Author Topic: Calling all Okanogan builders... Building an 18X28 and I have a few questions!  (Read 10003 times)

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Offline JavaMan

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I've noticed that there are quite a few of us building (or planning to build) in Okanogan county, WA.  I think it would be interesting to get a roll call of us all and find out where we all are located (generally, not specifically)

I'll start  ;D

First cabin I'm planning is 18' X 28' with a 4' deck off the back and an 8' deck off the front.  Here's what the view will look like from the front deck:

The road up last October looked like this:



And in November the same road looked like this:



And here is the artists view of the cabin:



My wife likes it because in that bumpout there's supposed to be a jacuzzi tub!  My biggest problem will be getting water.  I had a well driller out two summers ago and he estimated $14,000 for a 300' well.  Yes, it could come in before that, but who knows?  it could go deeper, too!

I'd love to harvest rainwater, but the storage requirements would probably be a bit much.

The plan is to eventually build three of these cabins - and I hope to be able to put a basement under one of them.

Hopefully I'll be able to actually start this summer, but I need to have employment to pay for the materials and getting there and back!

So, that's the beginning of my story - we'll see how well it goes from here!

On to the questions!

1.  How difficult is it to get permitted for a cabin like this in Okanogan?
2.  What are the penalties if you go unpermitted and wind up having to face the inspector?
3.  I'd like to find a fairly local (to my site) source of 8" - 10" Cedar or Doug fir logs - anyone know of one?
4.  The road/easement in to the place is pretty rough in some places due to erosion from the spring runoff. I'm looking for ideas on how to control that and improve the road a bit - especially on the steep grades where it's the worst.

Thanks!

Hopefully I'll have lots to report in the next couple months!

Offline JavaMan

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Oops, it just occurred to me that I didn't give at least a hint of where the place was!  It's south of Conconully, and east of Loup Loup pass...  Nice area, but really a bit dry in the summer.

Oh, yea, and like oljarhead mentioned in his thread - I'm in open range, too, so have cow-pies everywhere...  I put up some field fencing 2 years ago to surround the first building site and it seems to be working.  No new cowpies in that area, so it should be less likely to step on one while building  :)

Offline Solar Burrito

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Beautiful country. You should talk to the man who lives in the www.Coyotecottage.com about the non-permitted thing. He's been there in the Okanogan for 5 years.
Small Shelters, Off Grid Living, and Other Neat Stuff http://solarburrito.com

Offline mtman

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Very nice country! The artist view of cabin looks good too, but one question why 18x28?

Offline JavaMan

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Very nice country! The artist view of cabin looks good too, but one question why 18x28?

Well, there are a couple of reasons... first, I wanted a place that had plenty of room (there is no loft in this plan).  Secondly, there are 4 different possible configurations of this plan - 16X24, 16X28, 18X24, and 18X28 ... I personally like the extra space.

Here's the actual floor plan of the place:



Other than those reasons, there isn't any overriding reason for 18X28... Just that I like it that size  :)

Offline JavaMan

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Over the last two years I've debated with myself about how to build it, etc... and I think that after all that research I still have a few things that I haven't decided on.  Of course, since I plan on building 3 cabins total, I am thinking that it doesn't matter if I get everything exactly perfect on the first one.

Like a basement.  I know that on one of them I plan to put a basement under it - I'm figuring dry stack CMU's (pouring concrete into the voids once they are stacked).

But there are a lot of other questions - 2Xs for the floor joists or manufactured 'I' beams, or open web? ... and then roof trusses (which I know are a "long" way off before I need them), or simply built on site rafters and ties?  Since they will be exposed I would like something that will have a decent appearance.

However, before all that, I am thinking that I really need to settle on a foundation system (no pun intended).  I had thought of (for the first one) forgoing the basement idea, and simply renting an auger to help dig holes to below the frost line and pouring concrete (with appropriate rebar) to the ground level.  If I plan ahead, I can then use sonotube or some other form and pour a support (with rebar) for the beams.  Of course this might be over thinking it, but I prefer to err on the side of strength, rather than under-do it.

