Excavators started today

Now that the frost restrictions on the roads have been lifted, Chad Zerlot from All Around Excavating can start. We found their back-hoe up at our property Friday night. They were exceedingly nice about the quote process and working with me on the unique design of the house and property layout. They will be putting in the septic as well, which is nice to not have to communicate between companies.

They did an excellent job, and was done quickly. They were also able to push stumps and trees out if the way into nice piles.

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Land clearing done..

Next to dig some holes!

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Power stuff finally here

Picked up the spool of primary wire from Power Line Supply. It weighs 516 lbs. Thankfully we had the loader at home to pull it off the truck.

Picked up the meter box from Consumers Power off Clay avenue in Grand Rapids. Was strange, they have a little room off to the side where you can go in and take what you need to set it up. All the stuff is free. Easy!

Picked up the spools if poly pipe from Menards also. Had to stand them upright in the pickup, which must have looked strange going down the road. The transformers arrived on Wednesday also, but they forgot to double pallet them, so getting them off the truck was a bit difficult. All ready to start wiring up the power!

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Built the reel caddy, ready to wire

The primary wire comes on a 32 inch diameter wood spool and weighs 516 lbs, so I needed something to set it on while I pulled the wire off. Built this out of 2×4 lumber. It worked very well. Will have to keep this one around.

Unreeled the poly pipe down the hill, was awkward, but went quick. Moved it into position (hind-sight is always 20-20, I should have started this where it was actually going to have been installed), used cable wax, and started pushing the cable in. It went fairly well up to about 350′.

Had to dig down around the west sides of the bridge to find the 2″ PVC that my dad buried under the 10″ cement slab for future use. Finally found it, full of dirt after sitting buried for 20 years. We flushed it out with water and fish-tape. Good to go. I redirected the 1.5″ poly pipe through the PVC tube, and to the gate post where the other transformer will be housed. Capped off the other PVC pipe with PVC caps for future use.

Was only able to push the cable in about 500′ before friction took hold of it. Will have to feed the second half of the cable from the bottom if the hill.

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Concrete!

Tracy from All Around Excavating recommended Andrews Concrete (apparently now a division of JDE construction) for the basement. I wanted to find contractors that had worked together, so this seemed like a good way to do that.

They gave me a good quote, and were very thorough with details. So we hired them. They started laying out the footings today.

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PERC test and Kent County Health Dept

The health department wanted us to do a PERC test. This is a measure (or look at) the types of soil near the proposed septic site, to make sure it’s okay, and will drain effectively , and in the correct directions.

My fathers property on the other side had already proved that the hill in which we are building on is comprised entirely of sand, gravel and rocks, but they wanted to make sure.

We had Tracy from All Around Excavating come out with a small back-hoe, and meet with Kevin from the health department. They dug down 8 feet and found nothing but sand everywhere, so they were satisfied with the proposed site, as well as the location of the well.

We now have our Septic permit!

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Electrical.

Not easy to find transformers and 2awg primary cable with concentric neutrals. I ended up finding on the web, Solomon corporation, that offers new, and rebuilt transformers. They came in at the best price, including delivery by their own truck. I purchased the (2) 25kva transformers from them, complete with voltage adjust taps, and copper windings for a bit over $2k. They will arrive in 3-4 weeks. They don’t sell wire however. I asked Home Depot for a price, but they couldn’t get the Southwire cable I needed. I went to Greybar, but they didn’t seem happy that I wasn’t a electrician, and seemed like I was bothering them. They did come through with a good price a bit later though, however I had already ordered the cable and stress cones from Power Line Supply in Reed City, a division of Reed City Power, who were very helpful, and quoted me Okuguard 15kv primary wire with concentric neutrals, with shielding. They were also able to sell me a cut spool of only 850 feet. It will be ready in a couple weeks also.

I also found the 1.5 inch poly-pipe that I will be placing the high voltage wire in, as well as my communications lines, at Menards, on sale for $199, and bought (5) 400′ spools.

So that’s all set!

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House planning, estimates, permits

The extended winter gave us plenty if time to confer with my Father-in-law, the lumber yards, the truss companies, the townships and etc.

The initial plan for the floor joists was to use engineered joists to span the 32 x 60 area where the bedrooms are. These sound great on the surface, but I try to avoid any construction that uses particle board or non-solid wood, steel or concrete. They are also considerably expensive. So we wanted to switch to wood. This left us with a LVL laminated beam, and jack posts every 8 feet. That combined with footings was quite expensive as well. My father-in-law recommended using a steel beam. With a W10x26 beam, 48′ long, we could get away with 3 footings every 16′, and use if 2×12 18′ long hem-fir joists. This should make for a very sturdy floor!

We also got our address permit, and land division completed, as well as filed the warranty deeds with the township.

And another problem cropped up. Apparently the reason the lumber yards were less than responsive was that they had no idea how to build the roof trusses. My house design was quite abnormal with 2 wings at 135 degree angles, and my architect really didn’t put much effort into its design. So, Dale from Big-L lumber set a meeting with Jeff at Truss Technologies. Jeff had a pretty awesome 3d program that helped to lay out the truss design, and I was quite impressed. They will be providing the trusses and instructions on their assembly, which is good since I’m not a professional builder! Another problem solved.

I also began the search for the correct power components to run our house power the 800′ from the main road. This is to avoid the charges from Consumers Energy (more than $15,000) to run the high voltage to a pad transformer by the house. We will be utilizing my fathers design of taking the service entrance power (120 / 240 volts, 200 amp), transforming that up to 7200v, running that 800 feet to another transformer, then back down to 120 / 240.

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And more land clearing

Fortunately, the weather has been nice this year, and we cleared trees out until late November 2013.

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Survey done

Got the survey done by my Wife’s uncle, Dan Hula of Hula Engineering. He downloaded topographical maps and it looks nice. We need this to give to the Township so they can split the property. We issued them a “Land Division” form, along with the legal property description from Hula Engineering. These would be filed with (2) warranty deeds from our attorney that provide the legal rights to each parcel. Our side is a little over 11 acres, with an 100′ easement for the existing driveway.

We wound up having a bit of trouble with the Kent County Road Comission, which stated that they wanted the driveway to be 22′ wide for 33′ from the center of the main road. I was concerned with the (2) existing concrete gate-posts at the driveway entrance, as they were 21′ feet apart, however, it turns out they are over 33′ from the center of the road, so we’re all good.

We were able to get the Address Permit from Kent County for our official address, so that’s all set!

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