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Sage: [00:00:00] Welcome back to It's Not a Tiny House podcast where your host, Wyatt Reed and Barna Kasa talk about all things housing while working on creating a unique and affordable housing solution in rural Colorado. They cover everything you need to know, from city code to financing by interviewing experts and sharing their personal experience so you can have the knowledge to overcome the problems nobody else is talking about. And now onto the podcast.
Lester: [00:00:26] I am Lester Lemon. I am the founder and owner of P3 Communities in Canon City, Colorado. Full service architecture and community development firm. And I do a variety of projects residential and commercial. And the more money you pay me, the happier I am. No!
Barna: [00:00:46] I'm here to solve as many problems as I can
Lester: [00:00:52] Before I die. Yep, yep, before I die.
Wyatt: [00:00:55] Some of my questions inside of architecture. More specifically, obviously built environment, right? So I go, I'm your customer. I walk in and say, Hey, this is what's in my head. Yep, I want to do this. You go, OK, I'm going to, I'm going to draw you a rendering. You're going to agree to the exterior aesthetics of that. And then how much heavy lifting are you going to do on the interior of how that actually gets accomplished? It's not structural, obviously, but you're going to put in most of those elements. Do you worry about when you're drawing, if and when a sprinkler system goes in? Do you tell me as the builder when that actually goes? Or you know, what's the what are some of the finer details if I go? Here's a pretty picture, right? How the hell do I make this work on planet Earth? And how much of that do you do versus farming out to mechanical and plumbing and electrical? And or do you have a better idea of most of those things while you're drawing? Or are they not considered at all?
Lester: [00:01:55] Ok, so here's how I do it.
Wyatt: [00:01:58] Yeah, that's what I want to know.
Lester: [00:01:59] Ok. Just me. It's the difference between residential clients and commercial clients. Ok, so I have different hoops to jump through, depending on who's reviewing it. All right. Second thing is, if you come to me as a residential client, like I had somebody come to me yesterday and say, I want to build a castle. I've never built a castle, but I suppose I can figure out what elements.
Wyatt: [00:02:26] Cones on top of some cylinders.
Lester: [00:02:26] Of what elements, what, what elements of castle you want to see. But to answer your first question, how much do I do with what's going on on the interior versus the exterior? If you're a residential client, I'm generally going to leave the interiors to you and your builder. I don't. I'm not going to busy myself with what color granite you have and where it is right and custom cabinets and things like that unless you need that kind of service. But that's generally but that's generally also because you don't want to pay me to do that because as a residential designer, you think my services are 500 bucks when they're not. And that's and so you have no concept of how much it really costs me to do this. And so I have to gauge what a residential client wants to pay and then put a package of drawings together that that allows for that. So generally, floor plans and exterior elevations are what you get for my fee. As a residential customer? Everything else. Color of tile. Color of countertops.
Barna: [00:03:35] I think what Wyatt is trying to ask is, so let's say you're doing like you make the decision of like where the wet wall goes, like you're making all those kind of decisions like, yes, let's put the bathrooms close together, for example. So all the wet walls are close to each other.
Wyatt: [00:03:50] From a cost effective building standpoint.
Lester: [00:03:53] Yes. Well, it's it's that and it's systems. So I'm going to use the word systems and the systems are going to be HVAC. It's going to be plumbing, it's going to be electrical. Yeah, and we learn all of that in school because we're not we're not electrical engineers, we're not HVAC. We're not mechanical.
Wyatt: [00:04:10] You have to leave room for that stuff.
Lester: [00:04:10] We're not structural engineers because at a commercial level, we can't stamp any of that. We're not allowed, but we have to understand how it all gets incorporated into every wall we draw. Right? Yeah. So we need to have a thorough understanding of what our consultants are going to do and how much space we leave for our consultants to do that and how much space there's going to be taken up by the depth of beams, locations of beams where the wet walls go, how you know, if it's, you know, they say, I want a bathroom over here and over here in two separate ends of the floor plan, I'll say you can do that. It's cheaper if we try to get them together. And so that's why I've that's why I'm showing them now closer to one another.
Wyatt: [00:04:50] And interior walls versus exterior walls for plumbing.
Lester: [00:04:53] Right, exactly. So I do it intuitively now after 30 years, but I have a, a young man in my office that's working for me right now, and I say every line that you draw, you've got to think about seven different things underneath that line. Yeah. What is the line? What is it doing? What is it associated with? What you know, what systems are inside that wall? Every line, every line. And so when you talk to a client quickly, like you're saying, I want to move this over here, I have to think about seven things very quickly. Is it an interior? Is exterior? Is it load bearing? Is it not load bearing? You know what systems are in it? What is it doing? Where does the structure go above it and below it? I have to think of all of those things before I say, Yeah, you can do that or no, that's not a really good idea, right? But that's also my experience. So my training and my experience allows me to do that. Did I answer the question?
