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By Greg in Jacksonville, FL on 4/23/2005


HELP!! I need hard facts. We bought a 1.07 acre lot, but I'm trying to convince my wife that you cannot build a 3,412 sq. ft. stucco two-story home in Florida for under $300,000. Does anyone have a sample or real building budget from a home built in Florida in the past year or two? I would love to be proven wrong.
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By Randy in PB, FL on 4/23/2005


Hello again:

$300,000/3,412 = $87.92 per s.f.

I think it's doable. I'm shooting for $75/sf

While I'm still learning...I do understand some basics...For example, you can buy a $5K Sub-Zero Refrigerator or a $1K Frigidaire. You could buy granite countertops or Formica. You could buy custom cabinets or box sets. You could buy 3-tab roof shingles or ceramic barrel tile. You could spend $50K on landscaping or nothing at all etc., etc., etc., the list goes on...It all depends on what you want. If you want nothing but the best...it will be really tough to build for under $300K. Also how handy are you? Can you spare $3K by putting in the sprinkler system yourself, or the fence, tiling a floor, or painting...etc., etc., etc.? For estimating purposes, you could say you're in the $300K +/- $50K range.

As for examples, I did the exact same thing you're trying to do. I sought out as many owner-builders as I could to get a handle on my cost. I found 5 sources (including two neighbors) who all built within the last four years. In summary, their costs were usually between $74 to $100 per SF.

Good luck

Randy


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By Eric in Flagler Beach, FL on 4/24/2005


Greg,

We are currently under construction in Flagler County on a 2,800 sq. ft. home and our budget is $285,000, and I'm fairly certain we'll spend it all. Concrete and block are high right now, which drives the cost up, and unless you are going with low cost interior furnishings (tile kitchen etc.) I would plan on $100/sq ft. Also, the new Florida code takes effect starting July 1, and it requires more strengthening for hurricanes than the 2001 FBC.   

Eric


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By Donald in Port St. John, FL on 4/25/2005


Is the square footage under air or roof? That makes a difference on what your price per sq. ft. will be.
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By Eric in Flagler Beach, FL on 4/25/2005


Just for comparison sake, mine is 2,800 sq ft living 3,600 sq. ft. under roof.

Eric 


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By Donald in Port St. John, FL on 4/25/2005


Randy,

Is my calculator broken? I come up with $102/sq. ft. with your numbers.

Don


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By Greg in Jacksonville, FL on 4/25/2005


Living space is 3,412, including two-car garage, porch and entry, it comes to 4,246 sq ft. My wife swears that we can build under $300,000. We don't plan to have marble and "Sub-Zero" kitchen equipment. But I don't see a remote possibility of coming close. I hope someone from Florida can tell me that they were able to build in the under $75 psf, so my wife can say "told you so". I'm not convinced.


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By Randy in PB, FL on 4/25/2005


Don't use that calculator in your financial planning :D 

Regardless, $89/sf vs. $92/sf is in the noise. I plan to know my cost as close as I possibly can. I have to... I think the bank won't loan on speculative planning.

As for price/sf calculation, I believe that's under air. Otherwise we'd see a breakout of mansions being built.

Anyone use The Plan Place on Palm Bay Road? We just turned them on to modify and engineer our stock plans.

We're tearing down a 40-year-old 3/2 ranch that was damaged in the hurricanes last year. We're getting our temporary housing ready while planning the new home.

Keep in touch.

Randy


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By Donald in Port St. John, FL on 4/25/2005


LOL,

Sorry, after using a real calculator, you are correct. That oughta learn me to use an aol calc. Don


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By Brenda in Eustis, FL on 4/30/2005


May I ask what your concrete and block costs were? We are in the drawing stages of our plans in Lake County. This is our second O-B home, and I do have to say we came out under $100/sf... 3/4-acre lot on a lake. 1,677 sf per floor. Two floors, including walkout basement and over 5,000 sf with covered porches and breezeway and garage. We finished March 28th 2003 and our total cost was $320,000. Our land cost us $60,000 so our total psf cost to build was $78/sf and total house was $52/sf (that is minus the land). I know concrete and lumber have almost doubled in the two or three years since we started to build.

What changes are coming in structural requirements in Florida?
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By Kevin in Palm Bay, FL on 5/6/2005


Greg,

Are you including the cost of the lot in your total? We are building in Palm Bay (Brevard County). Not counting our lot we are at $51 per sq ft. If we count our lot, we are at $62. When completed, we will have 3,156 under air with 3,886 total. Three bedrooms and two full baths with two half-baths and a three-car attached garage.

