any changes in their homes with respect to seawall erosion, foundation settlement, cracks in the floors and walls, doors not closing, roof leaks and plumbing issues. These changes could be symptoms of a much more serious issue.

In this particular case, the homeowner was experiencing major issues with the plumbing, which is very apparent in the below photos. The seawall had eroded and the water coming in and out with the tide twice a day pulled the dirt out and the plumbing down from underneath the house; forcing the pipes to collapse.

Obviously, the sooner you catch a situation like this, the better with respect to the time and money to repair the issues.

If you think you have a foundation or seawall issue, please contact us. We are happy to provide you with a complimentary assessment.


Foundation and plumbing issue due to Seawall damage

Seawall damage led to the foundation washing away and major plumbing damage.


Las Olas home experiences major foundation and plumbing issues due to damaged Seawall

More plumbing damage.


Major foundation washout and plumbing issues due to leaking Seawall

Major washout and pipe breaks due to the damaged Seawall allowing water to wash in and out with the tide and taking the foundation under this home with it.


Major washout and plumbing issues due to a damaged Seawall

Damaged Plumbing due to Seawall leaks.


The weight of the dirt and water force the plumbing to drop and break.

The seawall damage allowed the weight of the dirt and water flowing in and out with the tide to force the plumbing down and break.



Posted by State of New Jersey, Department of Community Affairs, August 1, 2013

On July 30, 2013, the federal government issued a notice in response to the various requests from the Christie Administration to allow for reimbursement of homeowners and landlords of costs they have already undertaken to rebuild, repair and mitigate their homes, or rental properties.

The notice provides guidance to recovery programs funded by the federal government through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) grants. The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will issue additional guidelines and procedures in the coming week to ensure the maximum benefit is applied to New Jersey’s Sandy-impacted households and landlords.

Homeowner Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM): Reimbursement will now be considered for all eligible RREM applicants regardless of level of property damage.

Landlord Rental Repair Program (LRRP): Reimbursement will now be considered for all eligible applicants of LRRP regardless of the level of property damage and regardless of the number of units.

The State is still currently restricted by the federal government on reimbursement of costs incurred after the Time of Application; therefore, continuing with work after an application has been submitted will likely make that work ineligible for the grant funds.

Homeowners, landlords and businesses are advised that it is their choice to continue work; however, it is in their best interest to stop ongoing construction and repairs in order to maximize the costs that CAN be covered by the grant funds.

This is a decision for homeowners, landlords and businesses to make, and this guidance is only to alert them of the risks associated with a decision to continue work.

Homeowners, rental property owners and businesses that have started work are advised to keep all receipts of money spent to date on activities related to the rebuild, repair and mitigation of their property for possible reimbursement.

Allows reimbursement of eligible costs as a result of Sandy that were incurred by an applicant PRIOR to the TIME OF APPLICATION.

Reimbursement rules:
*Before any CDBG-DR funds can be provided for reimbursement to the applicant, an environmental review must be completed and cleared by the State.
*Costs must be considered within federal guidelines as “necessary and reasonable” for federal program funds.
*Limited to properties where work has been done on the same footprint as before.

Due to limited federal funding, it is unlikely that even with an additional allocation that every RREM applicant who was placed on the wait list will receive an award, even if New Jersey receives additional funds from the federal government. Therefore, those who are waitlisted should be guided by that fact as they choose whether or not to begin to repair or reconstruct their Sandy-damaged home.

Danto Builders has an office in Jackson, NJ and is partnered with Marlin Construction, a locally owned and operated business for the last 15 years. Together these companies offer demolition, house raising and design build services. For more information Contact Us.

‘V’ Zone Declined in FEMA’s Latest Flood Maps

Posted by Tom Davis (Editor), Daily Newsletter, June 18, 2013 at 11:01 am

The number of New Jersey residents whose homes are determined to be located in the highest risk flood zone has declined since advisory flood maps were issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency late last year.

