- The Washington Times - Friday, August 19, 2005

Joe Beuchert’s eyes drooped from four days of nearly nonstop construction work with only a few hours of sleep in a trailer.

“This is a special thing,” said Mr. Beuchert as he sat across the street from a Capitol Heights house being rebuilt for the television show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

“You couldn’t make this a lifestyle.”

Mr. Beuchert is a construction site developer and contractor for Somerset Homes, a Bel Alton, Md., home builder. The company and its contractors are donating the labor and materials to build a new home for a single mother of eight high-achieving children who works two jobs and is recovering from an abusive relationship.

Her plight, and her new home, will be featured this fall on the ABC show.



About 400 workers have been hammering, sawing and wiring in shifts, 24 hours a day, since the project started Monday.

On Tuesday, workers finished the roof of the six-bedroom house that Eduardo Xol, the show’s landscaper, described as “traditional colonial.”

“Here come the trees,” Mr. Beuchert said as a truck full of shrubs pulled up in front of the nearly completed house.

For Mr. Beuchert, the biggest differences between the “Extreme Makeover” job and any other contract are the television cameras and the rush to complete the house by tomorrow, when the owners return from a Florida vacation.

Mr. Beuchert, 40, owns Beuchert Excavating, a Hughesville, Md., company with 38 employees.

He started his company in 1992 as a part-time business to supplement his income as an Alexandria firefighter. It grew to include contracts with Somerset Homes and other real estate developers.

He normally wakes up around 5 a.m. and drives to the Southern Maryland job sites where his crews are at work.

After discussing the day’s schedule with his three superintendents, he meets with subcontractors to coordinate assignments.

As the crews begin work around 7 a.m., Mr. Beuchert returns to his Hughesville office, where he spends much of the day putting together bids on contracts, reviewing contract terms and planning schedules for the next day.

Other times, he runs errands to pick up materials or handle unforeseen problems at job sites.

By late afternoon, superintendents turn in their time sheets and progress reports, which Mr. Beuchert uses to prepare customers’ invoices.

He usually returns home around 8 p.m. so he can “eat and sleep and get up early again,” he said.

“I love my job,” he said. “I like the pace that we keep. I like the fact that every day you can see results at the end of the day.”

He started his business during a period when high interest rates depressed the home-building industry, so he is familiar with the ups and downs of the construction business.

On one occasion, an earthmover accidentally knocked a portable toilet down a slope — with a worker inside. Another time, a dump truck driver forgot to open the tailgate before dumping his topsoil, upending the truck — with the driver in the cab.

“We had to get a ladder to help him out of the truck,” Mr. Beuchert said.

On the “Extreme Makeover” job site, Mr. Beuchert operated the digging machine that leveled the old 1 1/2-story house. He also helped dig the foundation and organized the construction materials that are stacked in a staging area at John Eager Howard Elementary School.

At one point, Michael Moloney, the show’s interior designer, zoomed by in a modified golf cart. Mr. Beuchert referred to Mr. Moloney and the other “Extreme Makeover” cast members as “actors.”

“He’ll pretend to come up here to get supplies, then he’ll call over and ask us to get them,” Mr. Beuchert said.

Ty Pennington, the show’s host, left the job site Wednesday to attend the unveiling of a rebuilt home in Purdy, Mo., but is scheduled to return today for the final push.

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