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NECarson
1 hour ago, martyg said:

 

 

NOTE: Building to code is b*******t.  Building to code means that you are building to the lowest level possible to receive a passing grade. If you're stoked when your kid comes home with a D- on their report card, you should build to code.

 

 

Look at some structural codes for costal areas, or tornado prone areas and tell me that. 

 

Lots of structural codes are more than sufficient. Adding more than is needed is just wasting time (that's billed for) and materials. 

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bobman

Architects are like everyone else some good and some are really nuts. So do your homework selecting one.

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NECarson
12 minutes ago, bobman said:

Architects are like everyone else some good and some are really nuts. So do your homework selecting one.

I once spent a few hours arguing with one that 3 7" risers would not be sufficient for a 28" tall deck. 

 

With a side argument that a 2x6 is not actually 6"...

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martyg
38 minutes ago, NECarson said:

Look at some structural codes for costal areas, or tornado prone areas and tell me that. 

 

Lots of structural codes are more than sufficient. Adding more than is needed is just wasting time (that's billed for) and materials. 

 

I guess that it depends on the standard that you hold yourself to.

 

We own several dwellings in our town. In winter, most see  monthly utility bills on the scale of what our main residence costs per year.

 

DEO building conferences are a good source of best practices: double wall construction, super insulated ceilings, conditioned crawl spaces, etc. Once you super insulate, your heat source power plants can be very, very small. I suspect that the heat generated from out fridge heats the main room in winter.

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NECarson
9 minutes ago, martyg said:

 

I guess that it depends on the standard that you hold yourself to.

 

We own several dwellings in our town. In winter, most see  monthly utility bills on the scale of what our main residence costs per year.

 

DEO building conferences are a good source of best practices: double wall construction, super insulated ceilings, conditioned crawl spaces, etc. Once you super insulate, your heat source power plants can be very, very small. I suspect that the heat generated from out fridge heats the main room in winter.

Instalation and efficiency aren't in the scope of the VAST majority of building codes. 

 

Codes deal with structural issues, fire and electrical safety, plumbing... Inspections to verify things meet code CAN'T be done after installation. 

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martyg
On 8/17/2019 at 12:06 PM, NECarson said:

Instalation and efficiency aren't in the scope of the VAST majority of building codes. 

 

Codes deal with structural issues, fire and electrical safety, plumbing... Inspections to verify things meet code CAN'T be done after installation. 

 

Does your local code have a blower door test? If not, your jurisdiction is not up to national standards.

 

in the three places where we have built, insulation, and energy efficiency are a big part of code. But as I said, we built far and above beyond code.

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Randy S

In response to the OP, if the contractor insists on selling what he wants to build then he has to do exactly that, sell you. He obviously hasn't done that.  Move on to the next contractor.

 

We have energy codes for all new and remodels even in small town Iowa. It's not correct to assume that local codes are minimal compared to national. If your locality has a building department then they likely have a council made up of local contractors making adjustments to exceed the national code. These contractors do everything they can to reduce competition from upstarts. Everyone from the council to the inspectors want to leave their imprint on construction. For example with our typical soil type, the city requires footings 4" wider and thicker than national code. When I asked why, the response was "That's what Smoky wanted when he was the chief inspector". Smoky asumed that someone might want to add a second story to their home in the future and then the footing would be acceptable. (Lucky me, I did add a second story to my current home.) Our electrical inspector won't approve a rough-in with less than 10" of wire protruding from the front of every box. I could list many examples where our local code exceeds national in all trades. 

 

 

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MNice

We built our house 12 years ago and chose a builder whom I had a professional relationship with, the idea being I could monitor and manage the build. We started with "ideas", toured many homes around the region, chose our finishes, and drew up plans before bringing on a contractor. That's when the negotiating took place. We had chosen our brand and style of windows however the contractor tried to persuade us into using their line of windows. Most likely due to a better margin but the windows would have ruined our design, passive solar, and the views which defined our house.

 

Once the framing commenced, I stopped by one day over lunch and found the framing not matching our windows and a few other must haves, nice try. I made them tear down 3 walls and frame it correctly to our window specs. Our relationship took a turn after that however their crew did a great job and unlike the boss, were very helpful with suggestions and the such. I always provided cold water and gatoraide, beer at days end, and even grilled steaks for lunches. Was I monitoring the project, yes, but the crew very much appreciated it. I won't discuss the roofing and siding subs as I constantly find shotty work.

 

I would build another house however, as the general contractor (100%). 

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garyRI

I have had three houses custom built but two were simple "New England" capes and one colonial. Also I refurbed a flat ranch bought at auction that had been gutted and sat for years. Won't do it again but if I did it would be a factory built cape or colonial. I would have it delivered wrapped in house wrap, roof finished, also insulated with all rough plumbing and electrical done. Then on the building site have it skim coated, trimmed out & all finish work done.

 

One of the capes I had built was 90 days from building permit to occupancy permit.

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garyRI
11 minutes ago, MNice said:

would build another house however, as the general contractor (100%). 

In my sad experience a bad idea. Did this for my first house. Without promise of more work good subs are hard to manage and it will take much longer to finish (time value of money!!)

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MNice
1 minute ago, garyRI said:

In my sad experience a bad idea. Did this for my first house. Without promise of more work good subs are hard to manage and it will take much longer to finish (time value of money!!)

 

Yes, it can become a nightmare however I've been around the block. Unscrupulous contractors are hard to shake once a relationship starts heading south. 

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nutmeg grouser

FWIW - As a builder in CT for many years I learned to listen. And listen. And listen to what the customer wants. Then make it happen. As in previous replies there are always going to be stumbling blocks but its our job to recognize them prior to the build or rectify them during the build. If both parties are open minded it works great. When I was younger, a lot younger, I too felt it was my part to tell the customers what they "wanted". But learned I am not building the job for myself. I am building it for my customer and its their dream to come home to every day. To get a personal  note after a job saying how happy the customer is with the outcome is what makes my day!

Not all job budgets allow everything to be built like "Mike fixes it" or whatever the hell that show is called.:)

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SEPAlander
On 8/15/2019 at 11:07 PM, NECarson said:

Find a builder who wants to build what you want. 

 

As a contractor, what I do isn't for everyone. We're not all the right guy for everyone. 

After almost 20yrs of watching my brother run his own contracting business, this is good advice. My brother doesn’t like to compromise his work, but will “value engineer” on materials and finishes. Find someone who you can work with to build what you want.

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nutmeg grouser

FYI - Blower door tests are not all that accurate. A way for states to acquire more of your $ without calling it a tax. Years ago my 2nd job was selling waterproofing and insulation for guy. We would do a blower test as part of the sales pitch and say we would do another test after insulation and other work was installed. We were told to dodge that call after the job was done at all costs because there was a real possibility there would be no change in the reading. 

We are now back to building as tight of a house as possible.To the point where we have to install air exchangers because the homes can't breath on their own. Too tight in my own and many building officials opinions to be honest.

It will go full circle like many things. Eggs good no eggs bad no eggs good again no bad again etc........

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