Kimber Construction LLC
Kimber Construction is an innovative builder in Colorado that strives to tackle the harder jobs while maintaining the highest-quality building. By Stephanie Crets
Kimber Construction LLC is a home remodeling and custom home building company in Colorado Springs, Colo., that has been in business for 28 years. The owner Brian Goodman has lived in Colorado Springs since 1966. He started in the construction industry doing remodeling for 18 years before moving into new home builds and flipping existing homes. From 2009 to 2012, Kimber Construction purchased and sold 38 homes to flip and then eventually began purchasing teardowns and vacant lots on which to build.
But the Colorado Springs area has its own set of challenges. It has had very serious settling issues along the Front Range; therefore, home foundations have been failing for years. Helical piers have been installed as a last resort to stabilize homes. Numerous homes have had the caissons shear in half from soil shifting. Kimber Construction decided to start a structural company to enhance the company’s ability to build high-quality, structurally sound homes. Colorado Structural Systems has made Kimber a leader in using Helical piers as an alternative to the traditional way of foundation support.
In a traditional build on sloped lots, an engineer may require a three-foot to 10-foot over dig on the property to eliminate settling issues. The cost and time it takes to excavate, haul off, purchase and haul in stable soil, control compact and inspect the soil and install a footer is time consuming and expensive.
When installing Helicals, workers excavate to six inches below slab grade to install a SS5 AB Chance pier with a double-helic head at an average of 15 feet to 30 feet in the ground and 8 feet on center. As an example, a home with a 1,000-square-foot footprint would have 26 helical piers installed to support it. An eight-inch void form is then placed between each pier and the foundation wall is poured on top.
The foundation is designed first to fit the lot slope – keeping in mind to not cup in the soil on the high side of the slope and to minimize bump outs in the foundation wall – to reduce quantity and cost of additional piers. The framing above will be cantilevered to achieve the same look. One pier installed at 4,000 pounds of torque has a dead load rating of 9,000 pounds, and no footer is required with Helical piers.
Kimber Construction works with at least 36 subcontractors and has anywhere from 12 to 18 different remodeling, renovating and new building projects at one time. “I’m very proud of our quality of work,” Goodman says. “The guys that work with us are true craftsmen. We have high-quality framers, trim carpenters and all of the different trades. These guys are true artists. When I started, I did all the work myself with one other worker, finishing basements and remodeling. I understand what it takes at all points of the project to achieve the end result my clients are looking for. I have a lot of respect for all the trades that work with us.”
Kimber Construction prefers to choose more difficult build sites. The lots the company looks at now may require a Slope Analysis Report to evaluate the lot for all of its potential movement issues and to insure the purchasers can finance the house through a preferred lender. Some lots fall within active landslide areas in the foothills. This chart gives users a disclaimer that states: “The city is not allowing build in certain areas within the landslide zone.”
“This is very understandable in some areas of the chart. People’s perceptions are that if you’re in the red zone, you shouldn’t build there,” Goodman says.
Unfortunately, the landslide chart encompasses a broad area, and the disclaimer continues: “The map is intended to show areas that indicate potential landslide susceptibility for locations that lie within the susceptible are, this designation does not imply that landslides will occur during the life of a residential structure, only that a higher risks exists compared to areas not mapped as susceptible. If structural distress or ground movement is noted at a locality, a geotechnical engineer or engineering geologist should be consulted to determine if it is landslide related. Structural distress should be evaluated by a structural engineer… For locations that lie within the susceptible area, this designation does not imply that landslides will occur during the life of a residential structure, only that a higher risk exists compared to areas not mapped as susceptible.”
“If a more aggressive soils report and Slope Analysis Report is done, a lot of this area is suitable to build on,” Goodman explains. “With the proper reports and helical system in place, it’s truly great peace of mind for building a house in these areas.”
Goodman worries that if Colorado Springs residents’ perception of the landslide issue isn’t changed, it will devalue structurally sounds homes within the zone. He says there are no levels of landslide risk assessments determined. It is more of a broad stroke map. “There’s a risk of building, but if you do the soil study and Slope Analysis Testing to ensure that a lot is feasible for building, then you can properly engineer your foundation to suit the land,” he says. “If it’s not suitable for building, then we won’t build on it. I always want to guarantee what I build.”
Kimber Construction always strives to exceed customer expectations, improve stability of foundations and provide quality product for homeowners.