Folsom's Rainbow Bridge

Folsom's Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge crossing the American River in Folsom, CA

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Deep Foundations

Hello and welcome back to Local Fruit!

After waiting for what seemed like eons for building permits and weeks for the rain to break, construction has finally begun on the house. If you are following our project you will want to check back often as the house will take shape quickly. Our super-builder, Gai Kirkegaard, has lined up the subcontractors and is chomping at the bit to get this house built and to get us out of his hair. I am the first to admit that I am very detail oriented which is good for a builder; clients like me are time consuming. It is kind of like the saying to be careful what you ask for… you might get a strong minded client who is still a challenge to please.

We are thrilled with the initial feedback from the energy consultant who is performing the Title 24 calculations on the house. All buildings in California must meet or exceed the building code’s energy efficiency standards, known as Title 24. One of the main reasons we are building this home is to build as efficient a home as the budget allows. Our energy engineer uses a program called “Savings by Design” which generates reports on the efficiency of the building compared to Title 24. The initial rating for our home was 53.7% more efficient than Title 24 and the preliminary number doesn’t even consider the solar photovoltaic system or tankless hot water heater. Wow! 53.7% is far above where we thought we would come in and should allow us to achieve our goals to significantly reduce energy use over the next 20 years. It felt good to get good news after such a long wait to start construction.
Today we received the not-so-good news that the soil is too soft for the foundation as designed. The soils engineer recommended the foundation trench be twice as deep as was originally designed (think twice as much concrete, twice as much cost). By following his recommendations we will end up with a foundation that is taller than planned, by about 18”. This is significant because of the slope of the lot. From the front of the house it will sit a little higher than we wanted, and the front porch may end up about 4 ½-5’ high. This is not what we planned from a design perspective, and is a hard increase to add to the budget. Yikes.

So as pleased as we are about the energy profile of the home, we did not expect to have such a tall home in the quaint historic district. Landscaping will be critical to create a warm and inviting home, but that is still months away. In the mean time, we are happy to be under construction at last. I hope you come back soon for updates.

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