The overall number of residents included in flood zones, however, has increased over the present maps.

FEMA released Monday what is known as its preliminary working maps, which have taken into account additional topographical information and wave modeling, allowing the number of residents placed in ‘V,’ or velocity, flood zones to decline.

Maps were issued Monday for residents in Ocean, Monmouth, Atlantic and Hudson counties. FEMA issued its advisory base flood elevation maps in late 2012, starting that process that would allow the federal government to update its patchwork of maps that determine flood risk throughout New Jersey.

Coastal areas prone to flooding are generally divided between ‘A’ and ‘V’ zones. Those in ‘A’ zones may elevate or build structures using block foundations, while those in ‘V’ zones must account for the potential for flowing water to impact their homes by raising them on pilings, which are significantly more costly than block foundations.

“We overestimated the V zones, and we did that intentionally because we were being conservative,” said Bill McDonnell, FEMA’s mitigation branch director for New Jersey.

In Ocean and Monmouth counties, the number of acres covered under ‘V’ zones declined by 45 and 46 percent, respectively. In Hudson County in northern New Jersey, the urban nature of the landscape led to a 76 percent reduction since dense development would attenuate breaking waves.

Atlantic County’s ‘V’ zone acreage decreased by about 80 percent, primarily because much of the initial zoning was overlaid across marshland, said McDonnell.

Andy Reed, an engineer with FEMA, said data was not available at the federal level to determine how many homes the percentage declines would translate to.

More Residents in Flood Zones

Despite the fact that the number of areas in ‘V’ zones decreased from the advisory maps issued in December, however, the total amount of land covered under flood zones in general has increased over the current legal maps, which were put into effect over the past several decades.

The area of Monmouth County determined to be in a flood zone increased by 24 percent under the preliminary maps, while Ocean County’s flood zone area increased by 6 percent. Hudsons County’s flood zones increased by 29 percent. Percentage data was not available for Atlantic County.

“The increases are not as pronounced as we had estimated,” said Reed. “That comes with further refinement in overland wave analysis.”

The latest maps include reworkings of how oceanfront homes are classified under flood zones due to both bulked up dunes in some areas as well as eroded dunes in others, said Reed. Monmouth County lacks Ocean County’s vast back bay environment, but the number of flood zones around tidal rivers there increased.

In urban Hudson County, the high-risk ‘V’ zones declined from the advisory maps, but flood zones overall have widened.

“There is an overall increase in the risk in flood areas,” said McDonnell. “We anticipate that the risk may increase in the future, so going forward, we have to be prepared to address that and mitigate that.”

Flood maps, even after they are finalized, will be “living documents,” said McDonnell.

Going Forward in Rebuilding After Sandy
For New Jersey residents still waiting to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, the new maps could provide some relief – especially to those who transitioned from ‘V’ zones to ‘A’ zones.

Residents and business owners whose buildings were damaged more than 50 percent during the storm have been required thus far to rebuild and elevate using the data included in the advisory maps.

In January, Gov. Chris Christie issued an executive order adopting the advisory maps as the state’s building code, but the order also stated that FEMA’s best available data would constitute the state standard going forward.

Now, the best available data are the preliminary maps, said McDonnell.

There is also a looming threat that flood insurance rates could for homes that are not elevated due to a decision by Congress to end subsidies of flood insurance. Homeowners in flood zones are normally required by their mortgage lenders to obtain flood insurance policies.

The issuance of the preliminary maps kicks off a 90 day appeal and public comment period, said McDonnell. FEMA, during that period, is planning to meet with local officials and host public meetings in affected areas. Municipalities have been invited to provide data to FEMA that could scale back the flood zones even more, said McDonnell.

After the appeal process, FEMA will issue its final determinations then enter a six month adoption period before the maps will begin to determine flood insurance rates.

“Even once the maps go effective, it remains a living document,” said McDonnell. “They’re not just maps to identify and regulate our insurance rates, they’re a planning tool.”

