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By Michael in Columbia, MO on 5/19/2006


I have been following this site for some time and am about to tackle building late this year or early next. I have a little experience, but I hope I will heed advice and try and avoid too much hands on. We're hearing from real estate agents a cost of $125/sf here. We're hoping to build a Universal Design, low-maintenance house that we will occupy for a long time. We are also considering geothermal heat pump.

My wife is a great shopper and very organized so she will help with cost control, and I plan to be on site almost every day. So we have some strengths that will help. We are leaning toward hiring a consultant to be hands on in the planning phase and to be available at critical times (siting, concrete pour and some inspections).

Any general advice about hiring a consultant would be appreciated. I was also hoping to find someone closer than KC who has done the O-B process. I hope Kenneth and the group from KC area will be a help.


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 5/19/2006


Welcome to the site. I am on O-B Connections, but let me warn you that messages get picked up by my anti-spam filter, so unless I check periodically they get automatically deleted. 

If you have questions of a general nature, post them to the general forums and you will get better response as we don't seem to get too much traffic over on the local forums area. However I am always willing to help, and we seem to have a fair number of people from Kansas City also willing to help, although I don't know how many subcontractors we deal with are willing to travel to Columbi so you will be out there on-your-own somewhat.

If you run the numbers and you don't have extenuating circumstances, I doubt you will find that geothermal to be cost effective in our environment. We get better payback out of incorporating passive solar, upgrading insulation, controlling infiltration, better windows, airtight sheetrock, etc. than we do by going with geothermal. Build energy efficiency in first, the payback will be greater than trying to add energy efficiency through the most energy efficient HVAC.


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By Michael in Columbia, MO on 5/20/2006


One of my reasons for posting as I did, titled "Mid-Missouri" was I hoped I could generate some interest in the Mid MO area.

I would like to know more about "running the numbers". Did you do this or did you have someone else do it for you? We have talked to some locally that have done this and say it has worked for them. The local electrical coop "expert" did a geothermal heat pump and said he made a mistake in using the kind that is submerged in water (some at the Lake of the Ozarks have done well) but that his brother has had good luck with an in-ground application. We also talked with a builder who has been putting geothermal in since the 70's. He said the interest waned when the energy crisis relaxed. There is a 5,400 sf house that the utilities say use $100/mo average. We aren't building anything that big, but some of the gov't. websites talk about a 7-year payback. Thanks for the help.


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By Donna in Lake of the Ozarks, MO on 3/11/2007


Kenneth,

Thanks for sharing... your comments are super.

I'm a newbie... No construction experience... Just finished reading (good read) The Owner-Builder Book today.

Plan to address this weakness:

  • Obtain a Construction MGT Associate's Degree from Metropolitan Community College
  • Take a home inspector course
  • Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity
  • Sit for Missouri GC license

We're planning to build (5,000-6,000 sq ft) at the Lake of the Ozarks next fall.

Questions:

  • Planning on purchasing "The Whole Enchilada" from this site... Any suggestions Yea or Nay?
  • Any additional/other books that are a must read?
  • Any other advice to gain education/experience

Thanks...

Donna


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 3/12/2007


If you do all of that, you will have more building knowledge than most of the people that undertake an O-B project the first time. Knowledge is good, and being overqualified is always a good thing. However please remember that O-B is about managing the project too, and not just how these houses go together. I am pretty hands-on though, I like to know how it comes together so I know if the professionals are getting me good product. Also I sometimes like to show the professionals a better way to do their job, better construction at less cost is a win-win situation for all parties involved.

There is currently a discussion on the Planning forum of the General Forums on must read books. It hasn't had much traffic, but gets you a starting point. As to recommending Mark's books, or the Whole Enchilada, I am not the person to talk to. When I started this, the Whole Enchilada was not available. I was still on the third edition of The Owner-Builder Book (the fourth edition is greatly improved), and many of the books I read are out of print or re-released.

That a pretty big house down there you are planning on building. Is that a year-round house, or vacation house? The reason I ask is I might recommend considering different construction techniques (ICF or SIP), but if that is summer only then I wouldn't worry quite as much about thermal mass. Also (and I have not been down there in awhile) you will be somewhat restricted to local talent and subcontractors, so you don't necessarily want to be the learning laboratory at your expense.

As far as sitting for a MO GC license, check with your permitting authority where you are building. For me, sitting for the license basically meant writing a check. I learned to do that in high school, I like to think that it takes more expertise to build a house than write a check but the gov't. doesn't necessarily agree.

I would definitely consider the community college avenue, perhaps you don't need the entire associates' degree, but I bet some of the coursework is definitely worthwhile. Are you in the KC Metro area, which community college? I didn't know we had this option and would be interested in learning about it.

