Journal of our Home Construction - March & April   Back to Journal Index      Home

03/24/2002 - Started this journal.  I hope to make regular entries.  You can read about how we got to this point by following this link.  Today we went to the lot and had our own little ground breaking ceremony before they start the excavation tomorrow (hopefully).

03/26/2002 - Well, they were supposed to start excavation yesterday but we got 3" of snow and today we got at least 3 more inches.  Gees!  No snow all winter and the day they are to start on the house boom!  We don't know if they got started excavating.  We didn't chance driving out to look but I am skeptical.  Tomorrow is supposed to be 50 degrees so we will probably drive out and see what is going on.

03/27/2002 - They haven't started on the excavation yet.  *sigh*  But it really warmed up today and a lot of the snow melted.  Hopefully they will get started soon.  I scanned in all of the color samples we have and did a page for them.  You can see our color choices here.  Keep in mind that the scanned images don't always match the original very closely.

03/29/2002 - The word is they will now start excavation on Monday (4/1).  Hopefully that's not just an April fool joke and the weather will cooperate!  The builder has the building permits.  All the various papers are to the credit union for the final processing of the loan.  I visited a lot of web sites and collected together pictures of things we've spec'ed for the house.  You can see our choices for lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, and other stuff.  Going out this weekend to look at our brick selection again then to check on the roofing color.  We picked the brick early and just want to verify that it matches everything we have picked since then.  I also hope they will let me take a picture of it.  The architect spec'ed the shingles and we have not actually seen them.  We want to make sure they match.

03/31/2002 - This weekend we went to the masonry store and to the home store and verified some of our colors, like brink and roofing.  It had been a while since we selected some of them an we had never really put them all together.  The masonry place gave us the address of a house that was built with the brick we selected so we went and looked at it.  They also let us take a picture of the brick sample so I have put it on our color samples page.  Even after looking at stuff we were having a hard time visualizing how it would all fit together so today I scanned the front elevation of the house and used a paint program to add all our colors.  It really helped and we both like it!  I also scanned in the plans for the great room and library shelves.  You can see all of it here.

We went out to the lot yesterday evening and marked the trees that need to be removed for the driveway.  We planned things carefully so only five have to go and they are scraggly black locusts.  The steel company had delivered the three beams that will be used in the foundation. 

We're crossing our fingers that they actually start tomorrow.

04/02/2002 - They have started!  We are now the proud owners of a big hole!  You can see pictures here.  They worked yesterday and part of today.  It rained this afternoon so they had to quit.  Looks like they are almost done to me, but what do I know.  It is supposed to be dry the rest of the week so they should make good progress.  They also took out the five trees today.  The temporary power looks like it is also almost ready.  We can't for the life of us figure out how they pulled the cable or where they pulled it from.  There is no trench.  But there is a power cable sticking out of the ground.  No meter yet though.

04/03/2002 - Went out to the lot again today.  Here are more excavation pictures.  Came out of a meeting this morning and checked my voice mail only to find a message from the excavation contractor saying they were ready to do the driveway but didn't know where it goes.  Of course I had another meeting in a different building in five minutes.  I tried his cell phone--no answer.  So in the car on the way to the meeting I tried to call Scott but just got his voice mail.  Oh well, hoped they would either waited or look at the site plan carefully and figure it out.  Luckily, they got it right.  Great job guys!  I have a feeling this is just the first of many such trials!

