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Alex Ewers, PE, CFM
425 Main St, Suite 19
Cañon City, CO 81212
Wyatt: [00:00:00] If you can build it here, you can build it anywhere.
Barna: [00:00:02] I think I'm just going to say that if you don't like something, change it.
Wyatt: [00:00:05] OK? If I build one on wheels, you know, what are my hurdles? If I build one without wheels? What are my hurdles? What's local code requirement going to drive me towards?
Barna: [00:00:13] You could be 60 years old and you want to move your parents into an accessory dwelling unit. They have to go over the same hurdles as a 20 year old that doesn't want to have the lifestyle.
Wyatt: [00:00:23] What we need are safe, secure places that someone can actually afford to live inside of.
Barna: [00:00:29] And this is a recurring theme of we're not going to let you do it.
Wyatt: [00:00:33] And you want a different lifestyle. It's Not a Tiny House podcast.
Wyatt: [00:00:37] Our podcast, much as like our project that we were just over to see. It's an early phase, right? Like we're building through it. And you said something when we were we were picking up breakfast tacos and donuts. What was that you said about our project? You'd mentioned something about this one being...
Alex: [00:00:54] You guys have put so much thought into this. You know, we have a lot of people that call us all the time and, you know, with great intentions, of course, they want to do really cool things. They have great ideas. You know, with a lot of projects, people call us and have, hey, I want to do this and that. And, you know, sounds like that's kind of what you guys did in the beginning, like had a great idea about the differences you guys have gone through so far with it. You've done so many things since then.
Wyatt: [00:01:14] There's a ton of work.
Alex: [00:01:15] Yeah, you've done the work.
Barna: [00:01:16] But we also we've brought this up several times is we do everything backwards. So we're everybody else and we're learning that it's not necessarily the best way to go, but it's a way that forces you to do it. So now we're trying to learn how to do it the right way, and that's why you're here.
Wyatt: [00:01:32] So we could reverse engineer what something should have already been engineered, right? Like we go we started at the end. We literally built a structure and then we're like, we got to do we got to do what? We got to go backwards from here.
Barna: [00:01:45] Now you have to learn everything. Now you have to learn, OK, we need a foundation. What's a floodway? So there's a million things you have to learn now because you have a building instead of I have dirt. What's the first step? Because that's where I think you also get stuck.
Wyatt: [00:02:01] Well, and that's what happens, right? People get defeated. And what does it say on the top "doubt kills more dreams than failure does", right. When you start by going I'm betting the house on on this first if your first bet is everything in your wallet. You can't doubt it anymore, you have to at least fail at that point to no longer be able to move forward. And when you don't. You lose the idea that doubt is what's going to is what's going to dictate how this moves forward, only the belief that you can actually accomplish it will. But you got to you got to, like, put something on the table first. Right. And so, like, as we kind of talk about this and I made a Facebook post not that long ago and there was a and this is kind of funny, there was actually a basketball coach that did not coach me. I was not a basketball player back home. He was a basketball coach at the time. And he said he liked it because I took a photo, probably like I think everybody does when they come over to our project over there. I take a photo and I post it. And I said the idea didn't get it this far, only the work did. Action. Right. And so there's a lot of cool analogies. People use like a ton of a ton of theory is worth an ounce of action or however you want to put it, you have to do something. And for me, you have to do something off paper. You have to bring something into the world to go, OK, I didn't quite see that problem around that corner. But again, I'm invested in this because I made that decision consciously to kind of move forward. Now, you can obviously see on our board we give ourselves a little rough outline and now this is what I'm talking about. We have warmed up. Right. So Sage will find a way to cut into this conversation at some point and and we get to move forward. But who were who were sitting here with today's Alex with Three Rock Engineering and you guys have an engineering firm that now is growing? What exactly? Let's start with what exactly it is that you guys are currently offering and where you see your offerings continuing on from there. Maybe let's let's start there, because today's discussion is going to start with civil engineering.
Alex: [00:04:07] Yeah.
Wyatt: [00:04:08] That's what you are, right?
Alex: [00:04:09] Yep. Yeah. So I'm a civil engineer, basically means I'm afraid of buildings
Barna: [00:04:14] I like dirt.
Alex: [00:04:15] Ground down. The joke is always that mechanical engineers, they make the weapons. Civil engineers make the targets.
Barna: [00:04:22] Yeah. Is that the title?