And as to Habitat for Humanity, definitely some value here.  There are two kinds of people who volunteer; those who know what they are doing, and those that like to say they volunteer. The first type tolerates the second type. Gravitate towards the first type and really try to learn something (it is really easy to tell the difference). Don't waste your learning time scraping sheetrock mud off the floor, sweeping, and picking up trash - help the real workers get the real work accomplished and let the volunteers do the menial labor. And in the end besides learning something, you also helped a somewhat valuable cause. Spend some time learning the language, trades like to talk to people who know the language and it definitely gives you an edge when talking to them.


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By Donna in Lake of the Ozarks, MO on 3/12/2007


Kenneth,

Thanks for the QUICK response.

O-B, MANAGING IS KEY---  Super, I'll be sure to keep this primary.  I just want to have enough knowledge to know when something is done well vs just done to meet code/pass inspection.

=====================================================================

MUST READ BOOKS---Thanks, Ill check out the Planning forum of the General Forums

=====================================================================

5000-6000 sqft HOUSE @ Lake of the Ozarks---It will probably start off a Summer place for 2-3 years and end up as our Primary Residence.  I just read about ICF/SIP a bit in Building your Own Home for Dummies this morning.  From what I've briefly read, I'm VERY INTERESTED in ICF/SIP because:

  • Pre-building @ Factory (All materials are available @ site AND MOSTLY Precise/Closer Tolereances)
  • Shorter Construction Time (fewer interest payments AND less chace for theft/waste)
  • More energy efficient

My concerns about thus far about SIP include:

  • Size of components to be delivered are limited (I want high ceilings/steep roof  in some areas)
  • Paying extra for wanted features (Exposed wood stairs, accomodation of commercial kitchen appliances)

I'm pretty sure I basically want a wall shell...Not so much finished as I want to select my own windows, cabinetry, pumbing fixtures etc...)

===================================================================

MO GC---What a shame the GC  test is not as challenging as one might think...I bet most consumers (including myself), had no idea.  I can see why the inspectors are EVERY consumer' s best friend.      Thanks

====================================================================

COMMUNITY COLLEGE COUSEWORK---The Metropolitan Community College http://mcckc.edu/ in Patnership with the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City offers the A.A.S. in Indus. Tech. Construction Management.  Here's some quickCommunity College Info info:

What is unique about this program?

This program curriculum specifically prepares individuals to work for construction companies and their affiliated industries. The internship places students in real-life experience that gives them the understanding and knowledge base for success in this field.

What is the advantage of taking classes at the Metropolitan Community Colleges?

You'll experience a very hands-on and interactive learning environment. We keep classes small for personal instruction. You'll get dedicated instructors and excellent student services--all at an affordable cost. You'll also gain the experience of taking classes at The Builders' Association Training Center as part of a dual-credit program curriculum.

General Education Schedule

Associate in Applied Science - Construction Management

Additional Information contact:

Connie Hunton at 816.471.0880 ext. 305
Email: chunton@buildersassociation.com
 

=====================================================================

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY---I'll be sure to stick with those who know wat they are doing and learn the lingo.

I'm really excited....Donna


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 3/12/2007


If you are looking for an eventual year-round house, I would look at ICF. However the challenge, depending on where you are building at the lake, is getting equipment in. For ICF, you need to have good access for a concrete pump. Concrete pumpers get some good money, and you get to pay travel time, so make it efficient. Depending on which side of the lake you are building on, your concrete pumper could be traveling quite some distance. Looking at SIP (a strong second choice for me), you still need to get a boomer in there, which will probably be more local.

The problem with SIPs is that they are prebuilt, and any variation in your foundation could be problematic. I built ICF, and had my trusses built to my template, which was based on my footers. I had some 30-degree angles (which for construction is unusual) and although my angles were set very close, trusses built to the drawings and not to the template would have been problematic. Trusses built to the template were exact. Now next time I pre-order my trusses and get my surveyor out twice (once before my excavator gets there, and again to lay out the footers), time is also a factor that must be considered and survey equipment is much more accurate than anything else out there. For panel-built (of which SIP is a subset), this is critical.

I will check out the metropolitan community college coursework. I don't need it (I manage far bigger projects), but I get a lot of inquiries from local O-Bs and I like being somewhat informed.

Most of your questions will be answered on the General Forum side of the house, the local forums don't get much traffic. As to local suppliers and contractors, your best bet is O-B Connections in your area. I get over here simply because I am a moderator and Mark sends all posts to my email directly, so I know when there is traffic. And as a habit, I check the Kansas forums too since I am so close.

