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    Utility, grading, etc.

    Utility, grading, etc.

    New postby jbrantiii on Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:30 am

    Boy, am I happy I found this forum! I recently purchased 5 acres in Parrish FL and plan on beginning construction sometime around April or May of 2011. I've been researching and planning and dreaming and worrying about costs. Any help would be greatly appreciated:

    - POWER. I need to run power some 800 - 900 feet from the street to my building site. I want to run it underground. FPL gave me a rough quote of $10K. When I asked about trenching and running the cable "myself", leaving the hookup to them, they stated I would receive a credit for the labor. Not sure what that means exactly. Is it very unusual to run your own power? Where would I look for cable specs, suppliers, and costs?

    - ELECTRICAL. We will be in a trailer while the construction happens. I'd like to install a breaker box like those at RV parks. Is this legal? My lot is A1.

    - GRADE. I've discovered that I'll need to raise any structure some 6'. I'm a disabled person and I'm not interested in stair or stilts. I'd like to actually build up the grade (maybe by terracing) making slab construction possible. Any insight into how this is done and at what cost? I'm guessing I'll need 6000 sq' for usable space.

    - SEPTIC. Any thoughts on installing the septic before construction? Like I mentioned, we will be in a trailer for some time and not having to dump the waste tanks once a week would be nice. As with electrical, I'm thinking of a setup like at an RV park. How much are septic tanks and installation going for? Can I save $$ by doing the digging myself (I want to buy a compact tractor / backhoe anyway).

    - WATER. Any ideas on costs for wells in the area?

    - FENCING. Ideas for economical fencing? Mostly to keep dogs in AND out. Several thousand feet...

    I will greatly appreciate any insight, advice, and especially cost estimates. BY THE WAY, if there are any sub contractors out there interested in bartering for any of the jobs above, my wife is a professional designer who can trade marketing materials, web sites, etc.
    jbrantiii
     
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    Re: Utility, grading, etc.

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:15 pm

    A lot of questions which I will try to address separately, and I will not be very helpful on costs as costs vary so much not only location to location but contractor to contractor.

    Most of your question can only be answered by consulting with your local building (for construction related questions) and health department (for septic tank questions).

    jbrantiii wrote:- POWER. I need to run power some 800 - 900 feet from the street to my building site. I want to run it underground. FPL gave me a rough quote of $10K. When I asked about trenching and running the cable "myself", leaving the hookup to them, they stated I would receive a credit for the labor. Not sure what that means exactly. Is it very unusual to run your own power? Where would I look for cable specs, suppliers, and costs?


    Okay, several questions in there, and several different possibilities on how to address the answers.
    - As far as FPL and their labor cost credit, ask them how must that would be.
    - Yes, the labor cost is all that you are saving them, they still have all their other costs, including the underground service lateral conductors (not inexpensive in itself) any raceways they will be using, transformers they will be setting for you, etc.
    - Yes, unusual to run you own power as you have described as those lines are owned and maintained by FPL, so they would typically run the underground lateral (or contract it out, but they would be responsible).

    Here is an idea to eliminate that problem: install a power pedestal not far from where they will tap off their power lines. They will run to the power pedestal, which will be the "service equipment" on the first "structure" as the pedestal is a "structure". From there you would contract out with an electrical contractor to work with you on running the underground feeders to the different locations you want power at, treating each different location and structure as required by the National Electrical Code. The underground (or overhead) lines to the power pedestal belong to FPL, you now become responsible for everything from that point out.

    Keep in mind that "you become responsible for everything from that point out" includes maintenance and replacement and any damaged lines - which could mean digging them up and repairing/replacing at some point in the future - just making you aware of what you are accepting responsibility for.

    Let's say that you and your electrical contractor calculate the load and voltage drop incorrectly and the lines need to be replaced because the conductor size was too small: a) you will not have to go through any arguing with FPL to replace the lines - that is a positive factor; b) that is because those lines are yours and you will have to pay to replace them yourself - that is a negative factor.

    - ELECTRICAL. We will be in a trailer while the construction happens. I'd like to install a breaker box like those at RV parks. Is this legal? My lot is A1.


    Works quite easily from either a power pedestal or a power pole, as long as this is considered in the design and the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction - your local building department) says it is okay.

    - GRADE. I've discovered that I'll need to raise any structure some 6'. I'm a disabled person and I'm not interested in stair or stilts. I'd like to actually build up the grade (maybe by terracing) making slab construction possible. Any insight into how this is done and at what cost? I'm guessing I'll need 6000 sq' for usable space.


