How A Building Site Can Effect The Cost Of a Home

How A Building Site Can Effect The Cost Of a Home

Show Notes:

Discussing the importance of how the building site, location, and actual physical property on which one plans on putting up a house can effect the cost of the home.


Steve Tuma: So, what we look at is, you know, they have the idea, the dream. We’re the people that take that idea, put it on paper, get the panelized package so that they can then go through and end up with the house they want, but also control and understand what they’re building.

Interviewer: Welcome everyone to episode 48 of the panelized prefab kit home building show. With me as he always is for the podcast is the president and founder of Landmark Home and Land Company a Company which has been helping people build their new homes where they want exactly as they want nationwide and around the globe since 1993. Mr. Steve Tuma Steve. How are you, buddy?

Steve Tuma: Yeah, pretty good. Another day helping people build houses

Interviewer: Pretty good is good. I’d say. Yeah I, since our last episode, I’ve been thinking about what this episode should be all about and I think we’ve been hitting on some things that we probably, I would have thought we’d have gotten to in past podcasts, but here we are on episode 48 and there’s a couple of
things we haven’t touched on yet.
So I want to get into something today that seems to me would have been a very important topic for anyone looking to become a new homeowner and builder, and that’s building sites, the actual physical property on which one plans on putting up a house. So if you’re good about this, let’s talk all things build site today, and I’d like to take these one at a time to be precise about the pros and cons of whatever sort of lot one might choose to acquire for their new home.

Steve Tuma: Yeah, that’s kind of interesting because a lot of people think a piece of dirt is a piece of dirt. You know, hey, I’ll just go buy an acre or city lot or whatever it may be or 50 acres and go build it.
But what I found in my own projects, and even as we get in a variety of different building sites, sides of mountains, waterfront, whether it’s lakefront or oceanfront or whatever the plains whatever it may be that there’s always little complication or potential for complications. What I found in my own is if it touches dirt there’s a bigger risk because first of all, you can’t really see what’s under the dirt. There’s also a perception situation like you know we’re going to talk about flat lots. What’s kind of interesting is you could go to what appears to be a flat piece of land Just a perspective from where our eyes are in relation to the ground It may be flat, but where the house is from the front of the back of the house There could be a two or three-foot difference, but if you’re walking on it it may appear to be flat. We also had a funny situation. This is more like you know funny Just a little building humor the person said I have a flat lot, so we asked for some topographical things We asked for some details, and I came out. I’m like this isn’t a flat lot this is a side of a mountain. The customer said it is flat. It’s just on an angle going down. So, sometimes we, we, we need to work on what’s going on with the piece of land. So that, that was once in a, it’s kind of more of just a funny point to, you know, understand what is a flat lot? What is, what, what is a slope? Because it can be very deceiving walking out there yourself to, to really get what’s going on. But it’s, It’s not just the grade, is it flat, is it on an angle, is it on the side of a mountain, whatever it may be, but it’s what’s under the ground, especially if you’re going to do things like get a well. Can you access water? Is it easy? If it’s a municipal water, is the water connection in the front of your lot, or is it half mile down the road? The same with uh sewage systems. Can you connect the sewer? Can you have a septic system? So some places you, Well, if you’re going to have a septic, you generally have someone come out, do a soil boring to find out what the soil conditions are like so that they can properly design a septic.

So someone could have a big piece of land and, you know, kind of think, hey, I could just put the septic everywhere. Well, that may or may not be the case there, but there might be more of an optimal place to have it, which can limit the location of the house. So, there’s a lot of things going on in the land and we can help them. But the big thing of how it affects the cost is the foundation. So if you have literally a flat piece of land or as flat as a piece of land can be, you can put a slab on there, a crawl space, a basement, you know, depending what’s typically done for that type of land and it should typically work. But then if you go to the side of a hill, there could be different geotechnical conditions, landslide conditions, but there’s also opportunity.
Walk out basements, look out basements, different things like that. But then some places when you get into more steep land, you got to have grading plans, drainage to make sure that you can access the house, a safe driveway, can you get into the front door, different things like that. But we’re experienced in that. We can guide people on the way to get it put together. So what’s interesting is we’ve worked on flat land. We’ve sort of worked on the sides of mountains. We’ve worked in waterfront communities.

