Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land

 
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:32 PM   #1
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Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


Hello
I am a former Oregon Contractor now living in Serbia and getting ready to build a house. The housing here is extremely poor. You do need to submit plans to municipalities and they charge taxes and fees on it but there is only a final inspection. There are very few people who actually know how to build a house and no scrutiny so comes some of the weirdest wet structures imaginable. I am pretty much on my own in a strange land and could really do with someone to talk about the project.

The property is on a hill with about a 22 percent slope. I am building a daylight basement with a single main floor. The daylight has no step with ceiling height of about 9 feet. I have tried to make the structure as simple as possible as I do not have any experienced help. For the Daylight basement I am going to utilizes an ICF Styrene block system. I have actually never built one of these but I have seen them done. I wish I would have paid more attention now. I am using this system as again I do not have any qualified help and it is fast and puts high quality isolation in place and is easy to wire and plumb and finish. The main floor will be wood and straw construction something I did the last five years of my work in Oregon.

The daylight basement is 40’X40’and a 20’X20’ garage that takes off on the up slope part of the main floor. The back wall of the house has a concrete balcony that wraps around the house to the Garage. Under these covered portions will be a concrete patio and walkway and stairs up to the garage. 50% of the daylight basement will have abutted walk ways or patios with the remainder retaining the hill and garage area. Above the house I am putting in three one yard retaining walls to bring the slop down at the start of the house.

So to my list of questions. A monolithic slab would be the easiest thing to do but It is important to me to isolate the floor. This is problematic in the areas of the floor that have the patio and the walk ways. Also with this kind of system do you have to center on the footing or can you run to the outer edge. My other option is to pour the footings then set one course of ICF block and pour the floor. This will make it easier to float. For the footing I would pour with wheel barrels and for the slab I would either build a shoot or setup to do the floor patios and walk ways all as once and get a pumper.

So please if you can give me some feedback on which foundation system to go with or any other ideas. Thanks so much for your help!!
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:08 PM   #2
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


I ran into something similar just last year, where I wanted to pour a monolithic slab for a walk-out basement, just to save a pour, but the logistics of it just got too complicated, and it ended up being more trouble than it was worth.

Talking to my engineer about the project, he was saying that the slab would have to extend past the block wall, which would have made forming awkward.

Welcome to CT. I'd be interested to hear how you ended up in Serbia.


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Old 03-20-2017, 04:17 PM   #3
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


Im pretty sure all our Serbian contractors will be by soon, you have to remember the time differance, i forget the country that starts taxing on finished homes so no homes ever get finished.

No one in his right mind should tell you about basement walls thickness etc, with out knowing the soil type.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:37 PM   #4
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Im pretty sure all our Serbian contractors will be by soon




Is this your usual welcome for anyone who doesn't live right where you live, or are you just cranky because you just found out that you're pregnant, and it's a really bad time for you right now?

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No one in his right mind should tell you about basement walls thickness etc, with out knowing the soil type.
Read it twice, and didn't see that question. Is it a phantom?



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Old 03-21-2017, 07:48 AM   #5
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


Welcome to CT. What a challenge that is, I can't imagine. What took you there, family, female? What happens if the final inspection says the framing won't do? I'd be a nervous wreck.
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:24 PM   #6
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


Hello
Thank you for your warm welcome. I already knew the answer to my questions but was kind of hoping for someone to say something different or something I do not already know. How I got to Serbia is a long story my father is first Generation Yugoslavian born in Gary. I have family here. When I was in my twenties and at the University of Oregon I bought a property with an acre of land and a funky house. I turned it into a 2000sq ft. wooden master piece I later sold to an artist that paint album covers. Anyway after that house I picked up some remodels then bigger remodels then homes. I did all the work at first but ended up doing subdivisions and managing 20 to 30 projects a year with a force of subs. It always seemed like you would have a bad customer once every few years then was once a year than five a year. I took too long to get an unlisted phone number and was having a very hard time getting enough sleep. I do not have a Donald Trump type of attitude I always cared about what I did and what I did for people. Anyway time goes on and more and more bad customer and lawyers. When I was 38 I got very sick and finally figure it was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which to me is a regulatory system to shut the body down when you have hit the point of no return. Even with Chronic fatigue syndrome I still kept up the pace and even did one final condominium subdivision in straw. But still it was all too much for me and I felt I need to go someplace without lawyers so headed to Europe. Toured playing music for a time then settled in Prague for 7 years off to Thailand for 4 years then to Serbia where I have family. I am renting this horrible house near the prosperity I bought. The property is on a hill backed up against the National park Frusta Gora. My lot overlooks the Danube river and beyond the City of Novi Sad. I am dead in the country but can drop into the city in ten minutes across the Victory Bridge the American bombed in the war.

