THE CONUNDRUM OF THE SMALL PROJECT (or SHOULD I ACT AS MY OWN GC?)
Getting a small project built can be very difficult for the simple reason that large, established contractors don’t want to do small projects. These projects take up too much time for the amount of money they’re going to generate. If you are a contractor, it’s much more desirable to take on A $2 million project that’s going to last eight months then it is to constantly go after small $30,000 projects each of which only last a month.
I was approached by a client the other day who is thinking about buying a property here in Ipswich. There were some concerns. The existing house on the property was not to their liking, so they wanted to tear it down. To complicate matters, the septic system associated with the house was a cesspool. The broker had told them that they would have to replace the system with a tight tank, as the current system did not comply w/ Title 5, and the property was too small to install a traditional septic system.
Part II- Steel Piles & The Wood Chuck Did Chuck Wood
I went through a number of hybrid scenarios of the foundation design for this house, but at the end of the day, I wanted to get as monolithic a structural system as I could to help combat the lateral loads that would batter the building. The steel piles get welded to the steel cap, and the cross bracing all gets welded directly to the piles themselves. Corner gusset bars get welded to the steel cap. Welds, for all intents and purposes, join two pieces of metal together at the molecular level, resulting in a singular system.
Part I- Wood Piles & How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck Chuck…
The house on Plum Bush Downs I just finished is in a flood zone. Not only is the elevation of the site well below the established 100 year flood plain, but it’s in the marshes abutting the Merrimack River which spills out into the ocean, meaning it’s tidal. On any given day, there is 6″ of water covering the driveway and all of the front yard. No joke, the day I had the first shipment of materials delivered we had a storm surge producing and enormous tidal surge. The next day when I showed up at the site, the 20 yard dumpster (weight = 4 tons), the port-o-potty and an entire skiff of plywood (about 7,000 lbs worth) had all been picked up by the slow moving incoming water, floated, and then re-deposited 20 feet from their original position, and the port-o-potty was on its back. Good times.