June 17th will mark the 2nd anniversary of owning Turtle Falls...where did that time go? On the other end of it, it seems like we have been working on designing this house for an eternity! One year and one week after signing contracts to get this ball rolling I am happy to finally say...
We have the building permit!
Kudos to the team that made it possible to approach the township building department with plans, the likes of which they have never seen before, and have the permit issued after the first kick at it. As far as I know, this is the first passive house to be built in this township. Big thanks to Architect Chris, Contractor Mark (who did some fancy talking at the meeting with the building inspector) and Homesol guys, Ross and Stephen.
Even more exciting than finally getting the building permit is watching the surveyors marking out the exact location of the house within the excavation. This house needs to be dead-on true south for our PHPP numbers to work for us.
|Surveyors are marking the line that runs true East-West. The South elevation of the house will follow this line.|
In the fall, we did some preliminary excavating to eliminate any surprises that the rocky ground inevitably holds in this area. In doing this we would be ready to go once the building permit was issued. During the wait from December to now, there has been much worrying (mostly on contractor Mark's part) about whether the excavation is on the right orientation. Trying to figure out where true (rather than magnetic) south lies, can be confusing when there is a declination to be factored in.
If we calculated wrong with our little hand held compasses back in the fall, it could mean the house would have to sit on more of the disturbed soil than the undisturbed. That would mean heaps more engineered fill to be packed in that corner where the disturbed soil is...more expense...like we need more of that! It could mean having to orient the house away from true south...not good for our PHPP numbers. It could mean more hoe ramming...you guessed it...more expense!
Exhale. Contractor Mark is not just a pretty face...he is master of the Mark-hole! Apparently, around here, a Mark-hole is an excavation in tricky ground that everyone else thought to be impossible, except for Mark...hence Mark-hole. Anyway, although this particular excavation does not score enough difficulty points to be a bonafide Mark-hole, we consider it to be so for its magical ability to be spot on the correct orientation when all compasses on the land at dig time showed different readings. Simply reMarkable!!
Next up...engineered fill in the south-east corner of the lot and well drilling in the opposite corner. Aaah...the sounds of summer at Turtle Falls!