Yes, our previous house burned up in the Cedar
Fire of 2003 but actual construction on our new house didn't begin till
January 2005. At that time Bill Raver, our contractor and neighbor, came in
and bulldozed the
pad, widened the road, installed a new culvert and began the foundation. He
was the one who also supervised the placement and took care of all the
details involved with tying a manufactured home together. He did a great
Of course we have special circumstances that have brought the price up a
bit. We wanted a foundation that was above and beyond what is typically done
on a manufacture home. Catherine is very concerned about earthquakes (she
works for the SDSU geology dept.), and the home is placed on a hill where
the wind has been known to reach 80 MPH or more. Preparing for all those
issues added to the foundation construction expense. I did the electrical, sewer and
water tie-ins myself.
The previous owner used
aluminum wire which he buried without conduit and what the fire didn't get,
the gophers did. When the insulation on underground aluminum wire is
damaged, moisture gets in and the aluminum tends to oxidize. Some sections
of this wire were nothing but bloated lengths of powder. (Not sure what
shape the gopher is in)
Unlike the previous owner who didn't worry about building permits, my work
had to pass inspection by the county. Buried power lines must be in conduit
and at least 18" deep. That's 18 inches to the top of the conduit and the
inspector walked the trench to make sure I didn't cut any
was a lot of confusion over what SDG&E was responsible for and what I had to
do myself. Everyone had a different story. As it worked out, I had to
install my own power pole and electric meter. The hole for the pole has to
be 5 feet deep and no more than 100 feet from the main transformer. I had to
mount the pole and install the meter and main service breaker. Ever buy a
telephone pole? No problem, just drop by your local telephone pole store the
next time you go out for groceries. FYI, I found one for $190.
Usually this work would be done by a licensed electrician but over the years
I've picked up enough knowledge to do it myself. The inspectors realize that
people in the back country have to do a lot of their own work but they still
make sure you don't have any code violations. The
bid I got from the electric contractor was $45 per foot. The
trench is about 100' and I'll be darned if I'll pay to have someone do
something that I used to do for the Physical Plant as a matter of course.
Not too technical and my material cost was $200 plus $1,200 to SDG&E for the
new transformer that they mounted on the closest power pole. Not bad
compared to what the contractor wanted.
home was built in Arizona by the
Factory Expo Company and shipped in two
sections to our house site in California. We had some problems during
that process but the company didn't charge for any additional expenses.
Actually, they've been very good to us and I highly recommend them. (No,
we're not getting paid for this endorsement)
The new house is bolted
together and I�m slowly beginning to feel like life is returning to normal.
We have power, phone, gas, water, Direct TV and even Direcway satellite
internet. Right or wrong, sitting around the TV makes me
feel like we�ve finally moved in. I suspect that prehistoric cave men felt
the same way when they were able to relax around the fire with their family.
I didn�t document the construction process very well. It seemed like I was
always in a rush to keep ahead of the inspectors and our contractor kept me
hopping, doing the work that I had agreed would be my responsibility. During
those days I just didn�t feel like getting out the camera to record my
our new house is modest, we now have amenities that most people take for
granted. In the country, water pressure is a luxury and a side effect of
meeting new fire codes is that we were required to modify our plumbing.
Indoor fire sprinklers are now mandatory and to pass inspection, I had to
install an auxiliary water pump that boosts the household water pressure to
over 50 PSI. The welcome side effect is that we can now take showers that
don�t just drool water.
We have two bathrooms, a dish washer, central heating and air conditioning.
This three bedroom house is allowing me to set up my own office and I�ve
been slowly moving in my computers and ham radio junk. The nicest thing is
that I�m no longer under a deadline and can relax and take my time.
The forest service appreciates the fact that we don't have burnable
vegetation close to the house but I've been planting trees and shrubs. We're
looking forward to the time when the property won't have that scraped, bare
dirt look. It will take years to accomplish that.