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Old 06-03-2008, 03:36 AM   #1
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where to begin on building a house?


my hubby and i plan on building a house our selves with a little help from family which knows how to build. i don't want to keep calling people up asking question after question. right now, i'm trying to find out what the 1st thing is that i need to do, then so on. i've heard blueprints should be first. but, this house building is coming straight out of our pockets, so i'm wanting to try and bypass spending 2000.00 + on bluprints. i have hand drawn my floorplans and ordered a cd, but that's as far as i've gotten. i've called some builder supplies for cost on items that i KNOW I will need, but everytime they holler for blueprints.
rather than poring a concrete slab foundadtion, we're gonna put down concrete pads and use blocks on top of the pads. would that work? reason being is my land goes down hill and it's cost a arm/leg for a full concrete foundation to get it level. i've saw houses be built using blocks in my area. we're not in a wind zone or have special codes here (country). the house isn't gonna be nothing fancy, only like 38x60, 1 level, no special roofing or anything.
i need someone to point me in the 1st direction.
what is the recommanded spaceage inbetween each wall stud? 18 inches?
should using blocks be ok?
any other needed info/ideas?

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Old 06-03-2008, 04:46 AM   #2
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where to begin on building a house?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hunniebugg View Post
..... but, this house building is coming straight out of our pockets, so i'm wanting to try and bypass spending 2000.00 + on bluprints. i have hand drawn my floorplans and ordered a cd, but that's as far as i've gotten. i've called some builder supplies for cost on items that i KNOW I will need, but everytime they holler for blueprints.
rather than poring a concrete slab foundadtion, we're gonna put down concrete pads and use blocks on top of the pads. would that work?
You are planning start on one of the biggest investments in your life...and you want to "wing-it"...without blue-prints???

If you like the idea of problems happening on EVERY stage of the project, and you like the idea of subcontractors guessing about what they are supposed to do. Also, the electrical being put all in the wrong places, the plumbing not being able to be run through the house, because the joists are in the way, the heating system having to be a more expensive design, because there are no ways to run the duct work to the master-bedroom, etc, etc, etc...then you don't need plans.

I will only say this once; You NEED TO wisely spend the money, to get your plans made up, in order to properly build your structurally-sound, energy efficient, safe home (that you will be able to get all your permits for).

Building a home is an extremely complex and detailed endeavor. It requires extensive for-thought, planning, organization, engineering, safety protocol, ALOT of calculations, among other things. Blue prints allow for all of these, and much more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hunniebugg View Post
....reason being is my land goes down hill and it's cost a arm/leg for a full concrete foundation to get it level. i've saw houses be built using blocks in my area. we're not in a wind zone or have special codes here (country). the house isn't gonna be nothing fancy, only like 38x60, 1 level, no special roofing or anything.
Check with your local building inspectional offices using your plot map. A house is only as strong as it's foundation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hunniebugg View Post
i need someone to point me in the 1st direction.
Honestly, please don't take this the wrong way: Based on what you have written so far, I absolutely, positively, do not recommend that you attempt building your home yourself. Everything you are "thinking" about skimping-on, defies all logic of home construction. I highly recommend that you sit down with a qualified and licensed professional, to walk you through this. If you feel you cannot afford to invest the money required to build a safe, sound, energy efficient home, then maybe you should wait till you have more money saved up to do so. Again, it is one of the single largest investments a person generally makes in their lives. (Your initial approach to this is all wrong).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hunniebugg View Post
what is the recommanded spaceage inbetween each wall stud? 18 inches?
should using blocks be ok?
Again, this is another reason why you should seriously consider highering a professional residential GC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hunniebugg View Post
any other needed info/ideas?
Same as above.

Good Luck.


Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 06-03-2008 at 04:48 AM.
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:12 AM   #3
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where to begin on building a house?


