[This is the Special Report 19 in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Our
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of the best homes in America are not built by the great architects of
our times, but by owner-builders like you and me. Ingenious ideas for a
far longerlasting and more comfortable home from people who care more
than anyone about the house they live in. Six pages, revised and updated with new
reader tips, web links and comments. Topics include:
- Energy efficiency
- Quality upgrades
- Quality of process and product
- Plumb and straight
- Placement of outlets and telephones
- Differences in level of finish
- Custom windows
Excerpt from Report:
"...Q. How did the time you spent on site during construction affect your outcome?
A. My son and I used it as a bonding experience. Even though we built a lot of quality into it we finished in 7.5 months.
Satisfaction with the house. We spotted items that weren't right, found
changes we wanted and caught some electrical problems.
cut out the general fee, had more control, that's a huge advantage,
picking the type of finish work you have, able to shop certain
appliances, it was always up to us to get the best deal. Often for the
same money we got better quality.
A. By being there we got away with using some $8 per hour labor, and still got the quality we wanted.
A. Savings in money, and improvement in features.
A. I saved a good bit of money, and if I had spent more time I would have saved more.
Q. What do you do on site each day?
Keep a time line of what's happening when, and check if you're on or
not. If not, how do you get it fixed? Look at quality of work, and keep
the site clean. That is a major job. If you clean up too good, the
trades tend to get sloppy. They are to remove their own debris. You
control the disposal.
A. Walk around, look at it, talk with
the workers. They may have an idea for improvement. Put in all the
energy efficiency enhancements you can. We have 2x6 walls with R-18
walls, and R-38 ceiling. We had a Bryant 90 Plus furnace. The air from
combustion comes from outside..."
Sample Reader Tip Excerpts:
Home Building Manual for checklists at HomeBuildingManual.com. Has
timelines and schedules of when you should call people and what should
be in each specification and how to evaluate each thing."
Shauna & Jon H.
are originally from Guyana. The houses there are very strong. We want
to use ICF's to build a masonry home. You spend more on those, but we
are going to save on some of the other systems. Because we want special
things, like radiant floor heat, we can't just go buy a home. Right
now, we look like we are saving 35% on the cost of the house."