Working on the cabin plans
The cabin perfect plans arrive
The perfect cabin plans arrive.

After clearing the land with a Bobcat and building our outhouse it’s time to choose the perfect cabin plans. Having never built anything before I figured around ten feet by sixteen feet would be perfect. Large enough to be comfortable but not too large for us to build without special equipment or a large group of helpers. I showed several plans to Sharon who took one look and said…no!

She said I can build it any size I want as long as it has a spare bedroom, a dining room, bathroom and a loft with regular stair, no ladder! Clearly this was going to be harder than I thought.

After reading many books and searching tons of websites I finally found a 1.5 Story Cottage on A twenty by thirty foot floor plan with an additional fifteen by twenty foot loft. All of the rooms Sharon requested for, plus large enough for regular stairs instead of a ladder. The only problem would be the vaulted ceilings on ten foot walls. How can Sharon and I get the trusses up there without a crane? That’s a problem for another day.

The Perfect Cabin Plans

We added dormers to the loft on the plans
We added dormers to the loft on the plans

After looking at the plan the only changes Sharon asked for were dormers in the loft and a different roof line on the porch, this would be the perfect cabin plan. So I ordered the plans and started trying to figure out what comes next.

When the cabin plans arrived, I needed to decide on the type of foundation and changed the roof line to include dormers on the loft. Using Photoshop I redrew the front elevation to include the dormers.

Selecting the foundation type was a much harder task. The building inspectors would accept the plans, however the foundation needs an engineer stamp. I called around but could not find any engineering group that would work with an individual.  I’m sure they are out there but where? I did get a quote on helical screw piles which came with the engineer stamp, but that was over $5,000!

After speaking to the inspectors, it turns out for some reason, you do not need a engineer stamp if you use spread bottom piers. This is the only foundation type that did not require a stamp, so that’s the way to go.

Applying for the Building Permit

Our last obstacle now was a new rule in Alberta that ALL new homes need to have builders insurance. Makes sense if you hire a builder, but we were building ourselves. I spoke to a few insurance providers. Most of them would happily sell me the insurance but if anything went wrong they would not pay out as I am also the builder. I then called and spoke to the government department in regards to this new Alberta rule. I found out that the only option I now had was to pay $700 to the government for the privilege of not getting  insurance. We would also not be able to sell the property for a minimum of ten years. Not happy about paying the fee for nothing, but without any other options we paid and applied for the building permit.



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