I am hoping to collect the materials to get at least this much completed by May so that I can begin, but I am going to have to scrounge for a few things - ok, right now I am going to have to scrounge for everything, since my budget doesn't really include and slack for this stuff.  So, I'm checking on freecycle and craigslist for most of what I need.

I guess, I am going to try to build this "on the cheap", but not cheaply. ???  If that makes any sense.


Offline OlJarhead

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OK I'm going to say some things that I shouldn't so for those who aren't very libertarian in nature avert your eyes!

STOP!  Take your hands off the phone!  Put the keyboard away and carefully close the county builders website.......

In my area if you bring the inspectors you will likely bring the wrath of thy neighbors with him.  Actually, I was told that no inspector is even willing to go and apparently if you pay the bucks to get the permit they will do 'paper' inspections and basically take your money and ignore you.

No cabin within 2 miles of me has been permitted but they are all assessed every 4 years and the assessor notes the changes/adds etc and increases taxes appropriately.

NOW, I'm NOT saying DON'T permit....I'm just saying get to know your neighbors before you start. ;)

So ya, that's that.

Now, welcome to the neighborhood :)

Oh wait, here's more -- putting in septic for a cabin that will be used for vacation is often a no-no since the septic will go sour and the field will plug up and you'll be fixing it 3 years later.  Or so says my bro who used to do that kind of work.

However, if you drill a well and wish to use a privy and permit then the county will make you put in septic or destroy the well (yes).

The county has a 60 day occupancy permit process but I don't like the idea of restricting myself like that.  So the other option is to permit residential which means you have to put in septic which will sour and plug as mentioned above.

In my case I've got a well, will compost (shh don't tell) and use privy and build what I want since my neighbors won't let an inspector within 2 miles of my place *snicker*

Oh and if you want to install a grey water system the state claims you can do this with a half sized septic (silly) but the county says sure thing but um, we want you to go to a full sized septic for your grey water system (sillier).

All in all, I've given up on their stupidity and done my own thing -- after all, I'm not building a cabin I'm building a 336 square foot play house for my kids that happens to have a wood stove and bathroom but meets the under 400 square foot non main residence of some code or another...or it's a deck,....or a shop....something like that ;)

Offline JavaMan

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OK I'm going to say some things that I shouldn't so for those who aren't very libertarian in nature avert your eyes!

STOP!  Take your hands off the phone!  Put the keyboard away and carefully close the county builders website.......

In my area if you bring the inspectors you will likely bring the wrath of thy neighbors with him.  Actually, I was told that no inspector is even willing to go and apparently if you pay the bucks to get the permit they will do 'paper' inspections and basically take your money and ignore you.

No cabin within 2 miles of me has been permitted but they are all assessed every 4 years and the assessor notes the changes/adds etc and increases taxes appropriately.

NOW, I'm NOT saying DON'T permit....I'm just saying get to know your neighbors before you start. ;)

So ya, that's that.

Now, welcome to the neighborhood :)

Oh wait, here's more -- putting in septic for a cabin that will be used for vacation is often a no-no since the septic will go sour and the field will plug up and you'll be fixing it 3 years later.  Or so says my bro who used to do that kind of work.

However, if you drill a well and wish to use a privy and permit then the county will make you put in septic or destroy the well (yes).

The county has a 60 day occupancy permit process but I don't like the idea of restricting myself like that.  So the other option is to permit residential which means you have to put in septic which will sour and plug as mentioned above.

In my case I've got a well, will compost (shh don't tell) and use privy and build what I want since my neighbors won't let an inspector within 2 miles of my place *snicker*

Oh and if you want to install a grey water system the state claims you can do this with a half sized septic (silly) but the county says sure thing but um, we want you to go to a full sized septic for your grey water system (sillier).

