Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pricing for the New Year

As mentioned back in October, we haven't had any price changes since early 2011. It appears that we will be having an 8% increase at the end of this year. 8% does not get us back to where we were in 2011 but it will help defray some of the increases that we have experienced in the past few years. No one likes to hear about a price hike but alas, we have no choice. We will try to hold the new pricing as long as we can since we know that many folks have already budgeted for 2014 projects. Naturally, all contracts in place before the increase will not be affected. It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. –Abraham Lincoln

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chimney Cleaning Tip

If you have a woodstove, it should be cleaned every year or so. You can hire a Chimney Sweep to do it for you which is great if you can afford it and don't want to get up on the roof. You can purchase a chimney brush with the fiberglass extensions and clean it yourself. A more simpler method is to get a long tow chain, remove the chimney top, lower the chain into the pipe as far as you can and make circular motions for a minute or two. You will hear the creosote breaking loose and falling down the pipe. In the older woodstoves, it will fall into the fire box. In the newer stoves, you will need to remove the black pipe closest to the stove and suck the debris out with a shopvac. Good Luck! "You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try." –Beverly Sills

Friday, November 8, 2013

Home Kit Comparisons

We are asked many times a month about how our kits compare to our competitor, a large material supplier here in Alaska. Up until now we have never published the difference, and there is a big difference. Their kits look similar to ours but there are several major differences. 1. Our kits come with bigger floor joist, bigger rafters, and are framed 16" on center instead of 24". The larger rafters and floor joist allow for higher R values in the insulation. 2. Our kits are designed to meet the residential and energy code. 3. We can make any change the customer wants including windows, doors, decks, arctic entries and any other feature requested. Their kits are not changeable. 4. We have a toll-free hotline for customers to call for assistance in building. Since we are a licensed General contractor, we can actually send out a carpenter or two to help out if you get in a bind. 5. We offer training in advance of construction to all of our customers who want to participate. 6. We send an instructional DVD with the kit. (They do as well now that they saw us do it) 7. We carry optional leveling devices for homes and cabins built on unstable soils. We are not saying they don't have a good product, just pointing out some differences. "Never run down your competitor, especially when they are your major supplier." (Anonymous Alaskan General Contractor)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Extreme Conditions Kit Options

We are in the process of developing three insulation options for your DIY kits to meet the needs of rural Alaskans. Our standard kit consists of the framing shell and includes foundation, framing, windows, doors and metal roof. The standard kits do not include wiring, plumbing, insulation or drywall etc. We have found that many in bush Alaska need more energy efficient options. With oil prices as high as $9.00 per gallon and even more in some areas, it makes good sense to spend the money up front for energy efficiency. On the road system, fuel prices are quite reasonable in comparison so the payback on energy efficient upgrades may not warrant the extra cost for super insulation which is quite costly. Naturally, there are many ways to make a home more energy efficient and we are starting out by offering three options for the DIY kits. We are in the process of building a price list for the super insulated kits right now. If you would like pricing on a particular model you can email or call and we can get the pricing for you very quickly.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

10,000 Likes by Halloween

We originally thought we would hit 10,000 likes on Facebook by Thanksgiving but it looks like we'll hit it before Halloween. This has really taken us by surprise and we would like to thank everyone for their support. Our kits have become increasingly popular and we are now advertising to the bush in the "Bushmailer". "Don’t wait. The time will never be just right." –Napoleon Hill

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pictures for Facebook

We are encouraging our past clients to send us pictures of your finished project so we can post them on Facebook. The most common question I receive is what they look like on the inside. Naturally we won't post names or locations without approval. It is fun to look at projects a couple of years down the road and see the finished product. We are closing in on 10,000 Facebook 'Likes' this month which is quite amazing since we had less than 800 in February. We're trying to keep the posts fresh by posting three times a week so please join us! Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others. –H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Custom Designs

