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Occupancy - Finally!

Hey Folks,

Firstly I have to apologise for being absent for so long.

To be totally honest, I have not had one spare second of time, when I had an ounce of extra energy, over the last 6 months.  It has been a whirlwind of activity with very long weeks. Since January, I have put in just over 2000 hours.  A typical work year with 50 full time work weeks (2 weeks holidays) is 2000 hours and I have done this in 8 months. While the average is 60+ hours per week, I had a great many that were between 75 and 90 hours a week over the last 6 months.

This has been a brutal schedule and I am beyond spent.

BUT, today I received my Certificate of Occupancy!  My long battle has come to an end.

To be clear, the dwelling is not complete.  We have an unfinished basement, master bedroom suite, and media room.  We are also missing a lot of the finishing trim work in the ‘finished’ portions of the house.  And we do not have any landscaping.  BUT, the electrical final was passed, the plumbing rough-in on the unfinished parts and final on the finished parts was passed, the framing and insulation inspection was passed, and the final building inspection was passed (once drawing package was updated to identify parts of dwelling being left in an unfinished state). The building envelope, structural, and geotechnical engineers have also all signed off on the project.

The whole year has been stressful as I pushed to each new deadline (prep for drywall, painting, prep for flooring, prep for counters, etc), but the last 2-3 weeks has been the worst as I navigated some additional loops inserted by the Municipality and also dealt with feature wall cladding and countertops that, due to supply chain issues, did not arrive in time for the final inspection.  But now I am free!  I do not need another building permit to finish the dwelling interior.  Just a plumbing and electrical, once I have the fixtures installed in the unfinished portions of the house. I will need 2 future minor building permits; one to install the engineered glass guards on the master bedroom deck, and one to pour the exterior concrete stairs that come up from the basement.

I am sure that the Municipality is just as happy to have me off their books as I am to be out from under their thumb.

I have about a week’s work to do (hanging interior doors, installing baseboard, cleaning and oiling the floors), and then will start moving our stuff from the basement suite across the street into our new home.

I will spend the rest of the year taking care of trim work, some tile, and most importantly the HVAC system.  That’s right, because the is a very highly efficient building envelope, and our heat loss rivals Passive Haus dwellings, we received occupancy without having to have a central heating system installed.  I was able to prove to the inspectors, that I was able to heat both main floors with only a single 1500W electric heater per floor.  Once the home is occupied, much of this will come from internal heat gains like fridges, computers, and people.   In the end, I think that the hydronic radiant ceiling will get most of its use in the summer time to provide cooling in our warming climate, and will have only brief periods of operation in the winter.   It is my hope that I will have the system operational by end of October.  After this I will install the ceiling panels in the master bedroom suite and media room and prep those rooms for drywall to commence hopefully early January.

Now that life will return to a more reasonable and sustainable schedule, I will start to put out postings to show what was done over the last 6 months.  I still had the cameras taking their time lapse images and will be able to put together the time lapse videos.  As the drywall went up, the ability to capture images of activity with the webcams was greatly reduced, so I will need to wade through the hundreds of thousands of images to get to the ‘good stuff’.  But I also took some photos of important tasks with my phone, so we should be able to provide meaningful updates.

That brings me to my next point, ALL of the webcams will soon be taken down as I transition from a dwelling under construction to a home.  But I do promise to resurrect specific cameras in the months/years to come, as I finish the interior and landscaping on this dwelling.

Thanks to everyone for the patience and support as I had to increasingly put aside the immediate documenting of this build, in order to ‘get her done’!

I also want to make a special mention and thank my brother-in-law Eric.  Without his critical assistance, over the last 4+ months, at key points to meet deadlines to be ready for drywall, floor installation, and final inspections, I would never have made it. I also want to thank my neighbour Anna, who was able to clean up after me when I just did not have the time.  It was just like the ‘Got Junk’ commercials, I could just point and it was gone 🙂

“There’s only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything.” — Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) Athletic Coach

“Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.” — Albert Camus (1913-1960) Author And Philosopher

10 Responses to “Occupancy – Finally!”

  1. Laurie Clark

    Congratulations on a huge accomplishment!! When you said that the district had given you 6 months I figured you were too busy to post. Whew! You can breath now. 🙂
    We have an extension on our conditional occupancy permit and need to get our final by next June.
    Keep plugging away. Cheers, Laurie

  2. Geoff Kirkpatrick

    Well done Sean! your adventure has been an inspiration.
    Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
    Helen Keller

    • Thank-you Geoff. An adventure it was!
      Thank-you for all the assistance you provided on the project – it was greatly appreciated and needed!

  3. Hi dear Sean
    It is so nice to hear this good new. Congratulations. You did an outstanding excellent job. You house is a state-of-the-art scientifically. Authorities must admire you for your hard work and your passion and dignity.
    Good luck

    • Thank you Homayoun. It is nice to finally be in and enjoying some of the dwellings features – like how warm and comfortable it is inside . I still have a lot of work left to do, but without a bank or municipality with their thumb on me, it will be a lot less stressful proceeding from here. Will continue the move in over the next couple of weeks and then start on the hydronic heating system.

  4. Dear Sean, it is October 27th and I just decided to follow-up on your site to see how the project was going. It has been quite the ride! We left North Van in Dec 2014 and you had been working on the house for at least a year at that time. I cannot help but admire the determination you have displayed throughout. Your persistence against all you came up against is beyond belief. I hope one day when next in North Van to pop and see you to say hi and to see first hand your amazing accomplishment!!

    • Thanks Alan, Yes it has been a LONG time. It was May 12, 2014 when on my first day, I started taking the cabinets apart in the old kitchen. Fast forward just under 15K hours of effort, and I am finally IN! Lots still to do, but the stress level has been turned down several factors and it is nice to sleep in once in a while now. Thanks for your support when you were on council. You are welcome to drop by anytime. Cheers

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