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September 2016 Build

What the H?

In 1986, while a partner in an architectural and design firm, David Horobin was introduced to IsoRast, the original, German insulated concrete form product. He immediately recognized the extraordinary benefits of the product—lighter weight, faster construction and higher quality walls with less materials, environmental impact and time required resulting in less cost to build. Architects and designers love that the forms are flexible enough to allow a wide range of design options, including any radius down to 2 feet. He brought the product to Northern California and redesigned it to make it compatible and acceptable to U.S. building codes.

Fast-forward to 2015, and Napa-based H-Forms, Inc. has evolved into a complete system for creating beautiful landscape walls faster, with less material and higher quality than is possible using traditional concrete masonry unit (concrete block or cinder-block) products. The system includes forms, stucco, waterproofing and adhesives). All products are warranted to be compatible, taking the guesswork out of it for architects, contractors and DIYers alike.

Based on insulated concrete form technology (ICF), the system lets homeowners, landscape contractors and developers build walls with less material, a lower carbon footprint, less physical wear and tear and far more design options than traditional approaches.

H-Forms are made of expanded polystyrene (EPS), a closed-cell, lightweight rigid-foam that doesn’t contain chlorofluorocarbons or formaldehyde and is easily recycled. Forms are manufactured under strict EPA guidelines and have one-third to one-quarter of the embodied energy (the energy required to mine, harvest, grow, manufacture, ship and unload material to a building site) of concrete block. A large truckload of H-Forms weighs only 3,500 pounds (equivalent to 224,000 pounds of concrete blocks).

Major developers, homeowners and landscaping professionals have used H-Forms to build stunning retaining walls, patio walls and monuments, as well as swimming pools and other features, with contours and curves not possible with CMU construction. Design options are limited only by your imagination, but for much less cost and more benefits to all.

A Floor Plan for You

Looking to upgrade your home but don’t know where to start? Houseplans can help you find the perfect design for your future getaway, starting literally from the ground up. Founded in 2004, the Petaluma-based architectural design firm has a database with thousands of designs from dozens of award-winning architects, complete with customization options to create that extra magic that turns a house into a home.

Clients can filter the database by size, number of rooms or special orders/shapes. They can save prospective designs and compare costs and features side-by-side when they’re ready to buy. After committing to a design, Houseplans drafts a “ready to build” copy for the client to distribute to bidding contractors. However, because permitting is different on a county-by-county basis, Houseplans does not include a plumbing or air-conditioning design draft with their plans, and instead recommends clients discuss with their contractors how to best install these features in their area.

Whether it’s a single-story home in an L-shape, a two-story house with a grand loft accessible by ladder or even a cinema space in the basement connected by a secret entrance via the central kitchen, Houseplans has the designs and the know-how for building to order.

In the world where unlimited creativity can paralyze a designer, Houseplans’ ready-made designs lay the foundation and help home seekers visualize their dream abode.

Construction by the Numbers

We all know that housing is in short supply in the North Bay. You may be happy to learn that construction is on the rise, with a plethora of new building and unit permits approved in 2015, the most popular by far being single family homes.

• Sonoma County approved 431 single-family building permits, with a total of 458 new building permits and 621 new unit permits approved in 2015.

• Napa County approved 170 single-family building permits, with a total of 171 new building permits and 172 new unit permits approved in 2015.

• Marin County approved 201 single-family building permits, with a total of 223 new building permits and 390 new unit permits approved in 2015.



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