Wyatt: [00:05:44] Yes. Mostly. Commercially. Well, so commercially, we take, we take and you would tell me you would. I'm the GC now, for example, I walk in customer says, here's my pretty drawing. I go, hey, we got to look through the code and make sure we can put.
Lester: [00:06:01] You don't. I did.
Wyatt: [00:06:03] Yeah. Well,
Lester: [00:06:04] You're just you're just going, well, but I'm just saying as a GC in a typical relationship, I've already done all of that. It's already been. It's already been resolved,
Wyatt: [00:06:12] Code consulted with
Lester: [00:06:13] And all you're doing is building.
Wyatt: [00:06:14] Yeah, yeah. And you've gone through and said, Well, bathroom location can be here because there's not a food preparatory immediately outside of it. So you can't be adjoining spaces they have to have like space in between them, right? There's going to be a division, et cetera. You handle all that?
Lester: [00:06:27] Yes.
Wyatt: [00:06:29] That's the real question that I have, but that's residential that we talked about, right? Commercial application. What differs there from what you just said about the residential side?
Lester: [00:06:40] Well, there's two sets of codes. There's residential code and there's commercial code, right? Life, safety and welfare are going to come in more heavily in a commercial application, right? If it's a single building or if it's multi use is going to come in. So we're going to have firewalls, we're going to sprinklers, we're going to have exiting things that we don't normally run into in a residential application and then stack ability. What are we doing if it's a multi-story building and we need to get services, vertical or systems to go vertical, then then we're we're stacking things so that we can move vertically as well as horizontally through the space. And so those are the things that we would we would take into consideration in the commercial application, which is also why if you come to me and said I want a 2500 square foot house. I'm going to charge you one fee versus I needed 2500 square foot convenience store. Yeah. That's going to be an entirely more expensive set of documents
Wyatt: [00:07:35] Because it's much more thorough and you have to have
Lester: [00:07:38] Way more, and I'm going to have all these consultants that are trailing along behind me that I all have stamped copies of everything that they do too. So that's that's the elemental difference, I think of what you're asking me.
Wyatt: [00:07:48] And now to to tighten the noose once more.
Lester: [00:07:51] My noose?
Barna: [00:07:52] No, no, no. This has a whole back story.
Lester: [00:07:56] Ok. All right. All right.
Wyatt: [00:07:57] Yeah, these are all charged for good reason.
Lester: [00:07:58] I'm being led.
Wyatt: [00:07:59] All right. Ok. Let's just say as an example, does R3 matter differently to you?
Lester: [00:08:06] So you multifamily, residential, residential.
Wyatt: [00:08:09] Versus R1?
Lester: [00:08:12] Yes, yes it does. Because our one is single family residential, which is a residential code which is much easier to do. R3 is a commercial code. And so there's so the hoops I have to jump through for R3 are significantly greater
Wyatt: [00:08:28] Than R1, but less than commercial?
Lester: [00:08:30] No, it is. No, no, it is considered a commercial application. So R3 is a residential zoning with a commercial classification, but the code says anything over a duplex. Once you get to three Plex, then you're in commercial now. And so that's the difference between the zoning code and the building code. And so as soon as you say, I need to put in duplexes, I'm still in residential code, so it's still easy for me to do. As soon as you say I'm going to put a triplex over here, well, now I'm in commercial code. Are you in R3 zoning? You know, so now I'm looking at a landscape that's much different.
Barna: [00:09:12] Are you making cost considerations or cost decisions while you're doing the design to keep it as affordable as possible? Or are you just driven by the budget or how does that work?
Lester: [00:09:24] Well, we obviously have to have those conversations. A lot of people don't like to talk about money, but it's really at the core of what I do because I don't want to make a bunch of decisions that you can't afford or I don't want to make.
Barna: [00:09:33] I like doing that conversation front.
Wyatt: [00:09:35] First.
