New Construction - Vacant Lot to Showstopping Success!

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Here's another project we are just wrapping up and it involved so many "Firsts" for me I figured I'd share.  Most of the new construction I've done in and around Atlanta has been Infill teardown which didn't involve much site development.  This project was the COMPLETE opposite, a veritable SHERWOOD FOREST  on the side of a CLIFF! 

I'll detail out some of the build over a couple posts, but here is a sneak peak of the finished project.

Since I didn't have much experience in land development, AND I couldn't really get a good feel for the lay of the land because of all the trees...I only budgeted 5k for extra dirt to make the lot "buildable", well over 130 TRUCK LOADS of dirt and 27k later did I finally end up with a lot fit for a house!

Bringing in the extra dirt to raise the lot also required a Soil Engineer to be ONSITE for several days to test the compaction of the soil as we lifted the site, and also some additional heavy machinery that we don't normally run across...like a "Vibratory Sheeps Foot" which kinda sounds like something you would find at one of those trucker stores...

After a hundred and twenty something loads of dirt, we were close...but not quite close enough, so we decided to stop bringing in dirt for the moment, and incorporate a SUBWALL into our foundation so that we could bring in dirt only for where out house sat and stop "bringing up" the whole lot.

With the "development" portion almost done, it's time to go vertical!

thanks @Todd Whiddon for the great pics and description of what you did here. The finished product looks fantastic - congrats! Question: Did you have to pour any concrete piers or drive metal ones into the ground below your foundation footings for additional support? 

UP UP AND AWAY!

Everything on this project was much more EXPENSIVE than we are accustomed to building on small lots in the City of Atlanta.  Since the Front Setback was 60' and our house and our deck footers about 64' more past that we had to get a GINORMOUS pump truck to reach the back of our build site.  Not only that, but because of the size of our build site AND the fact there is a creek on our lot, our silt fencing and other erosion control measures cost over 10k!! 

While not a total first in that I enjoy drawing the plans for many of the projects we do, this was by far the LARGEST custom home my team and I have imagineered up to this point.

Framing went pretty fast, which helped make up for LOTS of lost time in the Roswell Permitting department and our FEEBLE first attempt at lot development. 

We slowed down again when it came time for exterior veneer, since we had to find some higher end dudes for our stonework than we normally use.

But the time we spent using guys that take their time and know what they were doing was well worth it!

We also asked around and found some trim carpenters that had been around the block a time or two...

That again cost us abit more than usual...

But the results SPEAK for themselves!!  Let's check out the inside!!

BUDGET BUSTING BLING BLING

Hopefully our investment in some higher end finishes will pay off.  An 800k house in some of the hotter areas of Intown ATL is really nothing special, but since this house is out in the Burbs, we had to dress it up abit to compete with the other builders in the area.

The bathrooms in this house were some of my favorite that we have done!

We've been putting these freestanding soaker tubs in just about every project we have done lately!

This shower is AWESOME, we used the same wood tile from the floor and ran it on the back wall along with a river rock shower floor, this neighborhood is kinda "woodsy" so we went with a LOT of natural finishes in the house!

FULL DISCLAIMER- I've got a good cabinet hookup, amateurs should NOT attempt these feats of Woodworking Mastery IF they intend to make a profit on their projects! 

COLOR CODED COMMUNICATION

Behind every "Success Story" is a PLAN!

Let's face it, it's hard enough sometimes to communicate simple ideas to the person standing in front of you, let alone a complicated plan to someone over the phone. Everyone knows @Joshua Dorkin preaches SYSTEMS and PROCESSES, and a big part of running a successful project are your communication SYSTEMS!

That's why I draw DETAILED examples....

Include pictures from past projects that have similar elements...

and use COLOR as much as possible to help get my point across....

Originally posted by @Alok Sood :

thanks @Todd Whiddon for the great pics and description of what you did here. The finished product looks fantastic - congrats! Question: Did you have to pour any concrete piers or drive metal ones into the ground below your foundation footings for additional support? 

 Alok-

YES!  We lucked out and got GREAT compaction on the soil we were able to get the heavy machinery on, but for the portion of the slab foundation inside the subwall we had to use helical piers in the backfill to ensure we didn't have any settlement issues.

DOUBLE DECKER

We've come a LONG way in deck EPIC-NESS since the first deck on Diary of a New Construction Project!

And began to show some deck promise on Diary of a Pop-Top..

But this one probably takes the cake so far!

These boys don't play around!  We timed the deck to go along with the framing, that way when the roofers started they could roof the house AND the deck at the same time.

Had I built this project over... I probably would have adjusted how we graded the back of the house some and eliminated the lower deck, but it's there now, so might as well make the most of it!

That is an impressive build!

You guys are killing it. The scope of this project and knowledge required to pull something like this off is impressive. Really nicely done.

Well Done, @Todd Whiddon ! The finishes are beautiful. That shower is amazing, you find out how many you can fit in there?!

Also, I'm glad you brought to light how new construction can bring many additional expenses ... $10k for just fencing and erosion control, engineers, and lots of dirt! Shows what a different ball game it is.

