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October 29, 1999

Best Practices, New Technologies Transform 183-year-old Abandoned Townhouse

Remodelers using modern business management programs and advanced technologies have transformed a rundown red brick Philadelphia row house built in 1813 into a home ready for the 21st century. The house renovation demonstration project, called Model reMODEL 1999, will be open to the public November 5-7 during the 1999 National Association of Home Builders Remodelers Show. Builders, subcontractors, and technology representatives will be on hand to answer visitors technical, cost and other questions. Model ReMODEL is sponsored by the NAHB Remodelors Council, the NAHB Research Center, PATH and Professional Remodeler magazine

Located on one of the most picturesque streets in the Society Hill area of downtown--known to the locals as "Millionaire's Row"--268 S. 3rd St., had stood vacant for 25 years. The six month Model reMODEL renovation of the abandoned five-story building called for gutting the interior and installing new interior walls, windows, floor finishes, fixtures, mechanical systems, plumbing system and electrical systems.

Model reMODEL1999 Project Manager Bill Asdal, CGR, of Asdal & Co. Builders in Chester, NJ, introduced systems that enabled remodelers to manage their businesses. Asdal used a business model including scheduling software, computerized estimate, investment pro forma, and cash flow schedule to manage the project.

"Running your business more professionally can only minimize the risk of failure and can potentially increase profits while ensuring longevity in the business," Asdal said. The October issue of Professional Remodeler magazine features an article on how Asdal's business management practices were implemented in Model reMODEL.

Under the auspices of the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing, the NAHB Research Center is monitoring and evaluating the installation, costs, and performance of innovative technologies selected for modelreMODEL1999.

"Technological innovation and historical preservation can be natural allies," PATH Executive Director Elizabeth Burdock said. "In ModelreMODEL1999 remodelers have saved a 19th Century building with cost effective, advanced technologies that make it both livable and comfortable. The NAHB Research Center's survey of the impact of technology in the Philadelphia project should be invaluable to remodelers and preservationists around the country," she said.

The NAHB Research Center will look at the cost for materials and labor for the technologies, including flexible piping, plastic plumbing manifold, programmable thermostat, kitchen recycling center, plastic composite lumber, latex foam sealant, low-VOC paints, and prefinished drywall corners.

Owner Mark Wade, remodeler John Fries and their subcontractors, will be interviewed about the technologies. In addition, industry professionals and consumers will be interviewed during tours of the house.

Industry partners in the project include Broan/Nutone, Fypon Molded Mill work, Kraftmaid Cabinetry; Celotex, GMC Trucks, new England Classic, Vanguard Industries, Weather Shield Windows & Doors. The following suppliers provided advanced technologies: Benjamin Moore, DAP, Kraftmaid, No-Coat, Tekmar, Trex, and Vanguard Industries.

Rodney K. Sutton, editor in chief, Professional Remodeler; 847/390-2556;

Bill Asdal, CGR, project manager; 908/879-4427

Mark Wade, owner; (215) 440-8553

Chad Garner, NAHB Research Center; 301/249-4000, Ext. 397

PATH (202) 708-4370

Content updated on 3/8/2005

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