Lester: [00:09:36] Yeah, no, I need it. I needed it front and they say, I'll say, Well, what's your budget? Well, and I said, No, no, no. Listen, if I don't spend it all, I won't spend at all. I'm not trying to. I'm not trying to hit that number. I just need to know what are you doing so I can make the right decisions along the way. So am I thinking about economics? I'm always thinking about economics. I'm always thinking about the most economical form of construction that I can use. That's going to give you the product that you want. So if you're if you're going to make a duplex or triplex, those are wood framed standard details. We're not going to do long spans. We're going to try to keep our spans down. So we're not putting in steel, we're not putting in excess foundation sizes and those kinds of things. I'm still trying to build within what you as a builder are going to be able to go do because I can still take you as a GC that builds single homes, right? And you can build a three plex. You're as long as you're a class, a contractor, you can still do it. The technology is the same. The subcontracting is going to be the same. There's nothing weird about it, except that I'm going to have firewalls and I'm going to have some other things that you don't normally hit, but you're going to in this application.
Wyatt: [00:10:47] You do a duplexes anyway. You know what I mean? You've seen an interior shared wall like all of the shared walls, pretty much then go to the same level, which is generally speaking, double five eighths drywall insulated spaces. That's like the that's what we do to adjoining spaces.
Lester: [00:11:01] So. But then if I if I did your three plex, for example. And I wanted to do it out of I don't even know
Wyatt: [00:11:11] It's actually make it more interesting
Lester: [00:11:12] Composite panels.
Wyatt: [00:11:14] Let's make it more interesting.
Lester: [00:11:14] And you have no and you have no experience as a residential contractor to do composite panels don't even know where to go get them.
Wyatt: [00:11:22] Then not a great start.
Lester: [00:11:23] Then, yeah, I'm probably going to have to go into the commercial realm. So do I really want to do that at the very beginning? Or do I want to go back to wood framing as I'm designing. Those kinds of considerations.
Wyatt: [00:11:32] Let's make it more interesting. Ok, let's just think hypothetically, it's
Lester: [00:11:36] I think I've been wearing a noose and you are just dragging me down the street with it.
Wyatt: [00:11:40] Lets just say it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 12
Barna: [00:11:41] Or this could be an interview. Who knows?
Lester: [00:11:44] Could be, OK.
Barna: [00:11:45] A job interview.
Wyatt: [00:11:45] Let's just say it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 20 unit apartment building, that range.
Lester: [00:11:53] Single story or multi story
Wyatt: [00:11:54] Pretending like it's multi. Just to keep it interesting. Let's also pretend like it's shipping container construction as a primary at the core versus traditional stick frame. And is there any other spiciness I can add to this one? Barna real quick off the top of your head.
Barna: [00:12:14] It needs to fit on how many square feet?
Wyatt: [00:12:16] Oh, that's a good one.
Barna: [00:12:17] The lot size.
Wyatt: [00:12:17] It has to fit on a lot size that would be two standard residential lots together.
Lester: [00:12:24] There's no such thing.
Wyatt: [00:12:25] There's no such thing.
Lester: [00:12:26] There's no such thing as a standard residential.
Wyatt: [00:12:28] Oh oh sorry. 1500 square foot lot.
Barna: [00:12:32] Mm. No, no. It's bigger than that.
Wyatt: [00:12:34] Fifteen thousand square foot lot. Sorry, sorry. I was at zero fifteen thousand square foot lot. You look through, you go. Let's pick a different municipality. Let's just say it's in.
Lester: [00:12:43] We didn't even care.
Wyatt: [00:12:44] Yeah, right. So you go you look at the bulk requirements, you look at setbacks, you look at height requirements, you look at, et cetera.
Lester: [00:12:51] it's called the building envelope.
Wyatt: [00:12:52] Yeah, you get your entire envelope sorted out. And then you go, OK, here's the building here is here's the mechanical here's where this stuff is going to be. You set the package up, you run it through all of your people when you're done. GC comes through and goes cool. Now I run it to all my subs and get actual estimates to get a real price put together to figure all of this stuff out. You deliver a package that is complete.
Lester: [00:13:18] Ok.
Barna: [00:13:19] Or is that complete? With a question mark at the end?
Wyatt: [00:13:23] You give me everything I need?
Lester: [00:13:27] Ok. To build it,
Wyatt: [00:13:28] Yeah, to build it. You've checked through all of the stuff I don't have to come through, and if I build it a perfectly to your plans. All the requirements are handled.
Lester: [00:13:39] Should be yes.
Wyatt: [00:13:40] Yes, right?
Lester: [00:13:41] That's just the goal. 100 percent compliance with everything so that every, unless you screw something up in the field, every inspection is easy.
Wyatt: [00:13:49] It's good. Yeah.
Barna: [00:13:50] The question like so if plumbing inspector comes in once you've already started building everything and you go, Oh, well, you can't have that toilet next to that sink.
Lester: [00:13:57] That wouldn't happen. That wouldn't happen.
Wyatt: [00:13:59] It's your responsibility.
