Shift in Plans

Plan Set Cover

Plans for the Grandview house were submitted in mid-November 2016. Four months and 10 days later we received permit approval – with no changes requested from the building department. Either they were really detailed plans or once the fourth month comes, the building department must approve the permit.

The permit delay does not allow enough schedule to complete the home in time for the 2017 Parade of Homes.

Construction of the home will be shifted to 2018 tentatively scheduled for spring and completion for the Parade of Homes.

If you are interested in being a part of this project, contact us at 208.292.3400 x3410 or email

Introducing Young Construction Group

House for Homes is privileged to have Young Construction Group serving as General Contractor for the Grandview Charity Build project and will be donating their services.  Young Construction has been in the local Coeur d’Alene building industry for 25 years in both residential and commercial development and is a supporter of several community needs such as the Boys & Girls Club.  The firm assisted in reviewing and commenting during the design process alongside the architectural firm H2A.

Young submitted the Grandview plans to the building department in late November.  The Kootenai County building department has a very long backlog and the approval process is expected to take several months.  As the permit process moves along, the building department requires a number of fees to be paid such as sewer/water hookups, approach fee (yes, they charge for everything!).  The Truss Engineering was also required and we submitted one of the two truss designs from local firms in Coeur d’Alene.

With the fees and requirements met, we look forward to receiving our building permit.  Avoid a plan rejection from the Building Department – here are the top 10 reasons for plan rejection in Chesapeake, VA.

Plan Check Delay – What’s happening in your area?

With the incorporation of the structural engineering and storm water plan from BC Engineers, we have the final version of Grandview Plan ready to submit to our building department for permits.

We had heard that our local building department was taking about a month to review plans.  On the same day we turned in our plans, an article was published in our local newspaper about delays in getting plans approved.  Our building department is experiencing record high permit requests with levels not seen since the housing boom of 2005-2007.

Are you experiencing anything similar in your local building market?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Developing CAD Details

We used our CAD Detail Template to generate the CAD blocks needed for the Grandview plan.  This template, available with Chief Architect Premier, assists with providing a consistent style in terms of Line Weights, Annotation Style and Size, Color Themes, Scale and others.  We have made the CAD Details we created available to download and we hope you find them useful.


Templates like the CAD Detail Template can be updated and modified to suit the individual needs of the draftsperson.  In fact, we encourage users to customize these files to their own specific needs . We found ourselves adding an annotation set for 1” = 1’ (the recommended scale for printing details) in our version of the plan template.


When you use these blocks, place them in a CAD Detail View in your project, and set the Scale for the Drawing Sheet to 1” = 1’, this will ensure that line weights are being handled properly. The details can be sent to Layout directly from this view.

For Grandview, we also created our own version of Window Flashing Installation Instructions. This detail differs from the traditional CAD Details that we create because we leveraged images of our wall and window objects as elements in the detail itself. CAD Blocks don’t store images with them in the Library Browser, so we stored the detail images and notes in its own CAD Detail View. You can deconstruct the process we used by downloading this Chief Architect plan.



Grandview CAD Detail Library – Download

Window Flashing Chief Architect Plan- Download

BC Engineers Provides Structural Engineering

As we move forward in the process for the Grandview build, structural engineering is required for the lateral shear and point loads.

BC Engineers is sponsoring the project and has completed the engineering required for the home.  The firm specializes in structural engineering and works with a variety of commercial and residential designers. Brent, Eli and the team from BC Engineers has been generous with their time and exceeded our expectations, so we would like to send a special thank you for their help!

Foundation Notes
BC Engineering provided notes and details on the plan which were translated to the        Chief Architect drawings as text annotations, CAD details, and the 3D Model

Specific Engineering Edits:

  • Foundation Notes – the design initially had the floor joists hung from the foundation stem wall. The engineer and builder suggested a framed 2×4 bearing wall around the entire foundation instead. An advantage to bearing the floor joists on the furred pony wall according to the builder – a less likelihood of floor squeaks.  Using the furred bearing wall made the framing typical for the entire foundation due to the retaining wall already designed for portions of the foundation.
  • Foundation edits included relocating the crawl-space venting and adding access points for the furred bearing walls in the middle portion of the foundation.
  • Footings to bear posts, beams and to support the point loads from the girder trusses were increased and added to the plan.
  • Header, Beam, and Post Sizing – BC Engineers provided the proper sizing for the headers, beams, posts for point loads. For example, some of the headers were increased from two to three 2 x 10 or to 2×12.
  • The balcony above the garage will be supported by steel posts and a 14” ibeam. The engineering details included the steel thickness for the posts the details for connecting posts beams and joists.
  • Shear Walls with Holdowns – A Shear Wall plan was added to the drawings that specifies the lateral shear with the required holdowns for the structure in addition to the annotations and wall hatching  that was added to the plan a schedule was  included denoting the details of these structural elements.