And yes, the MO GC program thoroughly disappointed me. I always felt (before my O-B experience) that I could rely on professional builders having some modicum of experience or knowledge. After doing this once, I realize that I will never again trust professional builders (not to say all are bad, but I have seen houses built with minimal actual building experience by a professional builder who had no qualifications whatsoever). As to the inspectors, they are your friend but they have limitations too. No one cares about your project the way you do, again it never hurts to be over-qualified when it comes to construction knowledge. I found many cases when I could explain different construction techniques to my subs (e.g. using Miami-Dade Building Codes) that actually both saved me money and resulted in better construction. This is something they can incorporate later (and save money, and set themselves apart from competition, and probably ultimately charge more money) and I get for a reduced price, I like that.

As to Habitat for Humanity, all of the Kansas City chapters have recently joined together, they are Heartland Region Habitat now. I have been involved with several previously that were very good (Wyandotte County had great ICF houses), and some that were not so good. Perhaps with the joining all under one umbrella, they are all better. PM me, and I will send you some contacts to look for on Habitat houses. One of which is the single best resource in Kansas City on ICF - he has worked both the custom $1M+ houses and Habitat (as a paid employee, not volunteer) and knows more single-handedly about ICF than any other source locally.


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 3/14/2007


I checked out the KC Area Metropolitan Area Community College link to Construction Management Associates' Degree. Wow, right in our backyard. I would recommend any prospective O-B's in our area at least get some more information on this program. Now then, it requires 63 credit hours, but 15-18 of those are general (history, English literature, etc.) that really don't equip you for construction management, so i don't think I would pursue the entire degree unless I had a larger long-term goal such as trying to get a job in the construction industry. 

But that doesn't mean many of the courses are not worthwhile. If you pursue these, please provide some feedback on the courses you are taking, and which you feel would be the most worthwhile for an O-B. I think that would be a valuable resource to other O-B's in our area, both from a content area as well as potential networking with other people either thinking about doing this or in the industry.


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By Donna in Lake of the Ozarks, MO on 3/15/2007


Kenneth,

Thanks for looking this Construction Management Degree over.  Your feedback is excellent.  My thoughts are outlined below.


Construction Management Degree Particulars
Not taking any General Education courses  (Have a 4-yr degree)

  • I'm submitting my 4-yr degree transcript
  • General Education classes will be waived
  • I'm only taking the Construction Management courses
=======================================
SAVE THE DATES

Construction OPEN HOUSE & STUDENT ORIENTATION
5:00pm-6:00pm Open House <Learn about all programs>
6:00pm-7:00pm Student Orientation <Questions Answered>
Monday, April 2, 2007
Monday, May 7, 2007


Metropolitan Commuity College Business & Technology
1775 Universal Ave. (Near Front Street & I-435)
Kansas City, MO 64120
826-482-5200
www.mccbtc.com
=================================================


Courses in which I'm enrolled
CSMG 120    OSHA and Site Security
CSMG 210    Accident Prevention/Loss Control
CSMG 250    Construction Estimating

Course Feedback
  Certainly, I'll gladly rate each class I take and post my thoughts.   NOTE: Kenneth, I'm a COMPLETE beginner.  I'm sure they'll all be of benefit in my case.

NETWORKING
I'm really looking forward to this aspect.  I'd love to find some creative ways to partner with the college and their partners:
  • The Metropolitan Community Colleges
  • The Builders' Association
  • Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local #15
  • Carpenters District Council of Kansas City and Vicinity
  • Glaziers Local Union #558
  • Ironworkers Local #10 Apprenticeship
  • Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons Local #518
  • Painters District Council #3
  • Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Center
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union #124
  • Construction Industry Laborers Training Fund of Western Missouri and Kansas

Thanks again Kenneth.          ....Donna


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By Donna in Lake of the Ozarks, MO on 4/27/2007


If you pursue these, please provide some feedback on the courses you are taking, and which you feel would be the most worthwhile for an O-B.   .....Kenneth

Kenneth,

I hope all is well. Per your request, here's some course feedback on the Accident Control and Loss Prevention Course. I recommend this course. I found it very useful from the standpoint of having an idea of what to do in case of an accident/crisis/emergency. For me, just having a plan is 50% of the battle. In addition, this course offered excellent ideas for PREVENTION of accidents/emergencies. Hope this helps... Donna

 

 Accident Prevention & Loss Control


Book---Accident Prevention & Loss Control, 6th Edition, 2002 Association of General Contractors (AGC) of America

Course Purpose---This course is for 1st-line supervisors who are responsible for job site work tasks on a construction project. Methods to improve supervision are discussed. Supervisors/ OWNER BUILDERS are a CRITICAL link in the production and the profit-making process. They are expected to control costs and meet specs.