Lester: [00:14:00] No. Yes, that wouldn't happen from my side. It may happen from your side because your sub screwed up when he put the toilet in, and now it's too close to the wall or whatever. That's that's not my fault.
Wyatt: [00:14:10] Right, right. That's that's an application. That's what that's what the GC takes care of it. Make sure the the kindergarten following the plan, playing by the rules. Everybody's got their their toys and playing accordingly, right?
Lester: [00:14:21] Because you don't get a permit unless I am 100 percent correct. Right. Because they go, Okay, so all of the package I deliver has to be 100 percent correct or you don't get a permit.
Wyatt: [00:14:30] And now this happens a fair amount in construction. We saw it in one application commercially in Canyon City recently, where the original general contractor came through. It didn't work, didn't work out. However, it may not work. They they they no longer.
Lester: [00:14:45] What didn't work? The relationship or?
Wyatt: [00:14:48] They got fired. I'll put it that way. A new contractor took over the project moved forward. If that ever happened in the middle of architecture?
Lester: [00:14:57] Yes.
Wyatt: [00:14:58] So something like, you know what, I'm not just this isn't. We're not driving how much for you to take the ball and run with it the rest of the way? Is that common, have you seen it?
Lester: [00:15:11] The very first thing. Well, yes, I have seen it before. The very first thing is there is a professional, ethical, consideration that I have to take care of first, and that is who has authorship of the drawings because everything I put on a piece of paper I copyright, it belongs to me. It is a copyrighted, original intellectual property covered under U.S. Code, Federal Code. Ok. Just like if I wrote a book, that's my copyright. You can't copy it unless you have my permission to do that. So if you want to abandon your architect halfway through the project, through the design phase of the project, you either need to get him or her to give you permission to now take that and continue with it, or your new architect has to start all over. Because of that, first architect says, Nope, you can't have anything that's copyrighted. Don't use it for anything else. And if I did it once and you decide to build it again off the same plans, sorry, you can't do that either. One, one project, one building, one site. Now you can, you can say I want to use the same plan, but I want to put it on 16 sites. And if I know that at the very beginning, I'm going to say, OK, and then you just plop, plop, plop, plop, plop, plop.
Wyatt: [00:16:29] Is that industry standard for architecture to be copyrighted like your like you said?
Lester: [00:16:34] Oh, absolutely.
Wyatt: [00:16:34] Everybody does it.
Lester: [00:16:35] Everybody.
Wyatt: [00:16:36] OK.
Lester: [00:16:36] It's automatic. It's called. That's called intellectual property.
Wyatt: [00:16:40] That's your IP stuff. So.
Barna: [00:16:43] But if I am the customer and I paid for it, is it still yours or is it mine.
Lester: [00:16:46] No, it belongs to me.
Barna: [00:16:49] When does it belong to me as the customer?
Lester: [00:16:51] Never.
Wyatt: [00:16:53] That is job security.
Barna: [00:16:54] That's super interesting to me.
Lester: [00:16:55] No, no, no, no, no, no. It's not restrictive in that you can't take it to somebody else and say, I want to do it someplace else. But that person, first of all, is going to contact me and said, say this client brought these plans, it has your title block on it. They want to use it. Brand new site, different site. So it's probably going to have different requirements, different jurisdictions, different all that kind of stuff. You know, do you give us permission to do that? And I say, and that's happened to me too, where I developed, I developed a daycare center and I developed a series of rooms that are attached to each other that are pods that are arranged in a certain way. And that gives me original authorship of that of which is copyrighted. And the the owner said, OK, I want to take the same thing, but I'm going to build it in a different area. And I, because of politics, I now have to use this architect. I cannot use you. Ok, which is B.S., Right? So it hurts my feelings, right? Because it's my it's my building. But, in an effort to continue to work after this project with this same client, I said, OK, but here's all the stipulations, and then I will let you do it for this one project, but you need to understand I have copyright on it, and if anything is changed, then we're going to have an issue and I'm going to file suit. And you know, that's that's that's the way it's going to be because I have to protect what is mine. So but I but I was able to give them permission. They did it ethically. They did it correctly, and then we moved on.
Barna: [00:18:40] How does that does that at all protect the client? So let's say I know somebody that had a unique design for a house doesn't really. At that point, nobody was doing that style of house had once unique ideas in it. Architect got paid very, very well to design it.
Lester: [00:19:00] Usually not happening, but go ahead.
Barna: [00:19:04] And the project didn't get built. Does that architect then have the right to take that design and sell it to somebody else or have it or utilize parts of that, what was at that point the customer's intellectual property because it was their unique ideas that the architect put on paper? I'm not an architect, but I have 15 ideas that I've never seen in a house before. I pay you to put that in a drawing and design this futuristic whatever house for me. And 10 years later, I see all my designs all over town.
