The truth about dirt, footing installation, and lots of planning

So, from a physical perspective we excavated Our Home and were pleasantly surprised with the sandy soil, we trucked out 650 cubic yards of excess sand we know we can’t use and we got the forms installed for the footings. Not so bad for a three day week since Monday was Memorial Day and it rained all day Friday! We have another little challenge in scheduling as our neighborhood has rules limiting working hours to Monday through Friday from 9 to 5 and the Township has cut back to a four day week so no inspections on Friday. We asked for an extra hour on weekdays and the ability to work Saturdays and we were granted that subject to our continued good behavior and not being a nuisance to our neighbors. As to the township, we just have to deal with that. So what is the “truth” about dirt? It is that invariably a lot is either short or long dirt. This is especially so with custom home developments and lots with natural features. When presented with a beautiful treed site with a deep gully or high knob, few developers (and the municipalities they are working in) want to tamper with these features because they look so beautiful and many times are protected by local ordinances that allow only the minimum disturbance reasonably needed to build a home. Sometimes new trees must be planted to compensate for those removed. In the unlikely event permission is given to alter or fill a low area with standing water, there may be costly conditions imposed on the owner. So the roads and utilities are put in and the imaginary lines for the lots are drawn on the paper site plan and working out how to build a house on these beautiful parcels is left to the architect, surveyor and builder. While the lot for Our Home had no wetlands or trees (except some nice pines on a landscaped berm along the back that were out of our way), it was left with more dirt than could possibly remain on site once a house with a basement was built on it.

Sandy Lot Turtle Lake

This made for a nice lawn that drained toward the street but became our challenge once we selected the lot. Most of the lots in this development that had no natural features and were shaped “mass graded” by the developer were left high or long dirt for a combination of reasons which we can only speculate about now. We didn’t help the problem by making Our Home a large footprint with 3,500 square feet of basement. We are convinced Our Home is the right product for this market and did consider trying to mitigate the excess dirt by building part of Our Home on a slab or raising it higher above the street but in the end we felt the best combination of function and aesthetics was to site Our Home as we did, bite the bullet and haul away the excess dirt. We were fortunate to find a site nearby where some homes will be starting soon that is terribly short on dirt so they were glad to have ours :-) .

Enough dirt talk, if you want to know more, just ask! What else has been going on? As it happens, quite a bit. We are hard at work finalizing contracts for our carpenter, lumber supplier, roof truss and manufactured floor system suppliers, windows, plumber, heating and air conditioning (HVAC), and electrical contractors. We also met with Dominick Tringali, our architect, to finalize some questions about exterior materials we will use and the color palette for Our Home. These will have to be submitted to and approved by the homeowners association and developer. Finally, we have been working on marketing. Our Home is now listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) by the on site brokerage company that will handle selling it and we developed a logo for Nosan Signature Homes, see below. Should have our sign up next week.