The house is solid poured concrete and has a solid poured safe room (that doubles as a walk-in closet) and a bonus room upstairs that is 34'x18' (We will end up putting a wall up and make two rooms - an office at 12'x18' and a media room at 22'x18'). We are doing the tile in the bathrooms and floors, all the electrical, sprinkler system, landscaping, painting, installing the windows, roll-down shutters and all bath, kitchen, and other area cabinet installs.

I have a friend who is a GC and has given me several good subs in the area. If you're able to do some work yourself, then you can get it down lower. My GC friend said I'll probably end up at $58 per sq ft (not counting the lot) by the time we are finished. We have also purchased bath, sink fixtures, ceiling fans and other items when they go on sale and stored them at a family members home.

Good luck. Once we are complete, I'll let you know the total.      

Kevin


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By Randy in PB, FL on 5/6/2005


Kevin:

We too are in Palm Bay... your numbers are attractive. I'd like to hook up with you to discuss (email or in person). Our parameters are something like 2,800 SF under air (3,800 total), 4br/4ba, three-story, pilings, garage under, and I'm going to do a lot of the work...

Our plans are currently with The Plan Place on PB Road for engineering stamps. I would like to talk with you about your subs. I have access to another O-B's sub list. We can use to compare. I have an appointment with Brevard Grouting Services today to discuss pilings.

Let's talk,

Randy


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By Kristy in Saint Lucie, FL on 3/24/2006


Greg,

I'm new to the forum. We CO'ed on our first O-B home in June 2004. Our sq ft is 3,512 total and 2,373 living single story. We have about $225K in the home. We subbed out the majority of the home; my husband did about 15% of the work... mostly carpentry finish work. About $64/sq ft total.

Hope this helps.


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By Jason in Orlando, FL on 3/29/2006


Holy Cow!

Kevin, those are great numbers. I thought we were doing good! We are doing all painting interior/exterior, landscaping, sprinkler system, trim work, window, all door install, floor/ bathroom tiling, custom maple cabinets built from scratch, and all the plumbing trim work.

We are still at around $115 per sq ft and for what it is, it is a darn good deal. We have a slick electrical system going in and lots of extras like tankless water heater, the 'works' in kitchen appliances, 250-gallon underground propane tank, full home standby generator, few dozen linear feet of Zodiac counters, and built-ins everywhere.

Even without all those items, we never were anywhere near $50. I think we got it down to like $90 and just decided to go pedal to the metal. 

The home is 2,700 under air, 3,800 under roof on one acre on a lake in a rural part of Orlando.

Our major costs were:

foundation  $20K

poured solid walls $28K

trusses $10K

electric $22K

framing labor $17K

framing materials $11K

drywall labor/materials $14K

land $40K

land permit and clearing/fill $32K

city permits $18K

HVAC $15K

septic $9K

landscaping $9K

roofing $14K

doors/windows $10K

plumbing $4K (Got a deal here.)

generator $7K

gas line and tank $6K

All the rest of the money was spent on cabinets, flooring, painting, appliances, and anything else needed.

Needless to say, the bill is coming in around $320K-330K

$50 per foot is awesome. I did not think that was possible. I am curious as to how you saved so much on your shell. The hard costs.

-Jason


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By Richard in Eustis, FL on 7/8/2006


Hi Brenda, I would like to introduce myself. My wife and I are starting a building project in Lake County, and would love to compare notes on material pricing and subs. I have just registered on this website and I can't read enough, it seems. Our plans are at a local architect/engineer/designer who was not getting the job done. Had to ante up the money for solid engineering. Cost are high, so we are looking to O-B. Comparing notes, it sounds like a good approach. Oh, our names are Richard and Donna (Eustis, FL) still residing in Oviedo. Let me know if we can network. Thanks.


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By Richard in Eustis, FL on 7/24/2006


Jason, thanks for the breakdown of expenses. I am building in Lake County. Sounds like you are close to completion. Could you recommend supply houses in the Orlando area? Or maybe which to avoid.

The big box stores seem high, with low quality products. We are currently playing the door/window hunt-and-find game. If you have a free moment, I would like to talk.