Lester: [00:19:44] So a couple of things. If you are building a brand. Ok, so there's a house called the Dymaxion House, and it was designed by Buckminster Fuller, and it is a round house sort of dome shaped. It actually got built by Boeing back in the day because this would have been in the 40s, probably the 1940s. And it's all aluminum and it's all riveted together. And the only people that could do that were aircraft manufacturers because nobody else knew how to do that. Nobody knew that technology, right? And so there were only a few ever built. And I think the only remaining ones in a museum someplace. But that's Buckminster Fuller, and that's a unique design. And you couldn't just show up on a block someplace and him drive by and go, wait a minute, because it's so unique, right? So that's when you would say that this thing is so unique that if I saw it someplace else, I would immediately recognize it as mine. And then we're going to have an issue. Now, if you said I need a three bedroom, two bath house,
Barna: [00:20:52] That's not what this is.
Lester: [00:20:53] Nothing, nothing about that is special. So if I built several three bedroom, two bathroom houses, you couldn't say, now, wait a minute, mine was a three bedroom, two bath. I'd say, you know, tough. You know, go pound sand because it's three bedrooms, two bathrooms. I can put them together any way I want. I can put them together all the same way. Maybe that's why you come to me because I do the same house 10 times over.
Barna: [00:21:15] We're talking about roof lines that don't exist in residential space. We're talking about mobile walls.
Lester: [00:21:21] Probably isn't, well, but but see, all of those things have probably been done. So in a courtroom, you would have to demonstrate that it is unique in a way that is that that is unparalleled, that cannot be found someplace else. So like I said, the Dymaxian House isn't something..
Barna: [00:21:37] I guess it is an attorney question then.
Lester: [00:21:40] Oh, absolutely.
Barna: [00:21:41] Because I'm just saying that if if the client has a unique idea and you're hired to. Turn that into an architectural drawing, seems like there's some ownership from the
Lester: [00:21:59] From the owner,
Barna: [00:21:59] From the owner, yeah,
Lester: [00:22:00] But the owner would have to say, I am creating a brand. And and you and I are going to create it together. My idea is you're drawing skills. We're going to put this together and we're going to co-author it and we're going to co copyright it. And we're actually going to go to the Library of Congress, and we're going to copyright it. And we're going to have the paperwork so that nobody else can do it. And we're and somebody will inevitably do it. And then you pull that piece of paper out and you say, Oh, guess how much money you owe me? Because you violated my copyright.
Wyatt: [00:22:39] One Bitcoin.
Lester: [00:22:40] And that but that would be co authored, and you and you as the owner, would have to demonstrate that this is unique, which means you also have to go out and make sure nobody else has already done it. It's like logos.
Wyatt: [00:22:56] Who is the due diligence on that?
Lester: [00:22:56] It's like, it's like it's like a logo. Well, that's you. That's on you.
Wyatt: [00:23:00] Not the hired attorney would do the due diligence.
Lester: [00:23:02] It's it's just like developing a logo. When I developed my logo in my P3 communities, I had to do a search of everything that's ever been copyrighted and make sure that my name and my logo are unique and nobody else. And then I do. I trademark it legally. It's restricted. It's trademarked, it's copyrighted. Nobody else can use it.
Barna: [00:23:26] Yeah, I got them up there and I got a stack behind you of trademarks.
Lester: [00:23:29] Yeah, you do. And you do. And if you and if you if if you made money on suing people over copyright infringement that you would look at online every day and make sure that somebody someplace isn't using it.
Wyatt: [00:23:44] I was going to say is the policing?
Lester: [00:23:46] The policing is yours as well.
Wyatt: [00:23:48] It's also yours. Yeah. So I mean, let's just say you.
Barna: [00:23:51] It's come up before, but it was handled with marketing instead of with legal means. When people stepped on trademarks.
Lester: [00:23:59] Or or people have to give credit where credit is due.
Wyatt: [00:24:03] I've gotten contacted about it. When I was doing design work for t-shirts, stuff and somebody, they tried to bluff me off of something and they said, well, we have a we have a design patent for this and I'm like, well, you can't. That's too vague. This is hyper specific when you get into copywriting, it's like crazy specific.
Lester: [00:24:21] Absolutely.
Wyatt: [00:24:21] And they were just I looked at their website and I was like, Oh, I know why. And I talked to my attorney about it and I was like, What's this? And he's like now. This is total bullshit, right? Like because, you know, you're challenging them for the market space. So that's how it works.
