Homesite logistics

The logistics of managing a home construction site can be challenging. Debris disposal, parking for workers, and staging deliveries, all have to fit in somehow. Frequent, small deliveries of materials are usually necessary due to small lot sizes, to prevent exposure to rain, and to minimize theft after hours. Optimally, whatever is delivered gets installed the same day. Even keeping the dirt from the lot on the lot, and not in the street, must be attended. Existing utility lines and meters must be protected, and there are occasionally overhead power lines to avoid. There may be trees to safeguard. The grass is probably going to take a hit. Neighbors will endure the inconvenience of noise and street congestion. In the aftermath of so much activity, it is great to move on to the bigger drama we dreamed of before the swarm started–the coming together, the laughter, or maybe just the serenity of perfecting our home space. For those sweet outcomes, we’ll keep juggling the logistics. Dream it, build it, live it.

Permit Required

Making structural changes to your property, including a deck, requires a building permit.  Work performed without a permit is non-conforming.  That can affect the sale of your home, or even your ability to get insurance coverage.  Many homeowners insurance carriers now do site inspections to confirm various aspects of your property will meet their requirements. Also, to work as a general contractor on projects costing more than $30,000 in North Carolina, contractors must get a license from the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors, www.nclbgc.org . To see what other trade and specialty contractors need licenses, visit www.contractors-license.org .  If it is a licensed trade, their work will typically involve getting a permit.

  • The Gap

The Gap

Homeowners frequently consider the issue of cost versus quality when choosing cabinetry, countertops, and interior finishes. Also consider that skilled installers can make moderate selections look good, and high end selections look wow. The Gap might be a success as a clothing store, but we prefer it not be associated with your interior moldings. Skilled craftsmen hate gaps.

  • Drywall and Paint

Drywall and Paint

Drywall hanging and finishing are tough jobs. Tradesmen come and go, so the builder has to apply his own standards to both the installation and the finishing, and make sure it gets done that way. It can be difficult with the low level of lighting available on a construction site at the drywall stage to see every surface that may need additional sanding or another coat of mud, so we use a spot light to review the wall finish before releasing it for paint. The number and type of fasteners used are also important to help prevent seams from opening up in the future. Painting is a trade in which the costs can vary markedly depending on the level of craftsmanship desired. A top notch job involves more sanding than you might think in order to prepare surfaces in a manner that yields a superior outcome. A really great paint job, or a poor one, has a huge effect on how clients feel about the quality of their home. Poor quality paints can mean extra coats to achieve good coverage, which does not save money. Good painters are picky, picky, picky about their work.

Rough In Stage of Construction

At the “rough-ins” stage, the systems installed by the heating and air, electrical, and plumbing trades, are all competing for space, sometimes the same space!  Even with well designed systems, it sometimes happens that lines running concurrently or crossing one another can require more room than is available.  Experienced and cooperative trade partners will happily work out solutions.  When the rough-ins are complete, the lines should look like a modern planned network of highways and neighborhoods, not a medieval village where whatever sprung up is what sprung up.  Messy might function too, but order anticipates the future, where a repair or expansion can be made easier if the original work is logical and neatly done.  To a skilled tradesman, it is a shame that all their work gets covered over. Your selections of appliances, lighting fixtures, and plumbing fixtures must be complete by the rough in stage.  Size and style of components affect placement of wiring and circuits needed, piping locations, and height of installation.  Changes to selections after the rough in stage may increase costs!

Systems and Standards

Before anything takes place at the site, well developed systems and standards are needed to govern all aspects of the building process. A builder should be able to list several methods of quality control in place at the firm. There are key elements indicating the standards in place at the building site during each stage of construction, including clearing of the lot and installing the foundation, but it is during the framing stage that a builder can really begin to point out quality features in a walk-through with the client. Good materials and tight tolerances are the rule. Bracing and fasteners abound. Experience tells us that stronger materials and bracing in particular spots in the structure are desirable to reduce movement. Wood is a natural material and is subject to movement by taking on and giving up moisture. Good builders and their staffs welcome the opportunity to point out their systems and the little extras that yield quality results. If you are interested in building your first home, spend some time gaining an understanding of what quality looks like. It is knowledge that will serve you well over the course of owning what will probably be several homes in your lifetime.

Keep It Clean

At The Farlow Group, we expect our crews and trade partners to maintain a clean site. Frequently disposing of trash and scrap materials makes for a productive work environment. Workers can readily find materials they need and deliveries won’t be misplaced. Cleanliness also increases safety, because tripping hazards are reduced. An orderly site also looks more professional to code officials when they come to inspect work. Order establishes an environment that facilitates quality workmanship.

Marriages and Building Projects Can Thrive Together

Yes, you can have your new space and your same spouse too! In planning a project, it is possible that husbands and wives will have different ideas concerning almost any aspect of the scope, budget, and selections. If either of you are apprehensive about tackling a building project and keeping peace between you, there are strategies that will serve you well, and even make the process fun. Yes, fun, really. First, set aside some time together to identify up front the topics on which you are likely to disagree based on past experience. Caution: Do not break out paper and pencil and list all this stuff—this is a liberating communication, not an exercise to commit potential conflicts to writing. The discussion at this point is of broad categories that affect choices or budgets. You are not trying to resolve differences or make a point of whose opinion is better. Once you have broached these subjects in a casual, lighthearted way, you will be better able to discuss your viewpoints during the project without feeling as stressed by your spouse having another perspective on some aspect of your plan. During discussion of any topic, there will be some points that you both probably already agree on. It is useful to acknowledge and build on these opinions you hold in common before proceeding to the portions still to be ironed out. For instance, if you have differing opinions on color choices, a helpful way to establish common likes in color and texture for materials to be used is to pay a visit to your closet. What colors do you have in common in your clothing? What textures? Are there one or two neutral shades that dominate and […]