Building a New House in Wildfire-Prone Region
We suddenly find ourselves needing to build a new home and don’t quite know where to begin. Our home burned to the ground in the September wildfires just outside Portland, Oregon. We’re planning to rebuild on the existing home site. I had never expected to build a new house, only to gradually improve the 60 year old home we had. That’s all changed now.
The information shared on Green Building Advisor has been truly impressive in the ~5 years I’ve been reading this site. I’ve seen some great advice here from building professionals and I’m hoping to tap a bit of your expertise. I genuinely appreciate any guidance you can provide on the following questions:
1. Who should we talk to first: an architect? A design/build firm?
2. We know we want a high performance house. Passive House is great but I’m thinking maybe a Pretty Good House is adequate for our mild climate (climate zone 4C). Do you disagree?
3. Carl Seville’s articles on construction quality have me spooked. Since neither of us are building professionals, what do you recommend and the best way to identify a reliable builder who will take quality seriously?
4. If you were shopping for building professionals for your own house, what questions would you ask to identify the right firms for your project?
5. What questions do you wish your customers would ask you when they’re shopping for building professionals?
Sorry to ask such naive questions but this has thrown me completely beyond my comfort zone. I sincerely appreciate any advise you wish to offer.