One Life, Well Traveled

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Archive for the ‘House Building’ Category

Day 29 – There’s Wood in the Air

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We probably shouldn’t have been surprised when we rolled up on Saturday to see the frame up, but there it was in all its exciting glory!

I mean, Pete the Project manager did say to us, “Your frame is going to be going up next week, weather permitting.”  And weather permits less than an inch of snow (as you could probably tell from the picture.  It looks kinda like a house, doesn’t it?

How they get the frame up so quickly is not a great mystery really.  All the wood for the house (well, at least for the frame) shows up on pallets and some of it even already assembled.  You have to imagine it like a modeling kit… a really really BIG modeling kit:

You can’t buy that at a hobby shop.

The lumber on the right in this picture is the skeleton of the frame – standard lumber.  The stuff on the right is press board and I am going to guess water resistant given the unusual green color.  I guess it’s kinda like a sub-dermal layer of the house.

That there is our house.  You can see where the  bay window will be on the left and our front door will be on the right.  It looks to me like the beams under the window are a support system that will be removed once the parts of window are assembled, but I’m not sure.  The plastic, I think, is to protect the frame and insulation from moisture, but that’s also just a guess based on watching DiY shows on PBS.

There’s the view in through the bay window.  Not very home-y right now, but you can see through what will be the living room all the way back through the kitchen.  This house is the inverse of the model so the large opening is where the door-exit to the back porch will be.

Here you are looking through into the two secondary bedrooms.  As you can see, we lack a roof at the moment, but my understanding is that is the next step.  We’re due for more snow tonight so I think it’s a good question whether they’re going to try to at least get some cover up there before that happens. “If weather allows” is the important phrase at the moment.  Once that roof goes on, the threat from weather is mostly over.


Written by Tarsus

January 10, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Day 13 & 19 – Utilities first, then more concrete.

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It’s a bit of a belated update here.  Holidays get in the way with regular updates, so have some holiday updates today, namely, what was wrought with the house over the holiday.

What you see there is the feed of the utilities into our abode in the form of (at that moment) empty pvc pipe.  Water, gas, and maybe electric from the utilities will come into the house via those pies.  One of them, also has the raedon venting system in it, which in the unlikely event that we have raedon helps keep it from building up inside the house.

The holiday season did not stop work on the house, and the weather cooperated enough that they were able to go from this on the 23rd:

To this one the 29th:

And we have a finished foundation.

Next up, at least in theory, is framing.  That is supposed to happen THIS WEEK according to the project manager who hasn’t mislead us yet.  So there may be another update soon with pictures of our wooden edifice.

Once we get wood, that’s a lot more like a house.  Or, at least, it’s going to LOOK like a house.  There’s a lot that goes on inside of it too obviously, but it will look like a house from the outside and that is a huge step forward.

Written by Tarsus

January 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Day 7 – Then there were walls

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As promised, they started pouring concrete yesterday (Friday, December 17th) despite the snow.  I would worry, but as I understand an observer has to come from the city to ensure that the temperature and conditions for pouring concrete are right.

The wood and metal walls you can see are the molds to hold the concrete, which will need to cure over
the next several days.

Some other things you can see in this picture:

-The two framed bits sticking out in front are where, I believe, the front steps will be.
-the long slab of concrete in the back is what was under the hay in the last picture, so you can see what that looks like.

The project manager informed me when they were doing this yesterday that if the weather cooperated they would be feeding in the water and sewer lines and pouring the slab, which you can probably tell hasn’t been done yet.

We also informed our current landlord that they had gotten started, which means they will probably be able to make the promised deadline of early March.  He’s sending over the paperwork but we’re hoping to find someone to take over the lease on 1203 Greenway on April 7th. That gives us one month to move in, which I think should be enough.

Written by Tarsus

December 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Day 1: The beginning looks like This

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This photo was taken on Saturday, December 11th, but the work you see was done on Friday the 10th, the first day of construction of our house.

What you see, according to the Project Manager, is the footer of the building.  Beneath the hay there is the concrete that will anchor the building to the ground.  If the temperature warms up enough (you can’t pour concrete if it’s too cold) they will remove the wooden frames you can see, put on new frames, and pour the foundation slab and walls for the basement later this week.  On that time table, they’ll run in the plumbing into the building next week.

More pictures to come, as things progress, but it is a start!

Written by Tarsus

December 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Getting Started after Christmas

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The new “deadline” to get started building the house is the end of December/early January.  Given that the units put up recently are almost done (their closing date is December 7th I seem to recall), that would mean that under ideal circumstances we are looking at closing sometime in early March.

Under less than ideal circumstances (meaning snow before early-mid January when framing would be complete) that could be later.

Bear in mind, that last year, Charlottesville had two ginormous snows (see snowpocalypse 2009) by that time last year.

This is my skeptical face.  Can you tell?

Written by Tarsus

November 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Still no house

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Checked on the house recently, but 814 Rockcreek Road is still just some air occupying red dirt.  There has been substantial progress on the other units, which started being built the first week in October (that’s a month ago, for those of you keeping track), but as yet there’s been not one wit of progress on our future home.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there could be substantive advantages for them finishing later.  According our landlord, it is much easier to find someone to pick up the lease on our current place the more into spring things get.  Also, thanks to some good negotiating, we’ve still locked in our low interest rate regardless of when we close (adjustments are the builder’s problem, not ours). I’m more or less just trying to get a “when” but the Project Manager, unlike the Selling Agent, doesn’t like making promises he can’t keep so I’m not going to get a “when” until they get something started.

But there’s is something in the way of things getting started, because the Selling Agent needs to sell one more unit in our building.  When that is going to happen is anybody’s guess.

Written by Tarsus

November 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Pre-Construction Meeting

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Today we met Pete Rooney, the Project Manager building our unit (well, all the units at Rock Creek).  He walked us through all the customizations we’ve made, double checking all of our fine points (all those plug locations!).  I am fairly pleased to say that we didn’t need to change anything.  One might say that there was little reason to have the meeting, but for one important point:

Pete is now our point of contact for most inquiries we’re making.

My impression of Pete was quite good.  He clearly listened to everything we said and pretty much wrote down every word (including my request that we be notified at the earliest opportunity when our move-in/settlement date would be as we still have to deal with our rental). He seemed very document driven so that was a good sign.  Our Realtor, Jim, also seemed confident that our investment in two housing inspections (pre-drywall and pre-settlement), both also noted by Pete, would reap a better quality home for us.  I hope Pete doesn’t mind our nosy selves poking our head in with a camera because I imagine there will be many parents, friends, etc we’ll be taking for visits and the like as our patch of air becomes more like a patch of air with some wood, steel, and concrete in it.

I will admit that I am still quite skeptical of the ability of a builder to throw up a home in 90 days (that would put move in toward mid January if they break ground in 4 weeks as they plan, that’s still not certain) but that is what they have maintained since we started this.  Who can say for sure at this point.  There is no doubt going to be a lot of nerve wracking moments left, but now that all the choices and customizations for us are done it definitely feels like we’ve passed some sort of invisible milestone. Hopefully this is a milestone on the road to where we want to be.

Written by Tarsus

September 13, 2010 at 5:48 pm