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Thread: Finally Bought Some Land

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Our friend in Woodstock NY found his cat after an owl had tried to haul her off by the head. She seemed to have extracted her own pound of flesh though, and she managed to get away, though at some height from the ground. The fall resulted in a broken leg along with the damage to her head and body, but the vets stitched her up and she recovered mostly. She's not right in the head quite - she has nightmares and will sometimes get weirded out and growl at nothing. Post-traumatic stress disorder I expect. She goes outside all the time, even in the dark and in bad weather, but she definitely will ask/demand to come back into the house with a certain urgency sometimes. Can't blame her really.

    Great horned owls are the ones usually responsible for taking cats. Barred owls just aren't big and strong enough. Great horned owls have no fear, and they are one of the few predators of skunks and raccoons. Anything that can kill a raccoon is tough.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    I was skiing across a beaver pond in winter following rodent tracks in the snow. They ended suddenly, and there wasn't a mark on the surface. It may as well have been teleported.
    .
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    We look forward to a full review.
    Short term review, 3 snow storms in 3 days... IT IS AWESOME! I have 1/4 of a mile and can get done in 1 hour. But it is a fun hour! I enjoyed snow blowing with my big honda HS1332 but this is stupid fun. The only thing that takes time is the spot in front of the garage where is is wide and I need to lift the blade and reverse a quite a bit. The most I have pushed is 8" but it did not even slow down the machine.

    I might get the 60" County plow for it next winter to make it even faster, but will see how the 54" works.

    Also I can see how people get in to moto-sports.


    -Joe

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by xjoex View Post
    Short term review, 3 snow storms in 3 days... IT IS AWESOME! I have 1/4 of a mile and can get done in 1 hour. But it is a fun hour! I enjoyed snow blowing with my big honda HS1332 but this is stupid fun. The only thing that takes time is the spot in front of the garage where is is wide and I need to lift the blade and reverse a quite a bit. The most I have pushed is 8" but it did not even slow down the machine.

    I might get the 60" County plow for it next winter to make it even faster, but will see how the 54" works.

    Also I can see how people get in to moto-sports.


    -Joe
    Excellent news. Does it have an option for a rear bin? Something for hauling saws, wood, and other apparatus? Or does it need a trailer instead?
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Yes! Exactly what I was doing this morning.
    IMG_8838.jpg

    I don't have a basket or fancy thing(yet...) the built in racks work just fine. Pics all over the internet of neat add ons though.

    -Joe

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    So we are fully into what could possibly be considered an un-fun but necessary part of the project. The architects put together detailed drawings and pricing sheets (which are actually more of a spec sheet/packet as the document includes a grocery list of items for the build but not any prices) and we submitted the bid packages to several of our chosen contractors. Very interesting process. The contractor world is full of personalities, and we had no shortage. All of them very nice people, but all of them with their own process or way of doing things. We got three bid packages back, but only one by our deadline. Totally understandable given the work loads, but I think if you don't have a deadline you probably don't get any of them back. All the prices were above budget, and each had some crazy cost somewhere in the equation but none in the same place. It makes for some weirdness and mind reading. For example (and this is purely an example, not something that was on any contractor's bid,) one contractor might write down $125,000 for tree removal and another contractor writes down $35,000. You've done some tree removal earlier to prepare the site for something else, and for about the same number of trees and area, you paid $15,000. But the $35,000 contractor also wrote down $150,000 for the finished drive and parking area while the $125,000 contractor wrote down $45,000. So?

    Anyway, thus begins "We need the same quality level of work and the same structural integrity and durability, but we need it to cost less" or what I like to call reconciling the dream world with the real world and what the architects call "value engineering."

