July, 2008, LAKEWOOD, NJ—The goal, among other objectives, of the new Remodelers Council at the Shore Builders Association of Central New Jersey (SBACNJ) is high: raise the level of professionalism among local remodelers. In today’s market, when many companies are staying focused on their “bottom line,” the largest trade association of its kind in Monmouth, Ocean, Mercer and Middlesex Counties, is looking forward to serving the needs of the growing market.
“We are very enthusiastic about the Remodelers Council, which has about 30 founding members,” said Linda Bernaski, President of SBACNJ. “Since only SBACNJ members are eligible to join the Council, we encourage interested remodelers to inquire about becoming a member of the Association and the many benefits of joining a great group of peers.”
“Remodelers have come a long way: from a fragmented seasonal industry to a dynamic force of professionals,” said Richard Robinson, Chair of the SBACNJ Remodeling Council. “Homes need maintenance. Therefore, homeowners need remodelers. The Council is fulfilling a strong need for training and networking that will greatly benefit remodelers, and, in turn, area homeowners,” concluded Robinson, who is a seasoned remodeler and building industry expert currently running his company “$ & I Buying Network, located in Point Pleasant, NJ.
Elevating the image of the professional remodeler and educating the public are
key to SBACNJ member Mark Elia, principal of Mark of Excellence Remodeling, Inc., based in West Long Branch, NJ. While Elia’s company has been helping homeowners throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties realize their home improvements needs for over 20 years, it has also edged its “mark of excellence” on the national remodeler’s scene. Mark of Excellence recently won four “Innovation in Construction Awards” from Remodeling News Magazine for completed projects in Monmouth County. The company has an in-house sales, marketing and project coordination personnel, employs certified carpenters, and Mark Elia himself is a Certified Graduate Remodeler.
“It’s quite rewarding to help a homeowner from initial planning stages through the final details of their home’s transformation,” said Elia. “People have to make key decisions when major renovations are desired. That makes it much more important for a homeowner to do business with a professional remodeler and not gamble their home - their most valuable asset,” Elia explained.
Professional remodelers who strive to earn designations, according to Elia, have an ongoing commitment to the industry by staying abreast of the newest trends, mastering their craft and applying new technologies and products in the most creative ways. To earn a designation, in most cases, a remodeler must complete a series of industry-specific education courses, provide letters of recommendation, a proof of licensing and insurance and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics.
“The SBACNJ Remodelers Council will develop a plan to offer Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) and the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) programs. Local remodelers will have a convenient local venue to attend training and work toward receiving these professional certifications,” said Michael Kaiser, Owner of the Cranbery, NJ-based KAISER BUILDING, Co., who holds several professional designations, including Certified Green Professional (CGP).
According to Kaiser, while consumers today are not spending on big remodeling projects as compared to several years ago, they are increasingly considering green and energy-efficient remodeling updates. More and more, consumers are requesting better insulation, high efficiency heating and cooling equipment, and energy-efficient windows, plumbing fixtures and appliances.
With the Baby Boomers, local remodelers are also responding to a growing demand for “age-in-place” remodels. Even minor improvements such as improving lighting and installing grab bars in bathrooms and showers can make a big difference in the lives of seniors. Other projects include creating no-step doors and entryways, adding seated work areas in the kitchen, and adding “lifestyle suites” for live-in aging parents/grandparents.
Another growing trend in Central New Jersey is “hardscaping” or creating outside living spaces. With people travelling and vacationing less, the emphasis is on extending the living space outside by installing patios, decks, built-in barbeques, bars and full-service outdoor kitchens that are great places for relaxation and entertaining.
Headquartered in Lakewood, the Shore Builders Association of Central New Jersey is a housing industry trade association of member firms, including builders, developers, architects, landscapers, subcontractors and other trades and consulting professionals serving Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex and Mercer Counties.
To find out more about joining the Remodelers Council and eligibility requirements, as well as to learn more about the SBACNJ, visit www.shorebuilders.org. or call (732) 364-2828.
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