    A point of interest may be in order here: You say you are disabled, and there are many disabilities, but you refer to stairs, which conjures up an image of a disabled person having problems with stairs and walking, which makes me wonder about you doing all the work yourself which you are considering doing yourself. The point being that you are allowed to do all the work yourself, provided: a) you do no sell or lease your house for 12 months after the Certificate of Occupancy has been issued, and that includes "offering for sale or lease", additionally, all the work must be done by you or by licensed contractor you are directly overseeing (not as easy as it sounds), then, if you hire someone other than a licensed contractor to help you, you are required to make them "an employee" of yours, taking out withholding, FICA, and whatever else you, as an "employer" is required to do for them, which may well include taking out a workers compensation insurance policy to cover them.

    Additionally, all work is still required to be permitted and inspected by the AHJ.

    - SEPTIC.
    - WATER.


    Contact your local health department for information on those items.

    - FENCING. Ideas for economical fencing? Mostly to keep dogs in AND out. Several thousand feet...


    Find out what, if any, zoning restrictions there may be regarding the type of fencing allowed. If allowed, probably regular 'cow pasture' fencing would work as that is what I see all over in rural areas. Keep in mind that dogs and other animals dig under fences, so you would need to address that in some way too.
    Jerry Peck - CodeMan
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    Re: Utility, grading, etc.

    New postby jbrantiii on Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:00 am

    Thank you very much for your detailed answers. The electrical option is something I hadn't thought about and something for me to look into. I appreciate it.

    Thanks also for the insight RE: hiring and work. Can you or anyone else give me the basic mechanics and terminology for raising a grade? I wonder about things like:
    - Is clean fill sufficient - or is there a requirement like - layer of aggregate, layer of sand, layer of ...
    - My wife plans on growing some vegetables. Any insight as to the safety of "clean" fill?
    - Insight in how to obtain free fill?
    - Finally, what about compaction? Is there process? Say, Lay out a foot and compact, lay out another and compact? Or is it as simple as build it up, compact and add/continue until grade is met? I'd had to have my slab slide or be undermined. I'm also up for grading specialist recommendations in Parrish or surrounding areas.
    jbrantiii
     
    Posts: 3
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    Re: Utility, grading, etc.

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:10 pm

    jbrantiii wrote:Can you or anyone else give me the basic mechanics and terminology for raising a grade?


    You will need to have soil sampling done to determine the suitability of the soil on your land where you plan on building the house. If not suitable for a building pad sub-base, you may need to de-muck the area first, which means removing all the organically contaminated soil then replacing it with a good sub-base material like lime rock.

    Not only will the soil need to be clean soil you bring in, but it will also need to be compacted in lifts, typically either 6" lifts or 12" lifts - depending on the compaction methods used. A 6" lift is simply a 6" thick layer you bring in, compact it to the required compaction, then bring in another 6" layer of fill, compacting it, and repeat until the building pad area is sufficiently high enough. Also, the soil does not stand vertically up its edge like rock does, think of it as a pile of sand where you dump sand and the pile spreads out to find its own sustainable angle - called the angle or repose. Each type of soil has its own angle or repose. Let's say you wanted the soil to be 6 feet high and it had a 45 degree angle or repose, that means the sides would need to slope at 45 degrees to be sustainable.

    - Is clean fill sufficient - or is there a requirement like - layer of aggregate, layer of sand, layer of ...


    Depends on the type of soil used.

    - My wife plans on growing some vegetables. Any insight as to the safety of "clean" fill?


    Nothing you will want, or be allowed to put, under the house for support of the house will be suitable for a garden, you will need to bring top soil in for that area. In fact, you will need to bring top soil in for all the areas you even want grass/sod to grow as building pad material is not suitable for growing things in.

    - Insight in how to obtain free fill?


    Put a sign out by the road saying "Free Clean Fill Wanted", but it is unlikely you will actually get free "clean" fill, more likely you will end up with fill not suitable for use and then you will need to haul it away.

    Sounds like you need to start checking with your local building department to see what their requirements for your planned fill and construction will be. It is quite likely that this will be a much more costly undertaking than you imagined.
    Jerry Peck - CodeMan
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    Re: Utility, grading, etc.

    New postby jbrantiii on Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:22 am

    Thanks you very much. Your answer is detailed and insightful. I appreciate it.
    jbrantiii
     
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    Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:00 am


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