If building one house in a day sounds ambitious, then building two houses in one day just sounds impossible. However, on Nov. 10, Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley and the organization’s Virginia Tech chapter will team up to attempt the impossible.
After a prolonged hiatus, the group is coming back strong with its first build in seven years. On top of this, David Pynn, the executive director of Habitat of the NRV said it isn’t just a regular build.
“We’re calling it a ‘Blitz Build,’ which means we’re going to raise the roof on two houses in one day,” Pynn said.
Building from the ground up, Pynn said the goal of the Blitz Build is to have the walls, roofs, shingles and siding completed within the first day to day and a half of construction. However, the homes won’t be move-in ready until mid-February.
Although the houses will be built quickly, both homes are going to be extremely energy efficient and EarthCraft certified Pynn said.
“One house will be a SIPS house, which is structural insulated panels, while the other house will be a traditional stick-built house,” Pynn said. “But both are going to be highly insulated.”
Pynn, who was hired in July, believes this build is a turning point for the Habitat of the NRV affiliate.
“We see these houses as our chapter coming back alive,” he said.
Habitat purchased the lots in the Nellie’s Cave neighborhood back in 2009, but went into a period of suspended animation in which most Habitat activity ceased shortly after. However, it has built up its funds with donations and fundraising efforts from the community.
“The amount of support we’ve received from the community has been incredible,” Pynn said. “People find a way to give us what we need. It’s really amazing.”
In addition to support from the community, Pynn said it has amassed great strength in partnering with the Tech Habitat chapter.
“One of the strengths of our affiliate is the Virginia Tech chapter,” Pynn said. “We can’t function without volunteers, and to have a base of young, enthusiastic volunteers is a huge asset for us.”
Tech’s Habitat chapter president Tyler Shawcross, agrees that the NRV and Tech Habitat chapters have a mutually beneficial partnership.
“We haven’t done anything official with Habitat (in recent years) and that’s mainly because the NRV habitat wasn’t building anything,” the senior construction engineering and management major said.
According to Shawcross, the reorganization of the NRV affiliate has helped the Tech chapter gain momentum. The Blitz Build is helping attract members to the Habitat chapter at Tech.
“This is really the first year we’ve had an official club," Shawcross said. "We’ve gone from no members to having over a hundred members since school started."
Despite the Tech chapter’s slow start, Shawcross and other founding members have been involved with the Nellie’s Cave build since the beginning of last spring. According to Pynn, Tech’s Habitat chapter has helped with managing the timeline of the build, giving input on the budget and volunteer management.
“I’m not sure we could pull this off without them,” Pynn said.
According to Pynn, the NRV and Tech Habitat chapters won’t be alone in their efforts. A special group of Habitat volunteers, called the Habitat Road Trip Crazies will travel to Blacksburg to help with the build.