Friday, December 11, 2009

The Stakeout

On Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009, we met with the builders to stake out the house site on the lot.  This the first time anything was actually "done" on the lot, so it feels like construction has started even though I wouldn't say we actually broke ground yet.  I suspect most people aren't involved in staking out the home site, but we told the builder we wanted to be very involved with the entire process.

On the house plans, the house is oriented with respect to "true" North-South.  We began by staking out a magnetic North-South line.  Then, we found the magnetic declination for our area (10° 58' W) so we could map out a "true" North-South line.  The house is situated 15° from true North-South (which, believe it or not, has surprisingly little effect for passive solar).  Once we had a line parallel to the house orientation, we measured the setbacks and staked in a corner.  From there, it was geometry and trigonometry to map out the rest of the house.

Finding magnetic South. (Click image for more photos.)

Our first impression was that everything looked so small.  We couldn't believe how small the rooms seemed.  We were very careful with room sizes during the design phase so we know the rooms are good sized (not large by any means, but certainly not small either).  This was clearly some kind of strange illusion based on being outdoors and having large amounts of space visible in your periphery.  But it makes me a bit nervous nonetheless.

By the way, everyone says it's pretty late in the year to be starting to build a house.  But the builders have assured us that while terrible weather might prevent things from happening for days at a time, there is nothing that will bring the project to a screeching halt.  Plus, because we are using pre-fabricated basement walls (Superior Walls) and Structural Insulated Panels, the process of going from a hole in the ground to being under roof should happen very rapidly.  I hope that's the case.

Pounding in the first stake. (Click image for more photos.)

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