Lester: [00:24:34] So if you're going to go out and make a development and you want your development to be unique and everything inside, that development wants to have the same aesthetic, the same roof lines like, you know, Barna, you had said this earlier. You know, some some characteristic that was visual, that was visual to you. Right. That you could easily identify, then that's when you would have to get into this realm, the legal realm and say, OK, this is what we're going to do and this is the copyright and we're going to we need to do all of our research, make sure that we can. And once we do, then that's what we do. And then you're going to chase everybody that really doesn't care. Right? Somebody's going to do it anyway. So that's how they make these stupid T-shirts online every day, all the time. Take it. Take somebody's meme off of their printed on a T-shirt and put it on your Etsy thing and sell it. Right. Do you want to chase that? You can.
Wyatt: [00:25:28] You can.
Lester: [00:25:29] So. So how much protection do you want? And I think that's that's legal. It's not architectural. Again, if I put my title block on something, it belongs to me. It belongs to me.
Barna: [00:25:40] But that's a conversation you need to have up front with your architect that's developing a brand and you want to have a series of developments, let's say all across, you know, the United States, then you have to have that conversation up front.
Lester: [00:25:55] It would be nice.
Barna: [00:25:56] With your architect and then develop the multiple projects after that.
Lester: [00:25:58] It would be nice if you allowed your project to follow your. If you're allowed, through compensation, your architect follow you around and do all of them. So there's never a copyright issue or you want to say, we're going to develop it, we're going to have the copyright. And every time I do it, someplace else with somebody else, I'm still going to send you a check because you're still one of the original authors.
Barna: [00:26:21] But my concern is still, if I've paid an architect thousands of dollars for a drawing
Lester: [00:26:29] Tens, tens of thousands,
Barna: [00:26:30] Tens of thousands of dollars for drawing.
Lester: [00:26:33] I'm just trying to live.
Wyatt: [00:26:36] I like that. Hundreds of
Barna: [00:26:40] Millions, millions of dollars for a drawing, then that architect can use that drawing anywhere else or no?
Lester: [00:26:48] No. I mean, again, if you and I authored something together and it was your development, I couldn't say. So if somebody else
Barna: [00:26:58] So if as a developer, I failed, but I spent all this money on this drawing. You're not going to go and say, Oh, hey, here's four more developers. Guess what I just spent all this time developing. You can have it for other millions of dollars?
Lester: [00:27:12] I couldn't say I could not hand it off to somebody else. You paid me for it. Ok. I'm the author. You're the owner of the idea. I can't just go do it someplace else because I can't do it someplace else, literally because each building is site specific. That's the way my world works. So each building is site specific if you want to build the same house on the lot next to that one. Then that next lot gets the same house, but it site specific anything that that site is, makes that site different, makes that project different. Ok, so what I can do is say, I have experience with container homes. I can't say, here's the last set of plans I did for container development,
Barna: [00:28:01] Pick one.
Lester: [00:28:01] But I can. But if they come to me and say, Have you ever worked for container homes? And I have, I can say, yes, I've worked with container homes. What's your idea?
Wyatt: [00:28:11] And then.
Lester: [00:28:12] But I couldn't duplicate what you and I had worked on.
Barna: [00:28:14] OK. That was my question.
Wyatt: [00:28:16] So here comes the final question that I've got that pertains to same house, different lot and that's manufactured or mobile style housing. Because they're you're taking the same blueprint and you've mobilized it.
Lester: [00:28:29] Yeah. But you can't touch the ground with it until you've done something different. Yep, that's what that's what makes it lot specific.
Wyatt: [00:28:36] So you still got to go through and make sure you do your foundation and your geos.
Lester: [00:28:39] So I've got a I've got a contractor I'm working on, working with, right now. Sure. And he's doing he bought up a bunch of residential lots and he's building houses on them and we are basically building the same house over and over and over again. You know, a little bit there, a little change here, whatever. But it's still I still have to draw a site plan and put that house. That's exactly the same one. I just did put it on a different site plan. And then there's a separate soils test for that separate foundation designs for that, you know, separate way that it meets the street for that. And so that that building, even though the building is identical, it's still site specific.
Wyatt: [00:29:16] And that's the same for for modular.
Lester: [00:29:18] Absolutely. Yeah, because you'll roll the modular in and the first thing they say is, is it designed for our our area? Right? You say, yes, you know, here's here. Here it shows that, you know, snow load, winds, whatever. And then they're going to say, OK, what lot? Where is your soils? And then show me the foundation plans. So the architect doesn't have anything to do with it anymore. Now it's a civil or structural engineer that has to do foundation plans and to set that down on that lot.
