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BWS, Habitat for Humanity Help Build Homes in Fire Ravaged California Community

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Build With Strength’s (BWS) Habitat for Humanity project kicked off May 17 in Paradise, CA. Led by NRMCA Executive Vice President, Promotion Strategy and Communications, Gregg Lewis, BWS and its coalition partners are providing local affiliates of Habitat for Humanity with in-kind donations of ready mixed concrete, Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), concrete pumping services, concrete roof tiles and steel fibers. In addition to the donations of resilient, safe and energy efficient home building materials, BWS and ICF-MA (Fox Blocks) provided the training and labor needed to insure a successful build.

The fire that would devastate Paradise was ignited in the early morning hours of November 8, 2018; it became the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California's history and the most expensive natural disaster in the world in 2018 in terms of insured losses. At its peak, the fire spread at the rate of 80 football fields a minute, taking only four hours to engulf the town's boundries. Some 85 people lost their lives in the fire and 18,800 structures were destroyed, the vast majority of them - almost 14,000 - were residences.  Around 30,000 people lost their homes.

As lumber prices skyrocket, Nicole Bateman, executive director of Habitat’s Butte County, CA, commented, "In 2018, our homes cost around $200,000. Today with the cost of lumber, those costs have increased to over $250,000. We switched to ICF’s which are well insulated and building in a fire zone the concrete solution makes total sense, as well as using ICF’s to build housing in hurricane and tornado areas so houses won’t be destroyed.”

The Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce held an open house at the ICF Garden View build site. NRMCA is a “Pathfinder Sponsor” for the Paradise Ridge Chamber’s 80th anniversary. Local dignitaries presented Habitat for Humanity with certificates of appreciation. Those in attendance included Paradise Mayor Jim Crowder, State Senator Jim Nielson, representatives from U.S. Congressman Doug LaMalfa's office, Doug Guerrero board chairman, patrons that included CSU-Chico, CIM program and other local elected officials.

BWS would like to thank those firms whose in-kind donations of resilient building materials (and time and energy) made the Paradise Habitat for Humanity build a heartwarming success: Teichert Materials/Matthews Ready Mix's Dana Davis, Christian Brown and Nick Steinberg; Fox Blocks, Michael Kennaw and Mike Dalzell; Bob’s Pumping, Jerry Henderson; A&A Ready Mix, Jaret Ramirez; Steve Venolia and Joel Slak, CalCIMA; Robert Dugan, Green Building Products; Dennis Speer, Boral Roofing; ICF-MA and Tom Tietz, CA/NV Cement Association.

A special thanks also goes to Mike Dalzell with Fox Blocks for his expertise, training and patience with us “in the hole,“ Mike Philipps, Gregg Lewis and Patrick Matsche from NRMCA, Tarek Khan at Master Builders, Patrick and Moses from CSU-Chico's CIM program and Chelsea Irvine, a Habitat for Humanity Butte County Chapter Board member and all the many Habitat for Humanity, Butte County board members and others who assisted in the build. 

After a successful week in which the ICF and concrete walls were placed and ready for the next building phase to begin on two of the first three homes, and with three more homes to follow, Ms. Bateman thanked the BWS team, stating, “We could not have done this without your support. Thank you. We owe all of you a huge debt of gratitude for introducing and training us on concrete builds. This has been an awesome week for our affiliate and one that I will have fond memories of. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise with us”

To learn more about these programs, please contact Patrick Matsche at or 415-672-5275.


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