Good luck,

Richard-Donna


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By Joe in Ruskin, FL on 10/12/2006


Hi Randy,

I am curious on how you made out with your pilings. It sounds like you might have been doing augured cast-in-place pilings, which is the route I believe I will be taking. My situation is pretty involved, though, with the new Florida codes and building in a V-Zone. 

The second soils testing was done yesterday after the old structure was demolished, and it appears that I will have to go down approx. 45 ft plus another 11 or 12 ft above the ground. Adding insult to injury, for our basic box of approx. 22 by 62 feet (due to lot size) current preliminary plans call for 25 of these pilings (ouch!!). It is like I am building a high rise condo.

What I am trying to build is a two story on the pilings with a rooftop deck.

Any direction on what you did for pilings would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Joe H


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By Randy in PB, FL on 10/12/2006


Joe:

My original plans called for underground pilings to support a 2'x20" foundation. The foundation was too small for the 3-story house I'm building (per 2004 FBC). So my engineer opted the pilings out and went with a stem wall on a 3'X1' foundation.. I really wanted the pilings but the cost tradeoff was too great. Being on stilts your situation may be a little different. I suspect they may auger drill the pilings to grade and form/pour to your FFE. See if your engineer can't come up with a better solution than pilings. It will make your wallet much happier. Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Good luck your project..

Randy


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By David in Ocoee, FL on 10/13/2006


Randy and Joe,

It is possible that you are already aware of the following information. FEMA has a free publication entitled: Coastal Construction Manual: Principles and Practices of Planning, Siting, Designing, Constructing, and Maintaining Residential Buildings in Coastal Areas (3rd ed.). It also covers V zoning.

If you will call FEMA at 1-(800) 480-2520 (M-F: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) with the information below, they will send you the CD version of this publication for free. It is an extensive 3 volume publication that is basically the bible of coastal construction. This information is what your engineer will be using to design your foundation.

Coastal Construction Manual: Principles and Practices of Planning, Siting, Designing, Constructing, and Maintaining Residential Buildings in Coastal Areas (3rd ed.)

Media Type: CD-ROM

Availability: Distribution Warehouse 

Language: English

Date Published: 06/2000

FEMA Publication Number: FEMA 55CD

 


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By Randy in PB, FL on 10/14/2006


Thanks for the link. I will definitely request a copy. While I am building on the coast my flood zone designation is AE. I'm only required to be 18 inches above the crown of the road. You'd have to see my plans and location to understand why my engineer got rid of the pilings. In a nutshell I'm building on a high bluff overlooking the Indian River and I have a partial underground garage/crawlspace. (My footer is buried more than 6 feet underground). I'm required to pour the block walls solid from foundation up to grade. So while i'm not on pilings, I've got a very sturdy foundation..

Since the flood water will never reach my house, i'm more concerned about wind. We get strong north easterns and we're smack in the middle of hurricane alley. In the 12 years I've been on this site however all hurricanes have come in a little south of us (which give us a nasty punch every time). Tthis new home we're building is because wind and driven rain from Frances and Jeanne tore us apart in 2004. Thanks for the dialog.

Randy


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By Frank in Orlando, FL on 2/4/2007


I realize this message was posted some time ago, and I don't know if I am doing this correctly since I am new to the site. Firstly, I would like to thank all of you who have posted and shared your experiences. It has been invaluable. I have a renewed motivation in my project, especially having realized that many of you are experiencing the same problems I am. A special thanks to Jason and Cara, I owe you guys big; now I don't feel like I am reinventing the wheel. 

I just wanted to post a website that had a cost analysis which is configured to area.  Hope this helps.

building-cost.net

thanks,

frank


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By Jason in Orlando, FL on 2/4/2007


Frank-

That cost analysis is not very acurate at all. I just ran our numbers through it and its figures were all over the place. Do not use this as a guide.

Instead use this to help plan

Foundation work completed will run about $5 a sqft

Roofing will run about $3.50 a sqft (use foundation sq ft)

Framing will run about $4.50 a sq ft for LABOR

If you are single story than your cement walls will cost in line with what your foundation does.

Stucco will be about 40% of the exterior wall cost.

Materials cost will depend on how you build your house.

That should give you a give starting point

--Jason


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By Lisa in Groveland, FL on 2/4/2007


Good on Jason,

If it's any help, these are my actual figures: Foundation sq ft is 5,292 sq ft

Foundation work : $4.10 sq ft, for 3,000 psi. I took my lowest bid to the company I wanted to use and they matched it.