We encourage everyone to bring us their plans and ideas. We specialize in efficient onstruction methods but sometimes the most appealing designs are not very efficient. If you have seen a plan somewhere that you really like, send us a picture or a bar napkin sketch and we can usually make it happen for you. Remember, we want to build your dream not what someone else thinks your dream should be. "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." –Benjamin Franklin

Monday, October 14, 2013

2014 Prices

We will undoubtedly be forced to have a price increase before the end of the year. Our last increase was in the Spring of 2011 and we have seen things go up dramatically since then. Judging by our bookings for next season, 2014 should be a very strong year. As a small construction company, we are limited as far as how many projects we can take on. We have limited our Western Alaska projects to DIY kits since the expense of sending a crew is cost prohibitive in most instances. The kits are becoming more and more popular each year and we are constructing a new shop this year to keep up with the demand. We are also offering several finish package options which saves our bush customers from coming to town and trying to find everything they need for electrical, plumbing and insulation etc. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover." –Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Warm Weather

Due to our warm fall weather, we are able to take more work than we anticipated. We are still pouring concrete and excavating. If you have interest in building yet this season don't hesitate to let us know. We normally are winding down on our concrete pours this time of year since we have to heat and tent when it starts getting cold. We excavate and install pilings and sono-tubes all winter long however. Even under the best winter conditions, we can't usually start driving on the local lakes until after Thanksgiving which gives us plenty of time to build on the road system. "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. –Chinese Proverb"

Monday, October 7, 2013

Update on SIPS

We have been working with the manufacturer on a custom SIPS panel and we think we have arrived at a real winner. We will be introducing our 'FCC Super-Insulated Arctic Home' option in a few weeks. Our first offering will be a 24 x 36 single level with R-44 Floor, R-44 Walls, R-50 Ceiling with Triple Glaze windows. The super insulated shell will run around $75K and will have a Rough-Sawn no-groove T1-11 exterior and a 1/2" fire rated ACX interior. All interior wiring boxes and chases will be ready for wiring. The interior walls will be in but will need sheetrock and paint etc. Heating costs on this package will be 1/3 of what it costs to heat a conventional home of the same size so the increase in cost of the construction will easily be paid back in a few years.
We go on multiplying our conveniences only to multiply our cares. We increase our possessions only to the enlargement of our anxieties. -Anna C.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

SIPS Panels

We are soon going to be offering Structural Insulated Panels or SIPS as an option for all of our kits. We will have super insulated walls, floors and roofs available in all sizes and styles. SIPS are a higher price than conventional frame buildings but offer a superior insulated envelope. We will have more information to follow. Stay Tuned! There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little. -Jackie French Koller

Saturday, September 21, 2013

2013 State Fair

The 2013 State Fair was a great success this year. It seems that most of the visitors to our booth had already seen us on facebook. We've had numerous calls and visits from folks who came to see us at the fair and we are grateful for all the past clients that came by to say hi. It just so happened that we received three emergency orders to get on the barge for Galena during the fair so we had to have all hands on deck during that time. To those who came by, thank you, and hope to see you again. Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. -E.F. Schumacker

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall and Winter Scheduling

We have somehow managed to stay on schedule this season even with all the rain. We are now scheduling for next summer but we still have start dates available between now and then. Scheduling for off-road work after freeze-up starts early in the summer but we still have space for yours. We even have a few start dates open before freeze-up due to our excellent crews finishing work early. The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. -Socrates

Monday, July 29, 2013

Alaska State Fair

We will be at the Alaska State Fair again this year from August 22 to September 2. We will have some small models of our cabins and hundreds of pictures to view as well as knowledgeable staff to answer any of your building questions. Look forward to seeing you there! Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Power Of Facebook

I never thought Facebook would be a part of our marketing strategy but alas, it certainly is. We started out slowly with a few likes here and there and now we're at 4000 and growing every day. It has really been helpful in determining which cabins grab the most interest. The feedback is instantaneous. We also get a few folks who post negative comments but by and large it has been a positive experience. We are trying to post new material several times a week so everyone can see our work. If you haven't joined us already come on board!

Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
Aldous Huxley

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Scheduling

Even with the late break-up, we are finally getting back on schedule. I thought we would be lagging behind all summer since we got such a late start. Thanks to efficient crew members and working a little overtime; we are able to open some more start dates in August and September. If you were putting off calling us since we were booked solid, give us a shout and we can probably take care of your building needs this season after all.
There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little. -Jackie French Koller

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The First Kit Seminar

We did our first kit seminar this last Saturday and I think it went pretty well. I encourage anyone that is going to be building a kit to attend one our workshop/seminars to get a handle on the process. We can show you many short cuts and time savers and help you avoid some frustration. We will be doing another Kit training day after the State Fair. It will either be on September 7th or the 14th. The training takes about four hours and should be well worth your time if you are building one of our kits. See You There!! The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. -Socrates

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The 'Free Cabin For a Family in Need'

The 'Free Cabin for a Family in Need' is now ready for interior finish. When we started to move forward with this idea of providing a free home for someone in need, we weren't prepared for the enormity of the need and the overwhelming requests for help. We are only a small company with very limited resources but we figured we would try to do a small part. Even though it seems like one grain of sand on the beach, it's still worthwile. When we first announced the Free Cabin idea, we received a check for $20 to help from a lady we had built for. Her and her husband were both on disability and that $20 was a lot to give for them. I was so moved by this that I pinned it to the wall in my office to remind me we were on the right track. To whom much is given is much required. [Luke 12:48]

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Kit Cabins!

Our kit cabins have become very popular and we are constantly looking for new ways to improve and promote our product. Many have told us that they like our kits because they can customize them any way they wish to. Most kit companies have certain plans and it is quite expensive to make changes if you are allowed to at all. Some companies have no proceudure for making design changes. I can certainly understand why; changes do take time and involve re-drawing and engineering but we are small enough to do the changes in-house to prepare the kit for your dream cabin. We still have a four to six week lead time on kits and our Kit Seminar/Workshop is going to be on June 22. If you want to join us, please email and let us know you plan to come so we know how many to expect. I will email directions to where we are going to be having it. Depending on how well it goes, we are planning on another Seminar in September after the State Fair. Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

Sunday, May 12, 2013

2013 Scheduling Update!

This has been an interesting spring to say the least. This is my 35th year in Alaska and I don't remember a later break-up. This has slightly altered our schedule and we have been forced to start a few jobs late due to the heavy frost still in the ground but we are also bringing back some past crew members to help us to keep up with the demand. We still have some start dates available for the summer and several in the fall as well. The demand for kits is double what we have experienced in the past which speaks well for our local economy in general. We are holding the kit seminar on June 22 to give kit builders a confidence boost before they start. Don't hesitate to call us about your upcoming project, we'll try to figure a way to accommodate you. I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs. Frederick Douglass

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Shout out to Wasim at Google

It may seem that all huge companies are so big that they have no time for us little guys but I can say that Google adwords has been exactly opposite. You would think a company with annual revenues of 50 billion would be all electronic and impersonal but I have learned that they do listen to us small businesses. I was contacted by email many times by a man named Wasim and I never responded because I thought it was junk mail. Finally, I received a phone call from Wasim letting me know that some of the things I was doing on Adwords was costing me much more than it should and that I should change some keywords and budget amounts. Many of the budget amounts that I was using were too high and he helped me several times over the phone to streamline my advertising campaigns. Not only does he return calls promptly; he also keeps an eye on my account to make sure I am getting optimum bang for my buck. All of this with a cheerful and helpful attitude. To say I am impressed is a vast understatement. 'Thanks Wasim!' Hire character. Train skill. – Peter Schutz

