Teams of building professionals in Habitat for Humanity’s Home Builders Blitz 2008 are wrapping up construction of 263 new houses over the next few days. More than 1,000 building industry professionals are working with 110 Habitat affiliates to accomplish the feat.

MOVE-IN READY. Building professionals put the finishing touches on one of 263 houses completed this week in Habitat for Humanity’s Home Builders Blitz 2008. Credit: Steffan Hacker, Habitat for Humanity
Steffan Hacker, Habitat for Humanity MOVE-IN READY. Building professionals put the finishing touches on one of 263 houses completed this week in Habitat for Humanity’s Home Builders Blitz 2008. Credit: Steffan Hacker, Habitat for Humanity

It has been a difficult task. John White, a Pulte Homes construction manager in Harford, Md., reported on Thursday that the site was under a tornado watch, and crews had to get creative to protect green concrete from a torrential rain. But now most crews are beginning to see the fruits of their labor. Exterior trim and landscaping work has begun in many locations, and final touches and clean-up is underway inside homes. As the work nears completion, builders have found time to reflect on their experiences and to talk with the partner families who will soon have new homes to call their own. These families will become part of the more than 1 million people who have been found simple, decent, affordable housing through Habitat for Humanity. And this week’s professional builders have been proud to play such an important role in that process.  

Keith Ellis, owner of Ellis Custom Homes in Bryan, Texas, and president of the Bryan/College Station HBA, reported in his Builder’s Notebook blog, "I almost don’t want the (blitz) to end. Everyone has been so gracious throughout this entire event. I have never been on a happier job site or met so many generous, selfless people.”  

The builders volunteering their time and resources this week have also come to realize that these partner families have put in plenty of physical work, too. Habitat homeowners are required to contribute from 300 to 500 hours of sweat equity, helping build their own house or a house for someone else, before they can move into their own home.

BUILDER and Habitat have teamed up to report the blitz’s progress on a daily basis. Six building professionals are writing for the online Builder's Notebook, providing a first-hand perspective of the work being done on their site. Plus, Kevin Campbell, Habitat's director of Home Builders Blitz, is posting reports as he travels across the country visiting various sites.

Keep checking in for posts from the in-the-field builders through Monday, June 9, when final entries will be posted on Habitat’s Home Builders Blitz site. A photo slideshow and recap of the week’s work will also be posted then. Visitors can also learn about the Home Builders Blitz model and how professionals can get involved with the Habitat movement. You can also find out where builders are currently participating.

Phillip Jordan is a writer/editor for Habitat for Humanity International. BUILDER Senior Editor Pat Curry contributed to this report.