Friday, February 27, 2009

Amazing Late Breaking News!

I received an email this evening from our man at PG&E, and he said, and I quote, "Our electric department is alright with the encroachment into the easement as long as CPUC, California Public Utility Commission clearance requirements are maintained." Looks like we're almost there!!! More news soon!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Yeah, here are the latest bits and pieces...

1. Still no news from PG&E - and in other news, Glen Miller is still missing (OK, if you're too young to know what that means, look it up on Wikipedia!).

2. However, we've decided that, if PG&E says no, we're going to proceed with an application to the Pacifica Planning Dept for a variance to the rear setback. This will cost at least $4000.00 and take around three months, but after talking to them we're comfortable that we at least have a chance of getting the variance. And if at the end of the day the Planning Commission says no, we can at least move ahead on Plan B knowing that we did everything we could to get the preferred site plan.

3. No need to wait, then -we're going to move ahead and try to get our plans to the Building Dept in the next couple of weeks. They told us they'll do the plan check on our preferred site plan even without permission from PG&E, and will issue comments. They just won't issue the building permits without a letter from PG&E.

4. Ed's plan is to pre-mix the concrete for the basement using a pigment from Davis Colors, which sounds like a good idea. I'm considering either a darkish grey, or perhaps grey with a little green in it, as in the rendition below.

5. Thinking seriously about having another sliding door for the basement, opening onto a deck, along with three other transom windows. Waiting for a quote from 1st Windows for that.

6. Still looking for a roofing system, although Ed got a quote from Standard Roofing for just over $6K for an EPDM roof. I need a little information about that - does it include everything, such as insulation boards? If it does, we could be in business! Haven't heard back from Armstrong Roofing about the sprayed foam roof. Some people just don't seem to want my business. Very strange.

7. For the A/V system, I'm going with an Onkyo TX-SR806 receiver, which I just bought from Amazon (got a good deal on an open box), and in-wall and in-ceiling speakers from The Speaker Company. They are very cheap, but supposedly very good, and they have a 30 day money back guarantee with return shipping paid, so I'll set them up at home and see if they sound good. The distributed audio will be taken care of by the Sonos Multi-Room Music System, which I have in my apartment and at work - it's absolutely awesome.

8. Ed's looking at the cost of Rocio's sub-floor system, which includes load of Simpson Hangers. Ed can't figure out why she designed it with everything hanging off the foundations, and wants to redesign it to eliminate the hangers - which will probably save us thousands of dollars. More on this later...

9. So far, it looks like water and sewage will be relatively easy, which is a big relief. Not cheap, but fairly easy (for example, the Water Dept charges a $2100.00 deposit towards installation, and a $5441.00 'Transmission and Storage Fee' for the hookup!). The fire hydrant is on our side of the street so we won't have to dig trenches across the road, and the sewer line is at the bottom of the lot, down the hill, giving us a straight shot right into the lateral line. All good. The wild card, again, is PG&E. If we can just hook up to the overhead lines for electric we'll be in good shape, but if they make us go underground... well... not so good!

10. Playlist: it's all U2, No Line On The Horizon. Takes a while to get into it, but then it starts to sound really good.

11. Over and out...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Architect Sketch

A bad week as far as my relationship with my architect is concerned. Let's just say that we don't see eye to eye on best billing practices, nor on customer service. Contact between us will be kept to a minimum, which is a shame, but I have a budget to take care of, a belief that a client should be respected, and a limited tolerance for arrogance.

As far as the build is concerned: I still haven't heard anything from PG&E, despite an email and a phone call. I'm also still trying to select a structural engineer. A local guy quoted $11,000 for all the structural, which is frankly way beyond my budget; so I'm waiting to hear back from Pyramid1 in Indiana, who are the engineers of record on my LV Home. My hope is that they can wet stamp their calcs, and also provide the foundation plan, for a reasonable sum. It turns out that I also need to find a civil engineer to do a grading plan, which was news to me. Presumably that's part of the cost of building on a hillside in the Bay Area!

Ben the Architect is moving along nicely with the basement and garage plans, and the deck plan, and he also has to draw up plans for retaining walls.

So we're a little behind schedule, but not too much.

Today was another spectacular Northern California Sunday, with temperatures in the 70s (uh oh, we're going to pay for this one day...!). I was lucky enough to meet lots of my future neighbors, and we all ate delicious food under beautiful clear blue skies. Thanks, neighbors!

For today's photo, I got a brand new view of my lot, from the tree house at the very top of neighbor Randy's Cypress tree, just north of my lovely little spot. I also discovered that on a clear day, not only will I be able to see all the way past Bolinas to Point Reyes from the house - I'll also be able to see Mount Tam!!!