Wyatt: [00:04:27] Yeah. Well and that's great. And so OK, so
Alex: [00:04:30] Three rocks engineering. What we do is, you know,
Barna: [00:04:32] Always on target.
Barna: [00:04:35] That's our new tagline for the company.
Wyatt: [00:04:38] Always the target.
Barna: [00:04:39] Not the same.
Wyatt: [00:04:42] Yeah, oh, well anyway, OK, so
Alex: [00:04:44] We do you know sum it up it's grading drainage utilities. So nice new neighborhood comes in, surveyor goes out, collects topo and you know where all the existing stuff is. We take that, then we figure out, OK, here's where the roads are going to go. Here's you know what that road's going to look like in that section. How much concrete base then you know, you figure out, OK, what are the utilities we need? How are we going to get there? What's available right now?
Wyatt: [00:05:06] Mm hmm. So utilities, let's let's even break that one down. We say topo, topography.
Alex: [00:05:12] Yep.
Wyatt: [00:05:12] Right. So this is what the ground that you're talking about looks like based on its elevations. And so people can kind of think of it like if you've seen any maps through the military there, the maps that have little rings on them. All right. Let's show everybody where because they're not on site where the slopes of these actual places fall. And that means for water drainage and also for the depths of any of your utilities that you mentioned, like gas, septic, sewer, water, et cetera. It all gets buried. Where is it going to get buried? At what depth is it going to get buried? Can you drain from your house? That's on the lower portion of the hill to the upper. Probably going to be difficult, you know, like those kind of things, right?
Alex: [00:05:54] Yeah, definitely.
Wyatt: [00:05:55] Cool. Yeah. So you're giving everybody the map from the ground down. As you said.
Alex: [00:05:59] It's all the stuff that's important. They really like when it works, but you don't think about it until it doesn't work. It's that kind of stuff. So yeah. Like, you know, talking about drainage, water only goes downhill unless it's towards money and power. Right.
Barna: [00:06:14] We kind of learn that that money does make water go somewhere else. So, yeah, there's a map that says you're in a floodway, you pay a surveyor to actually come out and do a current survey. Turns out you're not. Yeah, money moves water.
Wyatt: [00:06:30] That was that was our joke. Yeah. But in reality, it seems like you can correct me on this if I'm wrong. FEMA came through or comes through and they kind of throw a bigger blanket than they need to until somebody else comes along and goes, yeah, but could I build here? And then it's your responsibility to resurvey it and go, oh, actually it's fine. But they were being overly cautious.
Alex: [00:06:50] Yeah. So that happens a lot, especially with older stuff. You know, nowadays we have LIDAR and, you know, they take a lot better information. They're able to get a lot tighter flood plains and floodways in there. So it's done. We have, you know, basically because computers have come so far that we're able to model it a lot more accurately. But like a lot of the models are still out there in our county from the eighties that, you know, it's just like this huge map. And it's like, well, I can tell you for a fact that's definitely not accurate and it's really pretty obvious, but it's because they're trying to do these big models off of old data. That's not as good as it is now.
Wyatt: [00:07:22] So can you shoot stuff from satellites now where, like you could you could pick a parcel and know the Tylor number or the assessor number look it up and get an actual, like, basic topography there. Do you have to still send a surveyor out for everything?
Alex: [00:07:37] So usually we, you know, send a surveyor out, they go out with their stick and they collect all of it. Right. The next step, it's a little less accurate, but it's come a really far way is LIDAR.
Barna: [00:07:49] And that's off airplanes.
Alex: [00:07:51] So it can be off airplanes, off drones. Usually it's off airplanes. You know, they shoot out a million lasers out and it collects all this information. You get a really dense point cloud then that turns into topography. So like in Fremont County, we have the benefit in that there's a good amount of topo available from Fremont County based on LIDAR not as good as on the ground surveying. It's going to have a few kinks here and there. You can't trust it quite as much was really good information to work,
Wyatt: [00:08:15] Especially for basics like can I even build here or do I, you know, do I just need to throw this idea away entirely and move to the neighborhood lot over there?
Alex: [00:08:25] Yeah. And like, you know, a lot of times we have to do drainage reports all the time. Right. For drainage reports. It's awesome. Really good data that we're able to use.
Wyatt: [00:08:33] What kind of parameters are we talking about? Are we talking within 12 inches? Within 40 inches? You know, like what's LIDARs kind of tolerance.
Alex: [00:08:40] For contours, kind of the rule of thumb is that it's accurate with one one foot plus or minus a foot is usually
Wyatt: [00:08:46] Dude shooting it from an airplane inside of a foot.
