Fourth Draw and Money Updates

It’s another month and another draw request. We’ve discussed our budget already, but as of four draws into the project, here is how we were tracking:

4th Draw Request

This was about as expected, thanks to our months of slow dirt work due to our subsurface water issues. The only things we were “high” on were dirt-related: the excavation and geotech work. Though at the point of our fourth draw, we hadn’t done a whole lot else: we were about halfway through framing.

So far we were doing well on our concrete budget, though neither dirt work nor concrete was fully finished. We still needed to finish backfill (it was about half done so that we could see how the water ran off in the spring). And we also needed to pour the deck pilings, which would happen in the spring. But those should be relatively small additions in light of the overall scope of the project.

Lumber Prices Spiking

We were braced for bad news on some of the framing costs. Thanks to a combination of COVID-19 shutting down sawmills for a while, a big hurricane season (hurricanes eat lumber), homeowners doing DIY projects, and a COVID-fueled home building rush, lumber prices about doubled between early spring 2020 and when we were framing in late fall 2020. A $7 stud in the spring was now a $14 stud. Our labor prices were a larger line-item than our materials, but materials doubling didn’t help anything. We looked at some other alternatives, like using some steel for framing or 24″ centers rather than 16″ centers, but most of the modest savings were offset by the labor costs of less-common building techniques.

Spiking lumber prices also increased the cost of our engineered roof trusses, which were designed and in the production queue. We expected those to run about $4,000 over budget due to the increased raw material costs.

Waiting on Steel

At this point we were also waiting on some of our steel framing members, which we needed to frame out the span for the garage door and the “window wall” above it. We could continue to frame out the other 2/3 or so of the house, but we couldn’t move forward with the rest of the framing until the steel came in.