All in all, I've given up on their stupidity and done my own thing -- after all, I'm not building a cabin I'm building a 336 square foot play house for my kids that happens to have a wood stove and bathroom but meets the under 400 square foot non main residence of some code or another...or it's a deck,....or a shop....something like that ;)

I looked up in the Tonasket area before I settled on this part - the rumor I've heard about the entire county is that it's a great place to get 'lost' in if you want to be lost  ;)   If you look on the maps, I'm near Ruby (former county seat) ... which now is simply a wide spot in the road - wait - there's a road there? yeah, there is...

Early last year the state bought (foreclosed? took over?) a lake that I pass on the way in to my place - about 5 miles before my place.  I was hoping they'd improve the road in some, but all they did was put up signs saying "pack your stuff out"   ::)

As for building and permitting - I think I might be building 2 - 257 square foot building - right next to each other... they don't require a permit, right?  :D ...

I started looking into the composting toilets, but it amazes me that they cost so much.  Maybe I'll have to try my hand at actually building one.  After thinking about it, what your brother said about the septic field makes sense.  That limited usage probably doesn't give the system enough to actually run very good on.

I want to also put up a "pavilion" style structure - basically 4 posts and a roof - for cooking under, and such.

It is interesting that they said they'd do a "paper" inspection and the places are appraised and assessed the taxes each year.

What gov't won't do for it's money, huh?

Offline OlJarhead

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 :P

I was told the Sheriff won't come out unless you insist and the inspector won't venture off the paved road (I've also heard they will in some parts) and getting emergency service can take many hours....

but the TAX MAN Commeth!  I hear he is there every 4 years to assess the property and make sure the county get's their taxes...though I was told to put up a gate and fence to keep him out too.

I have great neighbors actually, but they don't want anyone bothering them ever.

Offline JavaMan

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Well, later in the year (mid-summer) we should get all us Okanogan guys together someplace for pizza and beer and swap stories, etc...


Offline OlJarhead

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Oops, it just occurred to me that I didn't give at least a hint of where the place was!  It's south of Conconully, and east of Loup Loup pass...  Nice area, but really a bit dry in the summer.

Oh, yea, and like oljarhead mentioned in his thread - I'm in open range, too, so have cow-pies everywhere...  I put up some field fencing 2 years ago to surround the first building site and it seems to be working.  No new cowpies in that area, so it should be less likely to step on one while building  :)

South of Conconnully and east of Loup Loup Pass is a BIG area! ha!  You could be west of Tonasket or Omak but hey, that's ok.

I'm 24 miles east of Tonasket more or less -- doesn't matter since you couldn't find me anyway! :P ;)


Offline OlJarhead

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Well, later in the year (mid-summer) we should get all us Okanogan guys together someplace for pizza and beer and swap stories, etc...



Tonasket has a great pizza joint (makes a great meat pizza) which is what made me think of it and Yonderossa is around me as well as at least one other (so we're closer to Tonasket or Republic).

I'm up there a LOT!

I like the idea of the covered cooking area (I've thought of that too) and the cabin drawing is awesome!  I've love to build one of those myself.

200 sq/ft is usually the limit for no permit but pushing it a few feet won't make a lick of difference in this country.  Heck I'm 336 not including the lofts and am told to shut up and build!  My neighbors watch each others places pretty closely too I guess but my cabin is out of site from the road and they won't usually drive up the road without an invite (shotgun country and all *wink*).

Lots of good folks though and for me it works.

The composting toilet option for me is mostly for the wife and daughters.  They don't want to wander into Mr. Cougar at night on their way to the privy so I'll spend the $2k+ and put a central in.  But we're going to put in a privy too (100 feet or more away).

I could go on an on and on ;) but best thing I can say right now is that the Builders store in Tonasket delivers for $50 a load so if you are close enough take advantage of that!