My lot is 1400sq meters or 1674 sq yards, I plan to put a vineyard in half of it. Up slop is a road so provides very good drainage from run off above. I have been here three years so have had plenty of time to observer open banks here. The soil composition is sand, Mica and a small amount of clay and rock. I have observed no hydraulics in the open banks many of them sitting for decades without movement. I still plan to install three sub footing pylons to give a little extra anchor just in case on the down slop side. I have three retaining wall terraces on the beginning up slop of the property and each will have its own surface and subsurface drainage. I will also have footing drains throughout. I have built a lot on hillsides. I have always focused on getting as much of the surface water away as possible and making sure there is no reservoir buildup underground. The great part about the CIF systems is it is a precision calculation of material and weight. My upper story is light weight so I have been thinking in terms of around a 23 inch footing. There is a central wall in the basement to manage the floor joists. This wall is a buttress to the up slope retaining back wall.

I have an Architect as require by the municipality but because there are no inspections they simply draw the plans to pass the requirement and there after you are on your own. Most homes are built by owners who have known knowledge of construction and do not even seem to have access to the internet. The home I rent here is so poorly constructed I would have had to of plan to make the worst home ever constructed. I have a studio on the upper story and I need to sweep the floors once a week to collect the concrete dust from me walking on the floors. Live here long enough there would be traffic grooves in the floor. I printed up a flyer on the composition of concrete and how to mix it and handed it out. To be honest I have never owned a cement mixer our batch plants are so cheap in the states you have to be crazy to mix. There is a batch plant about 4 miles from my lot but no one uses it. In fact I met with the man who imports the CIF system I am going to use which is a Hungarian system and he showed me a bunch of picture of people hand building with CIF block. When I saw it I said you cannot do this, it does not work and he said he knew. I asked if he had ever pumped an insulation he said no you will be the first. Amazing!

This country wastes more concrete then I have seen anywhere in the world. They believe concrete is stronger just by adding more cement. When I talk to engineers and Architects they tell me something does not look strong enough, there seems to be no math in it just a feeling. So when they get this feeling they make it bigger. When they build with wood there standard 2x4 is a 6x6 and I have even heard them say a 6x6 is not big enough. I have a hand mixed retaining wall in the back of the house I rent that is almost two feet thick and it is crumpling. They do have grading standards on wood but no one grades it and no stamps. The batch plant is the same as any in the world and even the cost is the same at about 60 euro a cubic meter but no one uses it.

So probably enough rambling for one night. I would like to get some feedback on installation of CIF system which again is what I am using for my daylight basement. The system I am using is called thermo block and is made in Hungary. It’s cavity is five and a half inches thick. The height of the walls is ten feet. My upper story is post and beam construction laced with straw bail. I will be building trusses for a roof system. Overall a relatively light weight structure. Any tricks I can hear on the use of CÍF systems would be great and also any feedback on the footing. I will excavate around the first of May. Thanks again very nice to have someone to talk too.
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:32 PM   #7
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


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Welcome to CT. What a challenge that is, I can't imagine. What took you there, family, female? What happens if the final inspection says the framing won't do? I'd be a nervous wreck.
There is a short list of inspections. They check the location of the corners of the house so it matches survey, they check the location of your windows and the size. The do not check the framing nor any part of the structure. In most cases I think if they checked a house they would make you tear it down. The house I am renting has so much concrete in it if you had to tear it down, all hand mixed, you would either need to blow it up or get a wrecking ball. The part about how I got to Serbia I answered in another post if you want to take a look. Thanks for the welcome
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:46 PM   #8
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


Welcome!!!

I too am Yugoslavian. Mom, Dad, Grand Parents, Great Grand Parents and so on all Yugoslavian. They all speak Serbian and pretty much the only words I could understand was when I was in trouble....

Family has property on the Adriatic Sea, although I have never been there.

I'm also the first guy in the family not to marry a Yugoslavian girl...

Where in Oregon did you build?

Good Luck with your project.
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:40 PM   #9
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


There was a guy on here, don't know if he's still around, who did almost exclusively ICF building. Name was Chris, I think.

Anyone remember that guy? I think the pip-squeak worked for him?


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Old 03-21-2017, 05:48 PM   #10
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


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Originally Posted by Seven-Delta-FortyOne View Post
There was a guy on here, don't know if he's still around, who did almost exclusively ICF building. Name was Chris, I think.

Anyone remember that guy? I think the pip-squeak worked for him?


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Old 03-21-2017, 07:18 PM   #11
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


Joasis knows icf stuff pretty damn well. I went back and forth with him a couple times because my sister was thinking about doing it on her property.

Chris and the young guy who busts his ass do everything in icf right?

Anyhow, get ahold of Joasis, he's on here often and is willing to give little pointers. He did tell me you have to be real careful with Windows and doors. The whole thing is not quite as easy as it looks, takes planning and forethought.

By the way, your English is nearly flawless for being gone so long. Welcome.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:46 PM   #12
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


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This country wastes more concrete then I have seen anywhere in the world. They believe concrete is stronger just by adding more cement. When I talk to engineers and Architects they tell me something does not look strong enough, there seems to be no math in it just a feeling. So when they get this feeling they make it bigger. When they build with wood there standard 2x4 is a 6x6 and I have even heard them say a 6x6 is not big enough. I have a hand mixed retaining wall in the back of the house I rent that is almost two feet thick and it is crumpling. They do have grading standards on wood but no one grades it and no stamps. The batch plant is the same as any in the world and even the cost is the same at about 60 euro a cubic meter but no one uses it.
Lordy, that doesn't read much different that what I grew up with. Nobody knew up from down, so more must be gooder, and they all would rather be shot at dawn than spend one dime on a pro outfit or a plant to do something when they could jury-rig up some horse-ch!t mess that "kinda-sorta looks right"..

