The Dream: Splendid vistas on the Oregon coast attract many, but the challenges and expense of turning vistas into a finished home are daunting. Below, is a photographic record of one such home.
Music 2: Piano Etude (see attributions)
The Reality: The technical challenges and financial demands of such a project are not for the faint of heart. Good engineering, good management and excellent subcontractors with knowledge of local conditions are essential. Start with the engineer. On the Oregon Coast, the weather is key to a successful schedule. As with my project, delays which force concrete work past mid-October make completion of the foundation problematic. So how much does the foundation coast? On a steep hillside, it will double the cost of building a house. Search carefully for a lot and consult local experts. (So Piano Etude music reflects the dream. Music 1 below, reflects the almost military determination and aggressivenss needed to complete the project.)
Music 1: The Desert (see attributions)
The Process: The process consists roughly of the following:
Subcontracting Team: The project engaged several excellent subcontractors:
Clearing the Land requires team work. An experienced lumber man with a chain saw fells selected trees in place. The steep slopes require a spider hoe to dig up stumps and pass the timber up the hill. Finally, an escalator at the top takes timber from the spider hoe and loads it into a truck for disposal. For safety, steep slopes require an experienced team.
We all love the trees; but, you need a deep drilled foundation designed by a registered Engineer. The trees and stumps must come out to make a foundation possible.
Contouring the Land relies on continued coordination of the Spider Hoe operator and the Excavator operator. This project utilised Eric Mauck and Rocky Boswell who have done many projects together. Smooth coordination in excavating and moving debris up the hill with few spoken words was a joy to watch.
Drilling & Installing Piers on a steep hillside requires a specialty contractor. This project utilized PLI Systems. This job proved to be a tough one, but PLI stubbornly fought down all obstacles & placed steel reinforced piers roughly 20 feet into the ground -- both vertical and horizontal shafts. Pull tests performed under the watchful eye of the geotechnical team proved the quality of their work.
Building the Foundation requires a grid of steel reinforced beams on top of the drilled piers because this is earthquake country. My "flat land" experience in Texas was helpful, but the knowledge and experience of consultant James Gardner made the job run smoothly. Good manpower is in short supply now, but with a small team we did the job!
Auxiliary Concrete Structures: The design called for a one foot thick, 12 foot tall wall extending the length of uphill side to provide support, stiffness of the lower floor and a parking area above. The wall shown below was formed and poured by Brian Werner's wall building team. They were fast and efficient.
Parking Lot Structures: The parking lot provides space for three cars to park. It consists of left and right retaining walls, that are filled with compacted stone and finally paved. This area was prepared by Watson Coastal Enterprises and Foundation Consultant James Gardner.
Weather Proofing of Underground Portions: The north wall of the building is partially underground (part of north wall on lower level abuts the parking lot). A waterproof membrane was installed by Watson Coastal Enterprises, followed by 5 inches of Styrofoam insulation to subdue moisture condensation on the inside wall of the building.
Lower Subfloor Built on Large Wooden Beams: Watson Coastal Enterprises & consultant James Gardner installed joists and plywood sub floor for down stairs of building.
May 2017: At this time, both lower walls and upper walls have been framed. Roof trusses are in place. Most of the plywood for the roof is installed.
June 2017: Roof Shingles are in place. Rough plumbing complete inside the building.
SEPT 2017: Most of Siding Installed.
July 2019: Inside the Kitchen.
November 2019: Upstairs Alcove with Pellet Stove.
November 2019: Deck - Outside the Kitchen.
A couple of years gone; but now we can watch the ocean from our house. A pleasing result and no-one hurt during a rough project!
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Paul F. Watson