Construction Docs, Pondering Site Work

Got an e-mail from the architect today. He wants review the drawings and talk budget so we’re gong to meet with him on Friday. That’s a big milestone; we’ve been itching to get our hands on those drawings so we can get some bids. Also, we haven’t talked about the budget much since we began the process with the architect so hopefully no big surprises there. We expect to have to make some tough choices, but we’ve put a lot of faith in the architect when it comes to keeping things within budget. Hopefully that faith is well placed. We have no reason to doubt him other than the fact that we’re about 700 square feet over our initial target, but of course that’s a result of our wants and needs. Needless to say, there’s excitement, but also apprehension in the air.

Can I borrow your backhoe?

The mini-subdivision going in next door has really ramped up. I posted a while back on the cleanup efforts going on. The heavy equipment didn’t stop after removing the dilapidated structures, they continued their destruction – sights aimed at trees, brush, and small mammals (unconfirmed). It’s an improvement, but I do wish they were a little more selective about the tree removal, but as is the norm around here they seem to be taking the “whack it all” approach.

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Looking towards the neighbor’s property to the south. Those are the remains of an old barn that had collapsed. This is before the aggressive clearing.
We had the bright idea that since those guys are already out there bulldozing things, our land could use a little bulldozing so why not mosey on over and have at it. It should be cheaper that way. So I called up the neighbor and along with the excavation company’s contact info, I got an update on the utilities situation. As I mentioned before, his plans are to extend the water main from up the street to his development, crossing our property on the way, and also to bury the power lines that currently run overhead. The city has approved plans to extend the water main, but no cost information yet. We’re still on the fence when it comes to the well vs. city water decision. Until the neighbor came into the picture we thought the costs of extending the main were going to be too prohibitive, but split 6 ways, and combined with the fact that a well and filtration system will run us about $12k and require maintenance, free water from the ground seems expensive. Plus there are potential health concerns with well water. I asked our pediatrician about it because one of the things they ask at regular checkups for the ‘littles is whether you’re on municipal water or well water. It turns out runoff from chicken houses can put some nasty bacteria in the ground water, but with the decline of chicken farms in the area it’s not as much of a concern as it used to be.

As for the power lines, Carrol Electric is not too keen on the idea, but it sounds like the neighbor is really set on having no visible power lines, so he’s going to keep working on them. We appreciate the attention to aesthetics, but it’s really not a big deal for us. I should also mention that these things are going to happen whether or not we share in the costs because they have to traverse our property to get to theirs, but we do want to be neighborly and set things off on the right foot with them and pay our fair share. We’re just anxious to find out what that share is.

Back to the site work. I bounced the idea off of the builder we’ve been in close contact with. I was pleased with his response. He wants to meet on the site and give an estimate; “some excavation contractors are crazy on price”. Of course he could just want to get in there and get paid to do the work himself, but he did suggest this as a “blind” bid, so he could also just be looking out for us. Either way, the experience should be a good test to help us in our builder selection.

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