By Deby in AZ on 5/3/2005
LOL you are what we call halfway to CA! We are closer to Oro Valley/Oracle than Florence.
My friend has no bids, no one will talk to her right now. She is estimating about $6,000 but I think that is low considering what type of excavating she has to do (she is on a very rocky mountain type soil). And when I asked her what she planned to pay for an excavation, she hadn't even thought about that. Her foundation will be smaller than ours; she is doing a 28x36 foundation 2-story home, that is what I believe she said. She wants to build with just her family and friends - they have no construction background and are not willing to pay for much outside help. I think she is headed for trouble. I was a little worried when she told me she could just pull a septic permit and that was also her building permit and she wouldn't get or need inspections. She is in Yavapi County, and when I looked at her codes it said differently. She wants to build everything buying new and including utilities for $40,000. I am figuring $40K just for the house with already owning most of the tools /equipment (we have a tractor), friends in the business, and getting stuff free or at builders' cost. Cheap is not always better and I tried to tell her that if she doesn't do her foundation well she might as well not build the house. I think she is talking to a lot of non-construction people who are not giving her the facts.
Our foundation will be about 30x50 modest single-story and I am figuring about the same price but we have a friend that owns a union concrete business and he owes us some favors. We were told cost for the materials and pay cash and food (steak dinners) for the labor and we will get it a much lower cost. Now my husband's brother said we need to estimate about $15,000 to $20,000 for the foundation. But he was building a 2,500 sf adobe home and the number was just off the top of his head. He actually makes his own adobe bricks. But I think he needed a better footing with the weight of the adobe. We are doing metal stud framing which I don't think needs as much. My dad did asphalt and concrete for a living so we will do all patios/driveways and stuff ourselves with him we also already own a mixer/water tank truck, forklift and many other tools. But I want the foundation hired out to make sure its a good one.
My hubby does metal stud framing and drywall for a living as did his dad. His dad also does plumbing, his brother can just about do it all, uncle was a state inspector and we have lots of construction friends we have helped build for free over the years who have already offered to help for beer and food. The nice thing is these are the kind of people that really know what they are doing and will bust butt to go in and get it done versus sitting around.
We are also not building a regular house like most people, we are taking a steel building and making it into a house. We will dress up the outside and stucco it to look southwestern. We have been hoarding materials from some leftovers on demo's and new builds. We have gotten things like real nice oak French doors with all the hardware from a remodel for free, free new insulation, a stainless 3-area sink that sells at Home Depot for $650 we paid $20. Like new designer bathroom sinks and cabinets for free; and we know a tile guy that saves his leftover travertine and marble high-end fixtures for us, so we are hoping to come out at about $28 a sf. But we either get this stuff for trading work/favors or told to throw it away after a job is done. I couldn't believe when we got the brand new "still in the wrap" R-19 insulation for free, because they ordered too much and just told my hubby to throw it out. Well, we did right into the back of our truck. There is a lot of waste in commercial building and they don't care because they just pass the cost on to the consumer.
I attended the home show last weekend and found a place that buys construction lots and sells them at a discount, I can't wait to check them out.
Our goal is to do this all mortgage-free, sure hope we can.
We just got our plans back and need to hook up with our foundation guy. So I don't have a bid yet.
Be very careful with subs out here, I have seen many people ripped off or poor work done. Check out their work before you pay them. Also, don't pay them in advance. Most times they want $$$ for materials - that is normal or you get the materials they need and have it there for them.
If you get a good sub, be nice to them by doing so you would be surprised on what some of them will just throw in and do for free/inexpensive. Little things like just having a cooler of water for them really helps, especially in the summer or if you can bring coffee in the a.m. in the winter. When you want the work done don't ask for a lot of changes; I know it makes them nuts. Most can't stand changes, and will charge you plenty for it while they won't say it to you. I know I hear it all the time at home, especially from the tile guy. Depending on when you start your project out here, keep in mind these guys start early. Right now with summer getting ready to hit, my hubby leaves for work at 2 a.m. to start beating the heat. Most important, be safe.
How big are you building and what are you and bids coming in at?