This custom shell we designed Prairie-style to fit the owners’ particular lot and needs.
The lot was one of the more difficult lots in the area with slope and cross slope, but the owners had gotten a great deal to offset the cost of the design. We started construction in late October, alternating our work with the owners’ work or sometimes working concurrently. We did foundation, framing, insulation, siding, windows, flatwork, drywall, decks, exterior doors, gutters and garage doors. The owners did their own excavation, plumbing, rain drains, damp proofing, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, deck handrails and interior finishes.
Could this particular project have gone better? Undoubtedly! The owner was three days late in finishing his initial excavation. Unfortunately, that was the three day window foundation for the subcontractor…and he was booked out another 3 weeks out. This put us both behind and squarely into three weeks of snow followed by the wettest winter on recent record.
Did the owner take on a little too much? Well, yes and no. He got it done, but there were a few smaller problems and it definitely took longer to do than if we had one of our Angie’s List A-rated subs there. Where electrical rough-in and plumbing rough-in should have taken 4 days maximum for us, our client was there plugging away for a while after work and on weekends for weeks. Did he save money, without a doubt! Would he do it again? I will ask him!
Will I do it again? Yes, but I think that next time, I would try to consolidate all of the owner activities into one solid block of time to prevent alternating schedules. Don’t get me wrong! We managed, but there were a few items where he took far too long, throwing a wrench into my schedule and then I unintentionally did the same thing to him. Even though he was a very accomplished heavy-equipment operator on a tractor, there are many excavation items which are very important to the overall well-being of the home: the ground that the footings are sitting on need to be firm ( there were a few soft spots that needed to be addressed), the pad needs to be level (it needed a little help there, too), there is damp-proofing the basement foundation (a thick coating of asphalt emulsion is the code requirement, but it is always better to do more), installation of rain drains and drywells, proper back-filling, etc. Also, our framer took far too long in finishing due to weather and employee setbacks
The good news is that we finished our final items (siding and gutters) before he had the interior items complete, but the best news is that we have a new homeowner who is as happy with us as he is happy to be moved in.