New Single Family Residence – Newport Beach, CA
May 9, 2012
To whom it may concern,
I retained the services of Varkel Construction, Inc. prior to obtaining final city approval of my plans to build a new home on Kings Road in Newport Beach CA. Varkel Construction, Inc. was instrumental in obtaining final plan check approval from the City of Newport Beach planning and building departments. The scope of work included complete demolition of my old wood framed house, excavate and grade the site, and install approximately 600 feet of retaining walls with 65 feet deep pilings at 6 feet intervals and then construct a new 8,900 square feet 4 level house out of concrete, steel, and glass with stucco exterior and copper roof (no wood allowed).
The site is on a hill side and a great deal of attention had to be paid to be in compliance with Newport Beach building codes. Many visits by geologist, surveyors, architect and city building inspectors were required to sign off on the construction progress. Most contentious phase occurred between the steel fabricator and architect when the steel skeleton was being erected. An all hands meeting quickly resolved the issues at my office. The contractor did an excellent job of obtaining competitive quotes for material and labor. The steel subcontract came in at approximately 60% of budget and the concrete subcontractor did excellent work at a reasonable cost (not only did he work with his men on the job but was very polite with his father who helped on the job site and he displayed a wonderful sense of humor when an irate neighbor complained about the noise from a jack hammer).
Varkel Construction suggested many ideas that decreased the overall project cost and/or improved the features of the house. In turn, Varkel Construction incorporated many new ideas from my architect and me such as one foot thick exterior walls with zigzag vertical studding to eliminate heat conduction paths from outside to inside then filled with insulation to greatly exceed Title 24 specs. In addition Varkel is now a convert to the use of heat pumps for HVAC and generating hot water. Coupled with the exclusive use of compact fluorescent lighting, the monthly electricity bill is about $200.00!! Varkel devoted a great deal of effort to ensure that the three decks (that are the roofs for the level below) are water tight and only requires periodic maintenance and resurfacing every ten years. Varkel did an excellent job of selecting the best faux rock facade material for the Tuscan style house and an artisan craftsman as installer.
Varkel Construction is to be commended on their tight scheduling of the subcontractors, and the excellent bookkeeping of costs and the accurate submittals to my bank for progress payments. Varkel Construction, Inc. is a very competent contractor with a surprising amount of depth for a small outfit. They handled the project very well and could have tackled a bigger job. If I were to do it over again, Varkel would be my first choice. They helped me to reach many correct decisions on subjects that required more knowledge than I had. It was fun and educational working with them. The architect and I feel that the house fulfilled our expectations and that “Architectural Digest” might consider a feature story on the house. Lastly, Varkel superintendent, Bill Keller, will be missed by my neighbors for keeping the site orderly, clean and responding to their requests. He will also be missed by me for his ability to smoothly interface with subcontractors and the high maintenance owner (me).