Good luck! I have many, many Serb, Yug, Albanian acquaintances - and they are all ass-busting fools. Love 'em all.
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Old 03-22-2017, 03:36 PM   #13
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


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Originally Posted by Seven-Delta-FortyOne View Post
There was a guy on here, don't know if he's still around, who did almost exclusively ICF building. Name was Chris, I think.

Anyone remember that guy? I think the pip-squeak worked for him?


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From my understanding the footings have a one to two percent tolerance with a . I met with the guy who imports the stuff. He will help in installation but I have a feeling he does not really know what he is doing. He showed me a warehouse he built to store the materials and he had gotten off on the first course. He should have done some leveling Crete to correct it. It was pretty messed up by the time he got to the top. They did not machine pour it so he got away with it but of course the whole thing would be rock pockets.

I found a laser on an ebay type web site here for 60 bucks, infrared and older German model made from aluminum and includes the receiver. During excavation I will also set up a water level as a backup so I do not hold up the backhoe with an un proven device. I drove to Czech republic last year , bought a Sawzal, a chop saw and some trowels. I finally found a finish trowel in a shop that was covered with dust and might have been there since communist times. I ordered an edging trowel from the UK because there are none here and sculpted a wax of a grooving tool I will cast in epoxy because I could not find one in the country and most people did not even know what it was for. I bought a 30 year old Estwing 24oz framing hammer on ebay and had it shipped here as there is nothing like that here. There is a house below me that just had a covered patio built and the old man who framed it, Complete 6x6 construction, wall and roof, he used a chainsaw for the cuts and his hammer he has had for thirty years is a small ax, very sharp with a small hammer head on it. When he pounds a nail the axe head come inches from is forehead. The chainsaw cuts were absolute poetry!
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Old 03-22-2017, 03:59 PM   #14
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Lordy, that doesn't read much different that what I grew up with. Nobody knew up from down, so more must be gooder, and they all would rather be shot at dawn than spend one dime on a pro outfit or a plant to do something when they could jury-rig up some horse-ch!t mess that "kinda-sorta looks right"..

Good luck! I have many, many Serb, Yug, Albanian acquaintances - and they are all ass-busting fools. Love 'em all.
Hi do you know anyone in Novi Sad who is a balls to the wall kind of guy. I could use some good help. These people are some of the more stubborn people I have ever met. I can tell you my grandfather was this and my father too. Everyone one here knows exactly what they are doing. Me I am on a construction forum tying to make sense of what I am doing. If there is anything that is truly American that is it. Question authority and innovate.

My grandfather Bokich was a fighter in Chicago, literally he was a pro. I grew up believing the Yugoslavian people were fighters. In the states we do not like something we protest. i come to Serbia and watch everyone just roll over, got to say What happened? I appreciate your connection and hope to hear more from you, take care
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:08 PM   #15
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Welcome!!!

I too am Yugoslavian. Mom, Dad, Grand Parents, Great Grand Parents and so on all Yugoslavian. They all speak Serbian and pretty much the only words I could understand was when I was in trouble....

Family has property on the Adriatic Sea, although I have never been there.

I'm also the first guy in the family not to marry a Yugoslavian girl...

Where in Oregon did you build?

Good Luck with your project.
I built in Eugene. You should take some time out to go find your roots and check out the place on the sea. american have a tendency to not find time off. I am very guilty of this. Anything I can do to help you just ask.
Take care
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:01 PM   #16
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Re: Building A House In Serbia - Stranger In A Strange Land


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Hi do you know anyone in Novi Sad who is a balls to the wall kind of guy. I could use some good help. These people are some of the more stubborn people I have ever met. I can tell you my grandfather was this and my father too. Everyone one here knows exactly what they are doing. Me I am on a construction forum tying to make sense of what I am doing. If there is anything that is truly American that is it. Question authority and innovate.

My grandfather Bokich was a fighter in Chicago, literally he was a pro. I grew up believing the Yugoslavian people were fighters. In the states we do not like something we protest. i come to Serbia and watch everyone just roll over, got to say What happened? I appreciate your connection and hope to hear more from you, take care
Oh yeah, I know people in Novi. That's the busiest area in our state right now. I had breakfast with the fella that runs the sewer & water dept over there & he says they cannot keep up with permits & new runs & need to run a new main trunk because of the incredible growth.

I'm a first gen American myself. Old man came here from Germany after WWI. He's same way - fighter, bad to the bone. Question everybody and everything, and no man or woman is to be bowed to or treated like royalty - that's exactly what got Germany into trouble in both wars - the citizens all just bent over and let the high-asses ruin the country & take it into wars it could not win.

Yet the same citizens that would act like sheep when it came to politics would do the same stupid stubborn ch!t their parents and grandparents and generations before did - never changing, never adapting, never improving.

So yeah, watch your back over there. Because you are upsetting the natural order of things.

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