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Fountain Hills salvage


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By John in Fountain hills, AZ on 9/8/2009


 

I purchased a large ranch-style home in Fountain Hills that construction was halted on in the framing stage. I have a background in construction and I intend to do much of the work myself on this structure to finish it.

The builder decided to put up a cathedral-style ceiling that resembles a church steeple; well, I intend to tear this down and cut a section out of the concrete slab foundation to create an outdoor courtyard.

I look forward to starting demolition and then construction and posting the process here step by step as sort of a construction journal.


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By Justin in Chandler, AZ on 9/8/2009


Sounds like an interesting project. I look forward to following your progress.
Welcome to the community.

Justin

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By John in Fountain hills, AZ on 4/18/2010


Well, it's been about 6 months and a lot of backbreaking work cutting concrete for the courtyard and the plumbing trenches, but I have finally turned the corner and the roofers are going to start putting the waterproofing membrane paper on the roof Thursday.

I have many progress photos to post and stories to share about the lack of cooperation I received from the city as far as permits are concerned.


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By John in Fountain hills, AZ on 4/18/2010


Here are some additional photos... the house started out as a foreclosure that some unethical builder who was apparently engaging in mortgage fraud abandoned construction on. I purchased the property in Sept. and have been out there participating in the demolition and construction every day for the last 6 months.

The house was a disaster when I first got it... the former builder got a permit to demo an old house that was on the lot and build a two-story Tuscan-style home that are very popular out here... Well, instead he apparently had the underslab plumbing installed for the two-story home then changed his mind and framed an 8,500 sq. ft. ranch-looking disaster of a structure and didn't bother to change the plumbing once the slab was poured to conform to the new floor plan.

I had to deal with an aircraft-hanger-sized great room with ABS plumbing pipes just randomly sticking out of the slab.

The first thing I did was tear down the old roof (I contracted with a crane operator to bring down the huge roof trusses that resembled aircraft wings on the 30' tall roof) and then started the concrete demo. I removed 2,000 sq. ft. of concrete to create a courtyard, and then dug up the 4" main ABS waste line, which with luck was directly under the courtyard that I had just cut out of the middle of the house.

Weeks and weeks of concrete trenching to install toilet lines in the 7 bathrooms the house is going to have.

I then formed and poured the footings for the house's two new rotunda turrets... the house is going to have  a Tuscan/Spanish theme... I then hired a crew of four framers (i have no problems finding help ..the economy is very bad here and I have people coming to the job site daily asking for work and willing to do very hard manual labor for 10 dollars an hour)... Well, it took the framers approx. 2-1/2 months to complete the exterior framing, and now we have moved them inside where they are putting up ceiling soffits, arched door openings, and other important details.

I'm updating 6 months of work right now... so I apologize if I have left out important details or have gotten out of sequence... I have a little bit of a breather right now as we can't move on to the next building phase until the windows I ordered are delivered... I went with Heritage Windows and doors for the house with low-E glass and dark bronze frames.


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By John in Fountain hills, AZ on 4/18/2010


The trouble I had getting my permit was something I was not prepared for... I was told by the Realtor that all that was required to get a building permit was to submit the changes I intended to make to the structure and since the permit fees were already paid by the former builder, I would only be charged a remodeling fee based on sq. footage of the property... I was gullible, stupid, and naive, because upon submitting the changes I intended to make, the city was demanding a new site plan, wind-shear calculations, lateral analysis, landscaping diagram, fire-sprinkler plan, Saguaro cactus permit... etc. etc. etc. I essentially got no benefit for purchasing a half-built house, and I had to pay all these permit fees and engineering fees all over again.

I asked the city manager if he could provide me with any inspection document records or anything that could make the demo project go easier. The city manager told me that, "All I can tell you is that it passed its underslab plumbing inspection and its soil compaction test, the rest of the records were thrown out."

 ... NOT a pleasant experience dealing with the city.


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