Not your typical Build-it-Yourself
I don't know why I never thought of posting this before. About two years ago, while at a Cub Scout workday, I met a man who had built his own small home several years back. He claims to have built a 900sf, one bedroom home for himself and his wife for $10 per square foot. The following is his story.
First, he bought some acreage. The property was well forested with mature trees. After deciding where to site the house, he began clearing a driveway and clearing the site itself. Next, he bought a portable, trailer mounted saw mill and brought it to the property. He used some of the first felled trees to build a "pole barn". A relatively large, simple, open structure with a tin roof. As he cut down trees that were in the way, he ran them through his saw mill and stacked the rough lumber under the pole barn to dry. Obviously this is a labor intenisve task and took some time. With the trees felled, rough milled and drying, he began clearing out the stumps and leveling the site and driveway. He also made regular trips to his local building supply store and began purchasing phase-out items like lighting fixtures, door hardware, plumbing, etc. He was alert for builder returns like windows and doors. Items that were ordered by mistake, the wrong size, etc. but in perfectly good shape. The retailer usually has little need for such items and sells them off a discount rack or sidewalk sale. A smaller home can more easily utilize small amounts of "leftovers" like carpet, tile, roofing that are "lot sensitive" when matching colors with similar stock from different dye lots or manufacturing runs. With that limitation in mind, many of these items are often sold at flea market prices.
After the rough lumber had dried sufficiently, he brought out his table saw and milled the lumber into standard building sizes.
Keep in mind that this man is a building maintanence supervisor for a large insurance provider and has certain skills.
With a sufficient amount of accumalated materials, he began framing his home. Most of the lumber used for this step was his own trees, milled on site. He installed as many systems as he could himself and called in help only for the really technical parts like connecting the electrical.
In the end, he claims to have finished the project for $10 per sqaure foot, or about one-tenth what you would expect. Of course you can't put a price on his labor and because he did it himself, progress was slow.
I know that not all of us, myself included, have all of the skills needed to duplicate this man's efforts but I thought some of you might be able to borrow some of his ideas. Perhaps there are things we are capable of, skills we posses that we could barter with.
Anyway, just a few thoughts on this windy, rainy Saturday. Anyone have similar stories to share and inspire?