Roofing: $2.36 per (foundation) sq ft incl labor, materials etc.

Framing: $4 per (foundation) sq ft for 1st floor.  $4.50 for second floor (Bonus Room and that's framing out the bonus room walls.  However, I then got a discount; then two companies wanted the job as work is drying up and I am now running at  about $3.89 per total sq ft for labor. Lumber is approx $10K to 11K.

Quick Walls including lots of patio columns and lintels is incl. everything $22,777, plus columns we've added outside the house not in on the sq footage.  So Jason has hit the nail on the head with being in line with the foundation cost. Our bonus room will be framed out.

Stucco with banding around the windows, is presently at 57% cost of our walls but we have a bonus room, the second floor is more expensive, however still trying to better this. We have corbels and rope columns and two columns with quoins, so not holding my breath, so to speak.

Drywall came to $4.36 sq ft under air included labor and materials. Therefore $20.2K for us.

Hope this helps.

Lisa


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By Frank in Orlando, FL on 2/4/2007


Thank you guys so much for your input.... greatly appreciated.  Did you guys find that the plan you selected had anything to do with the cost of your walls/roof/foundation?  Meaning if you had selected a rectangular shaped plan vs a plan with lots of angles and geometry did this change your budget greatly?  I ask this because i gave my original designer a floor plan that i liked and he was very concerned that the multiple angles and shape were going to be prohibitive.

thank you agian for your input


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By Lisa in Groveland, FL on 2/4/2007


Frank,

We knew the sort of house we wanted.  Of course we knew a square box was going to be the cheapest, but then if you are doing a custom home is it going to fit or not.  The next cheapest was the L shape and because various parts were either borrowed from 4 separate house plans and then I added bits to make it work for us.  Then explained it was a basic L Shape to the designer.  She then took the many styles of housing I liked ( I gave her a scapebook of cut-outs we liked for inspiration then I saw one a few days later that was just perfect and she made it just like it, so we have a front of a house that looks like another but the layout inside is totally different.) We are very pleased with the results.  We did not cut our losses and think we could tweak this forever nows the time to stop.  Sure, we changed some windows and made a change to the balcony, we had to comply with code which caused one change but it is truly just right for us.  If you are ever going to sell it in the future it must have some curb appeal.  The house we based it on it had 10 corners ours has six but without getting various bids from the truss company, I don't know how much more expensive the trusses would be, with lots of angles.  It will make you designer work but don't be put off they should have a standard fee, this is your house remember. 

We also have a 7/12 pitch that is a marginally more expensive than 6/12, that said I don't think prohibitively though.  It is quite close to the phi number which is meant to be the perfect number in nature, so maybe naively hoping that will help with what nature can throw at us?????  We'll see.  Anything above 8/12 pitch gets very expensive and it was explained why, but memory partially dumped that info, as it did not apply.  Basically something special has to be on it to hold the roof material on.  Again if you get to shallower pitch the cost rises again. Something to consider.  On my list of costs I realise I left the trusses off the were $11244.  So you could say the whole roof came to the same amount as the Foundation costs.  It might be worth speaking with a Truss company about this,  We used Brevard Truss, June was great to deal with I caught a mistake in the floor sytem a few weeks aback and they were great about it.  It speaks volumes about a company, things will always go wrong thats life, how people react and deal with it really shows up the good from bad companies.  I'm to date really pleased with Brevard Truss they are good people.

Not sure I've been much help, but speak with them re: angles, they can probably give you decent advice and are used to dealing with OB's.

Good Luck

Lisa.


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By Jason in Orlando, FL on 2/4/2007


Frank. To answer your question about wall corners. I would have to say no. Pretty much everthing is done on a square foot charge. However, depending on your wall structure, angels and such can cost more money. With concrete block it is not a tremendous deal, but with a poured wall / titl up wall I do not even know if it is an option. I am sure that that both walls might have to be incorporated if complexes angle are used if you are using a poured wall. Parts of it might be made from CMU.

Alternatively, when I went to the street of dreams I spent over an hour watching a slide show of the house contstruction. The portions of those houses that had compex angles were actually framed in. Yes, even on the frist floor. I was shocked.

Don't be discourage if you are thinking about a bay window or such. Cost for something like that would be minimal if anything at all. But if you have many than it could be a problem.

