Martin

Martin

I am a licensed landscape architect and an urban planner who practiced in California over the last 35 years. My wife who went to the Keys for over 20 years with her family has always been in love with the Keys. We have decided to move there to enjoy the Keys lifestyle.

Foundations, the other method – August 4, 2022

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 are building on is probably fill the developer threw on top of a marsh to create “dry” land and from the surrounding canals. The method used on our site was to the drill the hole, fill with concrete and drop in a rebar cage to…

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Trouble in Paradise? – August 4, 2022

What happens when the construction installation is not per the drawings? What happens when the construction installation is not per the drawings and no one seems to care? What happens when the construction installation is not per the drawings and no one seems to care except the owner? This week has been stressful. There are requirements in the drawings for: Imported base rock to be compacted to 2,000 LBS per square foot. Rebar to be supported with rebar chairs so…

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Compacting Baserock

Foundation Work Continues – July 20, 2022

Yesterday there were 6 laborers working on the project! An all time high! Men were working on stripping forms, readying them for more concrete work. Other workers were readying the foundation rebar for the future horizontal foundation connectors. Debris was removed from the site. A Bobcat was used to spread baserock around the vertical rebar foundation. Next is to ready the site to receive the concrete forms for the concrete foundation pour. That concrete will enclose the foundation of the…

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Foundation materials on site

Foundation Work Continues – July 13, 2022

Construction work in the Florida Keys is a stop and go proposition these days. Sometimes work gets done and sometimes nothing gets done for weeks at a time. Currently there seems to be more stop than go for my project. After a full day of getting the foundation rebar placed as per the designer’s plans, the work stopped. As a surprise, during this visit to the job site there as actual signs that progress was about to start up again!…

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Marathon 1911

Why we have not updated our posts for a while?

We were blissfully ignorant of the workings of the Keys. I was spending my time making design decisions for my “dream home” without the cruel realities. Our original designer did not tell us he had heart disease and he died during the process. His boss was a thief, stole money and did not finish the design work. Due to the cost of an ICF house was about $900,000 we decided to go with a more traditional concrete block and metal…

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Foundation Work Update – June 15, 2022

The first physical part of the work is now done! Hurrah! After 18 years after purchasing the lot, and 4 years after starting the design build process, we have something real in the ground! The first step is to have a surveyor determine the exact location where the house is to be located on the lot, as approved by the City of Marathon. The surveyor marked the property lines, the setback of the house on the lot,  and pier locations.…

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Now…. where were we? – Update June 1, 2022

A few years ago I started to comment on my efforts to build a retirement home in the Florida Keys. After four years of: an architect who died, another that stole money and more importantly time, design cost over-runs, a new designer, new contractor bids, delays due to Covid, cost inflation, the loan process, etc, we have finally started construction! I am here in Marathon for the duration to review construction, solve problems in real time and make sure I…

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Precast Concrete Piers

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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