Barbara Bashall: Building relationships from the ground up |

Barbara Bashall: Building relationships from the ground up

Barbara Bashall
Home care experts will set up for the fourth annual Building Fair, taking place Friday at the Eric Rood Administrative Center in Nevada City.
Submitted Photo


WHAT: Fourth Annual Building Fair

WHERE: Eric Rood Administration Center, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City

WHEN: Friday, June 14, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

TICKETS: Free Admission

It’s only natural that a major focus of our Fourth Annual Building Fair will be fire protection. The theme of this year’s fair is “Wildfire Prevention and Land Development: Building Relationships from the Ground Up.”

The free event is co-sponsored by the Nevada County Contractors Association, Nevada County Community Development Agency, and Nevada County Association of Realtors. The fair has grown exponentially over the years, and we expect several hundred people to attend on June 14.

There will be more than 40 booths showcasing professional services and products, as well as question-and-answer sessions and a variety of demonstrations (see the schedule at

“At the fair, I meet prospective new homeowners who are at all stages of the building process,” said Sam Marsico, a Nevada County Contractors Association Board Member and professional contractor who is a veteran of the Building Fair. “If they own a property, I usually refer an architect based on their tastes and budget. I’m also happy to offer free advice to prospective owner-builders who aren’t likely to become clients. I tell those who are hunting for property in the area to try to find land with a previous septic design, nearby utilities, and minimal road-building requirements. They aren’t making any more dirt.”

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Other experts will include wildfire preparedness representatives, designers, licensed contractors in a variety of trades, Realtors, greenhouse manufacturers, utility providers, building material suppliers, equipment rental companies, septic system and water well contractors, solar energy system vendors, landscape providers, construction lenders, and insurers. Of course, we’ve also invited food vendors.

At the building fair, you can easily get all the information you need all in one place: buying land, creating a building site, finding an architect, hiring a contractor, and insuring and protecting your investment. Staff from county and city agencies related to the construction industry will be on hand to explain their procedures and requirements, including plans, permits and inspections.

“We’ve always included information about fire protection, and this year we’re incorporating wildfire prevention,” Nevada County Building Department Director Craig Griesbach said. “We’ll have experts in the field of creating a fire-safe environment with a focus on the three zones of defensible space. With Cal Fire and other specialists on hand, property owners can learn about efficient ways to clear trees, reduce ladder fuels, and protect their homes and families.”

Several vendors will feature building materials that are fire resistant and/or can help prevent fire from entering a building. For example, a demonstration by New Cal Metals of Loomis will show how specialized vents can prevent fire embers from breaching a building and help the structure withstand a fire.

“We have a trailer that simulates a house equipped with two different types of vents, one of our Vulcan Vents and a traditional vent,” explained Brandon Powers, national sales director for New Cal Metals. “We ignite a fire and show how embers pass through a traditional vent, allowing fire to severely burn the wall.

“But Vulcan Vents are fire- and ember-safe vents and designed to self-close. An ember-catching screen blocks embers during ember attacks before the fire arrives. When wildfire nears and reaches critical temperature, the intumescent coating on the matrix structure expands, creating a real firewall.”

Another vendor will demonstrate a water pump that essentially allows property owners to operate their own little fire department. It’s a trailer with a Honda motor that can pump 50 to 100 gallons of water per minute from a pool or pond.

The website of Property Fire Protection company of Lincoln states its system creates “a revolving rainstorm for five to seven hours in a 3,000-square foot area of your home and property… The typical fire truck holds 500 gallons of water and the average swimming pool has 20,000 gallons of water. That is 40 times more water protecting your property!”

Roger Krill, President of Sierra Gold Insurance Services, will provide information about what many people are calling a “crisis” as homeowners in extreme fire zones see their insurance policies canceled.

“I’ll answer questions about what’s happening with insurance in wildfire zones,” Roger promised. “I’ll assure people there are options, explain what those options are, outline the range of insurance premium prices, and give tips on how to secure those options.”

Those are just a few of the many demonstrations and presentations on tap at this year’s building fair. We hope to see you at the Rood Center June 14. If the information we present there can help people create a better construction project or better protect their home, we’ve done our job.

Barbara Bashall writes a monthly column for The Union. She is the executive director of the Nevada County Contractors’ Association, a nonprofit group of 320 general contractors, sub-contractors, building material suppliers, and other construction professionals whose mission is to promote high standards, integrity, and ethical practices within the construction industry. Visit or call 530-274-1919. Freelance writer Lorraine Jewett contributed to this column.

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