Policies/Manuals I need to Develop as a result of this course (Will place on my web site)

  • Safety Manual (with rewards chart); Manual to stay on job site
  • Basic Crisis Plan
  • Clean-up Plan
  • Obtain AGC's excellent pamphlet “Superintendent's Guide to Theft and vandalism prevention”


Useful Forms to have (Will place on my web site)

  • Accident/Incident Report Form
  • Job Log Form
  • SOP for accepting materials (in case I'm not at the job site)
  • SOP for weather delays
  • Drug Reasonable Suspension Checklist
  • OSHA 300/300a Accident Form
  • OSHA Inspection Report


Safety Precautions

  • Contact AGC for FREE Training... I can perform training on my job site
  • If I'm purchasing, let suppliers know I must have a MSDS before they receive final payment
  • Take 1st Aid/CPR
  • Purchase high visibility (lime green) vests and hardhats
  • Install remote motion detector lights with cameras


Subcontractors

  • Subs should have all insurance and an OSHA 30-hr card
  • Subs must supply all Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS); MSDS will remain on site
  • Ask subs to have someone that is CPR/1st Aid trained
  • Subs should have a Drug testing program; I should request a copy of their program


Other

  • Join AGC if possible
  • Develop a reference library (free items from OSHA and AGC)
  • Ask my insurance company safety specialist to come out, look around, offer safety advice/training
  • Get a digital camera (Keep a photo diary and take pictures of any accidents for my protection)
  • Have etching tool on site (mark my items twice AND allow subs to mark their tools)


Job site Theft (account for 50% of all losses)...Ideas to try

  • Security lighting
  • Material storage (lighted and/or gated)
  • Motion sensors, lights, sirens
  • Render equipment inoperable (fuel shut off... removing wires...)
  • Designated employee/subcontractor parking (far away from material storage)

 


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By Donna in Lake of the Ozarks, MO on 4/28/2007


If you pursue these, please provide some feedback on the courses you are taking, and which you feel would be the most worthwhile for an O-B... Kenneth

=====================================================

 

OSHA and Site Security

Into to OSHA, 10-hour Construction Outreach Course


TEXT: OSHA Standards for the Construction Industry, 29 CFR Part 1926, 2007


COURSE PURPOSE:

  • Identify unsafe conditions and situations to avoid

  • Access & Evaluate safety regulations applicable to the work environment

  • Demonstrate understanding of purpose, scope, and general interpretation of OSHA

DO I RECOMMEND THIS COURSE FOR OWNER-BUILDERS?

Yes. I think a basic understanding of unsafe conditions and safety regulations as they pertain to OSHA is beneficial. The text is excellent. All OSHA subparts (A-Z) are available. It's a good resource book to refer to later.


SECTIONS I FOUND MOST BENEFICIAL

  • Subpart E---Personal Protective and Life-Saving Equipment
  • Subpart L---Scaffolds
  • Subpart M---Fall protection
  • Subpart P---Excavations


MOST CITED OSHA VIOLATIONS

  • Fall from unprotected sides & edges (i.e. stairs, improper scaffolds)
  • Falls in RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUTION
  • Not wearing a hard hat

PRE-OSHA INSPECTION (AGC is available to assist members)

  • I should designate an “an Agent-in-Charge”
  • I should maintain proper paperwork & posters
  • I should walk the site; look for violations

DURING OSHA INSPECTION

  • Request an opening Conference... Have my camera/video ready
  • Get a COPY of the Inspector's badge... Call the local OSHA office to verify this person is legitimate
  • Only show inspector what they came to see (Stay on task—on scope)
  • Never leave inspector alone... Walk the site with inspector... Take picture/video of each item
  • Fix any violations on the spot (this way you might not be issued a citation for this violation)
  • Participate in Closing Conference (admit to NO violations)
  • Inspector has up to 6 months to send you written report of citations


ONLINE TRAINING IS AVAILABLE (See attached listing)

Because I'm building on high, rocky ground, I'll probably do these online courses :

  • Cranes, Derricks, and Hoists

  • Fall Protection

  • Stairways & Ladders

  • Scaffolding

===============================

Environmental Health & Safety

Online Seminar Course

MCC-BTC has expanded the offering of Safety and Hazardous Materials training for adults to online training. Take safety training like HAZCOM or Lockout/Tagout from the convenience of your home or office on your schedule. Listed below is a summary of courses offered:

Instructions for Using Online Training:

  1. When you enter the Online Training Page, in the center of the page is a drop down menu with four options for training:

    • Health Care

  2. OSHA - Construction

  3. OSHA - General Industry

  4. OSHA - Hazardous Materials

  5. Once a selection of the training area from the drop down list has been made, click continue.

  6. Before enrolling, please check the system requirements information, state requirements, and instructions for receiving credit after course completion.