Interviewer: Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I actually wanted to take these sort of one at a time. I know it sounds, but just for the layman, you know, like we’ve hit upon flat lots, properties that are actually just straight level. And you say, well, one person’s flat places, another person’s slope, but give us let’s start with flat lots let’s say it’s an absolutely flat lot that I were to buy to build on give us the low down on are these usually an easier option and are they generally more cost-effective if it’s just a solid piece of flat ground..

Steve Tuma: Yes it’s just easier to work with you know laying the foundation out excavating and installing a foundation it’s a lot easier you know so say you had a nine-foot basement and a flat piece of land and these are rough numbers for the example you excavate give or take eight feet down and you put an eight-foot wall all the way around it and a simpler design it’s easier it’s easier to do that if you took that same house and stuck it on a side of a hill well the back of it might have a nine-foot wall the side might have a six-foot wall a four-foot wall a two-foot wall and then the front of it may not have a wall. It may have a little you know frost wall or some type of a little wall to support the front portion of a home. So just by making things simple, uniform, consistent it’s going to be more affordable to build than if you had a foundation with a bunch of different wall heights, a bunch of different footer depths, a bunch of different footer sizes. So, in general, the flat lot for the purpose of foundation will be easier to work with.

Interviewer: That’s not to scare people away from other types of lots. I would say it’s just that a lot of, like you said, it’s regional. If you’re in the Midwest, you’re going to find a lot of flat lots. But let’s say I found a piece of property that I love. I love the surrounding area, the views, but it’s a sloped lot. Now, you said something interesting about that. I thought it was interesting about opportunity. So there must be, what opportunities and advantages can there be to selecting a property that’s on a slightly sloped lot that the customer provides to you?

Steve Tuma: Generally the opportunities are those, it’s a lifestyle. They want the view, it’s a rustic area. Slope lot like that, it’s generally hillside or mountainside. So there’s something with the view, they like the view, they’re into different types of sports, in areas where they choose to be more active. Maybe it’s waterfront, it’s on a bluff overlooking it. So what it allows you to do is maybe have more houses, more parts of the homes with you. Sometimes people if, you know, if it’s a family getting together making like a little compound for the family, you know, each family takes a different level or the, hey, the kids are downstairs or hey, there’s a, there’s a, you know, a TV room or entertainment room. So It really allows the flexibility, but I found that the people that are doing those, they just enjoy the nature of the atmosphere. And they really want to take advantage of it because generally, if you’re on a slope, there’s some type of view there, a good viewer or an exceptional view. So that’s the opportunity to design your view to bring the outside in and while you’re inside, still enjoy the outside. So it’s in that case, it’s not just the cost of the foundation and the proper design and drainage of the water going around the foundation. It’s getting into windows. Where do you want the master bedroom? You’re probably not going to put your laundry room facing the ocean. There’s going to be a suite, a big grand great room type thing. So that’s what it is. So in that case, there’s different budgets, different designs that people might want to work with to really fully take advantage of that. It’s usually a different person that’s building on flat land than if they’re building on the side of a hill. It’s more of a, you know, hey, I want to do it, I’ve been wanting to do it, it’s my retirement home or hey, I just want to be in a different place.

Interviewer: A lot of people hate walking uphill.

Steve Tuma: A lot of people do, but if you’re a rock climber, walking up a 30-foot hill is nothing. That’s just something you do.

Interviewer: So do you find that do you find that people when they buy land that that their personality fits that land? Is that something that you think is that holds true?

Steve Tuma: Well, yes for different reasons because let’s just say you you have someone that’s into restoring cars Or a car collector They’re in general gonna want to have the flat land say they have a little track in the backyard or they just you know like to drive their car around if they have a lot of acreage or they just want place to park it and wash it and you know have their friends come over and barbecue and you know talk cars they in general will want a flat lot right okay we have done houses like that where it’s flat on the front and then you know the house goes down the back with the view yeah people that are into nature hunting fishing rock climbing whitewater rafting are probably going to be in areas where there’s where there’s you know those type of hillside lots to take advantage. So it kind of does lead to it. Sometimes people build by a beach because they love the beach. Sure. They want to be there and walk out their door and be on the sand and see the ocean on the sunrise or the sunset. So so it does do it people kind of gravitate.
There are there are also some people that are like, hey, I’m just a part of my life where I have to live in this
spot for my job, my kid to be in the right school. So we’re doing this, but we still want to take advantage of So maybe they want to retire in the mountains, but right now they’re in the suburbs someplace.
But we’re still at that point able to enhance the home so that it still gives them the quality of life that they choose.