Shear Wall Notes

  • Custom CAD Details – For elements that required more than a Text Note, we referenced the engineering team’s sketches to produce CAD Details that were added to the drawing. We blocked all of these new CAD Details so they can be saved and edited for future projects.

Detailed Structural Sketch


View the updated Grandview plan set.

Designing the Terrain Plan

We’ve been fortunate to have a local Architectural firm, H2A Architects, provide its professional and experienced insights as design consultants for our Grandview Home Design Project.

High on our list of priorities for the project have been sorting out our sloped lot’s drainage and ensuring that the structure sits on the lot properly. To accomplish this, considerations need to be made in optimizing site excavation to limit engineering requirements and dirt removal from the site.

We sat down with our consultants to review the preliminary concept for the house’s footprint, and made good progress brainstorming and understanding how to address the terrain.

Preliminary Terrain Plan

Because of the length of the house and the desire to have backyard space, a large volume of ground will need to be excavated. Once removed, retaining walls will need to be added to shore up the edges of the excavations. In our area, retaining walls lower than 4’ tall do not require an engineering stamp, so the concept of the process was made to include multiple terraced retaining walls, approximately 4’ high and at least 5’ of green area on top before the next step in the terrace. This method also lends itself aesthetically to the property and will allow for nice steps between levels and plus a pleasant water feature.

Once we had the general understanding of the terrain, we began looking at numbers to identify the approximate amount of ground to be removed to achieve the correct elevations for the structure. We used the Primary Terrain Contours from our plan and discussed the location of the floor for the house. The terrain retaining walls and elevations were sketched onto a piece of vellum overlaying our print.

Terrian Sketch on Vellum

We were able to identify two areas to limit our total cut:

  1. We decided to move the entire house forward 11 feet. This will reduce the total amount of soil to be removed from the backside of the hill and allow us to use some of the cut soil as fill for the front pad of the house, and it will create flat areas for a small front yard and driveway pad. This approach also means that less soil overall will need to be removed from the site, further reducing costs.
  2. We will keep grade at the back corners of the house a few feet above the floor platform. In order to achieve this without creating a stepped wall inside the house, due to the differing thicknesses of the framed wall and concrete stem wall, the Architects introduced us to a foundation wall assembly that is a clever and graceful approach. In concept, a 6” concrete retaining wall is constructed from crawlspace footing depth to the top of grade. It has an extra wide footing offset to the interior of the house. A framed load bearing wall is built on the footing to crawlspace height; this supports the platform. The result is a pair of walls with the outer concrete wall shorter and capped 6” above grade, with the framed wall extending the full height to the roof. View the CAD detail

Our changes to the terrain design will add retaining walls in the front and sweep the driveway forward on the lot.  The lot has an approximate 22 degree slope; any lot over 18 degrees requires a storm water management plan stamped by an engineer or landscape architect.  We will be using a firm to complete this requirement before submitting the site plan to the building department.

Revised Terrain Plan
Revised Terrain Plan

Have experience with a sloped or interesting lot to share? – post on our comments.

St. Vincent de Paul – Giving a Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

One of the goals for our House for Homes – Grandview Project is to donate profits from the sale of the home to a charity that supports our local housing needs. St. Vincent de Paul of North Idaho has a special department focused on providing housing for those in need, so we felt that this charity could be a good fit.  We had an opportunity to visit with Kelli Lunceford , the Housing Director for St Vincent’s de Paul, and learned all about the amazing work they are doing in the community.

“St. Vincent de Paul of North Idaho has been serving our community for over 70 years,” says Kelli. The mission of the Housing Department is to provide permanent housing without prejudice, treating each household we serve with respect, fairness, integrity, and compassion.  In our brief tour of the facilities, it was easy to see how the housing needs of the community, including individuals and families, are being met through the various programs the mission provides. “We’re all a paycheck away from being homeless,” says Kelli.  “We strive for a Continuum of Care helping people in tough situations, who are without a home.  We bring them through the shelter, then to transitional housing and finally achieving permanent housing”.  The charity has touched many lives and through our tour, we met people that are still volunteering at the organization years after receiving the help they needed to get back on their feet.



Meeting the Needs of the Community

To meet the need for emergency housing, St. Vincent de Paul offers a Men’s Shelter (the only one in the area) and a Women and Children’s Shelter. Both facilities are limited to 12 residents and are always at capacity. Due to the limited size, they turn individuals away every day.

