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Building Safe and Beautiful

by Mandy Blume
Blumestone safe and beautiful

Safe and Beautiful

Marketing a business seems simple enough, but in construction, we usually get jobs by “word-of-mouth”. People generally share how we are on time and how beautiful, but it’s not easy to explain what truly makes us different. Over and over, we find our clients do not realize the effort we put into creating a safe and beautiful environment. It’s an odd thing to explain, but the materials in the structure truly make a difference.

The best comparison is having a 5-star prepared meal; but one chef uses grocery store ingredients that are 5-14 days old and ripened in transit versus a chef who goes to the farmer’s market and gets fresh, ripe, organic ingredients as much as possible. This is our effort in the building business.

Many folks tell us that we should market this difference. But we find that since it is not a common practice, people aren’t sure why our efforts are important. But just like the food we consume builds a stronger body; better materials, a few simple adjustments, and intentional placement, truly make a safer environment in our constructions.

After completing college together in Mechanical Engineering and Business, we respectively pursued higher degrees and certifications in health. These combinations and having kids with compromised immune systems shape the way we design and build.

Tangible Experience

Jim is brilliant at solving problems with his unique engineering brain. Where some see a fast way to make it look pretty and get out, we see the opportunity to create a space with a little less electrical interference, a little less off-gas, a little more functionality, and thusly, a lot more natural place.

As expected, each job is unique and provides a fun challenge. Every job requires us to identify how we can best use our skills to create a sound structure that fits the client’s wishes, while we “step it up” to provide the cleanest environment which optimizes health in their living/ working space. Our vision is to make each build safe and beautiful, from the “Inside Out”.

Not all of our recommendations cost a lot of money. One simple way to improve a space is incorporating live plants. We share our thoughts about it in this article. These learnings over the years are why our goal of “Building a Better Lifestyle” is so rewarding. When we have clients tell us how great they feel in the new place, or share the excitement of how their space is so clean and peaceful; we know we have succeeded.

 

 

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Construction during a Pandemic

by Mandy Blume
Construction in a Pandemic

Pandemic Impact on Construction

Today we face a pandemic, and it seems we are facing more than a virus. In construction, as we race to help in crisis circumstances, I’m reflective of the day. In this particular time, it appears we are also facing; fear, panic, rumors, re-prioritizing of affairs, and… a lack of toilet tissue.

Twenty years ago, when Jim moved from his professional desk job to a “hands-on construction job” with Walt Disney World, there was a noticeable difference when someone asked our profession. With a professional desk job as a Mechanical Engineer, graduating from California Polytechnic University, in the top 5%, the respect was evident. However, when he wanted to get his hands dirty and build, and we started a business, the tone changed. 

The response didn’t matter so much because we love what we do. Taking ugly things or nothing and building something beautiful and biodynamic is a rewarding career for both of us. It’s fun to guide and watch; a business owner create a space to fulfill that dream, or a family move into a place they can call home. 

However, in the twenty years of building, this pandemic is changing things in areas we didn’t expect.

A New Liftstation

A few months back, we installed a new pump for a lift station at a job site. We had to convert and renovate six hotel buildings into 300 workforce apartments. 

It’s been fun to watch homeless families move into the complex with grant monies provided and experience the gratitude of folks moving into their very own apartment. We were hired to do this job, but we get to see the joy of these families. Most tell us this is the most beautiful and most affordable apartment in the area. It puts a smile on our faces, and our team sleeps well at night. The developer showed us other projects and explained that our work is leagues above the rest. Now make no mistake, other folks haven’t lost a kid to cancer while fostering to adopt. Our experiences cause us to take a less profit margin so we can build with more biodynamic materials.

We use granite, which is durable and wooden cabinet doors and boxes. There is a lot less toxins in the properties we build. But that means that we do not have the high margins of the other contractors. When we get this feedback from the folks who are living in the places we build; well, these moments are extraordinary. Certainly, one day we hope to create a demand for more green building (less toxins), and we hope to have better margins.

studio-apartments pandemic

But today, on Sunday, a frantic call comes. Many folks already seem to be on edge from this pandemic virus. But on this call, the newly installed lift station is broken. As our team gathers and creates a by-pass so everyone can still shower and use the bathroom, we discover the problem. 

Rags

Rags are clogging the pump at the lift station. Our best guess is that because there are people who bought lots of toilet tissue, there are, in contrast, folks with no toilet tissue. 

Therefore, as we pull wipes and rags out of the clogged pipes, we call the owner. The volume of rags is alarming. After a discussion, it is determined that we should buy a grinding pump to chew up the rags and keep the pipes flowing. The work begins.

These are not pretty nor beautiful moments, but it is undoubtedly the time when you realize how essential it is to keep our infrastructure up. I’m not going to show you a picture of the before, but the area is clean now. We may not get the professional accolades as tradesmen, but we are proud to be included with the many men and women who keep homes and businesses functioning. 

It’s happening all over the place. Tampa, Florida calls it the Fatberg.

Fatberg from pandemic

lift station and a pandemic

Flowing

The new pump is working great, and we hope that the posted notices to: “not flush rags down the toilet” along with our super-chomper pump will manage these unexpected consequences of a pandemic virus.

But we also feel a sense of pride as we stand with our fellow tradesman in keeping the infrastructure going; our waste pick-up drivers, mail carriers, farmers, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, and more. It is in times like these that we realize we are all in this together, and we are all essential.