Interviewer: And you brought up something interesting about you know living where your job is and a lot of people work in the city and even the suburbs are sometimes a little too far out. So what about building within a city itself? I’d imagine that provides its own unique set of challenges to anyone who has purchased land in an urban location. How difficult can those builds be?

Steve Tuma: Well, it can really be interesting depending on where it is because it’s not just the building of the soil. Some of these city infill lots are just big bureaucracies. You go into a New York or a Chicago, it’s a whole different game than finding a small lot say in a city but a smaller type of community. So there’s a lot of different situations there and sometimes just the actual method of building if if you’re building on a 25 foot lot where you could build right up to the lot line There’s just not a place when you excavate to take the dirt out. So they have to take the dirt out remove it Put the foundation in then bring it back in so there there could be different complications but within that There’s a the situation where a lot of these cities are giving lots of weight for a dollar if you develop them Wow, it’s because they they want to do it but also there there are a lot of people that build in the city But there’s also a lot of people because a telecommuting They might work in the city have to go on once a week or once every two weeks So they’re building in the country, but but building in the city Just because depending on what city it is You could have issues with you know, how how you can deliver materials how things get built local practices, union situations, whatever it may be. So cities can be an interesting challenge. But we have worked with development groups that go through say like a Habitat for Humanity that’s working and they’ll work with city infill lots. So we can work with them and in those cases sometimes a lot’s 25 feet by 100, sometimes it’s 32 by 75, whatever it may be. So that’s how able to go through come up with a design so they can still take advantage of the footprint to kind of get the bang for the buck on out of the lot and end up with with what they want but some of the city projects are they’re just they’re a different type of challenge but it’s just a different viewpoint on building a home or we’re able to help but like I say it’s different if you were to do one in an infill lot say in a Chicago compared to if if you like in a, you know, a smaller city, you know, where things might be accessible and just the processes for building might be a little bit easier.
Interviewer: So next on my list is, it’s one that we all sort of dream of at one time or another, and that’s oceanfront property. And I’d love to build my dream home on the ocean, aside from the crazy price of
oceanfront property nowadays. What are some of the challenges I’d face if I were to build the beach, and how can landmark home and land company help me to overcome some of those challenges?

Steve Tuma: Hey, let me back up. I forgot to mention something. Sometimes in the city, there’s historic commissions you have to work with.

Interviewer: I was going to ask you about that, but I thought I’d move on. But yeah, go ahead.

Steve Tuma: No, I got to bring, you know, hey, George Washington slept here type of thing. Yeah, let’s talk about that. That’s interesting. That’s more on the East Coast sometimes San Francisco but yeah sorry I meant to bring this up but but it’s it’s really cool because sometimes you have to like really hit exactly the essence of the old home kind of the old home old home design new products right and then other times you have to have the essence of it so a steep roof with you know 10-foot ceilings and taller windows but you can still kind of give the little modern twist to today’s Sure. Like in some of these old communities, they’ll have port co-shares when you would bring your horse carriage up and get out of your horse carriage.

Now, I don’t know that many people that do that. There are some, you know, some communities that still do that. But you may not build a port co-share and something like that. You’d have a different type of car set up or or something for transportation. So some of them are flexible. The point to it is we can work with those different communities and that also gets to homeowners associations which are they’re a little different but it’s a variety of rules that you have to work with to to make sure that the home complies with the regulations to build in the community.

Interviewer: Have you guys said Landmark Home and Land Company had that experience of dip built like building in historic areas and

Steve Tuma: oh yeah we have a couple right now you really

Interviewer: I can imagine that might be a headache in a lot of ways. You know it’s a it’s a neat challenge because we’ve been doing this for 30 years and you think you see everything right and then Like we have a family building in, in Leadville, Colorado. It’s the highest populated city and in the 48 states, I believe.
And it’s a, an old mining community with a real eclectic kind of design, kind of little hodgepodge of put this here and put this here, but over time it’s developed of its own unique architecture.
So even though it’s funky kind of little hodgepodge put together, it’s character of the neighborhood that makes it such a unique place where people want to live. So sometimes it’s like hey everything’s Georgia and it’s kind of east coast. Other times it’s like hey it’s a mining community. People built houses that were a little different. Right. They had a certain look. Some of times there were miners so there were more affordable houses. Other times it was you know on the wealthier side where people had to have certain And some of these communities are actually very planned to go through to make sure that the house really, really blends in. Not just the architectural design, but sometimes the landscaping, the flow of the land. It’s actually kind of fun. It’s just a different type of challenge.

