Excavating a Mountain Building Site

McLean-Hartvigsen- Residence Information

13664 S Baird Road

Conifer, CO 80210


Overview of McLean-Hartvigsen – Custom mountain home construction project excavation

Don and Greg contacted me in late summer, 2018 because they had viewed my website and liked the workmanship and detail they saw in other custom homes I had built.

We met at their proposed home site late in 2018 and hiked up the steep grades to where they said they wanted to build their house. On the hike I recommended Glen Douglass for the civil engineering work they’d need. They were pleased that Glen and I had worked together before because they had been told he was one of the really good civil engineers in the area.

When we reached the proposed home construction location I was amazed at the incredible view of Cathedral Spires, several miles southeast of the new home site. Beyond the Spires, in the distance, we could see the western flanks of Long Scraggy Peak and Devil’s Head. Having built on many sloped and rocky sites my first observation was that there was a more suitable site around 150 feet further uphill. I suggested we hike up there and after doing so we all agreed it would be the ideal site. After looking around we started walking what would eventually become the roadway. I recommended Tait Mattson Excavating for the road work. Subsequently we met with Tait, rough-staked the path of the future road, later meeting with Glen Douglass to make minor final adjustments and start the grading plan.

Picture of building site after blasting and clearing away rock and debris

Building site now ready for concrete

Tait built the roadway over winter so we would be ready to get equipment in there by May. I worked as a consultant only during this phase as we had already implemented a design agreement. At that point it was decided that I was to build the new, custom home. With lots of good input from Greg and Don I then went about designing the home. With a finished design, Don and Greg went to the construction site to put a rope line on the future west side of the house so it would be oriented to the view they desired. I later set up a theodolite (also called a transit) and drilled a steel pin into rock on one end and an ‘offset’ stake at the other end. We used these markers as a reference for Tait who then blasted the rock to create a flat building pad for us to stake the actual house corners on. We were ready to build a foundation at that point and acquired a building permit!

We signed the home construction contracts in May but actually received a building permit in July of 2019. This was due to the need to drill a well for the required water and sewer availability, then the plans were held in the zoning and building departments for 14 weeks!  After fifteen months from our contract date we were awarded a Certificate of Occupancy from Jefferson County in August, 2020.

Because of COVID19, which added an additional concern for the health of construction personnel, Greg and Don decided to work from home. They eventually sold their Denver house as we finished their new home just in time for them to move in.

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