To fulfill the mission of providing permanent housing, the charity offers units for individuals, families, seniors and individuals with a chronic mental disability. Residents pay 30% of their income and the government will match the remaining balance of rent. St. Vincent de Paul then covers the remaining costs of electricity, repairs, and other maintenance. There are one bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom units, with the greatest need being 1 bedroom. “There is a 7 year wait time for our one bedroom units, so filling this need is one of our biggest challenges,” says Kelli. The long wait times gives applicants little hope of resolving their housing need and many of the applicants can’t find other housing because of high cost and other factors.

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Hands down, our biggest need is affordable housing, one bedroom, and three bedroom units. Affordable units are just nonexistent when you consider the low pay and high rent of this area,” says Kelli.

St. Vincent de Paul of North Idaho also offers a dining hall for anyone in the community to receive a free dinner Monday – Friday from 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM. Volunteers and donated food make this service possible. They expanded the dining hall last fall in order to support the growing need. They also now offer showers and a laundry facility which are available Monday – Friday from 7:30 AM – 11:30 AM.

Father Bill’s Kitchen serves free dinner Monday – Friday.

Funding the Needs of the Community

Through government programs, St. Vincent de Paul is able to sustain the Men’s Shelter and Women and Children’s Shelter for about 5 months. The funds generated from their thrift store assist them the remaining months of the year. However, this barely sustains their current facilities, each with a 12 person maximum. “Unfortunately we must turn people away daily due to the limited capacity,” says Kelli. “Only through donations will we be able to expand our facilities to allow for more men, women and children to have emergency housing.”

The government programs that assisted with the building of the latest independent living facilities for seniors and mentally ill is no longer available. “Going forward, we must rely on donations to support any further expansion or building,” says Kelli.

A big thank you to Kelli for meeting with us and providing a tour of the St. Vincent de Paul facilities. Our hope now, more than ever, is to raise as many funds as possible to help the community.



Kitchen Island Options

We’re getting great feedback from our customers and professionals in our area. Islands are the latest design topic, which one of the following would you like in your kitchen?

Island Option 1 w-txt

Option one features a wide sink with two faucets. This will allow for two people to use the sink at the same time, but will also take up more space so there is less storage.

Option two features a waterfall countertop for the high eat-at-bar.

Island Option 2 w-txt

2016 Parade of Homes

2016 Parade of Homes

The North Idaho Parade of Homes begins this weekend! Hosted by the North Idaho Building Contractors Association (NIBCA), the Parade of Homes exhibits North Idaho’s top builders, architects, designers, landscapers, and more to professionals and the general public. This year’s Parade of Homes showcases 19 homes throughout Coeur d’Alene, Hayden, Rathdrum, Hauser Lake, and Post Falls, Idaho. Over the next two weekends, our community will have the opportunity to experience the latest design trends and technology in our local home designs.

View the designs through the NIBCA’s online guidebook or buy a ticket and explore the home designs in person.

4 Things We Considered When Purchasing the Grandview Land

Purchasing land for a new home requires a lot of decision-making and research. It’s important to take into consideration every aspect of the land before purchasing. Here are 4 things we considered when purchasing our residential lot for the Grandview project:

  1. Capitalization & Hookup fees

Capitalization Fees or “cap fees” may be required when hooking up to infrastructure items like sewer or water. While searching for land in a well-developed neighborhood, we identified two great properties. We found that the sewer cap fee had already been paid ($7,500) on one of the properties which influenced our final purchase.  We also took into consideration the cost of utilities.  All utilities are available at the lot, so we called each utility to confirm the hookup fees to avoid any surprises.

  1. Easements & Setbacks

Our local building department let us know that the lot had two setbacks in the front, a minimum and a maximum. The maximum setback was to protect the view for the houses on the street above.   The easements from the city and the utility did not have an impact on our decision.  The city has a drainage easement and the utility for power, cable and telephone.

  1. Neighborhood & Location

We wanted land with a view and close to town. We had the chance to talk to the neighbors before purchasing, which ended up giving us insight into the neighborhood, what others have encountered during the building process and who they used to build their homes.

  1. Building Code Requirements and CC&Rs

One of the neighbors mentioned that an owner of a newly purchased lot nearby was frustrated when they learned that the local building code requirements stated a driveway could not exceed a 12-degree slope when they submitted their site plan. To avoid surprises, we called the building department and then read the building requirements outlined by the county. Further, we also reviewed the homeowner association CC&Rs for specific building requirements above and beyond the county.

Comment with additional considerations when buying land and your experiences.