I shifted gears this week from playing tourist in the nation's national parks to being a volunteer home builder for Habitat For Humanity. I'm on scene in Mesilla Valley (Las Cruces, NM) for a month helping build two homes. I've joined a group of nine other, experienced Care-A-Vanners and a few locals that are partnered with two future homeowner families to build their first home.
Each week I'll update progress with pictures and notes below about the Care-A-Vanner experience.
Week OneThis first week we made quite a bit of progress. Before the official build began I helped the homeowners clean-up the site to make it a safe work zone. The water/sewer lines had already been installed, the slabs had been poured, and the construction trailers with materials and porta-potty were all pre-positioned. This was our starting point.
Day Zero: Two Building Sites Prepped for the the
Care-A-Vanners to Start Building
"Houses built on owner’s land take about 8 months if built by a contractor and more than 11 months if they are owner-built (i.e., where the owner of the land serves as a general contractor). Single-family homes built for rent take, on average, between 8 and 9 months from permits to completion." ~ NAHBDiscounting the time to get the site to this pristine condition, imagine the pace we are setting for ourselves to have these homes ready in less than two months by a dozen volunteers.
|Day One: Exterior walls built|
Day Two:Exterior walls sheathed, windows cut,
and wall top plates ready for
the next day's roof truss install.
Day Three:Walls plumbed, porches built,and trusses installed.
Day Four:Rafter tails trimmed and fascia boards readied.
Day Five Continued:Interior walls all built and readied for next week's
The weather has been cooperating with temperatures in the 80's. More of the same is expected next week, but by the end of October temperatures will drop into the 70's and 60's. No matter the temperature, Care-A-Vanners keep building.
Week TwoAfter a well deserved three day weekend (normally only two days) we got back to work on our crew's first two houses on this street.
Day Six:All the exterior sheathing, roof decking, and some of the
roof's drip edging was installed. On the inside of the
building assorted framing details were completed in
anticipation of contractors arriving the next day to begin
The HVAC and plumbing contractors completed
their rough installation of all the ductwork, air registers
and grills, plus air conditioner plumbing and electrical
control cabling, plumbing vent pipes, and exhaust vents.