We have been blessed with a beautiful building lot in a nice neighborhood in the northeast area of the city of Kalamazoo to build our new home. It is about 66 feet wide by 300 feet deep, with the back half of the lot being wooded. The family assigned to the home is working hard on their requirements for home ownership, including the 500 required hours of “sweat equity”, where they work on site to help build their own home and the homes of other partner families. On top of that they must attend financial literacy courses and home maintenance courses to be sure they are ready for home ownership.
The photos above show the excavation of the lot. There was a home on the lot several years ago, so we had to remove several pieces of buried foundation to get back to a stable surface on which to build. We chose to build on a slab for several reasons, primarily for cost (to keep the home affordable for the family), ease of construction, reduced risk of water issues from flooding (basements in Kalamazoo are notoriously wet from the high water table), and energy efficiency (less volume to heat and cool). Another benefit of a slab home is the improved safety for volunteers building the home. Many of the injuries and deaths in construction each year include falls into holes (basements) and entrapment in excavation collapses. By building on a slab we eliminate both of these risks for our staff and volunteers.