As a building inspector, and someone that has been in the trades for a long time, I could not agree with AtlanticWBConst more. The 15% you may save by contracting this home yourself will quickly be offset by the cost (including long-term cost) of the mistakes you make. I've seen this happen a number of times over the years. Even construction-saavy people have problems when building a home...Inexperienced people won't recognize a problem when they have one.

I think your best bet is to pay someone to install the foundation and plumbing, and have a modular factory-built home built and placed for you. It can be very economical. There are endless options in modular these days, and the quality control is great. When I say "modular", don't think double-wide trailer. A modular is simply a conventional house that is built in a factory, under strict controls, and shipped in nearly-finished modules.

Please, please, please...Do yourself a favor. You don't have the knowledge or experience to tackle this.
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:14 AM   #4
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where to begin on building a house?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hunniebugg View Post
...with a little help from family which knows how to build.
Wish I could tell you how many times I've heard this, and it turns out to be a disaster. True construction experts are rare, and most of us aren't related to one.
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:14 PM   #5
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where to begin on building a house?


perhaps i should clear something up. i'm not meaning we're going into this with no knowlodge. we do know some about building, just not EVERYTHING. when i said something about bypassing the blueprints; i was meaning not getting actual blueprints from a contractor, but i have a cd that can be used as blueprints. i punch in what i want, if it's wrong it will correct me, it caculates ALL materials including where everything goes, it shows plumbing and electrical. it's pretty much considdered as a blueprint, but prints you print from the computer.
the reason i asked about the spaceage inbetween the studs is because in my area, i've heard of people using 18" as well as 20". i was wanting to know what spaceage would be recommened.
i DO have family that can help with a couple of them actaully being licensed, while a couple more has built b4 and could have their license but choose a different field in life. 1 family mem does have real blueprints from his previous houses he has built, but i'm looking for something customized.
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Old 06-03-2008, 01:08 PM   #6
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where to begin on building a house?


Studs are spaced 16", 19.2", or 24" on center, depending on the dynamic and static loads on the wall.

Good luck to you.
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:45 PM   #7
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where to begin on building a house?


Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
You are planning start on one of the biggest investments in your life...and you want to "wing-it"...without blue-prints???


Good Luck.
You were way too nice.
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Old 06-03-2008, 05:22 PM   #8
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where to begin on building a house?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hunniebugg View Post
perhaps i should clear something up. i'm not meaning we're going into this with no knowlodge. we do know some about building, just not EVERYTHING. when i said something about bypassing the blueprints; i was meaning not getting actual blueprints from a contractor, but i have a cd that can be used as blueprints. i punch in what i want, if it's wrong it will correct me, it caculates ALL materials including where everything goes, it shows plumbing and electrical. it's pretty much considdered as a blueprint, but prints you print from the computer...
Unless this is a $10K to $20K program, and you have gone to the publisher's seminar and are certified to use it for building purposes, along with a very strong background in structural engineering and residential construction...that little program is not going to give you what you think it will. In fact, I doubt that you will be able to get a building permit with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hunniebugg View Post
the reason i asked about the spaceage inbetween the studs is because in my area, i've heard of people using 18" as well as 20". i was wanting to know what spaceage would be recommened..
Building codes are rules and regulations. What people do, and what the code allows, are two different things. Standard construction practice is 16" On center. Some areas allow interior (non-load bearing walls) to go up to 24" O.C., By doing so, you will not be saving much at all. Besides, you need studs 16" OC for installing baseboard properly, lighting switches, hanging shelving, pictures, etc, etc...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hunniebugg View Post
i DO have family that can help with a couple of them actaully being licensed, while a couple more has built b4 and could have their license but choose a different field in life. 1 family mem does have real blueprints from his previous houses he has built, but i'm looking for something customized.
Unless they owe you big favors, or you are planning on paying them good money, don't rely on even family being available to help you in the capacity that you would need them to, on such a project. People are very busy, How much they would like to help you with, and what they eventually fit into their busy schedules, are very different.

