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Bits and pieces

May 17, 2011

One of the more challenging parts of the house planning process has been the parts list. This is difficult for me because I know very little about actual house construction, and it has been time consuming for Mr. B because you have to account for every thing in an entire house.

While you should put the time into making your parts list, depending on how conventionally drawn (and designed) your house plan is you may be able to have a local company make a parts list for you. We have taken our plans to a local lumber and hardware store as well as a plumbing supply company. Please note that I am not saying Home Depot! Two of the major benefits of taking your plans to a company are (a) they know more about building supplies than you do, and (b) it is good to meet people face to face. We had originally planned to buy a normal parallel cord engineered ceiling truss (it looks like an open bottomed triangle) and then frame in the interior walls and a drop ceiling over the bedrooms. The lumber supply company suggested we buy a truss that already has the framing for the dropped ceiling built in. We had no idea that this was feasible or even cost effective. Talking to people at these companies is the best way to find out if you will be able to get a contractor’s discount or just a discount for buying in bulk and paying on time.

The only issue we’ve had so far though are that our plans are unconventional, both in drawing and design. We left a set of our plans with the company for a week with the assurance that they would have a full parts list. What we got back though, was only about 80% of the supplies we needed and most of the supplies were for the wrong amounts. We ended up spending a day going back through our plans to double check their numbers and add missing parts back in.

Finally, shop around. So far we have only taken our parts list to two places, but everyone in town assures us that taking them other places will get us cheaper prices. I am constantly amazed at the variety in bank policies, contractor personalities, estimated costs, and supply costs that we have run across in all of this. Once you go to all the work to figure out your supply list it is easy to take it everywhere in town.

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