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Hurricane Katrina

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Gulf Coast House
(Destroyed by Katrina)

LeConte Lodge


When building a house, you must use several sub-contractors, or, tradesmen.  Each of these folks has a specialty and each does one part of the construction process.

Subs, as they are known, will make or break the job.  Subs vary -- some are two guys in a pickup truck who roam around looking for work, others are experienced, serious, and are insured and licensed.  We spent three months asking people who had built their own houses, asking builders, and asking the local building codes enforcement people about subs.  We then compiled their recommendations and interviewed subs.  Here are some guidelines we used in selecting subs:

  • Is he licensed and bonded?  If not, stop the conversation right there.
  • Does he carry workman's compensation insurance?  If not, and one of his workmen is injured (or does a good job of faking an injury) you will be liable for thousands of dollars of medical costs and damages.  Do not deal with a sub who does not have workman's comp AND get a copy of his current insurance certificate -- keep it for your files.
  • Will the sub provide a list of references -- people for whom he has worked before?  If not, stop the conversation right there.
  • Does he want money up front before starting work?  If so, stop the conversation.  There is no problem paying draws -- that is, a sub will divide the work into phases and ask that you pay so much as each phase is completed and inspected.  But DO NOT give anyone money up front -- some subs use cash that you give them to finish another job -- don't pay for anything that's not completed and inspected.
  • Will he provide you with a written estimate that you and he sign to make a contract?
  • When the work is finished, will he sign a release of lien -- this is a document that says you don't owe him anything further and he has no claim on your property.

Our subs

Here is a list of the subs we are using.  Each of them meets the above requirements.

Trade Sub-contractor
General contractor Rose and Joe Schlatter, owner-builders
Plans, design John Bolian, JBDesignBuild, Bay Saint Louis, MS
On-site portable toilet Port-A-Let, Kiln, MS
Clear lot, fill, grade, final grade Kiln Trucking (Charles Henley), Kiln, MS
Concrete work Elzy Concrete (Martin Elzy), Bay Saint Louis, MS (BSL)
Plumbing Ronnie Ferrel Plumbing,   BSL
Electrical Necaise Electrical (Jim Necaise), BSL
Termite treatment Phillips Pest Control, BSL (Fill under the slab must be treated before pouring concrete.)
Framing LaFontaine Construction (Shane, Cory, Craig, and Little Jimmie), Waveland, MS
Roofing Ingram Roofing, Gulfport, MS
Siding and exterior trim LaFontaine Construction (Shane, Cory, Craig, and Little Jimmie), Waveland, MS
Painting (exterior and interior) Doing myself
Hang sheetrock Dexter Smith, BSL
Finish sheetrock Mike Smith, Waveland, MS
Insulation Doing myself
Flooring Bay Carpet, BSL
Cabinets and countertops Grimes Cabinets and Countertops, D'Iberville, MS
Bathroom vanity tops Lighthouse Marble, D'Iberville, MS
Appliances A-1 Appliance and Electronics, Slidell, LA
Final cleanup Doing myself
Landscaping Doing ourselves
General labor Doing myself



We are using the following suppliers.  After drawing up materials lists -- or using the materials lists provided by the subs -- we shopped the materials lists around with several materials suppliers.  Here are the results.

Material Supplier
Fill dirt Kiln Trucking (Charles Henley), Kiln, MS
Concrete Gulf Concrete, Waveland, MS
Form material Home Depot, Gulfport, MS
Framing lumber and materials Home Depot
Bailey's Building Materials, BSL
Plumbing supplies, bathtubs, showers Southern Pipe and Supply, Gulfport and BSL
Electrical supplies Monti Electric, BSL
Home Depot
Shingles Bailey's
Siding Home Depot (HardiPlank, HardiTrim)
Flooring Bay Carpet, BSL (Hardwood flooring, carpet, ceramic tile)
Doors Phillips Building Supplies, Gulfport, MS (They have their own door shop.)
Windows Home Depot (Alliance premium grade vinyl windows)


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