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People -- a primer

You wouldn't think it, but it takes a lot of people to design a house. I'll add the various contractors and as they come along, right now the list has only the people necessary for the design phase (everything up to the building permit).
The guy who helped us buy the lot. It's always a really good idea to have a buyer's agent. Many people don't know this, but agents, even the buyer's, generally work for the seller since he's the one who pays the agent. You need to specifically find someone to be your agent, and generally have to pay for him yourself. Also, avoid using the same agent as the seller. This is simply a conflict of interest and doesn't benefit anyone.
Not entirely necessary, but a godsend. He drew the house & came up with the complete set of plans. More importantly he co-ordinated everyone else that had to work here.
Landscape Architect
A finished landscape plan is needed to get a permit. This plan simply show that yes, we do plan to landscape the project.
Soils Engineer
Part of the lot split included a soils report. The last line of the report reads some like ``...and of course we'll need to review any plans for the lot.'' So, the city requires the signature of a soils engineer on all plans.
It gets a bit more involved. The last line of the report also says the engineer will be on sight to make sure everything is done correctly. That means, everytime a hole is dug, or filled in, or what have you, the engineer must come out!
Structural Engineer
This is earthquake country. Must make sure the house doesn't fall down in a big quake. Of course, the large 'quake of '89 (7.1 I think) did not seriously damage any houses in the area. We need his signature on all plans.
Civil Engineer
The lot has drainage issues. Though the low end of the lot is the south-east corner, we must make all water drain to the south-west corner. This presents a bit of a challenge.
Now, once you get a permit there's a whole slew of others:
Also known as god. A good one will do everything seamlessly, work well with the city inspectors, and keep in constant contact. That's the kind we have: nothing down, bills monthly. Thus far the only time we've encountered a problem we got a call from him and cleared it up.

Another plug for our guy: his crew does most of the work. This isn't to say that having a lot of sub-contractors is a bad thing, just getting the timing correct is a nightmare.

A bad one will take your money, build his own house, move in, and declare bankruptcy. He has no crew and subs out everything. Avoid this kind.

Here are some of the crews & subs:

Ground prep crew
Led by Aaron. Excellent work.
Framing crew
Led by Derek. He puts up with me, and has also turned into an editor of this site. He lets me know what's going on, and any errors I might have made here.

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