Precast Concrete Piers – Revised

Considering that we made the decision early on to have a concrete house we have to take into account the extra weight of the whole structure. The “soil” (sandy marine clay and rock fragment) we will be building on is probably fill the developer threw on top of a marsh to create “dry” land and from the surrounding canals. Considering the average elevation of the lot is +3.5 feet above sea level, you can bet the foundation will be sitting…

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Design Consultants

Design Consultants This has been, and seems to continue to be, one of the hardest parts of the project for us. There are different designers who are able to submit approved drawings to a government body for approval. The two main ones I will talk about are architects and engineers. All can services can be as per the design professionals expertise and licensing. Architects, as design professionals, typically complete more parts of the process. An architect may do only the…

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Construction Drawings

Construction Drawings Construction drawings are a set of plans and specifications which are used to carry out the agreed upon design ideas. These plans are usually the ones submitted to governmental agencies for review and approval. Contractors use these drawings to bid projects by calculating costs for materials, labor, overhead and profit. Most people do not realize that plans and specifications are legal documents! They are part of the construction contract. “I give you money and you build this.” The…

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Dehumidification and Air Conditioning

As a student of this work, rather than a teacher, I am going to take information directly from two articles that can better explain the need for both dehumidification and air conditioning in areas of high humidity. From Fine Homebuilding Magazine, “Excess humidity can encourage the growth of mold and even damage a house’s structure and furnishings over time. Many homes control indoor humidity with a dehumidifier. A liquid refrigerant passes through evaporator coils, which contact incoming air. Moisture from…

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Design Ideas – The Long Distance Design Process

Since we live 3,000 miles away, the design process is being done with starts and fits. Some times it’s hard to get a concept across by phone. I have started to sketch out design ideas, scan them and email them to our designer. It seems to take forever to create design ideas, get them refined, sent out, reviewed, commented and reviewed again. By that time we have rethought the ideas and have come up with additional ideas and changes. I’m…

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Window and Door Schedules

Now that we are into creating the construction drawings we need to make “final” decisions on things. I like my information organized. What sized window is going where in the house? Is it frosted as a bathroom window may be? Does it have mullions? Does it open up and down, or sideways? Does it not open? How high from the finished floor does it start? After looking at it awhile a home owner could figure this schedule out for themselves.…

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Preliminary Design Concept – Floor Plans

After much round and round we have refined our needs and hopefully be within budget. The original idea *sigh* was way to big and expensive for us to accomplish. So now to our refined plan. The least expensive design is a square house with a hip roof. We worked with the rooms and room sizes we could live with and worked our way outward. We were able, with many design iterations, to come to a design that will give us…

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Preliminary Design Concept – Elevations

Another part of a preliminary design is to see what the elevations would look like based on the preliminary floor plans. Our idea is to have the exterior walls stuccoed in a Mediterranean style with medium texture. Due to budget concerns we want our concrete roof to be as light as possible and still resist hurricanes. The lighter the roof the less wall structure we need to pay for. To do so, we are going to paint the roof with…

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Design Ideas – Doors and Windows

In an area of extreme weather can we afford failure? High impact windows and doors are mandatory per code. Good idea! What quality? Most have a 20 year warranty. What happens if the company declares bankruptcy every five years and the warranty is void? It happened to us! I looked online for high quality impact resistant windows. Some got very poor ratings for door handles and metal fasteners. How do you balance cost vs. quality vs. survivability?  Do you know…

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Design Ideas – Flooring

Flooring I don’t care for wood or bamboo in high humidity, mold and insect environments. There is to much of a chance of warping for my taste. Ceramic tile maybe a slipping hazard for older homeowners. It depends on the tile style. What ever we choose, it will be better than the usual white tiles of South Florida.There are what seems to be an unlimited number of choices. Tile sub-floors needs to be very clean for the installation. Maybe stone,…

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