P&D Builders Constructs a house in 106 hours
BEHIND THE SCENES
In December, ABC aired a special holiday episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition featuring the Rhodes family on the near East Side of Columbus. The family of seven was living in a small, one-bedroom home on Dewey Avenue until Delaware-based P&D Builders, along with thousands of volunteers, stepped up to change their lives.
The highlight of Extreme Makeover is Ty Pennington shouting through his bullhorn, «Move that bus!»
Although the show chronicled the project leading up to the unveiling, it is difficult to give a complete account of all the man-hours — 106 hours to be exact — that went into the project. P&D Builders gave Central Ohio
Home & Garden magazine a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it was like to build a house under such strict time constraints.
Well in advance of a family being informed that they have been chosen, the show’s producers send out a team to find a builder.
«If we don’t have the right builder, we don’t have a house,» says Michael Moloney, designer for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Part of the selection process is to actually try and talk the builder out of doing the project, according to the show’s executive producer George Verschoor.
«We tell them that it’s a lot to build a home of this magnitude in seven days, and things come up like weather issues and other things,» Verschoor says.
Each hour on the project equates to one day for a regular build. If the project is an hour behind, it’s like being a day behind.
«It’s a big leap of faith on our part when we select a builder, but we were very confident that P&D could pull it off,» he adds.
For P&D Builders the chance to help a local family in need outweighed any challenges or sacrifices on the horizon.
«Our entire team was honored to have had this opportunity,» says Mac Roberts, president of P&D Builders. «We wanted to do this for the Rhodes family after hearing their story, and also it was the ultimate challenge in building.»
P&D vice president Ed Snodgrass says it took five weeks for P&D, a family-owned business with 12 employees, to mobilize volunteers and secure donations of food, beverages, supplies and labor needed for the effort.
Donated materials included more than 18,000 pounds of ice, some 9,000 meals, 1,500 granola bars, 1,000 individual bags of trail mix, 30 cases of fresh fruit, 500 trash bags, 12 palettes of bottled water, 120 five-gallon water jugs and 10 palettes of other various drinks, Snodgrass says.
«When you see that list, it gives you an idea of the effort that went into getting this accomplished,» he says.
«We all committed that we would not have this impact our existing customer base, and we accomplished this by reallocating staff,» Snodgrass says.
Framers worked on P&D jobs on Friday, showed up at the Rhodes house on Saturday morning and worked until Sunday afternoon. They took one day to rest and were back to work on Tuesday.
«Everyone on our staff worked many extra hours,» he says.
Although the show aired in December, summer storms (the show was filmed in August) created some tense moments.
«One night, we actually had a tornado warning and ABC made everybody knock off,» Roberts says. Workers waited out the storm by singing Christmas carols with Santa Claus look-a-likes brought in for the holiday show.
On another evening, heavy rain threatened to halt construction. P&D crew leader Jason Cordle quickly had to reassess the construction time line and get the roof on — quickly.
«We basically said ‘stop’ to everything that was going on and focused on getting the roof on before the rain hit,» Cordle says.
Thankfully, the roof already had been preconstructed in two parts in the church parking lot adjacent to the house.
THE GRUMPY SUB
Jerry Semon, president of Shepherd Excavating, had worked on projects before with accelerated time frames, but nothing could have prepared him for this.
«I ended up being here for 24 hours straight, and I had some of my people here for 20 hours,» Semon says.
Semon’s company leveled the land and poured gravel for the basement. «It’s nothing that we don’t do every day, we just don’t do it in this kind of condensed version,» he says. «It wasn’t always easy. I was voted grumpiest subcontractor for that 24-hour time period that I was down there.»
A life-changing event made the Rhodes family what it was — a family of too many in a home with too little.
Makia Rhodes, 34, had a cancerous brain tumor. She underwent emergency surgery in August 2010, and was unable to continue working.
She turned to her parents, James and Jackie Rhodes, for help. She and her four children moved into the 900-square-foot home. The five of them slept in the front room.
For the design, the P&D team decided on a brownstone — a narrow and long architectural style typically found in urban settings. «We pictured a home that could be found in New York City, Lincoln Park in Chicago or on our own Neil Avenue,» Snodgrass says.
The brownstone more than accommodates the entire family with five bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. The first floor consists of a large, open living room, dining room and kitchen as well as the owners’ suite.
The second floor has three bedrooms, two baths and a laundry room. The lower level has two separate specialty rooms, two unfinished storage areas along with the fifth bedroom and its own bath.
When decorating, the Extreme Makeover team incorporates personal touches based on interviews with family members.
«I put it out there for our designers that this family loves the outdoors, they love barbecuing, they love Ohio State and they are die-hard football fans,» Verschoor says. «I wanted to put a roof-top deck on the entire house.» P&D Builders instead suggested putting it on the roof of the garage.
«P&D really worked with us on this to add something that I think is an extreme element,» Verschoor says. The two-car detached garage sports a flat roof that also serves as a great party deck.
James Rhodes was overcome with emotion.
«It’s hard to believe a magnificent and large company like that would just throw their hearts out to people they don’t know,» he says. «They just jumped in and I thank God for them.»
When James embraced the people from P&D after meeting them for the first time, Snodgrass of P&D summed up the feelings for the company.
«Happy to do it,» Snodgrass says. «It’s our pleasure.»
«It was exciting and overwhelming at times, not only are you doing something you’ve never done, you’re also doing it on such an incredibly tight time frame,» Snodgrass explains. «The family was fantastic, and it was a very positive experience for our entire company.»