Finally – We Begin

We had our permits approved several weeks earlier than anticipated. While this would have been a welcomed boost in our schedule, we decided to stay true to our earlier decision to wait out the last winter storm.

Sure enough, Mother Nature kept her word with nearly 4ft. of snow.

We spent a few weeks doing busy-body work, anything to keep our minds occupied; we shoveled a lot of snow (for ourselves and a few neighbors), let the ground dry out, got estimates for materials and labor, family visits, lots of BBQing, reading building and energy books, etc.

Like clockwork, June 1st rolled around and the weather started to feel like summer. That was our shot fired to get out of the gate and get this pony moving.

We picked contractors for some of the work on the front end and waited with giddy anticipation to finally see real action happening. And waited. Then called. Then I started making voodoo dolls and stabbing them with pins and roasting them over the fire pit.

Eventually, folks showed up. It may be a few hours or even a few days later than what they say, but hey – they made it. In some situations, given our area, we only have one option and kind of have our hands tied. Or, like in the situation of the contractor we hired to pour the foundation, we went with them because they had good reviews. Hell, we’re paying several thousands more than the competitors because we wanted someone reliable and who wouldn’t hold up the project. It makes one wonder what the businesses with poor reviews are like to work with.

Regardless of the delays, setbacks and no-shows, things did get started.

Step 1: Survey. Turns out, we didn’t really need to do this, our excavator had it covered. It was a good opportunity to hammer some stakes into the ground, though.

Step 2: Porta-John delivered to property. This is important, because we don’t want a bunch of concrete guys popping a squat on our wee little toilet in the wee little trailer.

Step 3: Excavate. Excavation for footers and steel first. We went to great lengths to try to ensure that no Ground squirrels were injured. We met with 100% success. They were a little pissy for the day, but thankfully, seemed to have gotten over things and have relocated some of their holes.

Step 4: Footers and steel laid. It’s starting to feel much more real!

These first several steps are being completed by contractors. This is the point when hired labor comes in, the rest we will be doing ourselves. The foundation, however, is too critical of a step for us to gamble on. Bad foundation means bad structural integrity and theres a lot of critical details in this job that we want completed right the first time.

Next, inspection, followed by inspection, and let’s throw in one more inspection for good luck. I suppose this is part of the nearly $7,000 in permit fees (yup, you read that number right). Once we get a pass on the wildfire and footer/setback inspections, the concrete contractor will come back up to do the first pour.  Then they will come back, form the foundation walls and get that inspected and poured.  After that, Dave and I will lay all the insulation and materials for radiant floor heat, then they will pour the slab.

We’re eager to get this part of the build completed. Waiting on contractors and inspectors is..uh, a good practice in patience and character building. I don’t want anymore character. No more character!

Let’s get this project started!