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Lakefront Log Home Project: Log Home Diary Entry #10, Preparing to Build Pt. 1

With the land purchase, the selection of the company and the floor plan design behind them, it's finally time for the Curnows to start building their log home.
by George and Marlyn Curnow
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Preparing to Build — Part 1

Log Home Diary Entry #10
Southwestern Virginia log home project | Open Space

So far we have covered the dream, the land purchase, the selection of the log-home company and the builder, and the floor-plan design. Now, it’s time to prepare to build.

Site preparation is the name of the game at this point. We discussed this phase with our builder, and these were the immediate issues we faced:

1. We have 2.5 acres of land with lots of mature hardwoods. From the access street to the land is irregular in shape and mostly flat with a culvert or two. The driveway from the street to the building site is about 600 feet. From there, the grade drops off sharply to the lake. About 450 feet of gravel driveway existed for my one neighbor who has easement rights on our property. We will share this portion of driveway.

2. When the log-home package is delivered, it comes by flatbed trucks in caravan style. Upon arrival, the builder needs to be ready with a forklift or variable reach-type of equipment to quickly unload the trucks to avoid extra charges. There was no room for the trucks to make the tight turn into the driveway off the narrow two-lane country road. Furthermore, there was no clearing on our land large enough to hold the building material.

3. The drive is fairly narrow. Some of the beams to be delivered are 16 feet in length and will not clear the trees or an old iron gate near the street.

4. Our delivery date is set and closing in on us quickly. Southland guarantees delivery on a specific day, and to our knowledge, the company has never missed a delivery. The cost of not being ready to take a delivery escalates as the day gets closer, so that is starting to become a factor, too.

Other than these minor site details, we’re completely ready. Our first reaction may have been to scream, “OMG!” Instead, we sat down with our builder and talked about options.

Let me take a momentary diversion. Prior to facing this small dilemma, we had talked with our builder about where the septic field would go. When we bought the land, the soil had passed the perc test, but it would require us to put the septic field under the driveway. If we did that, local code would then require the driveway be covered with blacktop over the septic field. We really didn’t care for that, nor did we think our new neighbors would like having their access to their home interrupted with our septic field. So we had a soil engineer come out to test the soil on an adjacent piece of our land that was quite flat. This new spot was subsequently approved by the county.

This diversion has been mentioned because it’s the beginning of our solution to our delivery problem.

Now you know the problem. In the next entry, we’ll talk about the solution.

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