Interviewer: Just to build something that sticks out like a sword farm in an historic district, I can imagine that there would be rules and regulations for sure.

Steve Tuma: Right. Right.

Interviewer: so let’s get back to my dream yeah my dream the oceanfront property so you know let’s say I want to build on the ocean what are the challenges I can expect on an oceanfront lot.

Steve Tuma: Well that’s really interesting because the ocean covers a lot of place so there’s kind of West Coast you know in California with coastal commissions earthquake situations landslide situations and then also some of those areas are pretty affluent where there’s big restrictions on design. And sometimes just the natural terrain pulls it up. Then you could go like to the East Coast. You know, we’ve helped people from the Florida Keys all the way up into Rhode Island. So a lot of people think, Oh, I don’t need to do hurricane engineering in Rhode Island. Well, yes, you do. You know, so there are situations there with a geotechnical reports, different, and you pretty much need a geotechnical report everywhere. But what a lot of don’t always realize is that you’ve got to work with base flood elevations like how high off the ground off of the flood that the house has to be does it have to be a foot above the flood two feet above the flood now maybe by chance your ground is high enough if it isn’t you put a house on pilings sure so sometimes you end up with different situations different types of pilings different types of situations and different types of materials and some the permitting is relatively simple you know certain parts of Florida on the ocean are easier than other parts of Florida what what’s interesting about it is it’s not really consistent there are places you could build on the ocean are very close to the ocean and their regulations are nothing compared to the town across the street so we always look at is you know whether or not the building department has an opinion of how to do it there’s a way do it because what people don’t realize is if you don’t put your house at the right elevation it can really affect your uh your insurance rates yeah i would imagine right and then there’s a lot of different ways of interpreting how high a home has to be off the ground especially on a slope piece of land so the neat thing about it is um we can help anyone with it but there’s just different situations for environmental purposes, seabirds, hurricanes. The wind speed of hurricanes one thing, but the surge is also another thing.

The ground conditions and how you attach the home to the ground. So like in the Keys we’ve done a few projects and they basically pin the pilings to the coral, the ground right there. You know other places it’s a different of rock other places they just have to bore down a certain percentage of the height of it so there’s there’s kind of been different practices that that uh that evolve in different places but the key thing that i think people have to understand is building oceanfront waterfront in general is going to be a different story the ocean being what it is a lot of communities have a lot of regulations on what you can do and sometimes there’s things that aren’t really there for you know the structural or the wind it’s these are beautiful communities you can’t build a big monolith in front of your neighbor and block their view right yeah so in a lot of these places you’ve got to go through and kind of put the frame of a home up sure so that people can see how your proposed house mm-hmm blocks someone else’s view and they can have it so if someone’s gonna go build like in Southern California on the ocean expect a few years and a lot of work to get through all the different regulations. If you’re going to go build in certain parts of Florida, it’s kind of a general process of if you were building say something in the Midwest, you put the plans together, the building departments review when you go through. But there’s just a lot more civil engineering that needs to be done to make sure the ground is right, how you access the house, where’s the flood elevation, where’s the current grade, where’s the proposed grade going be. And in some places, you can use the space in the pilings for breakaway walls for parking or storage. So there’s all different types of flood zones. So there’s a lot of concerns there. There’s the, hey, how are you affecting your neighbor’s view? There’s the hurricanes, there’s storm surges, there’s wind situations, there’s landslides, there’s earthquakes. It all kind of depends on where, I mean, I think about all the oceans or waterfront properties. There’s Pacific, Atlantic, the Gulf.

Interviewer: Well, I’m sure that it’s even if you talk about, because we’re gonna move on and talk about lakefront properties in a second, but even that, I know from experiences that I’ve talked to friends about that there’s also environmental impact stuff when you’re building on water that isn’t anywhere else. Can you talk about that for a minute?

