Update: Where Are We in the Build?

To catch you up on our DIY home building project – what we’ve already accomplished:

  • Decided that we were crazy enough to start a DIY home building project.
  • Power installed from power line to shed. This required trenching and laying cables surrounded by PVC conduit, over three hundred fifty feet from the nearest power line. We’ll still need to trench and run power the remainder of the way for it to reach the house, which is close to another one hundred feet. I know it sounds insane, but it was worth not having a power line close to the house. We live in the mountains, we want it to feel like it.
  • Well completed…that’s all I’m going to say about the damned well.
  • Complete design/construction plans. We’re nearly completed with this. Hopefully another week until we can submit these to the county for permitting.

For a more in-depth review of our DIY home building project and what we’ve already done, see ‘Alright, Let’s Talk About the House Project’ post.

At the moment, time is on our side.

 We have almost completed the design and construction plan for our DIY home building project. Our engineer is putting some final touches on it, and then we should be ready to submit it to the county. The county is approximately four to six weeks out for approval. This will be when Dave completes a materials take-off and we start requesting material quotes from local suppliers.

We’re playing a game with the weather – I don’t know why we always do this, the weather always wins. Always. That’s one thing we certainly learned from the boat. The thing is that we don’t want to start construction and risk another cold spell, that’s bad jou jou for a freshly poured foundation. The flip side is that we also don’t want to wait too long to start the build and waste precious summer weather. We really only have four or five months of good building weather. Before and after these months, it’s cold, it’s windy, and it could be raining or snowing.

Aside from the fact that these conditions make building more challenging, we also just don’t want to work outside freezing our bums off for weeks on end. We’ve been in Antarctica doing enough of that to last a lifetime but we’ll do what we have to do. Such is the nature of the project.

You Better Be Organized

In an effort to keep everything structured, for me to be able to keep my head wrapped around what’s next, how much money we’ve spent, building costs and all the million things in between – I have files upon files on my computer…

DIY Home Building - Organization
DIY Home Building – Organization

I have spreadsheets. Oh, there are spreadsheets.

-Estimated cost (high and low)

-Actual building cost

-Actual building cost breakdown

-Money going out vs. money coming in

-Build timeline (includes target dates, actual dates, percent completion)

-Companies to get estimates from

Then there’s the documents that include design concepts, must have features in the house, lists of things to complete, that have been completed, along with dates and deadlines.

Finally, there are hard copies of receipts, contracts, permits and everything else – all organized into folders labeled ‘Electrical’, ‘Plumbing’, ‘County’, etc.

My point is, being the organized person that I am, I love this. I take pity on anyone who does not have a secret (and shameful) love affair with organization, because it would be a bit of an undertaking. Regardless, I’ve read from many others who’ve built their house, that organization is critical. The more effort you put in on the front end, the better off you’ll be, or so I’ve read. Since we’re still in such early stages, the jury is out as to whether or not this level of organization is helpful. I’ll let you know when it’s all said and done.

Though one thing I genuinely loathe doing is keeping track of finances. Don’t get me wrong, I do it – meticulously. I just really hate watching money ooze out, uncontrollably and without regard. I feel like a helpless school of fish being picked off and battered by every predator in the ocean, slowly dwindling down the mass until there is nothing left. That’s what our bank account is experiencing. The hemorrhaging has only just begun. I’m either going to have to get back into meditation or I’m going to need some potent pills prescribed to me, cause this is going to be excruciating.

What I keep saying to myself is that building a house is like baking cookies versus buying store-bought cookies.

If you bake the cookies yourself, yeah, it’s more work to start with, but in the end you’ve got freshly baked cookies just how you like them. Or, you can just buy already made cookies. It’s a hell of a lot easier and you get the satisfaction of eating your cookies right then and there.

I prefer homemade cookies. What can I say? Really though, I could really go for some right now.