Building a house is a very large undertaking, even for the pros. In addition, building sites are one big billboard proclaiming Murphy's Law. A large amount of issues arise on EVERY project. Experience in the field, is what perceives (catches) the issues, before they get big. Experience is what creates the correct solutions efficiently, and before they get too costly.

If you think I am discouraging you about undertaking this....I am.

If you do end up undertaking this, please keep us abreast of your experience. Good Luck.

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 06-04-2008 at 05:04 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:51 PM   #9
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where to begin on building a house?


Unfortunately, I deal with one-off "homebuilders" on a daily basis. This happened today and is fairly typical, though not as expensive as many of their mistakes and errors.

A "Homebuilder", building her personal (and only) home came in looking for firebrick. She had an ad torn from some 20 dollar designer rag with a picture of a nice surround and a herringbone fireplace. She wanted the same kind of firebrick as pictured, which were standard firebrick that have been tumbled.

We carry the right color and size, but not tumbled, as I feel that is a stupid thing to do in a fireplace. I can, of course order them, but the lead time is 2 months since we railcar them in from the midwest.

I gave her the leadtime: 2 months (we just recieved 2 railcars containing 30,000+ Firebrick which is a 2-3 month supply).

She could not understand this, "Well I need them next week". My response to her was, "Well, Ma'am, if you need them next week, that also means that you needed them 2 months ago".

Multiply this example by 1000 and tens of thousands of dollars Hunniebug, and that is what you are facing when you try and build your own home with no plans, no knowledge, and no experience.
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:40 PM   #10
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Let me further explain what I mean.

When you bid the house, you have a 48" standard masonry fireplace planned. The mason bids that; he knows exactly what he can do it for.

A week before he is to begin, you decide that you want a herringbone pattern, using tumbled firebrick. That is fine, it is your house. Here is the masons change order (nominal numbers, proportionally correct):

Standard firebox changed to herringbone: +30%
Materials increase: +100%

So on a regular $5,000 masonry fireplace, you just jumped it to $9,000 bucks, plus the delay of 2 months in your scheduling.


With proper plans and specifications, the Mason would have bid it at $7,000 and the material would be onsite when he needed it.


And this is a very small and insignificant example of what you are facing.

Last edited by Tscarborough; 06-03-2008 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 06-03-2008, 10:02 PM   #11
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I drew up plans for a doghouse, once.

I screwed up 3 different times building it.

Cost me extra lumber, and a mid-build re-design.

Oh......and extra time.



I'm not exactly sure if the dog noticed, but I couldn't imagine building my own house like that.
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Old 06-03-2008, 10:12 PM   #12
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there's an outside chance you can pull this off but there's a large distance 'tween that & getting a certificate of occupancy, fire insurance, or even electrical power.

then, when its time to sell, repost & let us all know how much of a beating you take on the price 'cause of the defects that've shown up.

if you can't figure out the foundation, nothing else'll work,,, & this is all just the better part,,, wait'll the permit guy sees what you bring in to him,,, oy VEY !!!
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Old 06-03-2008, 10:16 PM   #13
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where to begin on building a house?


i would consider building a seasonal cottage, 600 sq ft. under your premise. a house? forget about it.

if you tackle this project, please cronical it here for others to learn from your mistakes.

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Old 06-04-2008, 01:04 PM   #14
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I added 600 sq. ft. onto my house last year.... bedroom, bath, laundry, closet, new central heat and air and new aerobic septic. I figured I'd do as much as I could myself to save money. My lender made me get a bid from a GC so that they'd be comfortable with the loan amount. Well respected local GC bid me $65K for cost plus. I contracted out the framing, A/C, septic, drywall, trim and painting. I installed the metal roof, plumbing and electrical (both inspected), layed tile and laminate flooring, hung all doors and windows, installed whirpool bathtub, new water heater, and built front and back patios/decks. Cost me $65K. Save yourself 6 - 12 months of screaming, cussing and fighting and hire a good general contractor.
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:31 PM   #15
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where to begin on building a house?


I think we've established a consensus.

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