Monday, August 25, 2008

Of Homebuilding and More Heavy Equipment. . .

The basic logistics of “homebuilding” were evading us. Notwithstanding dire economic forecasts foretelling doom for the new housing market, we were unable to locate a contractor who seemed to be desperate enough to want to build our house. So about a year ago, we decided to try a different approach.

We waltzed into a showroom, plopped down the blueprints we had spent hours poring over to make “perfect,” and asked to have a pre-fabricated house built. We did not labor under the misconception that this route would be less expensive. We were looking for something that would be easy. We were looking for something fast.

Nothing in our world is easy. And although K likes to take things slow, I can move too slowly for her, even. Over a year later, we are finally seeing some real progress on the project.

So here’s how this thing works, more-or-less: We customized our home plan, and then began the process of de-constructing our ideal to conform to the way they construct the homes (read: off-site, in a factory, to be shipped on trailers). We contracted with a “traditional” homebuilder to construct the non-factory built parts, such as the basement, porches, decks, septic, HVAC, etc. . . Then one day, after much wrangling and hand-wringing, the parts of the house appear, split neatly down the middle, and tightly shrink-wrapped. Another day, a crew comes to pop the roof up into place. And then, at long last, a big crane rolls into the yard and installs the house parts onto the basement parts.

Warning: this video is very long. Please feel free to skip over the painfully boring parts. There won't be a quiz later, and my feelings won't be hurt, I promise.

Yet to go: hew the two halves together, pour/build the deck, front porch, access ramp and basement interior walls, install guttering, finish the sheetrock and on-site installation for things like the eat-at kitchen bar and roll-in shower, and install flooring.

Piece of cake. Fast and easy.

(Of course I am posting this a full two weeks later and progress to date has been limited to: two halves hewn together, interior walls framed in, and electric panel and mast erected.)

Fast and easy. Right.