Barna: [00:08:49] Well, we have somebody who does it with a drone.
Wyatt: [00:08:52] He does a drone. Yeah. Dr Luke.
Alex: [00:08:55] Dr. Luke, he uses photogrammetry. His stuff is awesome. There's a lot of well there aren't a lot there's different people out there that use photogrammetry in order to do it. It's not as accurate as LIDAR, but the way that Luke does it, he really tightens it down. OK, make sure that it's really spot on and accurate. So he's able to get a lot of really good data for a much lower price than it would be to get lower, to get LIDAR or to, you know, send out a surveyor.
Wyatt: [00:09:16] So a surveyor. Right. This is the you guys are ever driving down the road. You'll see a dude standing there with a stick and it's like a measuring stick and another guy looking, I mean,
Barna: [00:09:27] Looking through binoculars at the measuring stick.
Wyatt: [00:09:28] He's looking through another guy's looking at it through a tripod from a distance away. I mean, this is like the total layman's way of kind of explaining what you're looking at. Right. And they're shooting elevations to make sure that they have an accurate sheet of grid paper, understanding, if you will, for when you're going to start dropping buildings or doing roads or doing drainage and doing these kind of things.
Alex: [00:09:48] Yeah, definitely.
Wyatt: [00:09:49] Do you as far as what I just said and how you'd like to kind of course, correct my very simplistic version of that. What do you got for a survey. Like what? What did I miss on do they have a particular set of trousers that they always wear or like I mean like you can crank the knob a little bit because this is this is your your area. I'm just like I look at people like they have like a little Lego outfit on and I'm like, that's the survey guy.
Alex: [00:10:17] Yeah. So surveys super important because you want to get survey because otherwise, you know, everything we do is based off a survey basically. So we sent out surveyor, he goes collects the data and then, you know, all of our design is based off of that. So if the surveyor didn't do a good job, you have a grade break or grade bust and then you have to, you know, redesign or depends on how bad it is. But you have issues, right? So what you're talking about, that's definitely how they do surveying. But nowadays, you know, it's a little more advanced. Usually it's one guy nowadays. Yeah. You know, maybe two. They have a collector and data collector and everything is basically connected to satellites.
Barna: [00:10:55] So the data collectors like a set point. I think he tried to explain this to me when we had our surveyor out. There's a set point. He's got a tripod there with a satellite, something connection. Yeah. And then he walks around with his stick that records the data.
Alex: [00:11:10] Yeah. So there's a few different ways to do it. But, you know, usually you send a monument first where you say, OK, right here you might run what's called an opus solution in order to figure out, you know, what vertical datum you're on or what.
Wyatt: [00:11:21] So it's just like setting a home like a from this point. Everything's relative from this point.
Alex: [00:11:27] Yeah. So you might make your own money and create your own little coordinate system. But usually we try to, you know, make it relevant to the rest of the world.
Wyatt: [00:11:34] What and what drives that decision and where that monument would go. Would that be where a building is going to be on that particular parcel and everything's relative to that? Or like what would drive that decision?
Alex: [00:11:44] Yeah, so the goal is to be close enough that, you know, you can shoot everything off of that point, but far enough away that you're not going to rip it out of the ground or you're going to have some guy run over it with a tractor. You're not going to you know exactly where this pipe is going to go and you're going have to dig it up and reset a new one.
Wyatt: [00:11:59] Ok, OK, that makes sense. So somewhere you can see the entire plot without having a major issue.
Alex: [00:12:07] Yeah. And a lot of times you want to set two or three. So that way, you know, if one gets wiped out and so you can make sure to get, you know, what's my angle on this? How do I rotate it.
Wyatt: [00:12:15] To triangulate back to exactly third point back, kind of like how cell phone towers operate when they're locating a cell phone. So, I mean, that kind of helps us understand some of the civil engineering stuff now, there are other projects like when we're going to drop a structure where for, say, a foundation, you guys have to have different bits of information. Or for a septic tank, you have to know like a soil test for absorption of of water or of compaction for a foundation, those kind of things. What's that process look like?
