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Build Your Own Home, Issue #019, Reminders to Help you Build Your Own Home
May 02, 2006

Build Your Own Home Reminders

The items that I have listed below are a random collection of things that may help you save some headaches during the construction of your home. I will add to the list and send them out in another newsletter as these items pop up in my memory. 

Make sure your painter caulks all the openings (cracks & crevices) around the exterior of your house to keep out air infiltration and insects like bees. Ours missed some spots and I wound up doing it myself on a tall ladder. 

Inventory all building materials as they arrive and keep a record of what is on hand to make sure it is not walking off the jobsite. This is especially true with finishing trim and lumber. Keep special items away from the jobsite and locked up, like plumbing fixtures and expensive, or breakable items. 

Coordinate your deliveries carefully so you only have what you need on hand. The more inventories that you have on your jobsite, the more that is at risk for damage or theft. Also it is a good idea to have a separate storage building, already positioned on the site, so that you can securely lock up your items.

Notify your supplier immediately of any item that is damaged or incorrect, upon delivery. Don’t get charged for items that are not for your project. If they deliver the wrong item tell them right away so they can pick it up. Watch your orders as they come in. Deliveries sometimes have extra items that you did not order that you could be charged for. Immediately dispute the item and make the supplier pick it up. The more time that passes the easier it is to forget and the items just slip between the cracks and get paid for. Correctly handling these invoices is a job in itself. Pay attention to details on this task.

Never let a contractor order materials for you that you are paying for. If they need materials, you call it in to the supplier, so you can keep track of the items. You don’t want to be building somebody else’s house if you get my drift. You must maintain control of the cash register.

If a contractor needs more materials ask why. Don’t be shy…. it is your money. If they make a mistake, and they will, be fair, but let them know you aren’t going to finance their mistakes. Work out a trade for labor goof ups, or goof ups that cause you to lose materials. Fair is fair…

Rope off any area that you don’t want people driving on. I found out real quick that your property could be torn to pieces in no time if you don’t. 

Check each and every mechanical item before you pay the building contractor. If you miss an item, say an electrical switch that doesn’t operate, a dead circuit, small plumbing leak etc.. and the contractor has been paid, you will have fun getting a return visit. If you have reputable contractor they will come back, but it is much easier to take your time and double check. Don’t just depend on the inspector to catch everything; you need to be on alert. Remember…this is your home….and it’s worth some of your time…

Pre-wire for everything that you can think of, and then some. I have some good information on the home wiring page and the structured wiring page but you need to make sure you have taken care of everything that you may need in the future. It is much cheaper to do it now….

Let me give you an example. In the last year or so I have been watching the home power generation market carefully. Some states are offering incentives to install Solar, Wind or Water electrical generation for your home. What this means is, in the not to distant future, it is probably going to be feasible to generate a portion if not all of your own power and not have to pay a huge amount upfront to do so. 

Well, with this in mind, solar photo voltaic cells would make sense for me in my area. Not enough wind for a small wind turbine, and no stream to drive a water turbine. So, when I do install my solar cells, they will more than likely go on the roof. Guess what? I didn’t install any wiring for it. This means I will have to pull new wire. It is not that hard… but it would have been much easier when the walls were just studs.

When you are installing water service to your house (well, city water, etc.) run water to your entire property, or wherever you are going to need it in the future. Don’t just run it to the house and say I will run water to the other parts of my property later. It is much easier and cheaper to go ahead and trench a main line around the perimeter or up the middle of the property when the equipment is available. That way you can tie into it later for all your projects. You wouldn’t believe how glad I am we did this. We have a gorgeous piece of property because of it…

Happy Home Building,

George, from Build Your Own Home.

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