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Posted by Kerry in Newport News, VA on 3/17/2007

Today is the 17th of March. We are getting closer to the time frame to close on the land. Closing date is currently set to 28 March. One of the stipulations of us purchasing the land was that the land have some clearing done (for house site) prior to the closing date. We drove to the land last weekend and were pleased to see this already taking place. We do know that the current clearing (more than likely) will not be large enough for the footprint of our house, since we will have a one-story with 3,500 sq ft. So we have given thought to the idea of selling timber to a logging company that would be willing to pay for the trees they take. We will look into that soon.

The driveway is much larger and longer than we had thought it would be. It is perfect!!! I know we have a very challenging (hard) and probably stressful road ahead of us. I look forward to the support of other owner-builders who frequent this site during this challenging but exciting time for our family. I also look forward to being able to give back to this community and assist others in any way I can with my experiences of the process when we are complete. I know one day we will look back after we've moved in and say "it was worth all the challenges to accomplish what we have accomplished."  :)

Things that we have learned so far:

1) When ordering floorplans (blueprints) through the mail or off the Internet (we are getting ours from, keep in mind that most of these companies DO NOT adjust the blueprints for local codes to where you will be building your house. This will normally be an extra expense to you later as your blueprints will need to be approved by codes and compliance prior to breaking ground. We have decided to order the "DWG" CAD files only from the website, and take the plans to a local designer and have them set for local codes.

2) Permits needed: septic permit, land disturbance permit, well drilling permit, owner-builder permit, along with several others.

3)  We will be installing our radiant heated flooring ourselves. Due to having radiant heating, this will add approx 3/4 inch to our foundation, as we need to cover the heating tubing with fresh concrete to make the floor base. THIS WILL EFFECT the length of the pipes that the plumber has to install within the foundation. The pipes that come up out of the floor into the house (e.g. bathrooms, kitchens) will have to be longer than standard size to account for the extra concrete.

4) Radiant flooring also affects HOW framing can be adhered to the floor. All interior framing should be secured to the floor with adhesive (industrial concrete or other) adhesive types. The standard method of attaching the framing to the floor with nails could puncture the underlying radiant floor tubing/wiring.

In our framers' labor agreement we have placed a clause within it stating this information to the framers. We have also stated that they agree not to hold the owner-builders responsible for the funding of ANY repair work that needs to occur due to NOT securing the framing correctly for radiant floors. This also states that they will not place a lien against owner-builder for financing the repair work as the repair work will be at their cost should it be necessary. "I know, I know, good luck on getting someone to sign."

We have learned much more than this, but those are the main four points at this stage that I can think of right now.

Until next time!!!


Posted by George in Wharton, TX on 3/18/2007

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I'm in Texas, so codes are not the same regarding sewer and septic. It looks like you're outside the city. Before you finish clearing your site, find out what the septic requirements are. I am two years out from groundbreaking, but I know our soil requires an aerobic system, which means there are mandatory clearing that must be done for it to work. We are building on land much like this, heavily wooded.

Another thought is you may be building the land up under the house and surrounding areas. Don't forget to take into account that many trees do not do well if dirt is stacked around them more that four or five inches. Just some thoughts for research.


Posted by Kerry in Newport News, VA on 3/18/2007

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Thank you for the tips and insight. Much appreciated!!


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