    I spent many hours going through appliances, faucets, hardware, etc. to find equal items at lower prices. This is time consuming but not difficult, because there are plenty of high quality options at lower price ranges. The time consuming part was just fitting the various holes in the cabinet design so that the architects didn't need to do a lot of redesign (which costs money of course) and finding the specs on each item to make sure it was what I thought it was. Flow rating for faucets is now something I am fluent in, because you don't really want a fire hose in your bathroom sink, etc. Anyway, I was successful cutting a fairly large number out of our budget there, and I think in many ways our current list is much better suited to our lifestyle and we actually have some better stuff.

    The architects and the engineer put their heads together and held some working conferences with the CLT manufacturer, and they came up with some really elegant solutions to the roof, support and slab construction that will reduce the amount of machining that will be done to the planks at the CLT mill and actually loosen up the tolerances for installation of glass and other things. One of the challenges of course is that after you've designed something, you have to make sure it is buildable and the tolerances required have to match the abilities of the available talent. This is not a process of dumbing it down, but simply getting it to a point where mere mortals (dream world -> real world) can build it. And the contractors are really helpful with all of that, so once the bid packages went out, the architects could discuss the plans with the contractors and listen as much to their questions as their suggestions based on real world experience.

    We also visited at least two past projects from each contractor, and that was very interesting. One contractor had a project that was obviously way over their head. One contractor had a project that I would have thought would be way over their head but appeared to have been completed very competently. And one contractor bowed out, claiming too much work already in their calendar.

    Finally, a fourth contractor who we thought was 1.) too expensive for us and 2.) too busy for us called the architects and asked if they had hired a contractor yet and if not, he'd be interested in looking at the bid package. This contractor has been in business for 40 years and has a client list that is astonishing. He invited us to come see one of his houses. This is the sort of guy who by all measures should have an assistant who would meet with potential clients - and that would be fine - but he met us at the house, handed me a resumé(!) that began with where he went to carpentry school in 1969(!) and then he showed us the house. Kind of a shambling, humble guy but a total pro, and the house was not only terrific and full of terrific solutions, the price per square foot was within throwing distance of our project. And he said (sweet talking I know) "I've built a lot of houses, but now I only want to build interesting houses, and your house is interesting."

    So dream date central. Now we just have to figure out if we can afford him. Adjusted drawings & adjusted pricing sheet are getting done to reflect the "value engineering" done over the last month since the previous bids were received, and then the architects and the contractor will have a working meeting to figure out if this happens or not.

    Sort of like nothing has happened and everything has happened since February 1. At the end of all this, I was actually really tired, and then I caught a cold that took two weeks to kick. All I did was research faucets & appliances for a month and go see some nice houses, so I obviously need to bulk up for the next phase. More protein or something. 10 penny nails for breakfast.
    Last edited by j44ke; 02-21-2018 at 11:03 AM.
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Yowza. All that fun, all that angst...

    My wife & I just picked a contractor to do our patio (and a wall, and some steps...) and it took a lo-o-o-ong series of discussions - with various bidders, with each other - to get enough clarity on rocks, tiles and dirt so that we could make an educated decision.

    We picked the guy who costs twice as much as the second-place guy. Because quality & durability vs. cost. Value engineering!

    And this was simple compared to your task...

    Anyways, keep the updates coming. This is great stuff for the Peanut Gallery.
    GO!

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    I am starting to figure out that the bargaining on the price includes the architects, so as the client you are negotiating for financially efficient design with the architect & engineer as well as turning to the builder/contractor and asking for efficient deployment of labor and application of skill/technique. Originally, the negotiation with the architect has been all aesthetic, but then almost invisibly it transitions into financial, and that is what really tests the creativity and resourcefulness of the architects. In our case, had we just upped our budget and gone with the design, we would have a meteor-proof roof and an amazing foundation that might last until way beyond human habitation of the earth. And the anxiety of the client is that all this money will get spent and the house will fall down, but you have to be chill about it and bank on the fact that nearly every first or second edit of a design can be refined a bit in all parameters to reduce costs without sacrificing structural integrity. Plus the exchange between a really good contractor and a resourceful architect/engineering team can work very well for you, where the latter turns to the former and says "How would you implement this?" Really handy on things that seem insurmountable like best route for the chimney, how to vent the kitchen island, etc. etc. etc.

