* The BSB Design Blog.
Just Damn Good Architecture

BSB Team Built More Than a Habitat Home Together

All of the homes for Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity have been built using BSB’s Designs. This year, twenty BSB Design employees tackled lots of mud, and some fears, to help build a home for a deserving Des Moines family.

“Charity doesn’t begin at home. It begins when you step outside yourself and help others.” – Steve Egbert, cad manager

On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, members of the BSB Nation (an affectionate reference to our BSB family in 11 offices across the country) in Des Moines, Iowa, came together to do something few of them had ever done before – actually build a home not just create the plan for one.

Eating Lunch Curbside

Enjoying a curbside lunch prepared by other members of the BSB Nation.

Even though fresh air and a change of scenery are great motivators, we didn’t think spending a whole day outside enjoying Iowa’s glorious fall weather and a free lunch on the company were the ONLY reasons the team volunteered.

So we asked them why:

  • Almost everyone said they volunteered because it was a great opportunity to help a family in the community.
  • Several also mentioned they liked the chance to get to know their co-workers better.
  • A few people were inspired by the opportunity to do something they’ve never done and to get outside of their “comfort zone.”
  • Two people admitted they were peer-pressured into going – but added they were very glad they participated AND would again.

Knowing our ‘family’ the way we do, we really weren’t surprised by their primary desire to help others and give back to the community.

Did we mention it was muddy?

“Somehow, I think we all managed to stay on our feet and didn’t wipe out in the mud. My shoes got stuck several times and I walked out of them, but I managed to at least stay on my feet.” – Mariah Buckner, Draftsperson

“Nothing wrong with getting a little muddy.” – Richard Carter, DraftspersonHabitat for Humanity Muddy Shoes

“There was a lot of smiles and laughing through all the mud!” – Tiffany Hammerly, Senior Draftsperson

For Some, It Was all Monkey Business!

IMG_4242“I also didn’t realize that Jim Grundmeier and Don Swanson were such monkeys! They were up helping to put the trusses on and walking all over those beams like it was nothing. They both were definitely in their element!” – Chris Scheffers, Office Manager

Nimble on the roof.

“I learned that Don Swanson is very nimble on the roof.” – Charlie Magedanz, Senior Intern Architect

“Walking wall plates at 8’ above the floor is a skill that will come back to you, but your legs are pretty shaky for the first hour or so while acclimating.” – Don Swanson, Associate/Director of Quality Control

So what did they enjoy most about the day?

“The teamwork.  Everyone worked together to make this a productive and successful day.  Also, the ability to work side by side with my daughter who also has never done something like this.” – Chris Scheffers, Office Manager

“I also really enjoyed seeing the volunteers from BSB working together. Everyone was very considerate of others, making sure they were okay and comfortable with the job they were doing. We all worked together on various projects and were able to get the job done as a team.” – Ashlie Scheffers, Receptionist

“It was great to be able to work with and chat to other people that outside of your ‘work team’.” – Leah Karns, Senior Intern Architect

“Getting to know my co-workers and meeting other people with the like-mindedness of community. That and lunch, lunch was great!” – Steve Egbert, CAD Manager

“I also was able to chat with a family doing their “sweat equity” hours and found out more about how Habitat for Humanity works in helping families get affordable housing.” – Mariah Buckner, Draftsperson

An Unexpected learning experience.

While the company and employees didn’t give the day expecting to get anything back – what several learned professionally through hands-on application only made the experience more positive.

habitatbuild_deadman“A dead man is your friend!  I probably should mention the bracing we used to stabilize the gable end trusses are called dead men. Disclaimer, no actual people were dead on the site at the time we were there.” – Steve Egbert, CAD Manager

“Weather barrier is always something that can be complicated to detail. Getting to install some of it let me see just how it is put up.” – Leah Karns, Senior Intern Architect

“I worked on siding preparation which corresponds with the details I have worked on in the past.” – Tiffany Hammerly, Senior Draftsperson

habitat_framework“Being on the other side of the home building process was very helpful, all of the houses I draft get sent out and I never get to see the rest of the process, so it was nice to be able to see even a tiny portion of what goes on after the drawings are sent out.” – Sara Risk, Senior Draftsperson

“I got the experience of helping set roof trusses, which helped give me a better understanding of how all of the roof trusses and framing come together.” – Chris Phelps, Senior Draftsperson

Everyone who participated, even though they didn’t sign up for the mud and had to catch up back at the office, said they are planning to sign up again in the future. View all of the BSB Design Des Moines Build Day 2015 photos on our Pinterest board.