We are a local business, deeply saddened to see the lives thrown into chaos as a result of the Waldo Canyon Fire, and the destruction of such a beautiful part of our city.  We stand with other local businesses, with sentiments similar to Stauffer & Sons and Classic Homes about the survivor’s situations.  We designed some of the homes that were burned down and we want to be an active part of the healing process.

In the wake of the fire, the Collaborative Design Group met with Wendy Carson of Springs Alliance  to discuss how to help the fire survivors and community of Colorado Springs: in some ways immediately, but even more to help Colorado Springs have the hope of a rebuilt and even improved community.

We were encouraged to hear that the HOA president of the Parkside community, which lost 141 homes in the fire, wants his neighborhood to become better than before.  Out of our discussion came some pieces of advice for those who plan to re-build their homes.

*Before rebuilding on the same site, make sure it is prepared.  The existing foundation will probably be damaged and may have to be removed before construction begins.

New Growth in Yellowstone National Park after the 1988 Fire
*Re-vegetation of the scorched land will protect it from erosion and beautify it for future generations.
*When rebuilding for the long term, it’s beneficial to consider “universal design”. This is a general term referring to accessibility for everyone, including the elderly or disabled.  In a home, basic universal design actually lends a feel of luxury, with larger bathrooms, wider hallways and sometimes elevators.  It also prepares a home so that if the occupant is using a walker or wheelchair in the future, only minor modifications (such as adding grab bars to already-prepared walls) are necessary.

*It’s much easier make a house energy and water efficient as it’s being constructed rather than upgrading later (for example: installing quality HVAC and plumbing).  If a home is built with high efficiency, rebates may cover some or all of related products.  For example, Colorado Springs Utilities offers a $75 rebate for Watersense labeled toilets, which can also save $90 a year in water utility bills.

*If the home owner is planning on rebuilding exactly the same home, then for the most part the house doesn’t have to conform to the current codes.  For example, stairs can be as steep as the previous code allowed when the house was designed.  The main thing that needs to be updated is elements that relate to the Energy Code (for example, extra insulation).  
 
If you want to re-build, we would be happy to help.  Just give us a call or email us.