Steve Tuma: Yeah, a lot of times there could be protected wildlife. They want to keep septic systems or whatever sewage farther away. Sometimes there’s, like on rivers, they can rise and fall. There’s also currents there. So a little bit of this depends on what it is.
Is it an inland lake, a big pond? Is it a flowing river? Is it something like the Great Lakes? You know, building on those, you can still have challenges, you know, in the Up getting onto big bluffs or you could have a beach situation, just kind of like you would have in like a Florida situation. So there’s a lot of interesting things going on. But yeah, there’s environmental. But like I say, sometimes the environment is not blocking your neighbor’s view. Yeah, sure. You know, sometimes the environment is a bird situation or the migration routes. But I don’t want to make it sound like it’s hard, it’s just the nature of enjoying beauty of where you choose to live right you know and there’s there’s ways to get through that but um one thing which is kind of interesting and it’s something that I tell people when they’re they’re building and and uh by by uh you know rural areas that are big open fields is I read something somewhere I can’t remember where but someone said that 80 or 90 percent of America’s natural wetlands have been filled in right that’s awesome I mean that’s awful yeah yeah but but it’s it’s kind of it’s kind of one of these situations where way back a hundred years ago 150 years ago to make farmland because back then
95% of America were farmers now it’s like 5% so what what happens is they they see a pond or a wetland they go through they fill it in with with soil and suddenly they’re growing beans or corn or whatever they choose to grow on it and and and people don’t realize that you could walk on sand. Your great-grandpa could have been walking on that land, but someone filled it in. So even though people say, hey I’ve owned this, you know, this has been in for a hundred years, it’s always good to kind of have an understanding of water tables and geotechnical conditions to see what’s there. Because although rare, people have excavated. It’s more in the Midwest that it’s happened, but it could theoretically happen anywhere. And they dig down four feet for their, you know, crawl space and then they hit muck. Right. And that muck is 10 feet deep because there used to be a pond there. And suddenly there’s a situation.

Interviewer: So again, it’s not to scare people. It’s people should have an understanding of what’s available. And I think that’s the level of knowledge that we provide and experience and knowledge to say, Hey, you might want to check this. Now some people say, Hey, you know, I don’t need to do that. And, you know, maybe it works out okay, but we want to bring it up to the people to point out the situation of what they should be looking at. As we mentioned a little earlier, there’s a lot going on with land. You can’t see into it to see what’s going on. You don’t know where your water connection is until you check with the water department. You don’t know where your sewer connection is.

You don’t know where you can put the septic until the soil scientist comes out and does a review. Other things, power. Right. You might see a power pole a block or two away, but that doesn’t mean there’s enough juice in it to just away..

Interviewer: Right so well and we’ve been talking about city areas and rural areas and lakefront properties usually as you said that that kind of falls into the mountain properties kind of thing yeah there’s a there’s a bunch I want to cover but I don’t want to but you know have you talking all day long about and going over the same thing but mountain properties that’s always interested me because I live in the mountains and and it seems to me that also, you know, can provide some situations that unique challenges to building in the mountains. It’s got to be something that, you know, Landmark Home and Land Company deals with all the time. So if I want to build in the mountains, there’s the environment, there’s the slopes, there’s all kinds of things. What do you think that building in the mountains is something that is an easy process or is that much harder or is it just the way you handle the project itself, the build.

Steve Tuma: I’ll tell you the answer. The people that want to live in the mountains want to live in the mountains. That’s good. They’re kind of like, hey, I want to, I’ve always been a mountain person. I like skiing, I like kiking, I like whatever it is. So it’s not an option. They don’t want a flat piece of land someplace. They don’t want to be in the city. And with the telecommuting, people not able to go into the office, people are finding the value of nature just for their own kind of sanity in a sense their own enjoyment and it’s beautiful so what it is is when you build on the side of a hill a mountain a big hill whatever someone may choose to call it you basically have to do some civil engineering sure which is basically like a surveyor civil engineer that would go out and figure out hey this is how you can properly place a house to have a reasonable and and code compliant driveway access to your might ask for a fire make sure a fire truck can get there or sprinkler systems whatever it may be so that person can go through to make sure that the house works so depending upon the nature of it sometimes the pad or the footprint where where it can be built dictates the house other times someone could pick the house and then by chance it happens to work with them so sometimes there’s a little bit of back and forth but i got to tell you the mountain properties are are amazing. People just love them, the views that are there, what they’re doing within the part of life that they’re in. It’s just absolutely amazing what they can put together and the effort that they do to take advantage of nature. So overall to us, in a sense, if you have a flat piece of land, you know, there’s deserts where they want plans and drainage plans just because of storms these monsoons that come through they want to know that your house that you’re not putting your house in a hundred-year flood zone right yeah you know so excuse me so to build on the side of a hill you can say is it harder the people that build there don’t look at it they look at the opportunity and the enjoyment of the property that’s what it is.

