Sunday, November 24, 2013

Let the Building Begin!  Are we in Fort Knox?

During the week of October 11, two major milestones took place.  I hit a certain birthday (ends with a zero) and construction began on the new house that Jeremy Sommer (Sommer Design Studios) designed for me and Bruce in East Beach in Norfolk, Virginia!

Jim SchneiderBruce and I selected Jim Schneider of Schneider Custom Builders to build our home.  We took our time in interviewing three members of the East Beach Builders Guild (everyone of which are exceptional builders), and settled on Jim.  We like Jim's professional processes in regard to communication and accounting, his quality team of subcontractors, and especially the positive reviews by his peers and happy customers.  Most importantly, we like that Jim takes great pride in his work and reputation.  We are confident that Jim will do an excellent job for us. 

Once we had Jim on board as the builder, we hired David Ferko with GET Solutions ( to do the geotechnical engineering.  The soils are East Beach can be

tricky as Blue Mud, dredging material from the Chesapeake Bay, is frequently found on the site.  It's not really a problem, but you do need to plan accordingly.  In our case, GET advised us that pilings would not be necessary, but they wanted to keep an eye on the soils during excavation.

The work began in October for the footings with engineer David Ferko on site to analyze the soils and make sure our home would be stable for us and future generations.  David is one fussy fellow when it comes to details -- a personality trait that serves his clients well.  Not unexpectedly, Blue Mud and poor soils were found during excavation.  The poor soil had to be dug out and gravel installed to provide a solid base for the footings. This photograph shows the extent of the excavation.

Next, rebar waffle cages were installed and concrete footings poured.  You can see the work in this photo.

No lie, we have a foundation worthy of Fort Knox!!

For me and Bruce, this was a hiccup in the building process, spending more time and money than we had hoped. More importantly, we are confident we have a very solid foundation that will serve us well in the future.  We are thankful that our builder and engineer took the time to do things right.

Next up -- the fun part!  Bruce and I go selections shopping with +Jacqueline Johndrow of Romancing the Home and Kristi Leonard with Schneider Custom Builders.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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