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12 Armadillos (Part 3):Oh Give Me A Road….Where The Builders Can Go….So The Rest Of Our Workers Can Start!!!

Christa and I are SOOO pumped! We feel like just in the last couple of weeks we have made progress on our Barndo!

Here is the latest progress and some of the many more lessons we have learned (hopefully those who want to follow suit, can learn from our lessons).

Lesson #1

People ARE AWESOME….We can’t even tell you how grateful we have been for all of the support from our family and friends. When we post questions or problems, we have so many people offering to help or with suggestions!

Lesson #2

If your sister volunteers once a week at a charity shop, she will call you almost every week to meet her with your bigger car so that you can pick up a cool piece that we can use in the barndo. Some of the pieces can go right in the barndo, and others  have to be refinished to go with the decor. Our husbands aren’t thrilled with our frequent Goodwill, CAM, and ALDI purchases, but we keep telling them that they will appreciate us when we don’t have to spend crazy amounts on new stuff.

Lesson #3

Being co-project managers can be time consuming (we aren’t complaining….we love it). We drive out to the land 2-4 times a week, meet with contractors, and do paperwork. Add on the time we spend at home doing research, working with the metal building manufacturer on final plans, etc, and you can see how this is a decent sized job.

Lesson #4

Everything is negotiable!!! We have learned this the hard way by not knowing this. We didn’t realize that we could have negotiated our metal building, even though we went directly through them. Several of the metal building erectors have told us that they can get us a discount. We now know for our next project!!!!

Lesson #5

Windows and doors are not all the same size! When we designed the barndo, we had to give the metal company all of our window and door diminsions  to cut the space for them.  We told the salesman the size of the windows and doors.  A few weeks later, Christa asked him “So I can go and order the windows and doors for the sizes I gave you right?”

Salesman: Hold on

The salesman is used to working with metal building erectors that do this everyday.  They give him the diminisons and he orders the building.  He is not used to working with twin girls who are learning as they go. 

He then realized that we gave him the window sizes, not the “rough in sizes.”  The metal building people cut the rough in sizes  He assured me that he had a window guy that could make the numbers work.

Christa “We have twenty-two windows on our building.  There is no way we can afford to pay custom window prices for all of them.  We need cheap standard size prices.”

The salesman was very sweet and haulted the process.  He instructed Christa to find  windows and doors and get rough in sizes.

Sidenote:  Window and door rough in sizes are not standard.  Every place has a different size.  We finally went to Lowes, picked out windows and doors, and wrote down the rough in sizes. 

The salesman sent the drawing for us to sign and approve and Christa noticed a problem.  One of the bedrooms didn’t have a window and another had two windows.  We are smart enough to know that each bedroom needs to have a window and closet to be considered a “real bedroom.”

Christa had to reconfigure the plan where the windows were moved.  She wanted to be lazy about  it and sign off on the project but knew that we would get one chance to have the windows and doors in the right places.


Lesson #6

Quotes for the same work can range from a few thousand difference, to a $20-30k difference.

Lesson #7

Metal building does not necessarily mean inexpensive. We thought we would buy land and then throw up a huge, cheap metal building. It doesn’t exactly work that way. I kept getting back to this and finally get that your mortar and brick home may be less money because of volume. Home builders buy in bulk. When you are self-contracting an establishment, you don’t necessarily have the same luxuries and discounts.

Lesson #8

Funny things will come up along the way.  Two weeks ago, Brad, Christa and Charlotte stopped by the land for a while.  Brad spent an hour clearing parts of our forest area.  The next few days, Brad continued to itch his leg.  He just knew he got chiggers from the land.

Christa “You don’t have chiggers.”

Brad “I for sure have chiggers.”

Side note: Chiggers are little bugs that implant themselves in your skin.  Gross

Fast forward a week when my friend Lindsey who is a physician’s assistant and my neighbor Carrie who is a nurse looked at the “chiggers.” 

Girls “You don’t have chiggers.  You have poison oak.”  You need steroids.

Fast forward a few days.  Guess who also got “chiggers?”

Brad gave them to Christa and she too started a steroid pack for poison oak.

Lesson #9

Good (nice, inexpensive, professional) people will give you recommendations of their friends who are in other parts of the process. A few days ago Christa and Brad met with a good Septic installer. He was great and the price was right. They asked him for the name of a dirt guy and a concrete guy. Today we met with both guys. They were awesome, had the right prices, and then gave us more names of people just like them (erectors, electricians, etc). This is probably the biggest lesson we have learned. You can find the right people, but you have to do lots and lots of work. Christa met with a guy last week out at the land for a bid on the erection of the metal building. This guy was an hour late, really didn’t know what he was talking about and then finally said, he couldn’t do the work, but could manage our project (i.e. go to the land everyday and check on the workers). She told him, we can’t hire you for that. We are the general contractors!!! You will have good meetings and you will have meetings that waste your time. It is part of the process and well worth it if you can find the right people!

Finally, Lesson #10

You can’t get ANYWHERE….figuratively or literally without a road. We have a bull dozer on our land, lots of mud (lots of recent rain), but are headed in the right direction.

Next week I meet Bluebonnet Electricity to sort our electric poles and lines.  Once we get them to run our electric poles and lines, we can get the well drilled.  The foundation will be poured and then the septic will be put in. 

Our question for you, do you have any suggestions for us?

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