Interviewer: Everything I’ve heard you say basically just tells me and it’s telling your customers, your potential customers, don’t be afraid of anything. If you really want to live there, think about building there. I think that’s an awesome attitude to take for a company. It doesn’t sound like you try to discourage people from building wherever the heck they want to build.

Steve Tuma: No, I think people should build where they want to build. There’s some people that are on the stage where they want to build a duplex or a quadplex so that someone else pays for the rent or part of their rent. And to them, they’re looking at a home as an investment. Other people want to make sure their kids are in the right school or want to make sure that they’re by their parents or by work. Other people want to be far away from work. During the whole pandemic situation, we had people working for big tech companies living a thousand miles away from from from where they were they quote worked at the time. So different people have different things. Some people are car guys, some people are into horses, some people just like their home bodies, they enjoy their home, they want to have the inside the way it is.
Other people are outdoorsy, where they just want a box.
Sure. Just keep me dry inside place for my dog, wife, kids. And I want to be able to hike every day or I want to hang glide or whatever it is, or people on the lake, I a fish or I’m a photographer. So what what we look at is you know they have the idea the dream this is what my house I’m envisioning it. We’re the people that take that idea put it on paper get the panelized package so that they can then go through and end up with the house they want but also control and understand what they’re building. Sure. So we actually look at it. We do custom homes every single one I shouldn’t say every single one in 30
years one person chose the exact house off the website everyone else has changed or drawn up their own plan and we’ve made it work for what they want so we’ve chosen to take on the excitement of saying hey customer let’s help you get the house you want instead of kind of making something work we’re not the shoe store that says hey you need a ten and a half but work just make it work we’re not no let’s get the right ten and a half so that it works for what you intend to do it’s a it’s money it’s a lot of work it can be stressful building and you better get the enjoyment out of it is the way we look at it you know so it’s a it’s it’s it’s a cool move you know the value of enjoying your life is is pretty amazing..

Interviewer: yeah and and to not be scared off by where you think your dream home should be

Steve Tuma: Why not it’s it’s just a week or two ago i got a text from a customer we we helped 10 years ago in the Rockies saying Steve look at this view you know it’s like they’re sitting there 10 years later enjoying a glass of wine watching the sunset and they thought i mean they say Steve we wanted to share this this is amazing that’s great you know that that’s that’s like the biggest pat on the back in the world you can get.

Interviewer: yeah i would imagine so what this this all funnels into one all of these scenarios well you know as as a builder you’re at some point you’re gonna come across geotechnical issues so first of all I’d like you to define for the listeners the term geotechnical and then give us a rundown on how Landmark Home and Land Company can best serve its customers regarding this area of home building because I have to tell you geotechnical is something that I’m not familiar with at all.

Steve Tuma: Basically it’s the of the soils and the makeup of the soils where your house is going. Ah got it. So are you on granite? Are you on mud? Are you on sand? Are you on expansive clay? You know is it a variety of it? Is it a certain soil going down a foot? Then one foot to two feet it’s something else and two feet to three feet it’s yet another soil. You need to know that so that you can then go through and make sure that the footers and the foundations are right. Also get in a Situation is there water around there, right? So the situation that I say is if if you’re out hiking with someone and you’re standing on a piece of granite You’re probably pretty solid. You’re not going to sink into it, right? but if you took those same two people and went to like a lake Where you might stand at the edge of the lake and a hundred fifty or two hundred pound person might sink six inches, right? So that in a sense is telling you the strength of the soil. Now a geotechnical engineer is an educated licensed person that understands soils.
They take a boring, they test it and say, hey, you know, here’s what’s at these different levels. These are the strengths.
And then they make a recommendation to the structural engineer on the type of foundation that can be done in the area that the customer chooses to build. So then our strut our structural engineers take that geotechnical engineers a recommendation and Then design the proper design we then send them the geotechnical engineer the design They can verify it’s done right and move forward and then that gives you the best possible design so it’s it’s something that people don’t want to pay for because You know might be a couple thousand dollars, and you can’t exactly tell your friends like hey Steve look at this I got the coolest geotechnical report ever. People usually like to say, check out my garage, my kitchen, my great room.