Monday, April 29, 2013

Kit Seminar Date

We have finalized the kit seminar for June 22. If you have purchased a kit from us or are considering one, please let us know and we will give you the time and place. We will cover everything from inventory to screwing the roof down and installing windows and doors. We won't be able to teach anyone to be a journeyman carpenter but we will take a lot of the guesswork out of doing one of our kits. Look forward to seeing you there. We will announce on our facebook page a few weeks out as well. You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Dale Carnegie

Saturday, April 20, 2013


We have finally finished the price sheet for our Metal Pole Buildings. We are taking orders now for this coming summer. Please call or email if you have any questions.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring Ice!

As the days get warmer and the snow melts, be careful when driving on the ice. This is the time of the year when holes develop in the ice that you may not be able to see. We used to pride ourselves as the first ones on the ice and the last ones off. Happily, we no longer have that attitude and are a lot more conservative when traveling on the ice. We have never lost a vehicle or machine on the ice but that was just dumb luck not a result of forward thinking. If you are the last person driving on the ice, it's only a matter of time and the law of averages will catch up! When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow. Shauna Niequist

Monday, April 8, 2013

Is the Blog worthwhile?

When I first started writing the blog in November 2009, I really didn't expect anyone to actually read it. I figured we needed a blog because every other company with a website had some sort of a Blog. I have been amazed by how many folks have told me they read the blog. I've tried to bring up some interesting topics concerning building in Alaska but I sometimes feel that the stuff I post is so much common knowledge that why bother? The blog will continue thanks to the encouragement I have received over the past few years. I do welcome suggestions for future posts. Thanks for reading! Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...it's learning to dance in the rain. - idk_

Friday, April 5, 2013


Over the years we have been asked many times if we can do pole buildings. We have done a few but we normally referred potential customers to our friends at All Purpose Buildings. Since they are no longer doing pole buildings, we are going to be introducing several sizes this year. The pole buildings are great for shops, barns, hangars, warehouses and any other large spaces and are slightly less expensive than conventional frame buildings. If you have need of a pole building in the future contact us for more information. We will be posting sizes and pricing next month. For a large heated space, nothing beats a pole building insulated with urethane. When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us. - Alexander Graham Bell

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kit Seminar

We have had a pretty good winter for working so far. We've had good ice conditions without severe cold which makes for good building. Summer is very busy but we still have a few start dates available in some areas. We will be spread throughout the state again this year so if you have building needs, let us know and we'll see if we can take care of it. Kits are becoming more and more popular, especially for the remote areas and we are planning a one day seminar in June for those that need some guidance before doing it alone. The date will be around the 22nd or 29th of June so if you have interest in a kit, contact us and we will sign you up for the seminar so you will be more comfortable doing it yourself. “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well". From: "More Maxims of Mark” ― Mark Twain

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Remote Cabins-The reality show?

The facination with Alaska themes seems to be everywhere on reality TV. From Flying and fishing to Gold mining and Taxidermy, you name it, they're making a show about it. We have been approached at least a half dozen times in the past few years to be involved in a reality show. My response has been that a well run company shouldn't have too much drama. Without conflict and drama, it is pretty boring to watch. We have been striving for over twenty years to build a boring, well-run company. Naturally we don't always succeed, but we certainly don't want a camera hovering over everytime something goes wrong. People watch car racing for the wrecks and hockey for the fights. I have to admit, the most interesting part of a show is when things go bad or people have conflict. Fist fights are a bonus! A remote cabin building TV show?....thanks for asking but no thanks!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Schedule

Now is the time to get on the schedule for this season. We still have start dates available this summer and fall but they usually go pretty fast. The cabin kits have been very popular and we are constantly improving the system as we get feedback from our kit builders. We are going to add several new plans this year, including two duplex plans. We also build from custom plans so if you have plans you want built, we can certainly build from them. If you have building needs this year; send an email or give us a call and we will start the process with you. The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. -Socrates