Cheers
Erik

Offline JavaMan

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Check your IM/PMs oljarhead... that'll give you an idea where my property is at...

I wish I could get up there more than I do, but I have to take a ferry to the Seattle side before I even start to head for the property  :-[  But I hope to get up there every couple of weeks this summer. Want to get building

Offline Bobmarlon

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Hey I have to take a ferry aswell huge pain.  I love your layout but it wouldnt be as good for me an my brother more for a guy and his girl.

Offline JavaMan

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Hey I have to take a ferry aswell huge pain.  I love your layout but it wouldnt be as good for me an my brother more for a guy and his girl.

Yep, me and the wife ... and I'd like to put a basement under one of them so the kids have their own space.  I usually wind up on the Bremerton ferry - I could take Bainbridge, but it's a bit out of the way for me.


Offline jdejarn

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I was told very mixed reviews on the county when I considered building.  I thought about going without a permit, but my place is visible from a main road (Summit lake)) and getting caught can lead to its own fun.  So I did go ahead with a 60-day permit.  When I bought the property, the first thing I did was get a privy permit, and that was smooth sailing.  I do not have a well, and am not going to discuss the plans that do not exist for my water recovery system.  What I did find out is that the county is not really worried about what is or is not in a 60-day cabin, just that it meets min. code.  And the county has been really easy to work with.  Basically, when I asked an almost direct question about what they wanted to see, I was told that if it is not on the submitted plans, they don't want to know.  Since that includes insulation, wiring, drywall, plumbing (no plumbing per no septic...), a complete shell is what they will see.

Oljarhead brought up that the inspectors will not leave paved road.  This is not true, or at least not in my case.  They will come in to my place, and it's a few miles off the pavement.  That is not to say that it is a bad gravel road... it is year-round access.  And honestly, most of my neighbors don't care if I build, but the choice character who lives behind my place would only need an excuse....  As easy as the county is to deal with, and the fact that us coasties tend to build beyond what they want to see anyway, if you choose to permit, it's easy and they will bend over backwards to help.  And the costs are not what they are in King and Snohomish counties, either.

Just thought I would weigh in, and yes, I will start a tread on my build soon!


Offline OlJarhead

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I was told very mixed reviews on the county when I considered building.  I thought about going without a permit, but my place is visible from a main road (Summit lake)) and getting caught can lead to its own fun.  So I did go ahead with a 60-day permit.  When I bought the property, the first thing I did was get a privy permit, and that was smooth sailing.  I do not have a well, and am not going to discuss the plans that do not exist for my water recovery system.  What I did find out is that the county is not really worried about what is or is not in a 60-day cabin, just that it meets min. code.  And the county has been really easy to work with.  Basically, when I asked an almost direct question about what they wanted to see, I was told that if it is not on the submitted plans, they don't want to know.  Since that includes insulation, wiring, drywall, plumbing (no plumbing per no septic...), a complete shell is what they will see.

Oljarhead brought up that the inspectors will not leave paved road.  This is not true, or at least not in my case.  They will come in to my place, and it's a few miles off the pavement.  That is not to say that it is a bad gravel road... it is year-round access.  And honestly, most of my neighbors don't care if I build, but the choice character who lives behind my place would only need an excuse....  As easy as the county is to deal with, and the fact that us coasties tend to build beyond what they want to see anyway, if you choose to permit, it's easy and they will bend over backwards to help.  And the costs are not what they are in King and Snohomish counties, either.

Just thought I would weigh in, and yes, I will start a tread on my build soon!



Are you putting in a 2x12 floor?  Or slab?  I'm curious because one thing I learned from the county was that any 'house' (cabin's are houses) must be built to standard residential code plus Okanogan code.

The county WILL drive off road (don't think I said they wouldn't in all cases) I was just told by the locals in my area that the inspector will not drive up to our neck of the woods.  They could be wrong of course.