Alex: [00:12:50] Definitely. So I, you know, civil engineer afraid of buildings. So I have awesome structural engineers that I work with and we have on our team. So they designed the foundation first step in designing a foundation. As we go out and we get a geotech report, you can do it sometimes without getting a Geotech report, but basically the engineer is going to overdesign it. You're going to spend more concrete and construction in order to actually get it built. So we send out a geotech engineer. They drill a couple of bores and they say, OK, it's, you know, like silty clay for the first five feet and then it's sand after that, or you hit bedrock after 20 feet or something like that. So they come up with this great report, tells us what we need to know. They give recommendations on the foundation. If there's anything weird about the soils, they look at that. So one of the main things we're looking in there is a bearing capacity of the soil. And, you know, then we go and do our work, design the foundation. We load track through the house, figure out how heavy the house is we are, what the soil can do, and we just figure out that middle piece like you were talking about earlier.
Wyatt: [00:13:53] So something weird. If there was ever dirty fill brought in or if there was maybe a landfill somewhere, I mean, those would be weird.
Alex: [00:14:04] Those would be weird.
Wyatt: [00:14:05] To me, what's weird to you?
Alex: [00:14:06] Yeah. So one of the weirdest things, I haven't worked on a project with this, but where I used to live there, a whole neighborhood that got built, really nice new houses. You know, there are at least half a million nowadays. They sell for a million, but they built it in this nice neighborhood, but they only got a few soil samples and they missed big chunks of area where they didn't know is there's what's called evaporative soils in there, which I don't know everything behind evaporative soils by any means. But basically what it is, is when it gets wet, all of a sudden the soil disappears. And so you have all these walls on the basements, just like leaning out from the house, pulling away from the house,
Wyatt: [00:14:42] Because the structure on top is pushing them out?
Alex: [00:14:44] Yeah, because that's pushing them out and the soil behind.
Barna: [00:14:47] I not holding anything.
Wyatt: [00:14:49] Evaporative soils. So I didn't even know that that was a word.
Barna: [00:14:52] Soil That evaporates.
Wyatt: [00:14:54] I mean I get it, it sounds like it sounds like like sublimation soil. Right. Like it goes, it goes from from gas to solid or from solid to gas. Wouldn't that be sublimation?
Alex: [00:15:05] It's just so that's a weird thing. That's why we try to get Geotech. So that way they can figure that out beforehand. And you know, you don't invest half a million dollars or however much in the house and then, you know.
Barna: [00:15:16] So so far no personal reason whatsoever. Do you deal with designing foundations in a floodplain?
Alex: [00:15:25] Oh yeah.
Barna: [00:15:26] Because half of Florence at least is in a floodplain.
Alex: [00:15:29] So we just did one for your buddy Justin. Yeah. And so we just did a floodplain, one there. And one of the tricks with that is you got to get all the elevations just right and you have to have a certain amount of openings around the side. So you have to have one inch of one square inch of opening for every square foot of area inside of your crawlspace.
Barna: [00:15:49] So just so the water can flow through, so you're not damming up the water.
Alex: [00:15:53] Exact you're not damming up, but more importantly, you're trying to prevent the hydrostatic pressure.
Wyatt: [00:15:59] Its going to move your building or it's going to crumble.
Alex: [00:16:00] It's just going like push it all in.
Wyatt: [00:16:03] It's going to fuck the whole thing up.
Barna: [00:16:04] That's when you tip your kayak in whitewater, you get pinned against a log.
Wyatt: [00:16:09] So you guys have to understand something about fluid dynamics when it comes to that kind of stuff, or at least or at least build inside of the parameter that says this is what the code read. It said, I have to create a foundation that has one square inch of opening for every one square foot of of crawlspace and also has to meet a compaction standard for what the house load calculation is on top of that, right?
Alex: [00:16:31] Yeah. And so with that one square inch of opening, you know, nice thing about being zero is we have a little bit of liberty to do what we call engineering judgment and we can, you know, kind of work around that a little bit as long as we can justify it. And, you know,
Wyatt: [00:16:45] Like the water would be coming from this direction and moving in this direction and so that's why we put more on this side of the house that on this side of the house,
Alex: [00:16:52] A little bit of that and a lot of it, too, is instead of one square inch per square foot, we can use engineered openings and we can calculate other openings that'll basically reduce how much how many vents you have to have on the outside, as if you start looking at eight, you know, let's say a thousand square foot. You know, that's a thousand square inches of opening. That's a ton of openings.
Wyatt: [00:17:11] That's a huge opening. Now you are almost on piers.
Alex: [00:17:13] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So we're able to use engineered openings which makes it a lot more reasonable.
