Habitat schedules blitz build for Oct. 2

Published 2:04 pm Thursday, September 24, 2009

Two days may not seem like much time, especially to build an entire house.

However, for two days, starting on Oct. 2 and ending on the morning of Oct. 4, Pearl River County Habitat for Humanity will try to do just that on North Haugh Avenue.

More than 400 people are expected to volunteer their time at varying points during those 48 hours to help erect the most rapidly built Habitat for Humanity home in Pearl River County. While the effort will use mostly volunteer labor, professionals will be on hand.

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“We definitely have licensed contractors for all mechanical (work),” Donna Fischer with Habitat said.

Fischer said this will be the first time Pearl River County Habitat has attempted to build a home that rapidly.

Volunteers to help achieve that goal are expected to come from local churches, youth groups, schools and Villanova University in Pennsylvania. Fischer said this will be the university’s seventh trip to the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina and six of those trips have been to Pearl River County. The local Homebuilder’s Association members will lend some of their time to the effort. Nurses from Slidell Memorial Hospital also will be at the site to ensure everyone’s health.

To build a home in that short of a period, three weeks of planning was required for the effort, which included forming a time schedule for each step of construction. Fischer said the licensed contractors who are donating their time to do the mechanical work sat down and formed a schedule, estimating how much time would be needed to get it all done, hour by hour.

Work will be done in shifts, and Fischer said the schedule has been set to have the noisiest work completed by 11 p.m. Friday.

“We did think about the noise,” Fischer said.

Most of the residents have been advised of the impending effort and about 15 of those residents have even offered to hold food for the volunteers in their refrigerators.

Alvin Carter, Picayune’s building code inspector will be on call during the building process to check the house periodically as it is constructed, Fischer said.

This will be the eleventh home built by Habitat for Humanity in Pearl River County since Hurricane Katrina.

Those who are interested in helping in the effort are asked to sign a waiver the day they show up to volunteer. After they sign the waiver and undergo a safety briefing, they will be given a Habitat for Humanity shirt. Fischer said no one will be allowed to work on the home unless they have signed the waiver, undergone the safety briefing and are wearing their Habitat shirt.

While 48 hours seems like a short time to build a home, Habitat’s record goes to a home built in Georgia in less than three-and-a-half hours in 2002, according to http://www.habitat.org/how/history/timeline/timeline9.aspx?print=true.

Video documentation of Pearl River County’s effort will be done by Dave Walker with the Bay-Waveland Habitat for Humanity.

Studs to help build the home were signed and donated by the Poplarville United Methodist Church and a hot water heater was donated by Picayune’s Rotary Club, Fischer said.