Cook Bros. Arlington Remodeling BLOG

Get Outside Safely While Sheltering in Place Arlington

Elk Herd Rob Cook video recorded near Yellowstone National Park.

With all of us being cooped up due to the Arlington COVID-19 shelter in place orders, still get outside safely.  Arlington has a lot of parks and resources available. And they are NOT crowded now. Nature is a wonderful cure for cabin-fever and related depression. I thought this would be a fun little video to share.

For example, we are practicing what we preach, to relieve our own cabin
fever stress.  Nobody is immune to the emotional and mental effects of social distancing. My spouse of 39 years, Ande Cook, and I recently drove to this spot, which is about 30 miles East of Yellowstone National Park. It was awesome and stimulating. Nothing refreshes our perspectives and sense of grounding, like nature. So get outside, just keep your distance from others. Not travelling now? No problemo.  Arlington has a lot of parks and outside space resources available to all, and they are not crowded. Plenty of opportunities to be outside, safely. We often walk down along the river and parkways and bike paths in Arlington.

About the Video: I did not count them, but this is probably a 100-head herd
of Elk in the video we made. Males shed their antlers months ago, so there are both males and females in this group. They will calve in the first week of June. Adult elk weigh between 500 and 750 pounds. We were approximately 300 yards from the elk, using our super-telephoto lenses so as not to crowd the wildlife. With the snow melted they are enjoying easy feeding now after a long winter.

Cook Bros is adhering to all recommended practices in Arlington, and Virginia and you can read a little more about this here

For up-to-date info on COVID-19 advice from the CDC, please visit the official CDC website here

Rob Cook, owner and co-founder of Cook Bros. Arlington, Virginia
Rob Cook, owner and co-founder of Cook Bros. Arlington, Virginia

Kudos to the Arlington County Building Department

Arlington County Virginia official Seal

As most Arlington residents know all too well now, we are under a statewide shelter-in-place order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Various types of businesses are exempt from the closure order and deemed essential, based on their necessity to the people or their low exposure potential for the spread of the virus (less than 10 people congregating, etc.).

Cook Bros. and Arlington are on it

Cook Bros takes this seriously and is also subject to many regulatory controls and processes, including building permits and building progress inspections. Fortunately, our Arlington County building department is as progressive as Arlington residents.

Although the Arlington county building department physical offices are currently closed, building permit and inspection processes remain fully active, but in a VIRTUAL manner now! That’s right, crucial construction regulatory processes can continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, safely for all, due to the to the forward thinking of the Arlington County Building Department. 

Here are a few facts about the Arlington County Building Department

Arlington has been processing electronic plan submissions/review and fee payments for several years, in an effort to reduce paper use.  This practice takes on a new meaning in our COVID-19 environment.

Cook Bros helped Arlington Beta test their current system from the very beginning and have been utilizing the electronic platform since they rolled it out, so we are well equipped to efficiently and competently accomplish all requisite permit application and acquisition processes.

Arlington had already been experimenting with virtual inspections for several months before COVID-19 arrived in the USA and had their first internal tests of their system about two months ago.  This forward thinking allowed the Arlington County Building Department to move their inspection operations to a virtual platform efficiently when this became necessary in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic- to keep all builders and inspectors safe.

In the past two weeks (since late March) Arlington has been able to accommodate every inspection request that has been made, completing approximately 1400 virtual inspections during these two weeks according to Shahriar Amiri, Arlington County’s Chief Building Official.

Some reference resources

Information on virtual inspections can be found here:  Info about the online permitting system can be found here:  General info about the building department and COVID-19 can be found here:

Recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Arlington County was asked by the Commonwealth of Virginia to lead a virtual seminar on how-to run and operate a virtual building department. And to share with other building jurisdictions in the area the measures Arlington has already implemented. 160 building officials from all over the country attended, a true validation of both the importance and urgency of this topic as well as Arlington County Building Department’s leadership.

For several years Mr. Amiri has convened a monthly Arlington Contractor’s focus group that Cook Bros’ President and General Manager, Steven Tinter, proudly serves on, to provide feedback and exchange ideas on code changes, code interpretations, processes, etc.  During this COVID-19 pandemic Mr. Amiri has switched these to a virtual platform and has moved them to once a week in order to keep everyone apprised of what is going on in an ever-changing pandemic environment.

