Friday, 28 March 2014

Variance Approved and Website Launched!

Wow, a lot has happened since my last update. 

For starters, we have moved.  You can read about the first few days of the move over on my journal at It was a tiring and stressful time that I am very happy is behind me. Of course this was followed up by a week of sickness and a computer data loss that was the worst I have had ever experienced but fortunately I have been very lucky in this regard and so this was not crippling for me (just expensive - the whole affair cost over $1000 for data retrieval and the purchase of a second battery backup so both my Raid servers are protected).

The next piece of big news is that our Development Variance permit was approved last Monday night.  This was such a relieve after months of back and forth with the District.  They accepted my originally proposed upper to lower floor ratio of 87% (vs. the 75% required by the bylaw), but I had to redesign the roof so that I could lower it 12" and now only be 8" above the requirement of 26'.  This has resulted in the loss of my air barrier design utilizing a torch on membrane, so I will have to come up with a new game plan for creating a durable and effective air barrier at the ceiling location. Ideas anyone?

We have also been approved for our Construction Mortgage and I am thankful for the hard work put in by Tetyana Thomas at the Royal Bank.  They have really stepped up compared to most banks that would not loan to an owner builder. The challenge will now be to get to the first draw.  They will not advance funds until the foundation is complete.  This will cost well over $100K to get to with all of the permit and engineering costs built into this phase. I am still not sure where this money will all come from and we are going to need to do some MacGyving to get through this stage.  The ironic part is that they are then willing to advance 40% of the land value at the first draw which is ALL of the funds I will need to finish the project.  The appraised value for the finished structure is over $2M in today's market and they felt I should be spending over $800K to build.  I expect to spend less than half this due to my own sweat equity, salvaged materials, sponsorship, and a lower importance that both my wife and I share towards the 'lipstick' of a house.

Yesterday, I also received the final sealed drawings from the Structural Engineer and the GeoTech report.  This is the last part of the puzzle needed to apply for the Building Permit which I will do next week. Unfortunately the first appointment available was Thursday as I will be at a THERM training course all day Monday and Tuesday.

The gas/storm/sani/water services should all be disconnected next week and I will have Hydro swing the electrical service over to the new temp pole as soon as I finish installing it and call for inspection.  I hope to get this done this weekend.

But the greatest achievement was the launch of the project's website I cannot thank Honeycomb Creative enough for their work on this site.  It is first rate just like all of the other work they have done for me.  I invite you to stop by and browse through the information that is available including a full copy of the plans, building assembly descriptions, and lets not forget the 'live' (actually snapshots updating every 3-5 seconds) video of the build site.

As I get caught up, I will post more information on the Varriance process for those that may need to go through a similar process.

As always, thanks for stopping by!