I’m building a house out of “garbage…”

9 Jul

Welcome to ALTERNATIVE HOUSING 101.2:

If you’ve been following along (I know you’ve been reading my previous posts, right?), you know that my family is in the process of trying to build an affordable house using recycled materials, and cast-offs. We’re doing this because we can’t find a safe place to live, where our son (he’s 9 months old) can grow up, without any more harm coming to him.

My wife is very ill, and my landlord is a greedy jerk who couldn’t care less about the property, unless I don’t pay my rent on time.  My wife and new baby (well, not too “new,” he’s nine months old now) just aren’t safe here, any longer. I know that some of you are in the same boat. And, I just got sick of the stress, the anguish, and the [expletive deleted] making my wife cry, at least once a week. So…

I’ve begun this process by applying for grants that will assist me in acquiring the land, and some of the materials I’ll need.

But  it gets tricky out here on the “I need some old stuff” trail. There’s always a loophole. And I have one that is making me wish I still had hair, so I could tear it out.

I’ve applied for a grant that allows me to remove old hangars from an airport, to be recycled into housing.

I’ve discussed this in previous posts, so I’m not gonna harp on it again. Dear reader, consider yourself “spared…” LOL!

So far, so good. But, it’s important to use as much of the material as possible, to “qualify” for the grant. And therein lies the flaw…

The hangars I’ve “tagged’ for removal are fairly large, and will provide me with all the steel and cladding I’ll need to get started.

But, the trusses that hold up the roof, although spectacular in this rebirth, are starting to resemble giving birth to barbed wire.

The “granting agency” wants me to use them as part of the residential construction. But, they’re causing me difficulty.

The reason I don’t want to use the trusses is simple;  those trusses are 85′ long, and are causing me all kinds of difficulties. I’ve gone round and round with both the Mississippi State Police, and MS D.O.T. for weeks and they aren’t budging.

“Rules is rules, and you ain’t in California, boy…”

Now, I don’t think the trooper figured out that I stopped being a “boy” at 13, and since I didn’t have my “Bar Mitzvah” card with me, I just shook my head in amazement… I could see where this was headed…

As you can probably guess, I got nowhere. He just looked at me, gave me that big, dumb, “I got mosquitoes smashed in my moustache” grin, and told me I was out of luck.

“Cuz it says right here, in this here book…”

So, I’m petitioning the grant agency to allow me to use all the hangar components except the giant “Clearspan” trusses that hold up the roof. They’re humongous and they do the job of carrying the weight of the entire roof, without internal support.

(After all, an aircraft hangar full of support columns would be pretty stupid, wouldn’t it?)

Here’s what’s happening;

In order to transport the hanger off the airport tarmac, you have to disassemble it, and load it onto trucks. That isn’t a problem.

However, loading the trusses is a huge issue, because they’re heavy, and they exceed the allowable length for “truck transport.” The DOT has a set limit for tractor trailers, and the trusses themselves exceed that length, without the truck!

Most of these trusses are built in one piece, so you can’t just break them down into components. And cutting them up isn’t really an option, because it’s time-consuming, and it’s real expensive on both ends (take-down and re-erection).

So, a “special” permit is required, and you have to handle the move differently.

You need pilot cars, escorts, blah, blah, blah…

And that is expensive. It’s very expensive. And, you can only move them at certain times of the day, so that you don’t interrupt the regular flow of traffic.

So, I’m asking for a variance, allowing me to “discard” them. We’ll build a “normal” roof, instead.  We use the word “discard” because that means we can do anything we want with them, without penalty.

And, we won’t exactly “discard” the trusses. We’ll sell them to a steel building erector, who will pay us a good price for them (they are worth several hundred dollars each), and he’ll take delivery of them at the airport. That “truss” money will be used to fund other parts of the construction. (In fact, they are so valuable, that we should be able to build most of the house, with the proceeds.)

I have a hearing the second week of July, to determine whether or not I can get them to see things my way. It looks like I have a pretty good chance at getting this to go the direction I need. At least, that is what “the powers that be” are telling me. We’ll see…

Stay tuned, because next time, I’ll let you in on my latest brainstorm…

(And I’m not talking about moving back in with your parents, either! You’re at least 30 years old, for Christ’s sake! LOL!)

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3 Responses to “I’m building a house out of “garbage…””

  1. Ashish July 9, 2008 at 6:03 am #

    I wish you all the luck in your endeavor. 🙂

  2. totaltransformation July 9, 2008 at 7:04 am #

    Any pictures?

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