Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mixed Emotions.

My local building department has a reputation of being quite slow. When we went in to submit the plans, they all acted a bit like ours was the first they had ever seen. There was some running around and shoving papers into file folders and when it came time to pay the person said "well, I hope this amount is right. I am not sure how to calculate this". Well, ME TOO! I have really never done this!

So we set out on an uncertain foot. They told us to expect a 6-8 week timeline. So we let the first few weeks just go by without checking in much. We went down on the 3rd week to ask how things were going. They could not even find our file in the computer. Typing in our last name only pulled up a kitchen remodel from years ago! They finally were able to pull it up and asked told us we were missing our BSA (building site application for the septic). Since I personally submitted the file and went over the whole BSA with the intake person, I advised them that they did in fact have the BSA and when they opened up our file, there it sat a few pages in.

Two weeks later, we went to check again. Once again, the person could not find us in the computer, but from last time I knew they have to type our name into a special field so I advised the person of this "trick". Hmmmm, they said, we are still missing your BSA. Again we pulled out the file and located the BSA. Oh look, there it is! Tricky little bugger hiding RIGHT IN THE FILE.

Thanksgiving came and went and we went to check again- 6 weeks into the process. Guess what? After they found the file, there was STILL a supposed "missing BSA" so this time we got a lot of people involved. Because our file had this note on it about a missing BSA, not a soul had worked on our file and it was put to the bottom of the stack each week. It took my husband almost 2 hours to find out that the issue with the BSA is that our builder had made a copy of it and they wanted the original (even though our builder had never had this issue before, after 30 years in business). It took 2 hours and multiple people to find that out. We dropped off the original BSA that afternoon.

Another week goes by and we go down to check. Mr. G who was in charging of checking our actual architectural plans, told us that we were number 12 on his list and he typically got through one plan a day. The man moves slower than a sloth just doing things like walking, turning pages, working the computer and speaking. It is like sloooooowwww motion with this man. We said that was fine even though people who submitted after us were before us on the list because of the BSA issue.  Whatever.

But now that we had lost all trust in the process, we were going down there every other day, dragging our loud children in tow. For two weeks we stayed at number 12 on Mr. G, human sloth's, list. "I am so sorry" he would say. "I keep having these old files I thought I had finished get put back on my desk". Confidence that we are ever going to get our building permit was at an all time low.

When I last went to check, Christmas Eve, the site planner told me that she had been avoiding our file because it looked "complicated". When I moved on talk to sloth, guess what? STILL NUMBER 12. So much for one plan a day. I decided to ask Mr. G if there was anyone else after him who would have to look at the file. He said, "yes, Mr. D and he is slammed". I look over to Mr. D who is contentedly organizing and pulling apart rubber bands (not on his lunch break btw). "They don't make these rubber bands out of rubber anymore!" he tells me. I called today and they said they were trying to get it done by Friday. We have already signed our loan papers and if they don't finish it by Monday, we will have to re-sign as we head into the new year.

My poor builder is also trying move forward with what he can. He told me today to call and get electrical set up. Eeeek! That made it all seem so real for the first time, I felt... scared. This is a HUGE undertaking. A million things could go wrong but it is such a life dream of mine. I feel very mixed. A part of me is proud to actually be here, at 27, with 2 kids under 3 building a house and part of me is terrified that I am 27, with 2 kids under 3 building a house!

Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we will see a post titled "breaking ground!".


  1. Oh my goodness! Hang in there mama. We went through much of the same run around to get our permits. This seems to be typical behavior of building departments, I guess. It was definitely one of the more frustrating parts of building a house. Just keep your eyes on the prize at the end, you'll make it.


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