I realized I had not put a site plan up yet so I added it to the plans page

04/06/2002 - More pictures!  They have the first set of footings poured.  I drove out to the lot every day this week.  Don't know if I will be able to keep that up.  On the other hand, I may not be able to resist!  I am not sure they have the excavation for the sunken theater floor done right.  Talked to the builder and he assures me they can make it work however I want.  Guess we will see what happens over the next week as they finish the foots.  Our loan (the mortgage) has been officially approved, just have to sign the acceptance form and send it back.  Next is closing on the construction loan portion.  We decided to go with a locked rate of 6.25% rather than a variable 5.75% for the construction period, just too much possibility that interest rates will go up in the next few months.  Plus the fix rate makes it much easier to figure the budget.  We have a copy of the appraisal that the bank had done for the mortgage.  The house plus lot appraised for $2000 more than what we actually paid/are paying.  That's really close!  It does make me feel better about what we are paying the builder.  The appraisal also had comparison homes in it.  That is, other houses in the area of comparable size and features and what they cost.  We seem to be right on.  We are quite a bit above the average home price for the area but we are no where near the top.

04/09/2002 - Still more pictures of the footing work.  It rained all day Sunday and Monday (yesterday) so they did not get anything done.  But today they were back out working on the footings.  There has been some confusion about the sunken floor in the theater.  But it is all worked out now (I hope).  But I did have a bit of a concern tonight.  When I looked at the pictures I took today the footing across the theater where the sunken part will be looked like it was in the wrong place.  The picture was at an angle so it was hard to tell.  So after dinner Scott and I went out there again and measured.  Of course it was dark already so there we are climbing around in this big hole with flash lights.  Its a wonder the neighbors didn't call the police.  The footing is in the right place after all.  It was cool being out at the lot at night.  You can see so many stars!  We also saw two deer in the headlights of the car as we were leaving.  They were in the lot across from ours.

04/10/2002 - It was a gorgeous day today!  Site looked very different!  They got a lot done.  They have the drain tiles laid around most of the footings, the ones that are done anyway.  Most of the pea fill has also been put in.  The foundation forms have been delivered.  I would guess they will start setting them up tomorrow.  The ground has finally dried out some so the lot is not all mud.  Boy that Indiana clay really sticks to the shoes.  We are both going to need to buy new shoes when this is over--and probably new car floor mats.  Tomorrow is also supposed to be nice so they should make more progress.

04/15/2002 - Its Monday and they have started on setting up the forms for the foundation.  Went out last Thursday but they had not done much.  Looks like they switch crews between doing the footings and the foundation and the foundation guys weren't quite ready.  They did not get anything done Friday.  It rained and stormed all day.  We had major down pours.  Luckily, it doesn't look like too much got washed away and most of the standing water was gone by today.  It was 80 degrees today!  First time its been 80 on April 15 in central Indiana since the 1930's.  There are pictures of course.  The first four are actually from last Thursday.  The rest are from today.  Scott thinks they have some thing's wrong with the foundation forms.  They don't seem to have accounted for the brick ledge on some of the walls.  I have a message sent to the builder about it.  Our bank called today and said everything is ready on the construction loan.  We just need to set up a time to sign the papers.  I have started to order the wiring for TV, audio, and network.  We are install these ourselves, almost 9000 feet of cable.  Unfortunately two places now have said the speaker cable I ordered is out of stock and no longer available.  Oh well.  I'll keep looking.

04/17/2002 - Its Wednesday.  I have two days worth of pictures.  Tuesday's are hereWednesday's here. They have quite a bit done.  Still putting up foundation forms.  Its supposed to be clear but hot (87!) again to tomorrow.  I am thinking they will get the forms completely up.  I think they then have to be inspected before they can be poured.  Not sure how long that will take.  They seem to have missed putting a door in one of the walls.  I am going to talk to the builder again.  They had indeed missed accounting for the brick ledge on some walls.  But that was fixed.

04/18/2002 - Another HOT day today.  But, it does look like they have the foundation forms done.  At least it looks that way to me.  Of course what do I know!  Its fascinating to watch all this.  Definitely learning all about how to build a house.  Builder said they did not miss the door from the basement to the crawl space.  The forms for it will be put in from the top.  That must be what all the Styrofoam is for.  It is probably also how they do the vents in the crawl space.  I have already taken 130 pictures of the construction.  I think I am going to run out of space on the web site before its all done.  Probably have to go back and delete some pictures but I'll wait and do that when I have to.  The video and network cable have arrived.  I have tried three places to order the speaker cable, but have had to cancel all three because the cable they carried was discontinued.  Hopefully, the fourth place will work out.  Unfortunately, the price has gone up each place I have tried to order from.

