First things first?

Started by pforden, April 26, 2006, 03:22:22 PM

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We have found a builder to help us with the Grandfather Cottage. Our immediate goal is to have a place with plumbing, air conditioning (Central Texas), and lights as soon as possible. We will be living in a Winnebago in the meantime.
I noticed John's comment that a Cottage was built in 14 hours by a contractor. Obviously we need to do site prep, etc., first and we are not expecting anything that fast. But I am wondering what a plan to put up the basics we want would look like. I am envisioning that we might make the framing and utilities the priority, along with all the exterior stuff, and then work on finishing the interior over a matter of weeks as we go along.
I'd be interested in knowing who has done this and what the critical elements we need to specify first for the contractor. I am pretty ignorant of the whole process. Hope this isn't an unbearably ignorant question --- if so, feel free to ignore me  :-?


14 hours sounds a little low for a real house.  

there were rather a lot of houses in East Nashville (TN) that were built in response to the housing crunch of the late 40's and early fifties.  Small--mostly 2-bedroom I imagine, simple, not many variations.  So by the 8th or so house, the framers could do their work in I think a day, given that they didn't have to go hunt materials.  That was, however, on top of a crawl space foundation.  Almost certainly equally smoothly done, but....

On the other hand a Winnie of any size will have plumbing, air, and lights.  If you have put in the water supply and waste systems, and are connected to some source of electricity--generator, grid, solar, wind.

(site it so it's less likely to get cross-winds--makes a big difference--I don't like sleeping in a travel trailer--assume the motor home would be more stable but still--in a gusty cross-wind)


14 hours definitely is low for a real house. I assume it was a big crew. I mentioned that as an aside -- we are not shooting for anything like that, in terms of our time.

My real question was related to the hierarchy of steps in getting to our bare minimum.

The Winnebago is 30 or 32 feet, I can never remember. We bought it just to put on site while we build, and we want to get our cash back out of it to do the finishing on the house. It has lots of amenities, but asap we want those amenities in this little house, rather than in the temporary place.

Thanks for all the info.


Jimmy C.

It took me 14 hours just to get up the nerve to start cutting lumber when it first arrived!
The hardest part is getting past the mental blocks about what you are capable of doing.
Cason 2-Story Project MY PROGRESS PHOTOS

glenn kangiser

Look how far you've progressed, Jimmy.  Now you are a regular woood butcher.  :)
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin

Please put your area in your sig line so we can assist with location specific answers.

John Raabe


The Grandfather Cottage version that was shelled in in 14 hours was a SIP house. All the panels came from the factory and they had a crane and crew on site. This was even less time than most SIP houses need but would not be the timeline for a small crew building a frame house. The original Grandfather Cottage took the builder about three months if I remember right. He mostly worked alone.

If you want to explore SIP construction, here is one manufacturer of panels: You will find others in your local area as the shipping distance on this type of material can limit national sales.

There is more information on the site - search on SIP. (Note, this is a fast and energy efficient way to frame a house but is not inexpensive.)
None of us are as smart as all of us.

John Raabe

In terms of your prep question. Go through the "Project Planner" that came in the booklet with your plans. That will help with some general planning. Then there are lots of site specific issues that need to be setup.

Your builder can help you plan this preliminary work and will probably give you tasks to do and he will take others (that's how I worked with my builder). You need to run to ground such things as temporary power, water, phone, driveway, septic system, etc. All these are very local in nature and may involve permits, costs, specifications, schedules and coordination. Some of these may determine the house location so don't call the excavator and foundation contractor until these are pretty well taken care of.

As I say somewhere in your packet, these expenses and frustrations can sometimes seem endless. It is very satisfying when you can actually start pounding nails. Sometimes you think that will never happen!  >:( (But it always does!  :D)
None of us are as smart as all of us.