RE: Groundbreaking
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 94 11:38 CST
Congrats!!! And hurray!!!!. Now comes the fun part, watching the dream 
take real 3-dimensional space.

 If you thought you had to make a bunch of decisions in a hurry before, 
oh boy!  You might want to look into your decision making process as a 
group and try on this scenario:  It's 3pm on Wednesday and the furnaces 
have arrived and the space the architect drew up for them, and was 
built, doesn't meet fire code.  You have to: 1. order new furnaces, 2. 
Rebuild the spaces, 3. change the ducting work.  You have to make this 
decision by 8am tomorrow morning or it will cost you an extra $2,000. 
Good luck.

This is a little extreme, but you will probably have to make some fast 
decisions during building.  Many groups find their decision and 
communications structures don't work well for this.  If the contractor 
has to wait while the group makes a decision, it can cost you real money.

Voice mail, and phone trees can get communications out fast. Also 
creating a building committee (small....3-4) of knowledgeable people 
who are empowered to make decisions for the group are some ideas for 
streamlining the process during construction.  Maybe there will be no 
glitches or decisions needed - but....

A couple of other things.  1. Keep all your receipts handy for all the 
things you spent money on.  You will need them to close on your 
mortgages as part of your down payments. Don't pack your receipts until 
you have closed on your mortgages. This will be right before move in so 
keep those papers handy as you pack everything else up.  You might try 
and get a check list of documents now from the bank for what they will 
need for mortgage paperwork.

If there are natural features such as trees of other things which you 
do not want bulldozed, you might try and have someone on the grounds 
during bulldozing. (at least at the beginning)  A couple of groups have 
lost site features which the plan clearly said were to be saved because 
of poor communication or general lack of interest on the contractors part.

You might want to double-check everyone's ability to qualify for a 
mortgage and recruit a waiting list of folks.  Having last minute cold 
feet or non-qualifying seems to be a common last minute loss of 
membership problem.  If you are thin on membership, doing a last minute 
recruitment blitz for "associate members" or whatever can really help 
you fill any last minute gaps.

Any other "things that go bump during construction" advice out there?

Rob Sandelin
Puget Sound Cohousing Network
Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time

From: Nancy E Wight  <wight [at]>
Subject: Groundbreaking
Date: Friday, November 11, 1994 1:54PM

Well, it's official.  After a cliff-hanger of a week where we narrowly
escaped having to postpone the groundbreaking because the original owner of
the land was threatening not to show up at the closing yesterday (and we
would have had to take him to court to force him to close because he was
breaking the law), we can finally announce that we ARE breaking ground this
Sunday!  I was hesitant to announce this before because things weren't
looking so good, and we've had incredibly bad luck in the past (I think our
group has some land karma to work out ;-) ).

The current building schedule shows the first families moving into their
houses in early June.

- Nancy

Nancy Wight                                   wight [at]
New View Neighborhood Development             Acton, MA

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