Home construction is always a challenge. Proving you can build a house with only materials made in the USA is even more challenge. Learn how one determined couple succeeded with only a few surprises, including a price tag that isn't much higher than a home built with imported products.
This amazing story began when Greg and Jennifer Gent started planning their new home in Belle Isle, Florida. They decided to only use products and materials “made in the USA”. Thanks to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, we can all learn how one homeowner's commitment to American made products is becoming reality.
Home Construction and Commitment to Build USA
When Greg and Jennifer started planning their new home, they wondered if they could build using only products made in the USA? From that question came a commitment which they accomplished with just 2 rules:
- All products had to be made in the US although companies could be based outside the US.
- All workers had to be legal residents of the US, which is significant when building in Florida and a challenge throughout the construction industry almost anywhere in the US.
Challenge #1 – Home Construction Start with a Builder
The first challenge the Gents had was finding the right builder, someone who understood and would support their commitment to Build in the USA. They talked to several builders and picked John Carr, owner of JPC Construction, for his attention to detail and commitment to American made products.
Challenge #2 – Finding Products Made in the USA
The Gents started checking all the products. Then their builder soon took over and eventually the subs were checking everything to verify made in America. You might think it's easy to identify where home construction products come from but it's not. This story about concrete and the raw materials that go into its' manufacture, illustrates the complexity of building a home”.
- Footings, slab and block – were provided by A-1 Block, a local family owned business. The Gents visited A-1 Block and got a tour of the plant and learned …
- Sand and limestone is supplied by – E.R. Jahna in Lake Wales, FL.
- Cement is supplied by – American Cement Company in Sumterville, FL.
- Rock used in the concrete – is sourced from South Florida and the Yucatan. A-1 agreed to make sure that the materials sent to the Gent's house were all sourced from Florid rock!
Challenge #3 – Home Construction with Legal Workers
Another challenge faced by John Carr, the builder, was finding legal workers with the skills needed for the job. That's because many skilled workers left Florida during the housing slump that began in 2007. With home construction beginning to pick up in 2012, the pool of available specialty contractors is in high demand.
Home Construction Costs When Build USA
Every home construction project has its own challenges. Most problems aren't visible to the homeowners, so the Gents involvement was unique. The Gents worked closely with everyone, documenting each step of their home construction project on their website, BuildTheUSA.us.
So of course the big question is how much “built in the USA” added to the cost of this house construction project? That's the amazing part of this story – this home construction strategy is one most homeowners can do!
- “Ensuring the house was built with US products, materials and labor added several weeks.”
- “Carr … estimated the additional cost of wrapping the house in a virtual American flag was about $2,500 to $3,000, or about 1 percent of the overall cost of construction.”
Home Construction Vendors & Build USA
Doing something the first time involves a learning curve. Fortunately, the Gents in their commitment to “American-made products mean American jobs, and this country certainly needs jobs.” also made a commitment to help other homeowners follow in their steps.
At BuildtheUSA.us (not dot-com), there's a downloadable vendor list with the home construction products and contractors used for this house. Right now that means no ceiling fans but they do know someone who might build them … in the USA of course!