Also of note, a right angle provides more livable area than larger or smaller angles. Even if you have an obtuse angle, somewhere down the line you will have to have an acute angle to bring it into check.

Be smart about the design and use some angles for a nook or knockout in the master, but do not go crazy with it. Most of the time these angleded walls are filled with windows, which will add significantly to your cost.

--Jason


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By Del in Norcross, GA on 2/4/2007


Lisa,

Did your quote of 4.10/sqft for the foundation include your stemwall and footers?

Del


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By Lisa in Groveland, FL on 2/5/2007


Del,

We are having Mono. Slab, but the FTG' are substantial in the garage area as it has to bear the weight of the bonus room,  I don't know if your house is 1 or 2 stories.  They usually do 20" x 20" according to Howard Concrete but as our engineer and designer has specified 32" by 20" that's what they'll be.  If you can't get them to get back with you I suggest making an appointment to see Mark at their office on the CR 33.  They are busy which is a good sign.  But meeting people makes it less easy for them to forget you.  I seem to remember you like doing that any way.

Frank,

A thought hit me in the middle of last night.  Yes I truly am that sad git who is living and breathing this.  If I remember correctly SWS (who I won't use), could do our angles but with some difficulty.  We have 3 sides of an octagon on one side of the front door and 2 sides of an octagon going into the garage, other side of the front door.  It did push up the cost I believe and is more difficult for them.  That said Quick Walls do it all the time.  If I remeber in my research one of the other pre-cast walls site picked up on this and said how simple it was for precast walls.  You must have at least 5 " walls it won't work well with the 4" walls. SO go for the 5" or 6". 

I love this picture.   http://www.precast-homes.com/checkthisout.html

Honestly I don't sell these things, so apologies to go on.  Its just as we are using them I have studied them in depth and can't help but be really enthusiastic.

I think my hubby can't wait to have his "normal" (not that 'll ever be that) for me, wife back.

Take care, Lisa


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By Frank in Orlando, FL on 2/5/2007


Lisa,

I spoke to Jeff this morning at Quick Walls and as I remember, it was you that brought up the point that they are unwilling to deal with OB's.  I sensed his lack of enthusiasm (although I'm sure it wasnt personal, just sounds like a company policy that they dont want to deal directly with homeowners) and explained much like you did that I would be using a GC as a point of contact. 

He also mentioned that they do not do slabs and when I talked to SWS this AM they told me that they do something called a shell package, basically slab, walls trusses.  I was just wondering why you wouldnt use SWS and why you didnt use the "shell package".  I think Jason and Cara used them and it sounds like they had a pretty good experience.

I also wanted to thank you guys for the list of of subs.  I couldn't remember who donated it, but I'm sure this will really help things.  I understand that this is a generic list, sort of like the yellow pages, but I was wondering if there was a way to sort of communicate to everyone how their experiences were with the subs and companies they actually used.  Sort of like a "rateyourprofessor.com" or "rateyourexboyfriend.com"..... hard to believe there is such a site but my interns and students assure me there is. 

Again, thank you all.

You guys are awesome,

Frank 


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By Lisa in Groveland, FL on 2/5/2007


Frank,

Don't give up I have met Jeff on site and he is a really nice guy.  Unfortunately his hands are tied.  I am going to take it up with the CEO about dealing with OB's once we are through (maybe you could help out there).  I have also dealt with John Blanchard, Jeff's boss great guy and even more so once he realised I was serious about concrete walls I have been treated with nothing but respect.  We can't change them overnight but with OB's setting good examples we will get this policy changed or amended. 

Firstly regarding SWS look at my journal Little Lake Corner around Oct/Nov 06 time.  We've moved on so I won't go into it now.  The guy I was dealing with was Kenny.  I hear through the grapevine he has left, no idea why.  I have nothing but respect for him and whoever he is working for now is lucky to have him, and is SWS's loss.  It was the decision makers above him that I feel need a shake up.  Anyway SWS do the walls only, they and Space Coast Truss (Trusses and Framing) come under the umbrella of Mercedes Homes.  The irony of it all is we presently live in a Mercedes Home.  I dealt with David Sullivan who approached me through ServiceMagic and never got the bid back to me.  I contacted SWS after reading all about Jason and Cara.  David offered to contact SWS and guess what if I had not contacted them personally I would never have got their bid either.  The framing I requested was lost on the way, but through querying this all with Kenny I was put in touch with a fairly senior boss Toni Wilcox (in SCT) who was great and to this day felt I was treated badly.  If I had a problem with framers I would go back to her, she passed me onto a great person within SCT (to check we were no longer mucked around) to deal with framing and they came back with a bid promptly and then when I pointed out I had done better was more than happy to match it.  I am still tempted a bit, but loathed in principle to pay any money to Mercedes Homes post the SWS debacle.  Plus two framers have now slashed my bids by $1300 and I keep thinking wow that’s a washer or 9 fans.