    Our biggest change going to be the garage. The original design was the garage of my dreams, but in the real world, there is a very large (as in about 8' wide by 50' long) rock ledge that runs straight through about the only area where the garage can go, making excavation costs pretty hefty. So I think we are going to build something much more restrained and probably more distant from the house. Instead there will likely be a parking area/turn around at the house that will allow the car to be a bit closer to the house for unloading, and then the garage will located a bit further down the drive where there is a perfect flat spot for building it. Until we live in the house full time, we won't really be storing the car in the garage much. And when we do live in the house full time, we can convert the garage along the drive into a workshop and build a garage attached to the parking area near the house.

    And all of that is a product of a suggestion from the contractor we'd like to hire if we can afford him!
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Jorn...."you have to make sure it is buildable and the tolerances required have to match the abilities of the available talent." Truer words have never been spoken as the definition of talent is always up for interpretation. Key item...make sure that your final VE decisions are memorialized in the construction documents, plan details and contracts as often folks get excited about making these decisions in order to make a budget work, then somewhere along the line memories become fuzzy. I.E. Buzzy the carpenter and Sparky the electrician weren't privy to the VE discussions and unless they see a particular detail on the plans, it will never happen in the field. That's not a good situation for anybody, most importantly for you and your wife.
    rw saunders
    everything is connected

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    this applies to the build ability statement...

    I am building a procedure room in a hospital called a Bi Plane. It is a neuro room. The installers arrived and told me one of my base plates was 1 mm too high. I told him we weren't building a bike! We worked it out.

    Mike
    Mike Noble

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Jorn, you guys are good clients, although things like this are always apart of projects, a lot of clients are not ready or willing to accept it. All sounds like things are staying pretty level headed, which is great.
    --------------------
    another jaunt
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    I built a riding arena- horse- for my wife, 72' x 120'. Why I mention this is that the foundation is pinned to ledge at one end, and 14' at the other. You might just be able to put your garage where you want it, is all.

    Also, I would not ask GC to do driveway etc, but contract this yourself and save accordingly.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Jorn, really glad you found a GC you like and qualified to the best of your ability, hopefully you can work it out with him. The right GC will help you build the home you want, at a number that makes sense. The right guy will help you with your design, engineering and scope. We do large scale steel framing projects (hospitals, airports etc) and I can find two highly qualified engineers that can design the same functioning system, one costing tens or hundreds of thousand of dollars more than the other. I know I'm repeating myself from an earlier post, but you'll be money and heartache ahead paying more for the right guy, rather than signing a contract for less with the wrong guy.
    Don't be surprised by a bids detailed discrepancies. When we provide a bid we can often break it down as an owner or GC may require, but we are selling the whole package; we don't take time to place exact costs on every item other than optional or substitute items as requested. I doubt you'd be able to have the above mentioned contractors do only those tasks where they're low bid. They're bidding your entire house as a package, and it'll come out in the wash, so to speak. That said, they're overall bid should make sense, be competitive with other bids.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Whats the latest, Jorn?
    "As an homage to the EPOdays of yore- I'd find the world's last remaining pair of 40cm ergonomic drop bars.....i think everyone who ever liked those handlebars in that shape and in that width is either dead of a drug overdose, works in the Schaerbeek mattress factory now and weighs 300 pounds or is Dr. Davey Bruylandts...who for all I know is doing both of those things." - Jerk

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by nahtnoj View Post
    Whats the latest, Jorn?
    There have been a few mods to the design, but once that was taken care of things went pretty quickly:


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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    You've gone local. Welcome.
     

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    The winter is sort of almost over up here in the mountains so I should report on the plowing situation. I was debating so much on the truck vs. quad for plowing. After a season I can safely say the quad is awesome. I have to plow 1 mile of drive and it takes me about 45 minutes. AND I use it to collect wood for the fire, which is what I actually use it for more. It saves a ton of dragging logs down the hillside.



