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Bringing U.S. Building Methods to Poland

September 16, 1997|MELINDA FULMER | Melinda Fulmer covers real estate for The Times

It will be a sentimental journey when architect Donald P. Jacobs of Irvine goes to Poland this week. Jacobs, whose grandparents were Polish immigrants, is part of a four-man team that was selected by the Department of Agriculture to conduct workshops for Polish home builders on how to build American-style wood-frame housing there.

Jacobs, president of the residential design firm JBZ Dorius in Irvine, says time-consuming methods of construction in Polish cities like Bielsko Biala and Bialystok have created a housing shortage of incredible proportions.

"We've been told that they [Poland] have a housing shortfall of 100,000 to 150,000 units of housing a year," Jacobs said. Most builders there construct homes with large concrete blocks, a method that can take 18 months, versus three months here.

Jacobs and three other building industry experts will explain how to build and market homes and insulate them against cold Polish winters. "Even though it doesn't seem very technologically advanced, just a bunch of guys out there hammering wood, our system has become very efficient," Jacobs said.

The trip isn't all goodwill. It's also part of the U.S. government's program to promote the use of American wood products to developing countries.


Melinda Fulmer covers real estate for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-7832 and at

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