I agree with your site and that is a bit of the basis of service magic.  That said I am not impressed as with them, as none of my best bids have come from them.  I found a new site the other day called the "SqueakyWheel.com" where if you are mistreated by a company you can at least let people know.  In the UK there is alot more protection under "Trading standards", just mention it and a shop or company knows if they are bending the rules they will not get away with it, they can go on a list if there are too many bad reports they/government start taking an interest.  Its not perfect but offer alot more protection than in Florida where something like that is needed.  In the meantime consumers need to take there own action, something like you are suggesting.  Hopefully by the time I've finished this I can generate a list of people we would recommend, are okay, and a do not bother list if you got what I mean., for our little area.

Now Jason and Cara kindly informed me months ago that the people who turned up to do there foundation through SWS was Howard Concrete. They are based in Groveland and near where we are building.  After moving on from SWS I contacted them.  They are doing some block work for me as well as the foundation and although really busy have been really good with me.  I rang them again (and many other people) when I hit your problem with Quickwalls ( I had already decided to use them for the foundation) asking if they knew of a GC who might want to help us out, so we could get these walls.  They build as well and kindly offered.  This was above and beyond as far as I am concerned, they have gone through a credit check and I will do our contract on getting our permit and we will pay them to pay Quickwalls after installation.  Now I don't mean ring them and ask if they can do this for you, they don't know you from Adam; arrange an appointment to see them.  On the phone you could be anyone.  If they feel dubious about at all that is fine, as they didn't have to do this for me, but even then they may know someone who will allow you to order and use that persons license.  I will pay them $500 for this which I offered as they have saved me time and a lot of trouble.  Remember "No" is only No when you give up.  Of course there is always a time when the giving up is the right thing to do, but another door always opens.  Now SWS's initial bid for foundation (I'm guessing they would have used Howard Concrete as they are close to our land to it makes perfect sense, but who knows but I could be wrong, I'm sure they have other companies they use.) was in the $26K region, Howard Concrete initial bid was in the $24K region, but they matched my bid who I was seriously thinking of using of just over $22K.  Get other bids it shows you the real price and people are willing to match it if reasonable and you can prove others are doing it for that.

Lastly I met with Jim from Nu-Walls, nice guy.  His initial bid was way lower thatn SWS and he is just starting.  Given a choice if I was not using Quick Walls and had no history with SWS I would have easily choosen him for poured walls.  Other than being a nice guy I felt you'd be working with him, he owns is own company and is startin out in this in Florida.  Maybe because my husband runs a small business given a choice between a large company who are fine with or without you, and giving it to someone who is starting out, your contract makes a real difference in there lives.  PLus the more of these companies out there the more competition in this area the healthier it is and more competative it is for the consumer.  Healthy competition is good for quality and prices.

I've sort of gone off on one (many many apologies) partly due to a very good white wine which is going down far too easily so I had better stop and hit the sack.

Go with what ever your gut feeling is Frank.  Hopefully see you at the Builders Show.

Lisa.


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By Del in Norcross, GA on 2/5/2007


Lisa,

Single story. Gotta look at getting older..... the stairs in the house in Atlanta get steeper every day. 32x20 - dang - hefty. My footers were engineered 8x16 with 2 #5 rebar but I'm pouring them 16x16 with 3 #5 rebar just because I don't think that 8 inches of concrete is enough. Of course, your walls weigh much more than mine because I'm (embarrassed blush) stick framing with 2x6.

I've psyched myself into becoming excited at the prospect of doing the foundation myself now so I'll probably just let them pass. It may turn out to be a big costly mistake but I've never been accused of being afraid to try something (or of being real bright about some things). As the carney said, "You pays your money and you takes your chances". Some times times you wins, and sometimes you don't. It's only money, and the extra work will keep me out of the pool halls. I'll let you know how excited I am when I'm ankle deep in rapidly setting cement....