04/23/2002 - Have just a few more pictures today, a few odds and ends we took when we went out on Monday.  Well, turns out they were not quite done with the foundation forms.  We went out to the lot Friday after closing on our construction loan.  It was the middle of the day so the crew was there.  They were putting in the brick ledge and misc. stuff.  The Styrofoam was for the brick ledge, by the way, not the doors.  They used 2x8's to frame the doors in the foundation.  They said they were definitely going to pour that day, all they had left to do was square everything up.  Well, we went back out on Saturday just to see if they made it.  They hadn't.  Looked like when they tried to square everything up they discovered that something was wrong: the forms didn't line up with the footings.  When one of the side garage walls was centered on the footings, the sunroom wall at the opposite end of the house was almost completely off the footings.  We didn't have our measuring tape, but it looked to us like they had the garage front wall too wide so the house was more trapezoid shaped than rectangular.  It was obvious they would have to tear apart part of  the forms and try again.  Couldn't tell how much though.  We went back out Monday and they had fixed it.  Must have taken most of the day since that's about all they got done.  But, the good news is they poured the foundation today! (Tuesday)  It took 11 truck loads of cement, 72 cubic yards!!  We went out about 6:00 PM and they were still there leveling off the tops of the foundation walls, setting the bolts for the sill plates, and cleaning the spilt concrete off the footings.  I didn't take pictures today, but I will take some tomorrow when we go out.  They still have some more to do.  Once the foundation is backfilled, they will come back and do the porch and middle wall in the basement.  I finally found a place that had speaker cable in stock, ordered it and it has arrived.  Scott and I decided to add some more to the wiring plan.  We are doing a security system and some more home automation stuff so that means more wire to pull!  So as soon as I get the plan updated and lengths put in my spread sheet, I will have more wire to order.

04/24/2002 - Went out to the lot today at lunch to take pictures of the poured foundation.  Obviously they have not done anything more.  They have to wait for the concrete to cure.  Tomorrow though, they will probably remove the forms.  It is storming tonight, but tomorrow is supposed to be clear again.

04/25/2002 - More pictures.  It was a beautiful sunny day today, though a little cool.  They have started removing the forms from the foundation.  Once they get done, the next step should be spraying the water proofing on the outside basement walls.  Then its back fill and grading and then more foundation pouring (front porch and inner basement wall).

04/26/2002 - Just a few pictures today.  They have got all the foundation forms removed.  All the little metal tabs from the form supports have been broken off and they have sprayed the waterproofing on the basement walls.  They will be putting Styrofoam insulation sheets on the outside walls of the basement foundation so they must be going to spray it again to stick them on.

04/30/2002 - As you have seen, I changed the web site a little.  I have only been keeping this journal for little over a month and its already quite long so I added and index type page.  The entries will now be grouped by month.  Also, I  made it easier to get to pictures directly if you want.

Only took two pictures yesterday so I didn't post an entry yesterday.  They have put on the Styrofoam panels.  Turns out they bolt them on with bolts and huge washers.  The bolts are shot into the concrete walls using gun powder charges.  Today they began the backfill work.  I was surprised to find they are filling a lot of the trenches with pea fill.  I thought they would just put the dirt back.  I am sure they will put the dirt back in some trenches.  It is supposed to storm tomorrow so I don't know how much they will get done.  The new pictures are here.  We decided to go ahead and wire for a security system and thought of several more places we wanted wire pulls for home automation so our wire count is now up to 16,000 feet of cable we will be pulling.  That's just low voltage cable.  It does not count the electrical wire the electrician will put in.  Most of the wire has been ordered and arrived already.  It is sitting in our entry way.  There is a picture of it in today's pictures.

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