We have now rolled up our sleeves and are ready to get on with the work of actually building Our Home. Our architect, Dominick Tringali, has drawn our plans – this is a collaborative effort – together we have tried to Value Engineer Our Home. Simply put this means finding alternatives that cost less but do not negatively affect the quality of the project. When we drew the plan we wanted Our Home to be beautiful and look timelessly elegant. How Our Home “sits” on the lot and relates to its surroundings is a combination of artistic nuance and technical competence. To accomplish this we hire a Registered Land Surveyor and Licensed Engineer to help us situate Our Home on the lot. We must consider the existing topography and natural features, how close we are allowed to build to each property line of our lot, how high or low Our Home will be relative to the street, how water will drain away from us when it rains or snow melts, the location of utilities we need to bring to Our Home, and numerous other factors.

As if this is not enough, the Homeowners Association wants to review these plans to assure Our Home will fit in with the existing homes and homes that will be built later. Over a couple of weeks of dialogue they request we add some things, change some things and agree to abide by their rules and regulations governing construction. The Turtle Lake Homeowners Association is on the high end of the spectrum compared to others we have worked with but we get things worked out to their satisfaction and move on with our approved plans to the Township to apply for our building permit.

A building permit is just one of a bundle of permits we need before we can start construction. The list includes a Soil Erosion permit from the County, (we don’t need a driveway permit because we are on a private road), a Soil Erosion permit from the Township (based on the County one), sewer and water tap permit, applications to gas and electric companies for their service. The Township Building Official reviews our Association approved plans for compliance with national building codes in the form adopted by the Township and Township ordinances and rule concerning site work and construction. After two weeks, we receive a long checklist indicating there were no problems with our architect’s drawings (amazing) but with some changes and notes they want added to our site plan – nothing big here either. We address these promptly and within a few days we are called with the good news that our permit is ready to pick up once we get approval that our site is ready for construction.

Ahhh, we knew this was coming so we went out and prepared for the inspection already so we told them to go right out and take a look. This is what they saw.

Turtle Lake Lot

The black material is “silt fence” that is trenched into the ground to prevent dirt from washing into the street or other folks’ yards. The Township wants it all around the lot even though it is useless where the slope is uphill. There is a temporary driveway of course crushed concrete to give trucks clean access and (hopefully) keep them from tracking mud on the road. The orange fence is interesting. In the rear of the lot it is there to provide a physical barrier to protect the trees up on the berm from our construction activity. This is kind of standard but the orange fence on the sides and rear is new. The Township has decided that they want to protect people from wandering on to a construction site and getting injured. This is their solution along with making us keep it intact until Our Home is fully enclosed and lockable. There is also a port-a-potty required. It is just barely in this frame at the far left.

So we are finally ready to break ground…..that was easy!