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Wake Habitat For Humanity's Builders Blitz Starts Monday

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Habitat for Humanity of Wake County's inaugural Builders Blitz is ready to roll.

Tom Gipson, president of Thomas Gipson Homes and one of the area's most respected and well-known builders, is leading a team of 12 of the area's premier custom homebuilders in Wake Habitat's 2002 Builders Blitz.

The builders will build 12 homes in one week's time, starting Monday. Nov. 4, and ending on Friday, Nov. 8. The homes are being built in Habitat's latest subdivision, Biltmore Trace, a 28-home, single-family subdivision in the Biltmore Hills neighborhood of Southeast Raleigh.

Builders that will be building a home with Habitat (in addition to Thomas Gipson Homes) are: Baldwin Homes; Stephen Dilger Homes; Houseman Custom Homes Inc.; Mark Massengill Builder; Skywater Building Co.; Spectrum Homes together with Baron Custom Homes; Tall House Building Co.; Woody Teague, Inc.; Williams Realty & Building Co.; Williams Russell Building Co. Inc.; and Youngquist Construction Inc.

To date, all the site work has been completed, foundations are in place, driveways and sidewalks have been poured, and the basic utilities are connected.

Some of the major materials suppliers for the Builders Blitz are Stock Building Supply, Kitchen and Bath Galleries, and the Whirlpool Corporation. Overall event sponsors are Progress Energy and Triangle Town Center, together with WRAL-TV5.

A normal construction project has many potential pitfalls -- a slow permitting and inspections process, inclement weather, poor subcontractor performance, and more. But this loyal group of contractors has been planning for nearly a year to ensure that all the details fall into place once construction begins.

"One of the most critical things in accomplishing this Blitz is getting the city to cooperate with timely inspections, and they've readily agreed," Gipson said. "Lyle Gardner, another of the 12 builders said, " We builders agree that the weather poses the biggest threat to meeting our one-week goal. But if we don't have major weather problems, it should come off because we've got a schedule that allows us all to finish each house within a week."

Gipson knows how critical it is that the builders and subcontractors get done in a week. They will all need to get back to their very demanding schedules.

The builders' vendors and suppliers will donate the majority of the building materials and much of the labor.

"We've had a tremendous response," said Gipson. "We divided up into teams to contact the suppliers and subcontractors. Just about everyone we called was willing to cooperate in any way they could."

About 90 percent of the materials and labor have been donated by over 200 suppliers. And, the Wake County banking and real estate communities along with some key individual donors, have stepped up to fill in the gaps on the funding for the $900,000 project. Even area restaurants have joined, providing lunches each day so the builders won't have to leave the worksite.

Plans call for the following construction schedule:

  • Monday: framing
  • Tuesday: HVAC, plumbing, and electrical rough-ins, insulation, drywall, roofing, and siding
  • Wednesday: interior trim, cabinets, and exterior paint
  • Thursday: interior painting, electrical, and plumbing trim-outs
  • Friday: carpet and vinyl, final grading and landscaping
  • Red, Hot, and Blue and Harris Wholesale are donating a barbecue supper late Friday afternoon -- a time for the builders, suppliers, and contractors to visit and celebrate with the new homeowners.

    "What we get back from this is knowing in our hearts that we are doing something good for the community and for these twelve deserving families. It is my dream that this will be the first of many blitz builds to come in Wake County," said Gibson.

    "Completing these 12 homes in one week will make it possible for Wake County Habitat to meet the goal of completing its 200th house sometime prior to March 1, 2003. These 12 homes are an essential part of our plans to build 50 houses in our current fiscal year," said Greg Kirkpatrick, executive director of Wake County Habitat. "This blitz build increases this affiliate's capacity in so many ways and is a major milestone for us. We are so pleased to be building momentum with the greater building community as our partners."