Wednesday, March 12, 2014

And the WInner is….Drumroll…..

I'd like to think that ultimately I was the peacemaker (albeit a very reluctant one)…however upon our research and as we started to explore quotes for 2 stories versus a bungalow etc, it appeared as though whichever design we chose, we would save money in some areas, and it would cost more in others. We also had a highly recommended general contractor give us a quote for each house which was astounding and completely out of budget…it sealed our fate of being our own General contractors. As we explored quotes for foundation and framing work, it also became clear that not only were we going to have to be our own General Contractors…we were going to have to be our own builders as well. Once this realization sank in, the charm of a 2-story quickly faded away (personally I have a fear of heights) so the thought of helping to build a "high" house no longer seemed that appealing. It was going to be a bungalow. Perhaps Jeremy was right all along--but I will only admit that once I see the final cost of this house…Can we really keep this house within budget…on an acreage with the extra cost of hookups, cistern and septic, whilst doing passivhaus (or as close to it as possible)…I was very skeptical but Jeremy assured me it was possible (and if anyone could do it, Jeremy could with his Mad skills). So we began finally moving in a direction. Never building a house before, we (for various reasons) decided to go with ICF, and sent away for our first quote from a reputable Foundation Contractor…the quote was $70, 000 just for the foundation. A depressing number and a good chunk of our entire housing budget…how were we going to do this. The Solution….Simple…we would build our own foundation. After all, ICF is pretty much like lego…how hard could it be. Our confidence was little inflated by the fact that a few years earlier Jeremy had helped build his dad's shop which consisted of about 4 feet of ICF…piece of cake…right??? well, we must have thought so, because once we decided to do our own foundation and basement out of ICF, it didn't take long for us to determine that if we went all the way to the trusses with ICF we could save a tonne of money on labor as we could do it all ourselves. Not to mention, this plan also would help us get some of the R-values, air-tightness, and energy efficiency we were hoping to achieve. The actual materials for the entire foundation to ceiling ICF was going to cost us less then the basement quote we had gotten from the local contractor. Already, we were saving money. Done! ICF to the trusses it was…Builders:Jeremy and Crystal. So, while jeremy finished wrapping up the last days of school, we spent our evenings out on our site, digging test pits for the soil and water levels and staking out our property lines and the perimeter of our house. Of course, being rookies, and having our 3 kids running around and playing with the stakes, this all took a little longer than I am sure it does for the pros…but it was free, and ultimately on June 29, 2013, we were on our vacant lot with a local excavator digging out the foundation and basement of our home.

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