    -Joe

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Quote Originally Posted by Mabouya View Post
    There have been a few mods to the design, but once that was taken care of things went pretty quickly:

    So you're the guy who has been leaving beer cans on the front porch!
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    Currently on my list for invasive species plant destruction:

    Rotary brush cutter (sort of like a demonic 4cycle string trimmer with a ninja death star blade instead of a string reel)
    Chainsaw (need more research but Stihl Farm Boss keeps popping up in conversation)
    Flamethrower (better known as a propane brush torch or cause of massive forest fire that destroyed most of Columbia County in Nov. 2018)

    Today I found a company founded by two women who have years of experience working on invasive species removal and habitat regeneration for the Nature Conservancy. They are right down the road. I think I am going to call them.

    That quad looks like a good option. Our drive is not a mile. It is 750' and uphill all the way. I am still thinking we will hire a guy at least initially, but it would be nice to have the capacity to do it ourselves if needed. I am not sure whether that means the quad. If I use a vehicle to get around on the property, I will need to make wider paths. I think I prefer not to do that. I like the sense of discovery from a narrower path, but I do want to make sure some of our family members who will freak out if they get a tick have the option to see the property but avoid bushwhacking. And there are family members who would be able to see the far ends of the property only if I take them there in some manner of conveyance.

    So on to an update - and apologies if I've written this before, things are starting to run together:

    The architects created a very very detailed pricing package. The drawings are pretty fascinating. They go from macro (this is the house location on the survey) to micro (this is the framing and electrical for the inner back wall of the master bedroom closet,) all connected by a master numbering system, so anyone can look at the drawings and find the area that they are working on, get scale measurements and coordinate what they are doing with everything else. And of course work out a pricing estimate, which is what the GC is doing now. The GC actually wanted the detailed drawings, and he requested a month to do his pricing. That's fine - I like that. If I felt he was just stringing us along, I'd say no. But I felt that he wanted to do this once and do it right, which is what has been happening.

    Of course, this could all still blow up and not happen. But now the engineer, the architects and the GC are all working together to fine tune aspects of the design as the GC works out his pricing estimate, which is something none of them would agree to do if they didn't feel that we were close on the price. I know the architects have been super careful not to "play house" with GC's who seemed less than serious. No one wants to waste their time, and I don't want our time wasted.

    Have I written this before? We are still using cross laminated timber panels, but the architects and the engineer have working on ways to make the roof more efficient at supporting itself. So they came up (or at least chose to employ as a solution) an inverted structure where the ceiling is essentially the top of the roof, and the top of the roof is attached to large glu-lam joists that span the living area. Those timbers are then contained in a box that is built around them that includes insulation and any vents/conduits/etc, and is topped with the green roof as planned. So we still have a flat roof with a box on top covered with plants and this perfectly flat wooden ceiling with very limited visible support, but we use a less massive set of CLT panels with more efficient slab & support design and the outside appearance of the house does not change one iota. One of those, oh duh, we'll just put the roof joists on top of the roof, not underneath!

    Probably engineering and architecture book of tricks page 5, but I like it.

    We just need a price estimate!!

    We should know more by the end of the month and have a decision by mid-May. But asteroids, comets, North Korea, etc. Fingers crossed anyway.

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    Default Re: Finally Bought Some Land

    FWIW - I have a Stihl MS251-CBE MS 251 CB-E | Powerful Lightweight Adjustable Chainsaw | STIHL USA which works pretty damn well. I have cut maybe 4 cords of wood (including dropping the trees and bucking them) so far with it, I just replaced a chain. I have to sharpen the chain about every 2 tanks of gas. I use a dremel for that with the chain saw sharpening kit which takes maybe 5 minutes.

    I have made an hours worth of hiking trails with it and a mcleod. Now I am thinking of a Dakine builders pack as carrying the saw to the far end of the trail is getting old !

    Cheers,
    -Joe

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