Wyatt: [00:29:47] Yep. And correct me if I'm wrong, an engineered foundation, right? That's the a lot of the times that's in the paperwork where it says
Lester: [00:29:56] You'll always have that.
Wyatt: [00:29:57] Yeah, you'll do. You can do a manufactured home with engineered foundation. Ok, like that's the okay, great. So you go, this is my eight by 40 manufactured home. What what my proposition would be is that I have a predesigned foundation. A geotech would tell you if that foundation would work because it could be overkill. Right, so you go as long as the geotech comes back at, say, two thousand pounds per square foot. This is your footer. Maybe overengineered.
Lester: [00:30:32] Elementary
Wyatt: [00:30:33] Elementary.
Lester: [00:30:33] Yeah, yes, that would be true. He would be able to evaluate that foundation for that load in that soil type and tell you whether it works or not and whether he would stamp it. But since it's not done by him, sometimes they don't like they can't. I mean, it's illegal to stamp somebody else's drawings. So they may have to do a simple cross section that they've actually done, even though it's identical to the one that you've had before. Simple cross section eight and a half by eleven. Stamp it. Sign it. Give it to you.
Wyatt: [00:31:07] But you're looking at knocking down the brain damage of that building project quite considerably.
Lester: [00:31:12] Well, it's the same as houses right now. I mean, unless there's something really strange my house designs, my foundation designs are I can assume my foundations are going to be the same. So drawing after drawing, after drawing, I've still got a 16 inch, 36 inch down. You know, it's eight inch walls. These are this is these are the bars that are going to be in it. Now, I can't stamp any of that because I'm not allowed to, but I can make the assumption and so will, so will the structural engineer.
Wyatt: [00:31:41] But it's quick work for him or her. It's quicker work for that structure to go like, OK, so we already understand this structure, the soils. I understand the soils. Maybe I need a cross section.
Lester: [00:31:51] Probably still going to have to draw something now. They're still going to have to draw a rectangle. Show the sections do the details, one sheet, stamp it and give it to you. But you're going to do that over and over and over and over again.
Wyatt: [00:32:04] So they'll find ways to to carbon copy. I mean, you buy in bulk almost at that point.
Lester: [00:32:09] Well, sure. I mean, that's a you're you're well, I mean, it depends on what you put in the the container. But you're going to have a finite amount of weight. And that's all they're ever going to use is weight. It's all we use now.
Wyatt: [00:32:25] Weight and square footage on ground contact, right? I mean, this is it's it's pretty elementary.
Lester: [00:32:30] It's easy math.
Wyatt: [00:32:32] It's easy math. Yeah. So and my proposition would be, well, I will just over engineer the footer that I'm going to put on it.
Lester: [00:32:38] Well, for you. Here's what here's here's how it benefits you. Is that when you put a price together, you can be reasonably assured that this is what it's going to cost. And unless you pick a site that's really sucky or 45 degree angle or something weird, right, then we're going to spend more money or your budget's blown and you're going to tell your client, I can't deliver it for this amount of money. But if you give me a flat site and I've done 12 of them already, I can be reasonably assured that this is the final cost that you're asking for. Yeah, that's where it benefits you as the developer or builder, as you can make cost assumptions.
Wyatt: [00:33:12] Yes. Yeah. And I guess what I mean, like just to make sure that you're you're not overpromising something under delivering or going like this is going to work ninety five percent of the time.
Lester: [00:33:23] Yeah. And again, you're going to be the guy that they call out. And they said, here's the lot I want to put it on. You're going to go, Hmm. Well, everything that we've talked about is completely out the window.
Wyatt: [00:33:33] Yeah, not this one. And recently had a fun little rodeo up in up in Westcliff, just side of a granite hill, right? And it was just hard and it was tough to deal with. We did our soils. We did. We did everything that we were supposed to do, even though I don't have to in Custer. I still did it because there isn't a building code requirement there.
Lester: [00:33:55] So here's the way that affects me. That is, even if there's no regulatory agency.
Wyatt: [00:34:02] You're still you're still on the hook.
Lester: [00:34:03] That's 100 percent right. That's that was that was my point. And that is I still have an obligation.
Wyatt: [00:34:09] And so do I.
Lester: [00:34:09] I have a licensed obligation to meet what would be considered current building code practices.
Wyatt: [00:34:18] And so do I is the builder, and that's why I went through and what we did there was a little different. It was a pre engineered building, but I still went through geos and still did an engineered foundation.
Lester: [00:34:27] And that's why you and I both carry professional liability insurance.