I wanted to do the whole 'legal' thing actually and pursued it but ran into road block after road block until I became disgusted with the whole process.

For example, I was told I would have to install septic or destroy my well.  Destroy my well?  Destroy something with about $14,000 today?  Um...are you out of your flipping mind?  Put in septic?  Why?  So it can rot and become useless and be a waste of at least $8000?  What idiot would do this?  Worse yet since I have very little top soil putting in a tank that is 5 feet down just ain't going to happen -- so destroy the well?

I could put in a privy but I'd have to destroy the well....EVEN IF the privy was 600 feet away.....but, if the neighbor who doesn't have a well puts in a privy 200 feet away that's perfectly fine.

Do you see the idiocy here?

I could go on and on and on but suffice to say that my cabin is built with 6" walls and rafters (most around here use 2x4's), I'll be using a composting toilet, gray water system (don't get me started on the county's idea there -- in a nutshell "sure you can put in a gray water system but the tank must be a residential septic tank for minimum 1500 square foot house"), well water with a privy backup and solar electric.  I'm trying to build a well insulated (for the stud/rafter/floor framing) shell with Low-E windows (only cabin around with those) and a state approved wood stove (only cabin around with that) and chimney (ditto).

My experience with the county drove me to realize just how much of the Libertarian I was (I'm NOT an anarchist though by any stretch) and quite frankly infuriated me.

To quantify that I built a 530 square foot addition on our home in SE Washington and permitted everything, sought advice from the inspectors and passed all inspections easily.  I do not have a problem with that process provided it's reasonable (I even permitted my 160 square foot shed when it was required) but when trying to build a mostly GREEN cabin in the woods for vacationing you would think there would be a little more understanding etc. etc.

In the end it appears my stress was for not since the tax guy will be there in 4 years to raise my taxes and no one seems to give a darn.

I will however be posting a few more "Keep Out" and "no trespassing" signs as well as one of those warnings to the feds signs that Glenn has on his thread :D

I'm told also that putting in a strong gate and a good fence tends to keep the assessor at the property line.

In closing, I'm generally one of those compliant, law abiding types who follows the rules but if the rules become unreasonable then I begin to consider them less and less.

Offline JavaMan

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Well, my experience with the Okanogan dept of housing has been someplace in between you two.  Yeah, I have a feeling it depends on who you talk with, for one thing.  I, got the "If you have pressurized water, even if it's just a cistern up a hill, you have to have a septic", statement.  Hmmm, how do I water the livestock without pressurized water? (no, I don't have livestock up there - yet)

At this point, I might go with a 60 day permit, but most of my plans have plumbing in them - altho, I suppose I could have someone draw them up without that in them - in otherwords, just plans for the shell, nothing about the electric or plumbing.  After all, we usually take a bucket up with a seat, go into the woods a few yards, do our thing and then dump it out right there on the surface next to the deer and bear scat and cow pies... and I have a LOT of cow pies.  ???

My place isn't 100% year 'round access, but I plan on trying one of these years.  I think this past winter would have been a good one.  It didn't seem to snow as much as 2008 (I was up there on the first weekend of May and could only make it to about 1/2 mile away from the ranch).  But I was up there the middle of last November and it seemed to not be too bad - only about 2-3 inches of snow.

I would like to hear about non-existent water recovery system plans  ;), especially since putting a well in is going to cost me quite a bit.  Altho, an open forum might not be the best place to discuss it if you know what I mean :-\

I love it up there, but it is bordering on high desert, and can be quite dry - only about 15" of rain/year.  I figured if I could harvest 1 acre of rainfall, I'd have more than enough for all year.  I'd settle for a lot less, but the regs say it has to be "harvested" from the roofs of structures, not specifically built for that.

Offline OlJarhead

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One Warning:  A 60 day permit is a contract that you sign that says you WILL NOT live in the cabin more then 60 days in a year.

If you wish to change it to standard residential there may be complications.

