Archive | March, 2013

Demolition Begins

26 Mar

While I was in California visiting family the final permit was approved! The demolition is going strong now. All the drywall, wiring and plumbing have been torn out. Most of the siding is off and today the roof is going away! In the basement the plumbers cut up some of the floor to check the pipes finding that the main drain to the septic was old and crumbling. So, tack on some more money and let’s tear it all up and replace the whole thing!

I am starting to feel a bit like were in the money pit. We knew we’d find surprises that needed fixing or repair, but some of what we found when we pulled off the drywall was downright scary. For example, the front entry and guest bathroom were built over what used to be a deck. Literally they built right on the deck and just closed things in to look like it was properly framed, supported, insulated and finished space. No wonder that area was always so cold ;).

We also found some rotten areas behind the old showers, so in the long run I’m glad we pulled them out as well. Every fixture, wall, wire, pipe will be new in the house. Not to mention all insulation. That all actually gives me a sense of comfort, albeit at a pretty big price.

Tim and I went through the plans again and made some adjustments in the basement. Boulder County is requiring us to widen the hallway down there to bring it to code which means we had to completely gut the bathroom we installed this summer! Looking on the bright side, I will get a larger master bathroom!

After talking everything through this weekend (with much wine) Tim and I agree on the whole demolition process. While demo is fun and it shows so much progress and immediate satisfaction, it also opens up the problems lurking within, and stretches the bank. Budget? Ha, that house just laughed at our budget!ImageImageImage


Power Down

7 Mar

While were waiting for our permit, Excel and Comcast got some really important work done. They buried the overhead power lines that ran through the backyard! A huge improvement was taking place before my very eyes. I have to give kudos to those Excel guys. They get’er done! About 4 trucks, 2 backhoes, and two bucket/ladder trucks arrived and they went to town digging, pulling wires, and resetting the new power feed to the house. It took two days on the trench and wire runs, one day when they popped off the old overhead wires and took everything live. They’ll be back next week to take out the old pole on the east side of my backyard! 

The only bad thing is we had to shut down all power to the house. Since were relocating where the main power trunk enters the house, a new breaker box had to be set, and the old one deleted. There are 4 temporary outlets on the outside of the house, but nothing in the house is live and won’t be until the whole thing gets rewired. I’m thinking there are going to be some really cold work days ahead when we get our spring snows 😦 


Jumping Through Hoops

7 Mar

We have heard nothing but horror stories about the arduous process that Boulder has designed to get a permit. We also heard of all the “extra” rules and regulations that Boulder has incorporated into their code. What we have heard was right! 

I’m not saying that the rules don’t in some cases make sense. In fact, many of them in the long run are better for the homeowner and better for the environment. However, the cost of some of these items make Boulder the most expensive county in Colorado to build in. 

For example: Boulder requires fire sprinkler systems in all new residential space exceeding 4000sf. Roughly a $10K addition. Boulder requires all houses to go through a HERS rating, requiring a special engineer that makes sure the home meets the requirements of insulation, window ratings, energy efficiency and airflow. So you have the engineer, then you have the testing at the end of the process to make sure the house is air tight. A good thing, but an extra $5K. Then there is the actual HVAC that requires an air exchange. Air exchangers run a couple thousand installed and they will make sure that air is circulating so many times per hour even if the heater/cooler isn’t on so the air is clean and safe. I see this as an advantage only in clearing the air that my gassy dogs emit 🙂

While were putting the finishing touches on the plan, we get the Home Owners Assoc approval. Next we get the approval that were not disturbing the Preble’s Jumping Mouse. Next it is the Historical Society structural review since the house is over 50 years old. And, the other Historical Society who looks at the land features to make sure no artifacts might be buried along the creek. A big approval is the one from the Floodplain Managers. Once we compiled all those approvals we submitted for our Permit! Valentines Day was the big day!

Oops, I forgot to mention the Asbestos! Of course we were required to test the place for Asbestos. Of course we found some in one wall measuring approximately 200 square feet. A two week Asbestos Mitigation Process began. Special guys that are certified by the state took down the affected drywall. They had to wear hazmat suits and shower in a temporary shower set up in our front yard. The one good thing is that when they were done we had one wall completely demo’d! Progress at the cost of $3,200, but I had my Asbestos Certificate to turn in with the permit.


Now were playing the waiting game. Everything for the permit is waiting with the County. The package was extremely complete…but we hit a snag. Just when we thought we’d have permit in hand the entire Boulder County Building Department staff goes to an offsite training for a week. Yup, a whole week, no engineers on site to sign off on our permit. Waiting, waiting, waiting….