Wyatt: [00:17:19] Ok, so to help everybody who's not inside. Of what we talk about every day, right, like a physical therapist goes through a board exam and becomes awarded there their ability to practice in that state. So an engineer similar-ish means that there's a test that you guys take and you're awarded your state stamp, your seal, right?
Alex: [00:17:42] Yeah, there's a few different ways to get it. But the typical route is that you, you know, go to college for years, get your B.S. Then you work under another professional engineer for four years, and then you go and sit for a test. Well, first, after the college, you first sit for your FE, fundamentals of engineering exam and then you get your engineer in training or engineer intern certification. So when you have that, then you work under PE for four years, then you set for a really big test. So the professional engineering exam, then if you pass and you have all the right experience and everything, then the state says, great, here you go, here's your PE number. You get a stamp then. Yeah, then you can go ahead and certify things. So certain things need certification, whether it's by the state or county or city like foundation design usually need to be to stamp it. Right.
Wyatt: [00:18:33] And that's a practicing engineer.
Barna: [00:18:36] That stamp for the state at the state level or is that federal?
Alex: [00:18:39] For a foundation that would be for. Per the code, I believe, per the IRC.
Barna: [00:18:45] What I'm saying, like the fact that you can stamp something that
Alex: [00:18:49] Gotcha, so what I would stamp it for state of Colorado. I'm licensed in the state of Colorado.
Barna: [00:18:53] You have to license different states?
Alex: [00:18:55] So if I wanted to go stamp something in Texas, you know, I'd have to go and transfer my license over there. Different states have different regulations, like in Texas. You have to take an ethics exam in order to get your PE in California you have to I think you have another example of take there. There's different some states are easier to transfer to than others.
Wyatt: [00:19:12] Are there reciprocity where like when when you're going to college? I know when I when you could go to a bordering state for in-state tuition in the state that you were in, like, is there any kind of state reciprocity for engineering that, you know of?
Alex: [00:19:24] No, you still have to transfer it.
Wyatt: [00:19:26] And it's only one state at a time then. So you can't do multiple?
Alex: [00:19:29] Correct. Yeah, that'd be sweet, but unfortunately.
Wyatt: [00:19:31] State of residence, kind of like how they dictate that.
Alex: [00:19:33] No, it's wherever you apply for it. So, you know, I took my PE in Colorado and applied for might be in Colorado, OK, so now I have my number.
Wyatt: [00:19:42] And so now that we're kind of like figuring out where, who, why, what, when all of that fun stuff is currently what we're experiencing here, at least in Colorado and I think it's relatively nationwide, is going to be this super high sticker price for a lot of housing construction costs. Are you watching a trend in in any of what you're seeing? What you see in square footages drop. Are you seeing more interest or questioning coming from tiny housing or smaller housing or anything like that? Or is that something that we're kind of still kind of bridging the gap back to reality with for people? I'm just kind of curious if you're getting those calls or questions from anybody about what would it look like to do a small foundation for a small house because it says I can't have a tiny house on wheels or anything like that?
Alex: [00:20:34] We do get a few calls from people wanting to build, you know, really small cabin or sometime on a rare occasion, a really small house. We had one person come to us that wanted to do a tiny house development. They wanted to do it on wheels. But yeah, we do get a few people that want a small cabin or whatever on really small stuff, you know, when you're talking about one room, four hundred square foot cabin, you know, sometimes we got to think about it seemed like, OK, well, is it worth us going through all of these processes and, you know, charging whatever we're going to charge? Or is it better to, you know, kind of make some assumptions and it's actually going to be cheaper to overbuild just a little bit because it's such a small building.
Wyatt: [00:21:15] So you're looking basically looking like, well, this house can only weigh so much and even the trashiest soil is is only going to is going to give a compaction of this at the very, very least. So you just overdo the foundation, take some liberties there and go let's add an extra couple of yards of concrete or whatever it may be. And it's obviously never going to hurt to overbuild and engineer that way. But there's like so there's a there's a sliding scale of when this is actually when we start talking about smaller and smaller and smaller of where civil maybe is going to actually affect a tiny two hundred square foot structure on an acre lot. There's not a lot of square footage there that's obviously been taken up by structures. So it affects things a little bit less in your guys is world from a civil standpoint.
Alex: [00:22:01] Yeah. So our goal is from all of engineering is to do our best to balance all the cost of construction and design and try to, you know, give everybody the best product, the best bang for their buck.