Client Levy Realty Advisors / North Ridge Chiropractic
Project A Tranquil Design Build for North Ridge Chiropractic

Danto Builders just completed phase one of the design build for North Ridge Chiropractic at 5353 North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale; near the Holy Cross Hospital. Alan Levy, owner of Levy Realty Advisors, hired Danto Builders to meet Dr. Kim Etheredge’s goal to create a space that feels like “home and family” for this 30-year-old practice, which she has owned since 2006. Dr. Kim stated, “Home and family is where you get all your healing power…from those that love you the most.”

Together, Danto Builders and Dr. Kim fulfilled her goal with a tranquil space that is welcoming from the time you step off the elevator and towards the glass entry doors. The space was completely gutted and redesigned to create a warm living room and reception area. A hallway leads to nine patient and therapy rooms and then to a beautiful dining room that feels just like home.

Dr. Kim has practiced since 1995, and she is looking forward to welcoming her family, friends, business associates and patients to her open house today, June 29, at 3:00 p.m. until 7 p.m. She also welcomes new patients to stop by as well as providers that may be interested in being a part of her expansion, and objective to build a wellness center that provides a balance of treatments, including acupuncture and laser therapy.

For more information on Danto Builders, see Danto Builder’s Web site.

Location 5353 North Federal Highway, Suite 220, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
North Ridge Chiropractic

Danto Builders hired by Levy Realty Advisors for design build of medical office space.

Danto Builders was hired by Levy Realty Associates for the design build of medical office space nearby Holy Cross Hospital.

Warm living room space at North Ridge Chiropractiv

Warm living room space at North Ridge Chiropractic

North Ridge Chiropractic

Warm reception area

Welcoming reception area.

Chiropractic treatment room

One of nine professional and comfortable treatment rooms.

North Ridge Chiropractic

Massage therepy room

Massage therepy room

Dining room at medical office

A dining room area that feels just like home.

Client Private
Project Custom Home
Description Danto Builders makes progress on the construction of this custom home. Roof tiles were delivered, dry wall was installed, and stucco is being applied; a base coat and then textured coat is applied to the concrete block. For the best stucco application, the mud used must have a pastey consistencey applied by experienced workmen using the same skip-and-trowel technique. For more information, see Danto Builder’s Web site.
Location Hollywood, FL

Stucco application and roof tiles for install on Custom Home

Roof tiles have been delivered, drywall was installed and stucco is being applied.

Stucco application on Custom Home

Consistent Stucco application requires a pastey mud consistency and skilled workmen with the same technique.

Client Private
Project Broward County Required 40-Year Safety Inspection for Apartment Buildings
Description Danto Builders completed an inspection for the required 40-year electrical and structural safety recertification for an apartment complex that received a letter from Broward County. Danto Builders is a Single-source solution to complete the safety inspection and any necessary repairs. For more information, see the 40-Year Inspection page on Danto Builders Web site.
Location Deerfield Beach, FL
Video Video of minor electrical and structural items identified during the 40-year safety inspection.

Concrete restoration required for 40 year recertification

Minor concrete restoration was identified during the inspection.

Proper labeling and fire rating of panels is needed.

Panels must be labeled and fire-rated drywall needs to be installed to prevent a fire hazard.

Client Private
Project Custom Home
Description May, 2013 Update – In the last several months, the exterior walls, pool and shell have been constructed, and the roof, windows and doors have been installed on this Custom Home. The stucco, utilities and MEP roughs are work in process. To contact us, see the Contact Us page.
Location Hollywood, FL
Video Video of Custom Home construction by Danto Builders over the last several months

Construction of concrete wall system for Custom Home

Walls were constructed first to secure the Home.

Custom Home construction update

Custom Home Construction completed as of May, 2013

Client Levy Realty Advisors
Project Tenant Improvement for Bambrella at the ERC Center
Description Added finished office and showroom to this warehouse space and brought up to code.
Location Boca Raton
Video Video Description

Showroom Area

Warehouse / Office