I’ve had considerably less time to write in the past couple of months, because we’ve finally started building our house. At right is a photo of the groundbreaking, yesterday morning. Leading up to that, though, was months of design work, driveway construction, loan negotiation, builder selection, arduous planning, etc. We finally signed the contract about six weeks ago, closed on the loan a few weeks back, and got our construction permit yesterday morning, starting straightaway. The whole process, stretching back over two years, has been stunningly time-consuming and expensive, and that’s before we’ve spent a penny on the construction loan or so much as nailed two pieces of wood together. But we’re building our retirement home, so it’s important that we do it right.

The timing isn’t great, because there’s so much to be written about the election right now. But there will be many elections in the years ahead, but only the one house.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

12 replies on “Groundbreaking.”

  1. @Jeff Uphoff – haha, that’s a favorite of mine too.

    Waldo, enjoy this. Take pictures, write your names on the walls and be as involved as possible.

    We took a picture of Caleb and left it at the construction site when our house was being built so the workers would know who the house was for. Try to get them as emotionally invested in the house as you are. Invite them to celebrate when the house is finished. You’re not just paying them to build a building, you’ve asked them to participate in the assembly of your home. Each nail is significant.

    Keep us updated!

  2. Since you’re environmentally conscious Waldo, and LEED guidance or even certification going into this house?

  3. Congratulations and enjoy the process. Erci and I loved the experience of building our home. The project went long, and a little over budget; but it was fun and we have a beautiful home we’ll retire in. I think this past weekend marked our 7th year in the house.

  4. We were initially shooting for LEED Platinum, but over the last couple of years we’ve become convinced that it’s a lousy and impractical standard. Earthcraft is, IMHO, not much better. (That’ll be fodder for a long blog entry sometime soon. Long story short, they award points for doing not-very-useful things, and no points for doing really great things, like reusing salvaged materials, as we’re doing.) So we’re going for LEED Jaquith. :)

  5. You have probably already considered this but installing a passive under-slab ventilation stack will pay huge benefits if you find elevated radon gas levels after closing the home in. Doing this during construction allows you to tuck it in nicely and make accommodation for a powered vent if necessary. It also allows you to mitigate home humidity and air quality.

    That red basalt soil suggests you will have radon.

  6. Good point that Bubby made (as always!). In Maryland, our house had the under-slab ventilation, and we later found out the place was loaded with radon. We had a little fan installed to vent the radon outside. It was easy remediation because we had that under-slab ventilation.

  7. We already live on the land, sans radon, so we’re not particularly worried. (In Albemarle, only about 10% of houses have elevated levels of radon.) Additionally, we have a crawl space, not a basement, and unlike most crawl spaces, it’s fully ventilated. But it’s a moot point—they poured the slab this morning. :)

  8. Unless you’re going to get a tax break, you’re right on about the LEED program. There’s great guidance in the program, but some of the standards are plain misguided (brownfields points, I’m look at you). I know of two projects that could be platinum, but the municipalities pulled the plug and never sought certification even though they’re amazing buildings.

    If you get time down the line, it would be an interesting read as to what all went into “LEED Jaquith”.

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