Wednesday, August 31, 2011


You will really enjoy talking to Christian Cartagena about windows and doors! You know by now that at Phoenix we love working with guys that are really passionate about what they do and you can feel that energy when you visit Chris’s Caribbean Impact Windows & Doors showroom at Caymanian Village. Firstly, he really knows his product. Secondly, he really sweats the details, really understands the project, and (actually) handles all the steps in the process personally. I stopped by the jobsite the other day as the first windows were being installed and he was walking Brad through all the details of the manufacturing process for the CGI windows, and the meticulous process that he insists on for the waterproofing of the window openings! You have to love that!

Christian walks the homeowner through the installation process, pointing out one of the many benefits of the CGI Estate Collection windows that we are using in the Phoenix showhome.

When it comes to Hurricane Impact Windows every component is important, no matter how small, as Christian demonstrates.

Click on the links below to visit Christian as he takes your blog editor on a tour of his showroom and then, in the second clip, tells you a bit about his vibrant and growing business. Check it out!

Video: Introduction to Caribbean Impact Windows and Doors

Each window is individually hand wrapped before being wood-crated for shipment. Chris makes sure that he is in Miami to oversee this process and make sure that the shipment is complete and in perfect condition before it sails.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

MEMBRANE TALK (no, seriously)

Let’s talk for a moment about two elements of a well-built house that do not often get a lot of attention. These two building steps are critical to the long life and water-tightness of a home – they are not inexpensive, but you will probably agree with us that there are better places to save money. Let’s start with the roof finish and Grace Ice and Water Shield:

Above you can see the crew applying Grace Ice and Water Shield to the roof decking. For more information about this product and why it is so much better in our Cayman climate than roofing felt, please click on the link to “Ask the Builder” below:

Strong and watertight, the assembly of wood decking and water shield really IS the critical element of your roof. Standing seam, shingles or any of a variety of roofing tile products, while adding protection to the roof, are largely decorative.

The second application we would like to feature is an acrylic basecoat which seals the exterior of the home’s walls

Here, the crew from IE Caribbean applies a Unibase acrylic basecoat into which they embed Corevnet reinforcement netting, forming a strong and flexible coating which weatherproofs the exterior walls of the home.  This treatment also provides a smooth and uniform base the for Dryvit, marmoran, stucco or lapboard application that usually follows

Note the color change as the IE Caribbean team work their way around the home with the basecoat. This combination of Ice and Water Shield and Acrylic Base coat will help this home to stand up to Cayman’s extreme coastal conditions.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Many people do not realize that the professional project architect is not finished with the project when the drawings are done (or should not be!) Icon’s Tami Scott is on the jobsite weekly to make sure that the building is coming out of the ground exactly as she intended in her design documents. In the Phoenix Group system the architect is another set of eyes for maintaining  both accuracy and quality.

Tami meets with Phoenix, Home Gas, Kitchen and Bathroom Solutions. Mega Systems and Cayman Glass on-site for an update on their scope. One of her highest priorities is to make sure that they all fully understand the design documents before they begin and that they know that she is always there to answer any questions that they may have.

The roof cladding goes on – we will be dried in by the weekend.

Tami addresses questions pertaining to the routing of the air conditioning ducting. No-one knows the drawings better than the project architect.

Fine details regarding the placement of glass and mirrors in the bathrooms are adjusted to the homes actual measurements before fabrication begins. When you are dealing with tempered glass there is no trimming that can be done if the product comes in and is the wrong size. Tami checks and double checks to make sure that everyone has it right.
To hear Tami’s comments on the role of the architect during construction, click HERE.

Tami also invites anyone who is interested in building a home, whether now or some time in the future, to come and see her – her door is always open, and there is no cost to come in and talk about what your plans are, get a little information or even just a little advice.  Just click on the Contact Us button and we will arrange to get you together for a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Oasis is installing their top-of-the-line Eco Pool Program and we can’t wait for you to see it. In earlier photos you saw the initial stages of the pool construction and below you can see what it looks like today, before James and the crew start getting it ready for the installation of equipment and the application of tile. “This is the rough shell” say James, “from here we will work all the surfaces until everything is level, smooth and ready for finishing. That’s when the fun stuff happens!”

The Phoenix Group Showhome pool will be equipped with Pentair Eco Select products. These products are designed to be the most energy-efficient swimming pool equipment on the market today! The specialty equipment package James is installing includes:

Intelliflo Ultra Energy Efficient Pumps: Standard pool pumps can consume as much energy as all other home appliances combined (that is scary : Ed.). Intelliflo pumps can cut energy use up to 90%! At $0.30/kWh, estimated savings range from $1,240 - $2,710 per year!

Intellibrite 5g Color LED Color-Changing Pool Lights – LED lights use the least amount of energy of all lighting options and they last longer, minimizing replacement cost and disposal.

IntelliChlor Salt Chlorinator – simplify your maintenance with no more odor, stinging eyes, irritated skin and bleached out swimsuits!

Automation/water features – Pick up your iphone and talk to your pool!

Now you can use your Apple ipads, iphones, or ipod Touch to control all the key functions of your pool or spa, from across the pool deck or around the globe – now available as a free download from Apple’s App Store.  Once it is installed you can control everything from pool and spa temperatures, to jets, lighting, water features, remote video monitoring and more – right from your iphone.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Well we have been lucky with the rain to date but that can’t last forever and it will be great to get the roof on and provide some much needed shade for the crew.

Above, Elliot, Troy and Steven (Left to right) complete a truss assembly before it is lifted into place.

Up she goes. Main truss sections can be pre-engineered, fabricated and delivered to site or in some cases hand built on-site. Pre-engineered trusses are available locally from the Cox Lumber and A.L.Thompson truss plants.

A good day’s work has been accomplished today as two of the main roof sections are now in place. You can see that pre-engineered trusses can greatly speed up the assembly of a roof structural system. Remember that if you want storage areas within the roof space this must be planned when the trusses are being designed!

Cayman 27 and the Daybreak crew were out at the showhome today to see what all the excitement was about. Click on the link below to watch the segment.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Swingin The Hammer

It is interior studs time. We have carefully marked out the locations of all the interior walls on the slab and are starting to install the interior wood studs for the walls. It is a good idea to have these in place before the trusses arrive for the roof – it ensures plumb walls and a nice fit to the roof.

                                 This is the entry to the back of the home through the garage

We are also beginning the Shotcrete process of the swimming pool:

Neil Rooney, your Blog editor, looks on as the first layer of concrete “shot” into the pool sets up. James Bussey, Oasis Pool’s intrepid owner/operator will be setting up a video camera for us this afternoon to give us a look at the building of a pool shell. This is kind of nice as otherwise you would have to come down and stand there all day! You’re welcome!!
Look for that Shotcrete vid along with some interesting info on the pool equipment in the next few days.

By the way, I am happy to tour anyone around the site that is interested in a closer look at the entire homebuilding process – just hit the “Contact Us” link at the top right and you will have me on email! If you want, you can also get an automatic update by email as new blogs are  posted – just put your email in the “subscribe by email” box on the right and we will keep you in the loop.