Originally posted by @Griffin Fehrs :

Well Done, @Todd Whiddon ! The finishes are beautiful. That shower is amazing, you find out how many you can fit in there?!

Also, I'm glad you brought to light how new construction can bring many additional expenses ... $10k for just fencing and erosion control, engineers, and lots of dirt! Shows what a different ball game it is.

 LOL I WISH it was just 10k for all that!   10k was JUST for silt & tree save fencing and some other erosion control stuff.  We spent about 27k on Dirt and Grading!  There are many more "Ks" for the engineers, storm water compliance, and other "stuff" that New Construction brings with it that are different that the renovation game.  I'll post detailed numbers once we get this one SOLD!

Great post @Todd Whiddon , those numbers are scary big though!!! 

Originally posted by @Troy S. :

Great post @Todd Whiddon, those numbers are scary big though!!! 

 Indeed!...especially scary when they are THAT much bigger than the ones on your initial budget spreadsheet!  We should still be OK in the end though! 

@Todd Whiddon

 Stunning.  Just stunning.  Whenever I get ready to move, I'll have to have you design and build our new house.

Originally posted by @Stephen Chittenden :

@Todd Whiddon

 Stunning.  Just stunning.  Whenever I get ready to move, I'll have to have you design and build our new house.

 Thanks! Just be sure to have PLENTY extra in your Budget and timeline for my slack skills!

Originally posted by @Todd Whiddon :
Originally posted by @Stephen Chittenden:

@Todd Whiddon

 Stunning.  Just stunning.  Whenever I get ready to move, I'll have to have you design and build our new house.

 Thanks! Just be sure to have PLENTY extra in your Budget and timeline for my slack skills!

 In my limited experience, this is ALWAYS good advice.  Our project ended up 5 months long (almost 200% over our planned timeframe) and 70% over budget.

Originally posted by @Griffin Fehrs :

Well Done, @Todd Whiddon ! The finishes are beautiful. That shower is amazing, you find out how many you can fit in there?!

 I missed the first part of this!  We're waiting for the Open bar at the open house to find out!

FINISHING TOUCH

Here's a look at most of the finishes we used, I was a bum and forgot to order some of the lighting in time so we had to pick In-stock alternates, but you get the idea!

Thanks again to @Justin Childers for the great design work!

@Todd Whiddon I just can't get enough of looking at this, because it's so spectacular! I AM all about the clawfoot tubs/freestanding soaker tubs. The ceilings...just incredible. 

And many kudos to the accents and finishes, because it's the "little things" that truly can separate a nice home from a fabulous one.

Can't wait to see more of these!

Great job, the house is beautiful! 

Those decks are impressive indeed! Does all the additional cost and effort lead to a higher sales price, though? I haven't seen too many property listings tout the complexity of the deck buildout. 

One of the HDTV shows had a well "decked out" lower deck which showed real well and stuck in my head:

Originally posted by @Suvir B. :

Those decks are impressive indeed! Does all the additional cost and effort lead to a higher sales price, though? I haven't seen too many property listings tout the complexity of the deck buildout. 

One of the HDTV shows had a well "decked out" lower deck which showed real well and stuck in my head:

Suvir- 

The decks themselves don't necessarily add directly to the sales price... but they are part of the "package" that I felt was required to sell this home.   Since we built the house on the side of a cliff, the back yard SUCKS!   So to help make up for the lack of a nice flat backyard, we thought it best to create an OUTDOOR ENTERTAINMENT OASIS of gargantuan proportions with the decks.

Same thought that went into the deck on our last POPTOP / FOUNDATION UP NEW BUILD the backyard was abit tight, so we went overboard on the back deck.

Also same thought in another house we just got under contract today WOOHOO!, the worse the backyard the BETTER the deck!

LOL... Come to think of it we actually just SOLD another house today "Today was a GREAT DAY!" and it had pretty epic decks as well, even though it had a nice backyard!

Am I spending too much on decks.... Probably    But they seem to be helping to sell houses and that's all I really care about!

WHAT'S BEHIND THOSE WALLS?

Another good habit to start if you get into NEW CONSTRUCTION is taking pictures JUST before insulation and drywall are installed!  This helps GREATLY if you or the homeowner need to do a repair, hang a barn door, or narrow down where something is leaking from. 

Instead of using Spray Foam like we do in most of our intown builds, we used a Radiant Barrier roof decking, which helps to keep the attic cool by making it more difficult for heat to pass through it, kinda like the film on most of the new Low-E windows.

Pictures are also FANTASTIC for locating outlets and wires that sheetrockers ALWAYS occasionally seem to cover up!

And if your wondering what the framing looked like behind our AWESOME living room ceiling, Well Here you Go!

 And if your sense of wonder is even MORE wondering....like wondering what those little orange tubes in the exterior walls are.... and maybe that slightly bigger orange tube above the fireplace.....   Well the exterior walls have an In-Wall Pest Control System that saves US money on our termite control systems.... And the Orange Tube Above the Fireplace is so that the future homeowner can run their cables to their TV down to their cabinet with ease!

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