Builder Architect Magazine
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home Maureen Miller built
and designed for the Whittakers was completed in March of 2002 and provides
ample evidence of the company's commitment to quality and creativity. Prior
to undertaking the design and construction of the Whittaker house, Miller
had experienced concrete home construction in Israel. Miller had also designed
and specified the ICF system on another project in Louisiana.
In the preliminary planning of the Whittaker house, Miller studied various concrete building systems and traveled to a variety of trade shows in an effort to find a system that allowed for a maximum amount of quality and architectural flexibility. Simply put, Miller wanted to make every effort possible to ensure that she would employ only the best materials in the project. This process also included assessing and surveying the actual building site and visiting with various Austin builders to gauge what concrete building systems, if any, were being used in our area.
Her investigations ultimately led her to Bob Taggart, of Capitol Aggregates, and the ECO-Block® Insulated Concrete Form System. Capitol Aggregates is the Greater Austin area's distributor of the ECO-Block® system, and Miller's decision to settle on the vendor's system came only after serious investigation. Of the various building systems surveyed, Miller determined that the ECO-Block® system offered the greatest degree of architectural flexibility and structural integrity for her purposes.
The ECO-Block® system included several structural and practical advantages not available to Miller in other concrete building systems. Structurally, the system afforded Miller an adaptability as regards to wall thickness, contouring, and general stylistic versatility not present in other ICF systems.
Moreover, ECO-Block® would not confine Miller to any particular building style and allowed her to incorporate architectural enhancements such as arches and expansive window schemes that she could apply to the Whittaker house, which Miller describes as Mediterranean with a soft contemporary influence.
Aside from the architectural advantages available through ECO-Block®, the system also boasts resistance to water damage, inclement weather, mold, fire, and insect infestation. The system also possesses an energy efficiency unrivaled by conventional framed construction. Based on studies Miller has seen, the Whittaker home will save about one-third of the energy costs of a conventionally framed house of the same size.
The system's collective advantages also translate into lower insurance premiums that provide homeowners with significant short- and long-term financial advantages. Many insurance companies extend discounts to ICF homeowners because ICF systems are secure and stand up against a variety of threats, includingbut not limited tofire and weather hazards. In the short term, homeowners who use the system can reap the rewards of lower monthly insurance payments as well as lower utility bills.
Additionally, employing ECO-Block® ICF systems reduces overall construction time, as ICF walls go up more quickly than traditionally built frame housing.
The basic structure of the Whittaker house went up in a little less than one day. Miller comments that construction began at 5 a.m. and continued through 2 a.m. the following morning. The structural goal was to do a continuous pour of concrete in lift stages to create a monolithic integrity of the concrete, steel reinforcement and ICF system. Fifteen-foot plate lines took some hard work. That Miller embraced this challenge clearly demonstrates that Miller Manor Homes will walk where other builders may fear to tread.
Miller took pleasure in working with the ECO-Block® system and enjoyed the business relationships she developed with all of her subs, consultants and suppliers. She readily acknowledges that the quality of the Whittaker house is a tribute to a team effort between herself and her contractors.
In short, the Whittaker venture encapsulates Miller's strong belief that "good people breed good projects." There is little doubt that the project Miller Manor Homes undertook for the Whittakers foreshadows the commitment to quality, creativity and style Miller will extend to her future custom home clients.