Wyatt: [00:34:30] Exactly. Yeah, for that reason, and operating inside of that is like. It's almost a relief because it's like, you know, that if you fit inside the box and you do what you're supposed to do.
Lester: [00:34:44] Well, it's also a protection for you because Johnny Come Lately comes and says, Well, I really don't want to spend that much money on that foundation, and I'm not. I don't think we should do that. And you're going to go, You know what? That actually protects me. So I'm going to follow these rules anyway. And if you don't like it, then I'm done. Our relationship is done. You can go find somebody else that isn't going to care about it. And there are people that aren't going to care about it. And that's great. Go do it. But not with me. Because I still want to do this tomorrow and the next day and next year and 10 years from now. So I have that little piece of paper that hangs on the wall is my livelihood. Yeah. And so I've got to protect it. I'm going to protect that.
Wyatt: [00:35:26] Yeah. And so it's just I'm I'm not trying to find ways to cut corners on it. I am trying to find ways from a manufacturing of a housing standpoint, what avenues to best pursue to take care of the financially the biggest hit. You know, if I can go, this would work, but I'll size it up a couple of inches in any direction to give me a little bit more ground force everywhere that that cost is nominal to me because it's a better product and it's going to work in more applications and there's less re-engineering of the foundation down the road. And you might go, oh, it's overbuilt for this. So there's no kill like overkill.
Lester: [00:36:06] Yeah. Well, and not only that, but they've already basically agreed on the amount. So there's already a contract amount. Right. So it's like, Well, I don't want to do that. Well, you're not. You've already paid for it. So don't worry about it. Just go away. And I'll let you know when it's done.
Wyatt: [00:36:20] Yeah, yeah. Or if you want to do a different foundation, then that additional foundation is on you.
Lester: [00:36:26] Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Wyatt: [00:36:28] You can do that. That's going to be an approved engineered foundation as well. This one just comes in the box. You can use this one and as long as
Lester: [00:36:35] But you'll have to do that in every jurisdiction with somebody's stamp. Yeah. So so you're going to have to convince every jurisdiction you walk into that somebody is licensed in the state of Colorado to design that foundation.
Wyatt: [00:36:46] Mm hmm. Which if you got a licensed engineer in the state of Colorado, you have that stamp for you know that.
Lester: [00:36:54] But not every, but not everyone, you have to have a wet seal. So that engineer is going to need to know that you're building it again and again and again and again because he could. He has, he has the right to say no.
Barna: [00:37:07] This is my project not the design, not the product.
Lester: [00:37:10] Correct.
Barna: [00:37:11] Yeah. And same same with you as architect. Your design is for that project on that site.
Lester: [00:37:16] Only that one.
Barna: [00:37:18] Not for a house that I'm going to replicate 800 times.
Lester: [00:37:20] And if and if I didn't know that and you did it and it fell down and we all end up in court because I'm going to end up in court anyway, I'm going to say, Well, wait a minute, I never did that. Yeah, that wasn't me. I set my sights over here and that's my building. I have no responsibility this one.
Barna: [00:37:33] My building is still standing that guys. No. Its not.
Wyatt: [00:37:36] Sure. Yeah. I mean,
Lester: [00:37:38] It wasn't me.
Wyatt: [00:37:39] Ok.
Lester: [00:37:39] Didn't mean I didn't spend money defending myself. But.
Wyatt: [00:37:42] Well, yeah.
Lester: [00:37:43] I'd like to punch somebody at some point.
Wyatt: [00:37:46] Not it.
Barna: [00:37:48] Edit that out.
Wyatt: [00:37:49] Trying to. Trying to do it.
Lester: [00:37:51] Probably not. I'm on the web.
Wyatt: [00:37:53] Trying to do it all right and correct and equitable. And when we're talking about affordable housing, we have to talk about where areas where we can talk about saving money, where can we save it? And if you can save engineers time,
Lester: [00:38:08] It's going to be in bulk and you already know that, yeah, it's going to be times. You can do it on the least amount of resources, the cheaper it gets per unit.
Wyatt: [00:38:17] That's just how it works
Lester: [00:38:19] For everything,
Wyatt: [00:38:20] For everything. Exactly. That's why Costco exists. My questions that I had specifically have been answered.
Sage: [00:38:28] Thank you for listening to another episode of our podcast. Go to our website, notatinyhousepodcast.com for show notes and how to contact us. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @notatinyhouse and on Instagram @notatinyhousepodcast. If you listened this far, you probably enjoyed the podcast found the content valuable. Go ahead and share it with your friends and on social media. Please rate or review our podcast and follow us to get notified about our next episode and we'll talk to you next time on It's Not a Tiny House.