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Checklist for Your Earth Sheltered Home

Phases I & II

Phase I:

Visit an Earth Sheltered home (contact us for available locations).

Read the articles on our website to be well-informed.

Do not sign ANY land contracts before talking to us—-we may be able to save you money!

Estimate $115.00/square foot for basic home, with owner completing some of the work with allowances, higher for more customized finishing. $30.00/square foot for shell (in state of Texas), with concrete and pumper allowances. Homes built more than 40 miles away incur additional costs of travel / lodging expenses and per diem for crew plus equipment moving expense. (Additional charges will apply for out-of-state.)

Consider financing: If by owner, Conrad’s Castles Construction requires proof of financial capability from banking institution. If by lender, Lender may require plans with certain specifications. Owner must get those exact instructions to Conrad’s Castles Construction.

Acquire suitable land (one acre or more). An east-facing home site is preferable for southern United States. Northern Homes face South.

  1. Check with your county NCRS agent (that is your local county agent—call county clerk if you can not locate them). By your “911” address, he can identify your land as types of soil, characteristics of soil, flood plains, topo, etc
  2. Then check your land for type of sewer needed (public or percolation) —get cost estimates —you do not want a private sewer other than percolation type – it is too costly initially and maintenance wise.
  3. Then check your land for electrical service—there maybe an unexpected cost.
  4. Then check for cable, internet service, and phone
  5. Then check for water availability—public water is not always the best–nor is a well so check it out—both have cost tags
  6. Then have a representative from your local concrete plaint visit your site —- check for access, all weather road, turn around space, clean up, tree heights, and any other foreseeable cost problem. Please note, if the concrete company has a problem – they will bill you!
  7. Call me if you have any questions——I want to help you keep your costs down.

Engineered soil analysis is recommended. We require a number for psf (pounds per sq/ft) bearing capacity of your soil and no expanded clay. Expanded clay must be treated before we arrive at job site. This is Owners responsibility and further Owner indemnifies and holds harmless Conrad’s Castles Construction, agent, and heirs for all soil conditions.

Homework: Spouses do separate His and Hers “personality homework” for your dream home.

  1. Get 3-ring notebook, paper and dividers.
  2. Create dividers for
    1. Our Home
    2. Questions and Concerns
    3. Continue making dividers for EVERY ROOM in your home, including walk-in closets, and even separate rooms as the garage if it is to have multi-purpose use as a workshop, garden area, etc.
  3. Add large envelope to each divider if you have additional pictures, notes, or ideas you want to save for that room.
  4. Each notebook page is initialed by one spouse as his/her homework.
  5. For each room, each spouse takes a notebook sheet, divides sheet vertically, down the middle. On left at top, write “Needs/Wants”. On right side, write “Concerns/Things I do not want”. Example: no acrylic sink.
  6. Make a 365-day, 24/7 analysis of your home use. How are you using this room? When are you using this room? How many people use this room? Do you have pets?

Consider services for your property (electricity, water, gas, telephone/internet, sewer or septic), future considerations.

  • What services are already available?
  • Determine costs to acquire necessary services for your site.

Call city/county to inquire about necessary permits.

Call/ask County Health Dept for sewer help. Ask what type of sewer is 
            available (you want “standard percolation system”).


Phase II:

Contact Ralph Smoot (Conrad’s Castles Construction) for site analysis at (512) 844-8820. Ralph visits your property and discusses your hopes, plans and budget with you. Within 40 miles of Bastrop, Texas, minimum of $300. Outside this area, $300 per day plus all travel expenses and $1.25/mile.

Preliminary Construction Contract is reviewed and signed at the time of the site analysis. Payment is made for site analysis and preliminary drawings. Cost for drawings is determined by the size of the home.

RCS prepares preliminary structural design based on “personality homework”, site conditions, and ensuing discussions.

RCS submits preliminary design to owners for reevaluation.

Owners review preliminary plans in light of their “homework”, then call Conrad’s Castles Construction within thirty days to finalize the plans, which would include the following:

  • Furniture placement
  • Convenient and adequate electrical switches and lighting
  • Window placement, optional skylights
  • Systems for security, media, intercom
  • Laundry facility
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Hobby area
  • Cabinet configurations
  • Architectural look
  • Future expansion considerations

Conrad’s Castles Construction completes final drawings and submits three sets to owners.