Del


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By Jason in Orlando, FL on 2/6/2007


Del-

I feel the same way about concrete. I have poured a little pad and actually had fun with it, but doing a bigger project that must be structurally stable is another thing.

I was thinking about doing our entire driveway myself (2000 sq ft), but the fast setting and heavy as **** concrete part worries me that if I screw up somehow I will be in for a big mess.

The technique behind it is not rocket science, it is all about prepwork and than how well you can float.

In the end I am hiring it out, after all the work I have put in this project I am getting tired of "doing it myself " The clock is ticking and the bank interest is high $$$ now that we are nearing the end. Some things are a wash to just hire out because it is faster. Tiem is money.

Another time when I do not have so much on my hands I would jump right on that project!

--Jason


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By Del in Norcross, GA on 2/6/2007


Jason,

Roger that on both the time is money and tired of doing it yourself aspects. I was fortunate enough to not need to get a construction loan but I'm sure that I'll weary of the novelty of doing it all myself at some point, probably sooner than later. The upside is that I can take a break and come back to Atlanta for a week when that happens and work on getting this house ready to put on the market.......:-)

I poured a 25x60 driveway for my sister a couple of weeks ago while she was in Boston. It went pretty smoothly. I had stopped at a development in Lakeland and watched them pour 3 driveways as fast as the concrete trucks could dump. I noticed that each driveway had short lengths of rebar driven into the ground at various intervals. While they were waiting for the cement to start the third driveway, I got out and asked the guy in charge what the rebar was for. I had noticed that after working the aggregate down and screeding with the 2x4 they pulled the rebar out and tossed it to the side. He said that they were grade stakes. They smoothed to concrete to the top of them and then pulled them out. It allowed them to easily keep the proper elevation on the concrete all the way across.

I used a 8ft 2x4 instead of a 12 footer like concrete guys used, so I needed more grade stakes but it worked great. There's only one little spot at the end of the driveway that collected about 1/8 inch of water when it rained a few days later. Other than that there were no low spots. I was pretty beat by then and must have gotten sloppy.

I rented a concrete saw a couple of days later and cut control joints every 10 feet. I guess we'll know in a couple of years how good a job I really did. Getting the hang of the bull float took a little practice. It's all in the wrist, and forearms, and shoulders, and hips........mostly rythym. Unfortunately I'm the stereotypical white guy when it comes to rythym - I ain't got any - so I had to rescreed the first section and float it again. Fortunately it was a cool, cloudy day and the cement wasn't setting up too quickly or I would have been in real trouble until I got the hang of it.

 The third most important lesson I learned, after the grade stakes and floating, was that the concrete truck driver is entirely under your control. They put it where you tell them at the speed you tell them and, if necessary, the consistency you tell them and you don't have to accept any load that doesn't meet your specifications.

The second truck was an hour and a half late, because he had broken down. I asked him what kept the cement from setting up after that long in his truck. He said that he added water periodically and kept it mixing. I asked him if that wouldn't weaken the cement. He (literally) sneered "nah". Wrong attitude. I had him move the boom over to the grass and start her up. After the initial gush of water came down the slide I put a 5 gallon bucket under it and collected a couple of gallons. It was the wettest mess I had ever seen. Although I don't know squat about concrete, I knew that it shouldn't be that sloppy. He had obviously over watered. I had him back the truck up and got on the phone with Cemex and raised hell. They agreed to send a replacement load and said that the third truck was only 15 minutes away. I handed the driver my phone and he angrily took the news.

He purposely ran over one of my sister's gardenia bushes on the way out, but I figured it was a cheap price to pay for not having 10 yards of bad concrete dumped into my forms before I realized it.

That scumbag driver would have been perfectly happy to dump it and go. I repeated the exercise with the next 2 drivers and will do the same with future concrete deliveries. You can't trust anyone anymore it seems. Guess I'll learn how to measure slump before the next round of pouring begins.

I've got a bunch of my tools loaded up and ready to take to Polk City in the morning. They're just about finished with my pole barn so I'll have some place dry and secure to store them. I'm shooting to pour the footers by next Wednesday. I stayed in Atlanta a couple of days longer than I had planned. I kinda miss Regina after I've been in Fla for a couple of days so I stretched this trip out. Go Figure:-)

You and Cara have done beautifully on your house and you should be very proud as well as exhausted.

Del


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