Thursday, August 25, 2005

the long view

so now that our fall work is just about to begin, i'm starting to look at the winter and think about what needs to be done. the primary task is finishing the designs for the kitchen, bathhouse and now some cabins, plus a revised site plan that we can submit to the state for approval. so, bambi and i and anyone else interested will be spending quite a bit of time detailing our schematic plans. i'd like to have some more design brainstorming sessions. the more than annual meeting might be a good time to approve the designs after which we could submit them to state giving ample time before spring for any snags to be worked out. it doesn't give us a lot of time to get the designs finished, but i would like to see them settled so that we can begin the process of planning construction, which can take just as long or longer, as we've seen this year. we need to line up contractors over the winter, if we're going to use any--we will need at least thad, our excavator, for preparation of building sites. i'm excited to be finally moving forward in a big way. getting most of the heavy work done this fall (clearing, well, septic, and fundraising!) places us more than halfway to a permanent, dry, well watered and drained compound!

micro update

checked with the loggers. things are looking good. may start before september 5th. checked with well drillers. everything still go there. started the act 250 construction extension filing. contacted state forest and parks division about their composting toilets to see how they got them built and approved.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

this and that

the loggers are still go for september 5th. our excavator is go for september 19th. as you may have discovered reading all these updates, "go" means "a good probability" that they will start their work. in the grosser aspects of construction, especially those influenced by weather, this kind of fuzziness is to be expected. i've spoken with our engineers more about alternative wastewater systems. i'm also talking with the state to see if we can reduce our system size. all of this work is just to try and save some money. our engineers are going to take a look at our system next monday and give us a reading about whether any of these alternative systems could save us money when a redesign, new permit and different materials are taken into account. it may not be an easy call, and if no clear picture emerges we will simply proceed as planned and build the mound.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

help up by lack of parts

the loggers are still down without some parts to make their machines work. they're estimating a start date of september 5th now. with two weeks work that puts our excavation work at september 19th or thereabouts. all this schedule slipping is very common in my experience with building. i will become alarmed if it slips any further, but at this point we're still good to go for getting all the stuff we need done for the fall, which includes clearing, installing the well and the septic system, all the piping and perhaps a small generator hut to run the well. who knows, we could have running water by october, but i wouldn't bet on it.

our investigation of alternative systems is moving forward and we've identified one specific system that seems promising. it's called the presby enviro-septic system, made by a presby systems in new hampshire. it's approved for use without variance in new hampshire, which means that you can just install it there without special permitting. too bad vermont isn't granting it the same status--maybe it's because it's made by a new hampshire company.

i'm not sure the enviro-septic will be less expensive than the mound design, but from reading their installation manual and talking with their designer there is a possibility that we could save substantially by installing this system rather than a mound because it can be installed on a slope without the huge pile of sand that a mound requires. about $18,000 of our mound (roughly 1/2) is the sand, labor and equipment to install it. also, the enviro-septic system, if it fails (and all septic systems can fail), is relatively easy to repair without digging up the whole system, unlike a mound, because the sand around it acts to disperse processed clear water from the system unlike a mound which uses the sand as the decomposition medium which can become clogged over time. so, if a section of the presby system fails, you just replace the section and cover it back up.

if it does look like we can save some big bucks installing this alternative system, and everything turns out cool with the state, we will convene a land use meeting to make the decision, since installation would have to wait until spring to give time to our engineer to complete yet another wastewater amendment. we won't be needing a septic system until next summer when we put the buildings up so it really doesn't matter, but process is process.

i will report more as soon as we have some hard info. i'm drowning in soft info right now!

Monday, August 08, 2005

logging update

i spoke with russel, our logger, and he's fixing his machines for a couple weeks. he's sure he can get everything rolling by the last week of august. this may push our schedule forward a week or so, but i don't think it's a big deal. in the mean time, i've been looking into the newly recognized alternative wastewater systems the state has authorized. some of these might be installable with a minimum of tree cutting and might be considerably less expensive than a mound system. so, this delay is giving me some time to explore saving some bucks. cross your fingers.