Interviewer: It’s not sexy, geotechnical.

Steve Tuma: Yeah, it’s just kind of there.
But the reality is, is you don’t want to crack foundations. So some areas, the building departments require it. Other areas, they just say, hey, go with code minimum. So we could work with what the customer
requests or the building department require. We just suggest in certain places that people get a geotechnical report. A lot of people are building in areas of Texas that don’t have building departments. Really? And there’s expansive soils. So as things get wet, cold, hot, cold, the soil expands and contracts. Well if you have a foundation on it, it’s gonna lift your foundation and lead to a crack. Right. That’s the same thing you can be on anything by water. It’s also something around mountain ranges with the erosion of mountains over time. There’s different soils. So it can be weaker. And then there’s some places that get even deeper into the geotechnical report. They want a geotechnical report done at the location
you’re building your home. But then when you excavate they want the geotechnical engineer to come out and confirm that his test is what’s actually showing up at the building site. So it’s kind of interesting in
different parts of the country. They’ve kind of demanded that you really check and double check what you do. Other places will have a compaction report where you excavate an engineer goes out there and does a test of the soil to see if it’s strong enough for the design foundation. And one thing which is kind of misleading someone might say well my friend lives half a mile down the road I know the soils are the same can’t I use his report. I’ve seen situations where soils change in inches or feet. Right. And there be different situations that can greatly affect the foundation design and therefore the cost. So again, it’s one of these do your homework up front to find out the parameters of what you can build.

Interviewer: Yeah, it makes sense even if there isn’t a strict building commission or one at all, you still want to do your homework.

Steve Tuma: Right. A weak foundation is like having a weak foot, you know, type of thing. But again, that’s something that we review with the customer project by project. It can be a little, you know, one of these kind of little flying the ointment things of, oh, why do I have to do this? But what we found is if sometimes the code minimum actually requests that you build a bigger foundation than your land requires. Other times when you do a geotechnical report, you find out that your soils aren’t as strong you believe. So the foundation has to be done. You can basically build on any land. It’s just a matter of how much of a challenge and the money side of it. Does it make sense? But it’s a smart thing to do.

Interviewer: Well another interesting episode. I never cease to learn things just talking to it’s it’s it’s great so that’s gonna wrap it up for today but before we let you go Steve as always please let the listeners know how to find out more about Landmark Home and Land Company.

Steve Tuma: The easiest thing for anyone to do anytime is look at our website at that’s kind of the initials Landmark Home Land Company and we’ve got videos on there we have these ways if someone wants a custom plan kind of take a standard plan and adjust it and it kind of explains what we do so they can also put an inquiry through there and we also have an 800 number 800-830-9788 where they can call in and ask questions talk to Mike. Mike will work with them on the the details of what they want you know just kind of get things put together and then at a certain point when they’re ready to move forward I’ll step in and and help the customer but one thing which is important is we’re very customer service oriented we care about our customers projects we have a lot of customers that come back and build with us again multiple homes or the earth a family member comes in or a friend of theirs come in so we’re really concerned about doing it right we’re not just selling a panelized home we’re helping with the design making sure it works with your land making sure that it’s a set of that will work for your building department and also your contractor understands. So it’s a lot more than just a panelized home. It’s the proper design permitting and support to help you through the process. I think that’s where we really excel is caring and really getting into the project to make sure we can help you get the house you want. It’s fun.

Interviewer: And there you go. Well, thanks again, Steve. And thanks to all of you for listening into the panelized prefab Kit Home Building Show, and for Steve, Tuma, and myself, have a great day, and we will see you next time.

Interviewer: Thanks, Steve.

Steve Tuma: Well, thank you.
It’s been fun.
Thank you.

About Landmark Design Team