Wyatt: [00:22:12] And only just because I'm kind of curious. Barna asked me to add onto the board and he needs to talk more about this one because it's happened more recently for him.
Barna: [00:22:25] Yesterday, today, it's still happening right now.
Wyatt: [00:22:26] It's currently we're in the middle of it. Theory versus reality. Right. So on the board, I have a couple of things. The excavator likes to bring it up. Yeah, it's all good. Unless I hit a, you know, a rock the size of a Volkswagen. How any cool stories on like having to pivot around that? What about bad locates? Where the line where they. Because what happens when before you're going to dig, you call on a site, locate and they come in and they if there is water or gas or whatever, they paint the lines on the ground and they give them a little bit of like what they say within three feet of this kind of for your digging. So, you know, you guys have heard the 811 call 811 before you dig. This is all really important. And then adapting site reengineering things because all of a sudden you found evaporative soil or fucking whatever was laying inside of that particular parcel.
Barna: [00:23:16] My question a little bit more concrete. So you did the feasibility study for the larger lot I've got on South Union, and it's like, yeah, ninety whatever percent sure we can build it. What happens when you have bad data from somebody else? Right. We have to go under a railroad. You have to go under a ditch, you have to go over a ditch, another one, another ditch company. And what if that information is not correct and that doesn't mean. Get into what if you hit a granite huge boulder halfway through when you're already paying somebody to start trenching?
Alex: [00:23:51] Yeah, definitely. So, you know, there's always stuff, there's always unknowns. You don't know exactly how much it's going to cost. You don't know exactly how it's going to be built until it's built in the ground. Done. All the bills have been paid. So whatever the project is, there's always a few unknowns. And the whole goal is to get good data up front, an engineer as well as possible to remove as many of those unknowns as possible. So that way construction is smooth, cost effective. But yeah, whenever we are designing something, they might go out and be like, you know, find out, hey, we had this giant layer of shale, you know, two foot down. And he said to dig four feet down, what do we do? So, for example, there's a big mobile home park we worked on in Florence where they wanted the whole site graded. How many acres it was, you know,
Barna: [00:24:37] 17 acres.
Alex: [00:24:38] It sounds about right. It was something like.
Barna: [00:24:40] 14, 17 I don't know.
Wyatt: [00:24:43] Either way man you are talking about like about 43000 square feet an acre or something like that.
Alex: [00:24:48] Five thousand two hundred.
Wyatt: [00:24:50] Anyway, I was way off with one acre square footage per acre is only
Alex: [00:24:55] Fifty two thousand four hundred and twenty. Yeah. OK, sorry.
Wyatt: [00:24:58] No we're good. So fifty some thousand and I was low and it was higher in my head. So think about grading. this means like taking a giant tractor and making sure everything's kind of on plane for 500 and some odd thousand square feet at 10 acres.
Alex: [00:25:15] So this was about this was something around 30000 cubic yards. So it was a big chunk of dirt.
Wyatt: [00:25:24] How big is Rhode Island? This is where we gotta get the Joe Rogan guy in the background that comes back "actually its this big".
Barna: [00:25:31] Sage get your phone out start looking things up.
Alex: [00:25:35] So it's a ton of dirt. And, you know, they didn't want to do geotech or get any data up front. So we went ahead and graded it, said, here you go. You know, this is what we can do. And then they, you know, start excavating. They figure it out. There's a huge layer of shale. Can't dig there unless you blast it, right.
Barna: [00:25:51] Dynamite.
Alex: [00:25:51] Yeah, exactly. So they did use that for utilities. But, you know, it wasn't very efficient to blow up the whole side of the mountain. Right. So what we do,
Wyatt: [00:26:01] It would have been cool. Instagram would have Blown up, no pun intended on that one. Its all about those views.
Alex: [00:26:07] What we ended up doing was basically regrading the site a bit. We saw, OK, there's good dirt over here. Let's go ahead and cut more over here, Fillmore over here. And we were able to balance it out
Wyatt: [00:26:18] So you shifted that project.
Alex: [00:26:19] Yeah. So there's a little bit of redesign involved.
Barna: [00:26:21] So we go back to you. So if you run into something like that or whoever is doing that work runs into that problem, you just have to go back to you and tell you what happened and you fix it.
Alex: [00:26:33] Yeah. And then that's the goal,
Barna: [00:26:35] And then they drive their tractors around and do what you told them to do again, unless they decide they're going to do their own shade tree solution, at which point down the road you would have bad information on that site because you would be using the original versus this abbreviated or amended.
