Wanted: O.C. green contractor

DadsbathA reader named Kimberly sent me this e-mail:

Hi, I just read an old article of yours in the L.A. Times about green remodeling. I was wondering if you have any referrals for green contractors to do a remodel in Orange County.

Here’s the deal: The Times doesn’t want me making referrals to contractors. But YOU could. So I’ll throw this out there: Do you know of any good green remodeling contractors in O.C.? If so, please comment below.

Just for fun, I did a simple Google search on these terms: “Orange County,” green, remodel and contractor.

One of the first websites to pop up was for Dad’s Construction in Lake Forest.

Here’s how I evaluated this website to determine if this is a good green contractor:

• The website gives the company’s contractor’s license number as 802617. I plug that number into the Contractors State License Board and discover the license was issued some years ago, not last month. That’s a good sign. I see the president of the company is Daniel Arnold Derkum (thus the company’s name: DAD’s) and that the company carries the proper bonding and workers’ compensation insurance. I also did not see any complaints or suspensions of this license. All good.

• Next, I read through the testimonials. These are flowery but generally worthless. Anyone could have written these. What I’m looking for are names so I can contact these folks and ask a few questions, or at least determine if these are real people. The only full name I find is Gordon Sykes of Lake Forest. A Google search on his name confirms that he is a real person, as evidenced by the Lake Forest Homeowners Assn. Village News, which announces that Gordon’s home won “House of the Quarter” in 2004 for “high standards of excellence.” That kind of client bodes well for this remodeling company.

• Also, I see in the testimonials (which I start to trust as authentic) that clients refer to Dan often, and this is a good sign. That means the owner is involved in the company, and that this is not just a front for some scam artist. And I notice all the words on the site are spelled correctly. Good.

• Finally, I see that this company is a member of all kinds of good organizations: the National Assn. of the Remodeling Industry, the U.S. Green Building Council, the American Institute of Architects, and others. I see that Dan is a Certified Green Building Professional through the Build It Green rating system. And there is a lot of intelligent green building information on the site. This company is obviously deeply into the green building industry.

After all that, I take a look at photos of the projects the company has done. They look nice (a bathroom is pictured above).

To me, this looks like a good green remodeling company. I’ve never heard of this company or written about it or talked with anyone who has used Dad’s. But if I were looking for a good green contractor in Orange County, this is the kind of company I would call for a chat.

3 Comments on Wanted: O.C. green contractor

  1. Dan Derkum


    Thank you for all the nice things you said about us in this article. I am Dan Derkum, owner of DAD’s Construction, and I can assure you and your readers that we have never fabricated a single word of any testimonial; they are exactly what they appear to be: unsolicited testimonials from some of the many satisfied customers we have had the pleasure to serve over the years. The reason full names are not included is to protect the privacy of our valued clients, as stated in our Privacy Policy. (Gordon’s was one of the first few names we included in testimonials, and we have since removed his last name as well. I guess we can’t unring that bell, but we hope Gordon won’t hold our early Internet naivete against us too much.) However, if an interested homeowner contacts us through our secure Contact Form (http://www.dadsconstruction.com/contact-dads-construction.html), we can provide the names and contact information of several of our clients who are willing to speak with fellow homeowners. The reason there are so many testimonials is because DAD’s has been in business since 1983, and these don’t even represent all of the homes we have remodeled, just those of the people who were pleased enough to send some kind words our way.

    As the topic of your post references, Dad’s Construction is a green remodeling contractor in Orange County, CA, and we have been doing green remodels for many years. You can find out more by going to our web site and clicking on the “Build It Green” tab for links to one of several informative pages we have about green remodeling (such as “How Can I Achieve a Green Remodel?” at http://www.dadsconstruction.com/how-can-I-achieve-green-remodeling.html).

    Thank you,

    Daniel A. Derkum,
    DAD’s Construction
    (949) 380-0177

  2. J Steele

    I am also a green builder in the OC and my company is Black Diamond Builders. My website is http://www.blackdiamondbuilders.com
    I have three designations from the NAHB-(National Association of Home Builders) which only one other contractor in California has. I am also the first Certified Green Professional in the OC.
    You can go to my website to learn more, go to my brand new blog to discuss these things and contact me there.

  3. Lori Binder, CEA

    We at Southland Energy Consultants in Laguna Beach have worked with Dad’s Construction for a number of years providing Energy Compliance documentation. Dan has proven himself to be professional, knowledgeable and efficient. We have enjoyed a good working relationship with Dad’s and always look forward to their next project.