Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Excavation continues

Now that the holidays are over, work is starting again.

Last week the utility trench was dug and the conduit was put in. In this picture you can see the gas conduit (yellow), the electrical conduit (gray), the cable tv conduit (red), and the telephone wire (black).

After the conduit was placed in the trench, it was covered with a few inches of sand to protect it. Then the two water lines were run above it. After the water lines were placed, the trench was filled up with pit run gravel and packed down.

Today the geotextile material was rolled out and 2"-4" diameter rock was spread out. It's great to see the driveway taking form and not getting all muddy while walking on it.

Things seemed to be going great until the engineer from the power company showed up. He informed us that the conduit we had just buried is not at the proper depth. How could that be? I used the depth specified in the document the power company sent me. "Oh, that's the wrong document". Grrrrrrrrr. Well I hope to get this all straightened out tomorrow. We might end up having to add 12 inches of gravel to the top of the driveway which will cost us a small fortune.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


We had a little setback this week. The excavators removed the topsoil from the driveway and discovered a spring which quickly turned the ground to mush. The mush would make it impossible to dig a utility trench and would obviously make for a poor driveway.

To fix the problem they installed a french drain to control the water flow. Now they are able to continue digging the utility trench as planned. We have water lines, gas conduit, electrical conduit, and telephone cable ready to go in the trench. Now I just need to figure out how to get Comcast to deliver their cable while we have the trench ready.

Quarry spalls topped with filter fabric create a french drain to control our new found spring water.
Driveway is cored (topsoil removed for stabilization)

I also found out that due to the fact that we will have fire sprinklers, we actually need two water lines running to the house. The reason behind this is because the water district wants a way to shut off your water if you don't pay the bill. They can't legally do that if it disables the fire suppression system. Thank god our existing water meter is large enough to supply two lines, otherwise it would be an additional $3000 to add another meter.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Slash and burn

Clearing is almost done and now we can get a rough idea of what our yard will look like. It was tough to get the burn pile started with all the wet wood, but once it got going it burned quickly. We still have a boatload of cottonwood logs to get rid of. Anyone want some?

As you can see the ground is still littered with roots and other brush. The excavator will grub this to make it nice and even.

The house is going to be built just in front of where the burn pile is.

Meanwhile, Heather and I are staying busy getting other details squared away. I think it takes about 120 different trades to build a house, and now we have to find one of each to hire.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Foul weather

We knew that starting our project this time of year would cause some weather delays. I didn't think they would happen on day 2. We had a series of snow, wind and rain storms which prevented Danny and I from installing silt fencing this weekend. On Monday we had more rain in 24 hours than any other day on record here in the Seattle area.

Today the excavation crew started work again. The house site is in good condition, but the driveway is really muddy after all that rain. I will be glad when they build up the driveway with rock sometime next week so we can drive/walk down it without getting slimed.

The rest of this week they will be working on clearing more trees and brush and putting in conduit for the utilities.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Site clearing

Things are moving much faster now that we have our permit. Earlier this week we chose an excavator to get the site prepped for building. By Friday they were already on site clearing trees with their mini excavator. It's amazing how much that little machine can do in a day.

This weekend my brother Danny and I will be working on putting up silt fencing around the perimeter of the site. The silt fencing is used to control any sediment from the construction site from destroying the native vegetation surrounding it.

The excavation crew were kind enough to let Jonah borrow the excavator to help me put up silt fencing this weekend.

On Monday the excavation crew will return with more machinery and start digging the utility trench. It's snowing right now and the weather forecast for Monday is not good. Hopefully it doesn't turn the site into a complete mess.