Barna: [00:26:51] So the examiner doesn't go back to us and we can't go back to you. And we fixed it. Now you go back in the sewer lines like two feet deep instead of three feet deep or the whatever the
Wyatt: [00:27:03] So the gas line on that what you're what you're talking about on this particular project, unknown, would be that the gas line is actually not where it needs to be. It's two feet. It's supposed to be a three foot.
Barna: [00:27:18] It's 18 inches and 12 inches is where the gas line is. Water is about.
Wyatt: [00:27:24] Oh, that's actually a good question.
Barna: [00:27:25] Yeah. So the water line is at two.
Wyatt: [00:27:30] Which is not good.
Barna: [00:27:31] Two or three feet. No it was 3 feet, water line was at three feet it was supposed to be at four. So and none of that was actually located. And so the excavator kind of hit stuff. Because the data was bad and, you know, phone got marked. But three feet away, it was another phone line.
Wyatt: [00:27:51] And assumptions were made. Right. And everybody knows that assumptions. We all know what that spells. Right. More than once we've heard the reference of P and Z that's planning and zoning and you guys have heard us talk about land use and that's that's can be changed. But that's usually already set up inside of your cities design of like this is R1, R2, R3, I1, I2, BZ like business and commercial and all of these various zonings. And that's part of the process of the PZ process making sure that your land can be used for what you hoping to develop there. Right. Or your PUD.
Barna: [00:28:23] As we've said, dirt is not dirt
Wyatt: [00:28:26] Dirt is not dirt.
Barna: [00:28:27] A lot is not a lot, a sink is not a sink. That's just not how it is.
Wyatt: [00:28:32] It's not exactly how it is. It's not quite so simple, unfortunately. But that's that's part of us helping people go. Where the hell would I start? Me? GIS, the GIS, find the parcel that you're interested in. Figure out what it's zoned for and go, OK, am I the developer or do I need to find a developer because he's going to go I need a civil I need a survey. I need a lot line. I need the lots laid out. Cool. You hand a lot to a GC with an architect with a print. You're pretty much and a geo. You're pretty much ready for a building. I mean, super simplified because at that point the infrastructure is in the ground. So if you come into a standard subdivision. Your civil is done by and large, you should have you should have fuckin gas and water and sewer and that should be there. If you're coming to a purely native ground in the middle of nowhere and you're going to be the developer, you've got to you know, you've got to move that starting block back. Yeah. Two or three guys.
Alex: [00:29:32] So do you help coordinate all that or is that go back to the the GC or the developer? So let's say there's a subdivision you design or does it even matter? RV Park or a PUD, mobile home park. You design all the stuff that's in the dirt. Do you help coordinate that with all those people? Does it go back to the the GC who then gets a hold of Black Hills Energy and Atmos?
Alex: [00:29:57] It depends on how the owner wants to do it. You know, I mean, I really enjoy working with people. There's a lot of smart people out there. So I like being able if the developer, may choose to have the GC run the show that we have us to, you know, do all the coordination. And usually we are coordinating with Black Hills and Source Gas and all those different utilities to make sure we get all of that right. But if the owner wants us to also coordinate and do all the coordination with the contractor and line them out, or we'll do all the coordination with all the other subs like surveyors and Geotech and all that really depends on how the developer or owner wants to do it.
Wyatt: [00:30:38] Everybody wears more than one hat.
Alex: [00:30:38] Especially, in a small town, too. I mean, that's part of it.
Barna: [00:30:40] Part of it. Also wanting for like efficiency sake. You know, if you got a GC that's already working on four projects, if you can, you can coordinate the infrastructure getting put in the ground and your firm handles that, then that would lighten the load on the GC. So you can do that. You can do that to coordinate all that stuff.
Alex: [00:31:03] Yep.
Wyatt: [00:31:03] We've exhausted any of the questions that I was going to be able to ask other than, of course, when we shut these off. I have a quick question for you on an actual project.
Alex: [00:31:11] Sweet.
Wyatt: [00:31:14] I know you guys are. And that's the other thing to last thing I'm going to say,
Barna: [00:31:18] I did all my questions on air.
Wyatt: [00:31:20] Last thing I'm going to say is.
Barna: [00:31:22] I want to go on the record.