  7. New students should click on Course Catalog to view the course listing and enrollment fee. To see a course description, click on the course name. If you are currently a student, enter your user name and password to resume or update your account.

  8. Please check the box next to the course(s) you wish to take. Then click the "Enroll" button to proceed with registration.

OSHA Training Course:

  • OSHA - Course 500 Trainer Course in Occupational Safety & Health Standards for Construction

  • OSHA - Course 501 Trainer Course in Occupational Safety & Health Standards for General Industry

  • OSHA - 10 Hour Construction Industry Outreach Training Program

  • OSHA - 10 Hour General Industry Outreach Training Program

  • OSHA 1926 STD 3-1.1 (2004)

  • OSHA - 30 Hour Construction Industry Outreach Training Program

Training Course

Construction

General Industry

Basic

Advanced

Basic

Advanced

Basic Safety Orientation

 

 

X

 

Beryllium and Cadmium Hazards in the Workplace

 

 

X

 

Bloodborne Pathogens

 

 

X

X

Building Security

 

 

X

 

Concrete and Masonry for Construction

X

X

 

 

Confined Spaces

X

X

X

X

Cranes, Derricks, and Hoists

X

X

 

 

Demolition

X

X

 

 

Drugs and Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace

 

 

X

 

Electrical Standards

X

X

X

X

Ergonomics (Repealed) (A

 

 

 

X

Ergonomics for Office Workers

 

 

X

 

Excavations

X

X

 

 

Fall Protection

X

X

 

 

Fire Protection

X

X

X

X

General Safety and Health

X

X

 

 

Hand and Power Tools

X

X

X

X

Hazard Communication

 

 

X

X

Hazardous Materials

X

X

 

 

Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER)

 

 

X

X

Hazards of Asbestos in the Workplace

 

 

X

 

Industrial Hygiene

 

 

X

X

Introduction to OSHA and the OSH Act

 

 

X

X

Lead Safety in the Workplace

 

 

X

 

Lockout/Tagout Control of Hazardous Energy

 

 

X

X

Machinery and Machine Guarding

 

 

X

X

Materials Handling

X

X

X

X

Means of Egress and Fire Protection

 

 

X

X

Motor Vehicles

X

X

 

 

OSHA Outreach Training Program

 

 

 

X

OSHA Training Requirements and Techniques

 

 

 

X

Personal Protective Equipment

X

X

X

X

Personal Response to Trauma

 

 

X

 

Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift Safety)

X

X

 

 

Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals

X

X

 

 

Professional Response to Trauma

 

 

X

 

Recordkeeping

X

 

 

X

Safety and Health Programs

 

 

X

X

Scaffolding

X

X

 

 

Stairways & Ladders

X

X

 

 

Steel Erection

X

X

 

 

Use of Explosives in the Workplace

 

 

X

 

Walking and Working Surfaces

 

 

X

X

Welding, Cutting, and Brazing

X

X

X

X

Workplace Violence

 

 

X

X


Additional Information contact:

Dave Asby at 816.482.5232
Email: Dave.Asby@mcckc.edu

Dick Day at 816.482.5282
Email: Dick.Day@mcckc.edu



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By RO in St.Louis, MO on 9/20/2007


I'm a newbie and no experience. What did you decide on the geothermal. I'm planning a 2,500 sf. and am really interested in this. It sounds like you're a few months ahead of me.

A friend in St. Louis


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By Michael in Columbia, MO on 9/21/2007


We have revamped our plans several times and we have decided to put money in the envelope (the cost of SIPs versus 2x6 walls). And then we will get a quote on the geothermal and look at the payback period. We are orienting part of the house for solar and will at least use high-efficiency furnace, but I still hope for geothermal. We are putting more $ in the envelope than most, but still will put money in the mechanicals. For various reasons we are still working on plans but still hope to start before weather gets too bad.

An employee of one of the local electrical coops has a geothermal with problems (he says not to use a pond in our area) but says his brother has one and it works. I think he has the loop system. If we use geothermal we will use the vertical loop in a 150 to 200-ft well. FYI, there is a Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living this Saturday and Sunday about 5 or 10 miles west of Columbia. The website is ozarkre.org. They have a schedule posted online. There is also a solar tour on Oct 4th and 5th here in Columbia.
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