Be aware of that.

Offline JavaMan

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One Warning:  A 60 day permit is a contract that you sign that says you WILL NOT live in the cabin more then 60 days in a year.

If you wish to change it to standard residential there may be complications.

Be aware of that.

Yeah, I figured there'd be complications.  I was wondering about that - in fact about a year ago I asked someone at the county about that and they were pretty closed-mouthed about it.

Of course, I also asked about a permit for an outhouse - or basically the pit under the outhouse, and was told that it wasn't being done.  So I'd be interested to learn from jdejarn what the procedure is and how difficult it is to get a privvy permit

Offline SkagitDrifter

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One Warning:  A 60 day permit is a contract that you sign that says you WILL NOT live in the cabin more then 60 days in a year.

If you wish to change it to standard residential there may be complications.

Be aware of that.

Just how would a county official know that you were sleeping in your remote cabin more than 60 nights per year?
And if they did find out what would/could they do about it?

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
Abraham Lincoln

Offline OlJarhead

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One Warning:  A 60 day permit is a contract that you sign that says you WILL NOT live in the cabin more then 60 days in a year.

If you wish to change it to standard residential there may be complications.

Be aware of that.

Just how would a county official know that you were sleeping in your remote cabin more than 60 nights per year?
And if they did find out what would/could they do about it?



I guess if you wanted a Mailbox and an address that would be easy.

Offline JavaMan

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One Warning:  A 60 day permit is a contract that you sign that says you WILL NOT live in the cabin more then 60 days in a year.

If you wish to change it to standard residential there may be complications.

Be aware of that.

Just how would a county official know that you were sleeping in your remote cabin more than 60 nights per year?
And if they did find out what would/could they do about it?



I guess if you wanted a Mailbox and an address that would be easy.

Actually, I do believe you can have an address at your 60 day cabin.  Mail is delivered by the feds, so the state wouldn't really know.  And when I'm contracting (software) I sometimes travel - one year I wasn't home for more than 60 days - that would work, right?

Besides, the development site says to apply for an address before you do any development (if I remember right).

Yeah, zoning/permitting laws/rules are wacky d* ???.  Someone needs to run for office with the express purpose of setting them back to being more commonsensical. :)

My new wife thinks I should run  :o(she wants the road to my place to be maintained by the county and thinks that should do it - HA!)

Offline JavaMan

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One Warning:  A 60 day permit is a contract that you sign that says you WILL NOT live in the cabin more then 60 days in a year.

If you wish to change it to standard residential there may be complications.

Be aware of that.

Just how would a county official know that you were sleeping in your remote cabin more than 60 nights per year?
And if they did find out what would/could they do about it?


Don't worry - if they think they can make some money from it, they'll figure out a way :-[

Offline JavaMan

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Well, as I sit and think about things, I have decided that I need to build a smaller shed/cabin first (as mentioned in a different thread).  This doesn't mean that I won't be building this one, but that it may not begin for a few months - maybe towards the end of the summer, or maybe even not until next year!  But with the "practice" and knowledge I will gain from building this 12x12 shed (where I can store things, and get out of the weather if need be) the first "real" cabin should go up that much easier.

To that end, I've done some analysis and broken the project into a number of smaller parts and done some cost estimations on it

1. Foundation w/beams
2. Decking for the floor
3. Framing the walls (and sheathing on them)
4. Roofing (Rafters and Sheathing)
5. "Deck"
6. Finish work (roofing, painting, etc...)

Each piece I've estimated should cost between $200 and $400 - total cost around $1800.  All the estimated costs have been pulled from the HD website, since they are the closest "supplier" to the site.  The $1800 includes a 20-something percent fudge-factor for nails, etc...

I have no electrical or plumbing currently budgeted for this building, but that doesn't mean there won't be in the future.

So, as soon as the finance dept decides there's enough to start the foundation, work will begin!  Hooray!