Cook Bros and Arlington… “partners”

Cook Bros and the Arlington County Building Department are literally, on the cutting edge in this COVID-19 pandemic and continue to serve and keep people safe.

Stay safe and we will all get thru this difficult period and onto our bright Arlington futures soon. Don’t let cabin fever set in, see how we are handling it here

Rob Cook, owner and co-founder of Cook Bros. Arlington, Virginia
Rob Cook, owner and co-founder of Cook Bros. Arlington, Virginia

Arlington… Dealing with COVID-19

Cook Bros. Arlington Design Build Remodeling Contractor Services: _Corona Virus Image from the CDC

Hope everyone is well. And doing their part by avoiding becoming infected or spreading the Coronavirus and its current disease we all know now as COVID-19. Arlington is successfully Dealing with the pandemic.

These are trying times for everyone.  Nobody is escaping the widespread social, economic and health effects of this pandemic,  Cook Bros. included. Here in Arlington, Virginia, we have been fortunate to date, not having any infection case reports among all of our contacts. This includes employees, customers, suppliers and other associates we have had contact with.

Cook Bros is on top of this pandemic

We are staying on top of the current and evolving guidelines, regulations, best practices and recommendations. With our official designation in Arlington, Virginia, as an “essential” business, we take our responsibilities seriously… both personally and professionally.

And rest assured we are taking all reasonable precautions and actions to keep our employees, customers, suppliers and other associates healthy and safe in this unprecedented pandemic situation.  

We are OPEN for business, on the jobs daily and adapting our business practices as prudent and appropriate. For example we are now doing most of our business meetings, virtually, using video conferencing instead of in-person.  It is working great!  Also, our workers are all using masks, sanitary wipes, hand-sanitizer and gloves where applicable and appropriate.

Read here about how Cook Bros and Arlington County are working together to keep us all safe and in business.

This Pandemic, too, Shall Pass

We will get thru this together and be a stronger society as a result. Stay safe and keep up the good work helping us slow and stop the spread of this virus and better times are ahead for the USA.  I am proud of our customers, employees, governments, fellow citizens and the business community’s responsiveness and cooperation in this dark time. 

Read how we are dealing with cabin fever. Stay safe and enjoy this opportunity to have more time for quiet contemplation and household-family interaction during this period.  “This too, shall pass.”

Rob Cook, owner and co-founder of Cook Bros. Arlington, Virginia
Rob Cook, owner and co-founder of Cook Bros. Arlington, Virginia

Our Redesigned Cook Bros Website!

Cook Bros. Arlington Design Build Remodeling Contractor Services: _Interior View of a Family room and Kitchen addition on Arlington Cape Cod house

On Wednesday, 25 March 2020, we just published our completely redesigned Cook Bros. Website. Hope you like it and find it useful and functional. We would appreciate any recommendations, comments and feedback so we can continue to improve our site.

New High Quality Photos

Most of our work has been and is in Arlington. We are actively upgrading our photography (long overdue!) and as you will see, mixing new high quality images with the old lesser-quality ones as necessary. See some in our Additions page here

We cannot “go back” in time to re-shoot the old ones, as many are as much as 30 years old now. In many cases, the homes we did the projects on have had one or more new owners since we completed the work. So bear with us on some of the “older” photos and know all future ones will be high quality. Like a couple hundred of the new ones on this site are. Over time, we will add a lot more projects and their photos.

Many Enhancements to come

Cook Bros. is doing a lot of “housekeeping” to our business. Like producing this new website. And including implementing new customer relationship management software (“CRM” by BuilderTrend) for online customer and project management and this Blog!

PLUS adopting all of the Arlington County virtual inspection system enhanced operation processes during this COVID-19 pandemic environment. See our post about this here

Many more things to come in 2020 as we renovate our online presence and capabilities. Got to do this every decade after all…we are in our 4th decade now.

Thanks for all the years of loyalty and continued support for our company and we plan on growing in every way going forward.

Thank you and enjoy our site.

Rob Cook

Rob Cook, owner and co-founder of Cook Bros. Arlington, Virginia
Rob Cook, owner and co-founder of Cook Bros. Arlington, Virginia