Planning Meeting with Kevin

Wednesday morning I sat down with Kevin in his office in San Ginesio to discuss a range of issues related to construction.

Our key topic was going through the budget he sent last week. It feels more bare-boned than I’d like. I’m not sure how we’d know if something we wanted to do was in the budget or not. How can we do a “change order?” Kevin wants to get a construction contract signed, but the draft contract he’s given me references a “Directory of Work” that we haven’t seen yet. I can’t really understand how the contractor could build a house without more detailed plans than we’ve been given.

drawing-board-indicating house building process in ItalyFor example, I’d really like to have construction drawings, showing detailed dimensions, electrical plans, foundation construction, etc., plus written material specifications. I wasn’t sure during the meeting just what to ask for, and figuring that I’d be told, “we don’t do it that way here,” I decided to address this issue after I returned home and could do some research.

Kevin told me we would sign individual contracts with each of the suppliers and pay them directly. I had assumed he would act as general contractor and we’d contract with him and he’d use the others as sub-contractors and that his fee would be some markup of costs. He’s included a line item of 12,500€ for a “project facilitator” and he says that covers his work.

He said that the building contractor thought he could start the project, with earthmoving and digging, in mid-November and then finish in December 2017. Kevin recommended that we write the contract for February 2018. I agree, as I don’t want them feeling stressed and cutting corners. I have been planning on using the house in summer 2018, so a couple of months extra is fine with me. (Anne disagrees. She thinks they should be able to build a house in 9 months or so.)

The pool was another discussion point. Since we are going to dig it now, with the other earthmoving, we need to pick a size. He recommended that we not go too big, as it can get expensive fast. He thought 5×8 meters or 4×10 and is going to price them both. The second option seems skinny to me.

He showed me exterior views of the house, with the photovoltaic and solar panels on the roof. He wanted to reassure me that they wouldn’t be very visible. They are on the downhill, or southwest side of the roof and since the property drops off in that direction, they should be hard to see from anywhere on the property.

The solar panels are used for hot water heating, while the photovoltaic panels generate electricity that we can use, or if we have an excess, sell back into the power network. I don’t understand the particulars of these devices, but the solar panels require direct sunlight while the photovoltaic panels just need light, so they work even on cloudy days.

We covered a few design details and then went off to lunch, on the way to the closing at 4:00 in Civitanova Marche, about 30 minutes away, on the coast.

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