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Bit by Bit


It’s been a few months already, so I should probably update you all on where things are, huh? Well, when it comes to visible progress, you haven’t missed much. In order to make progress on the house, we need to get the loan. In order to get the loan, we need the contract, specs, and plans. The contract and specs are also waiting on the plans, so we’re really waiting on the plans.

Don’t we already have plans, you might ask. Well, yes and no. Years ago, I made drawings in SketchUp, we worked with an architect, and we got approved drawings and permits. That was at the end of 2012. Unfortunately, permits don’t last that long, and the plans we have are not accurate in several ways. We got the original permits as a soup-to-nuts omnibus permit that covered everything we were doing. However, since we’ve been doing this mostly ourselves, slowly, that hasn’t worked out as well as it might. It may have been better to break it up into smaller pieces, but that wouldn’t really have worked either, because it wasn’t discrete projects. What it comes down to is that the permit system isn’t really designed for a long gradual project like this.

Our builder suggested an architect he’s worked with previously, and since we weren’t super-thrilled with the architect we had before, we decided to have him revise our plans. He started with the structural plans we used to frame the second floor, checking the work the original architect had made against some of the changes we had decided to make along the way. Then we sat down and went over what we needed to finish everything, and he suggested we draw up new plans that were both correct and, more importantly, only covered the remaining work. That will make it clear to the City, for permits, and the bank, for the loan, the scope of the work.

Instead of having a complicated contract, we can simply have the detail in the plans and build to that. Well, the long and the short of it is that he couldn’t take the plans drawn by our previous architect and update them, apparently they can’t do that. He had to start over, and that meant it took a lot longer than we expected.

He finally finished a few weeks ago. Since then we’ve met with the builder, talked to the bank, started the permit process (again) and met with several of the skilled trade contractors, including plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. Next we need to get quotes and commitments from them so we can put their names on the permit, as well as get their numbers into the bid for the contract, so we can take that to the bank and finalize financing. This will most likely eat up the next couple of weeks. Permit itself typically takes upwards of a month (we’ll see how long it takes us since our luck isn’t great on that front). Financing from where we are is supposedly a couple-few weeks, so we’re hoping that actual work may start around the beginning of August. How long the work will take is still an open question.

So, despite my lack of updates, the only thing you’ve been missing out on is a lot of waiting and a lot of trips to the storage unit, filling it up with all the things in the first floor, which still has a ways to go. Since I hate to make an entire post without photos, I’ll give you our not-quite-completely-full ten-foot-by-ten-foot storage unit.

Still lots of room


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