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ABC's Extreme Home Makeover

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Hi All,

Ever watch ABC's Extreme Home Makeover and wonder whether they actually do build those houses in less than a week? I've always suspected that there's a whole lot more there than meets the eye and today that was confirmed when I talked to a fellow who works for a builder that will be featured on the show.

The first part of the program, where the design team is in the bus on the way to the site and Ty Pennington is first showing the design team the family is just acting. The family is picked literally months before the build and the makeover is designed then. ABC actually picks the contractor and sends the contractor to the home a number of times in advance of the build to study the home under the guise of doing an evaluation of the family as finalists when they've actually already been chosen for the build. It's true that they don't really know that they've been chosen until the moment Pennington sounds off on the bullhorn in front of their home, but by then they at least know that they're in the running as finalists.

The makeover is planned down to the last detail and permit issues are also cleared well in advance. But not just the permits, the whole deal, architectural drawings, engineering calcs, the works. Once it begins, the entire construction process is orchestrated, timed and carried off like a combat campaign.

Materials for the build are purchased and stored for weeks in advance, so there won't be any shortages, and then staged on trucks ready to go just before the build. Even the room themes are planned in advance, so the part where Pennington is asking them about their family and the designers are doing their sketches is just for show, because by the time they step off the bus all of that has been completed.

Do they actualy build the home in under 7 days? I'd wondered that myself and suspected that maybe the build was pieced together to look like it was done in under a week. Yep, the build is real. The one that will be shown in next week's show was really carried off in just 4-1/2 days from the point where they began demolition of an old home and broke ground for the new one.

At least now I know and next time I watch the show, I won't be sitting there with my mind half on the show and half trying to analyze how it was coordinated and completed in such a short time.

OT - OF!!!


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  • 2 weeks later...


Yeah, I watched it last week and it was a doozie of a build. Rain, rain,...a little more rain, and,...did I mention more rain? One of the dudes actually broke down cryin' when they didn't think they'd make the deadline fer cryin' out loud! (Pun intended)

Didn't watch it last night. I was slammin' away on the computer finishing up a report.

OT - OF!!!


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  • 3 weeks later...

I assumed they pretty much did a redesign off the existing foundation.

Once the foundation is set, I often get a 2 story house under roof in 2-3 days. They'll be using panelized walls and floor systems, possibly even a panelized roof. Getting it under roof is actually the easy, quick part. It only takes a few men to set 12x30 floor panels. 1 or 2 guys can set each wall panel. The're regularly built in 12' sections.(12'-13' is the magic number on a lot of this stuff due to transport regulations, i.e. "Wide Load".)

Here's the kicker about the show that always blows me away. They never have any problems. I run into architectural problems 10 times a day. 80% of all prints I recieve from Licensed architects are unbuildable as is. Maybe that doesn't make good tv.

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