Wyatt: [00:31:23] Last thing I'm going to say. Yeah. You call police and EMT in case of emergencies. All of us right now are too busy. You know, it's going to take a while. Like I mean this, because so many times people get a hold of, you know, like, yeah, I want it done tomorrow. And it's like, did we're booked six, seven, eight, ten, twelve months sometimes out, especially if like a the GC pulls a big house, you're not going to see him for if it's depending on the size of their outfit, you're not going to see him for months. So if you're planning a project, what did you say the other day? It's no matter what, it's a fucking year, maybe two years. Barna said that he didn't say it on the air like I just did, but he's like this stuff takes longer than anybody thinks, and that's because people are busy.
Barna: [00:32:08] And I think that was an answer to Alex's question from a while back, a couple of weeks ago was like, how many things are you guys working on? We'll see which one works. Like you're working on all of them, because I know one of them is going to be two years. I think just the negotiations are going to be six months just for land and zoning and just just that part. Like the money part and the zoning. We're not even talking about laying anything out yet. We're just seeing if it's even possible to do it. Any of these negotiations, any of these conversations can fall apart. And then you're there like, well, I was working on that one thing for the last two years. It didn't work out , now what?
Wyatt: [00:32:49] Hopefully you had more than one other iron warning warming in the near, near or in the fire. Right. And so you can you can always take them out, let them cool off and let them put a pin in them later. But if you put all of your stock into one egg in that basket and I think fucking doesn't work out, you're hosed, man.
Alex: [00:33:05] Oh, yeah. For sure.
Wyatt: [00:33:06] Well, and then you're back to the emergency call thing, which which is which is real. It's one of those things and a lot of guys,
Alex: [00:33:12] It's tough.
Wyatt: [00:33:13] Like like the plumber. I talked to him, he's like I just booked into the of July. I said, just put me on the schedule for a three days to a week. I don't care. I'll figure out what we're doing then or between now and then. There's no way I won't need you and be waiting for you.
Barna: [00:33:29] I was on his schedule for my house. I'm like, no, put it towards our project. You know, it's like I don't I don't need the water purifier or whatever the hell it was like. I don't need the reverse osmosis system in my house. I need the back flow preventer installed at our project.
Wyatt: [00:33:44] And that's the thing where it's like if you're thinking about doing something, you need to you need to let the trades guys know and it needs to be months in advance. More than likely. Like that's just the reality of it. This work takes time. You guys have to sit and do your calculations and get your data and collect everything. Is that going to happen at the snap of a finger? I won't get back to you tomorrow.
Alex: [00:34:04] Yeah, it's tough because you get people calling you with all kinds of emergencies and, you know, you try to help everybody you can. It's just like, oh man, you know, wish we had more time to help more people. We're working on it.
Barna: [00:34:14] So is that the sign off. I mean, you're you're hiring. So you're your firm is growing considerably. How many people do you have now?
Alex: [00:34:21] There's six of us now, hopefully seven in the next couple of weeks. Just put out an offer letter and then we're looking for two more. So if you know any drafters or civil engineers that want to live in an amazing place,
Wyatt: [00:34:32] It's amazing. This place is unreal.
Alex: [00:34:34] It is awesome. Awesome people like Barna and Wyatt.
Wyatt: [00:34:38] Cool people I don't know about awesome. But I mean, we're here.
Barna: [00:34:41] We're all right.
Alex: [00:34:42] Mainly Sage.
Wyatt: [00:34:44] Yeah, we're here anyway.
Barna: [00:34:47] Well, we don't do anything like this is we literally just work. Yeah. Yeah. But like you want to go get dinner. What. No I don't want time.
Wyatt: [00:34:57] I like to eat standing out so I can get back to work. I wish I were joking I,
Barna: [00:35:02] I eat while I'm working.
Wyatt: [00:35:03] Yeah I know. Right. So with that we want to thank you for your time. Thank you for what you do.
Alex: [00:35:08] Definitely. Thanks for the opportunity. You guys are doing awesome.
Wyatt: [00:35:10] Absolutely. We're going to keep moving forward, we'll keep building projects
Barna: [00:35:15] And our new sign-off is going to be don't call us, we'll call you. We're busy.
Wyatt: [00:35:23] Yeah. But do listen, do follow along. Do ask questions. Do get a hold of us on our various Facebook pages. Instagram pages, websites, you can find us. Click the link, ask a question, maybe.
Barna: [00:35:39] Are you doing my job now?
Wyatt: [00:35:41] Oh, that's coming next.
Barna: [00:32:49] Follow us, like us, share, subscribe. Follow us on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or wherever you consume your podcasts.