Bad reno day........big mistakes

sanjuangirlJune 13, 2013

My reno has taken on a life of it's own. We're really behind schedule and I think i've lost faith in my contractor. I came home today and my banquette was built, I'm thinking good, at least something's complete. But Wait, No! It's both too tall and too short. How can this be? It was supposed to be 20 inches high WITH the cushion of 4 inches, it's 20 inches high with no cushion. It also was supposed to be around 20 inches deep, but I wanted to play with the dimensions before it was finalized. I Came home from work and it was built, 18 inches deep, a bit of which is under the window casement. It's installed and attached to the wall.

It's just another in a series of mistakes. Some are mine, some are theirs. Mostly it's just a series of miscommunications.

Sorry for the bummer rant. I'm tired, and feel like I'm bleeding both time and money. Hope you all had a better day.

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Holly- Kay

So sorry sanjuan. It is so frustrating to pay good money for a series of mishaps and mistakes.

My reno has been fraught with errors. It just seems to be never ending, though today I am feeling much better about the way things are shaping up.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day and there won't be any glitches.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 12:03AM
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Thanks Holly Kay. Glad your day went well
There are so many moving parts in a renovation like this. Perhaps it's too much doing 3 baths, the kitchen and the staircase all at once.
I try to keep reminding myself that it will be worth it in the end.
Good luck, I'm anxious to see your Whitehaven in place and, of course, the rest of your kitchen!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 8:18AM
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Sorry to hear about your bad day...I feel like no project is without issues. Maybe this will be the last one for you.

I feel like ours is just dragging on but I think the end is in sight.

Wishing you smooth sailing!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Holly- Kay

Sanjuan, just sending you some good wishes for today! I love your AOGG quote!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Here's a suggestion that might help. I always tape a design drawing with dimensions and detail sheets to each of the walls to serve as the master communication tool for both homeowners and the trades. If there needs to be any changes due to site conditions or just a change of mind, the changes have to be signed off on by each of the trades involved in the changes. Everyone gets a different colored pen, color coded. Then it's easy to see at a glance who hasn't signed off on the change.

Then new design documents are posted on top of the old, with the date of the change. That maintains a record of the past decisions, but emphasizes that there are changes to pay attention to.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 11:22AM
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Thanks Live wire. We really needed this but most of the workers speak no English and my gc that does, is not around much....

Thanks rkb21 and holly kay, I need all the good wishes coming my way especially since today is template day for my counters.

Hopefully we'll all have good days and make progress in the right direction!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 11:39AM
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I feel for you, sanjuan girl (should I say que lastima, lo siento). I don't know if this will help, but to gain time to make sure I could make decisions, I put a "24 hour cooling off period" on all questions. My GC had to warn me 24 hours before he needed to know something (mainly so I could ask GW). I also took to putting all communications in writing because he would forget what I said.

Hope today goes better.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 1:05PM
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sanjuangirl - you need to check templates, edges, sink cutout, seams, layout of your counter tops in person. Trust no one.

Make sure the fabricator and his company are liable for both labor and material if anything goes wrong.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 1:16PM
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" It also was supposed to be around 20 inches deep, but I wanted to play with the dimensions before it was finalized." .... and who was supposed to sign off on the drawings to finalize them?

You need to get the lines of communications straight, and the playing with dimensions done before you start, because it's costing you time and hassle and money with the do-overs.

Even if they speak little to no English, the carpinteros can understand the numbers on the drawings, and the drawings. I've seen Mexican mechanics digging through German auto manuals to see what to do with a Mercedes and they figured it out. I've trained semi-illiterate workers in Mexico and they usually could read far more words than they could write.

Buy this book:

it's priceless!

Or this one:

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 1:57PM
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My sympathies. My reno has also been painful. Unanticipated expenses due to what we found in the walls, an incredibly slow contractor, can lights installed too close to the trim, and I just found a ding in the new cabinet when I was about to finally start putting some stuff in it (even before anything's signed off). I thought I'd hired the best but the GC has just not earned his fees. Not sure how to handle it. He actually said, look, instead of this ugly ceiling trim (!!!) let's do a stepped-up flat molding that will have a thinner profile. It took me about an hour to say, no, fix the effing mistake--I assume the electrician won't charge me for that. He said, not sure. WHAT????? No guidance on anything. What an expensive mistake--should have been my own GC; I couldn't have done a worse job.

For you, because the height of the banquette should be right, the contractor owes you a do-over (would not for your not being able to play with dimensions unless that was agreed) but he will probably make you pay somehow.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:33PM
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Holly- Kay

Ashe, that is the problem. If a GC makes a mistake and there needs to be a do over they will find a way to add the cost somewhere else.

I had total trust in my KD as this is our second project together. I could have saved myself a lot of grief by putting less trust in him and taken more responsibility myself. It is all turning out okay but it would have been way less stressful if I had insisted on weekly meetings and more communcation from him.

I lost all my oak window trim above the sink because he didn't take that into consideration in his plans. He is going to split the cost on replacing the oak with maple that matches my cabinets. I loved the trim around the window but I do think the maple will look better. I will also lose a custom built oak shelf that is above the breakfast area doors because I can't get my cabinet open from that side unless I take the shelf down. I may just decide to not try to access the cabinet from that side.

All in all I think it will look good but honestly I am disgusted that we ran into issues like this with a seasoned KD. I truly expected a flawless install. Unrealistic huh?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 3:05PM
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I was unrealistic too. I had a way cheaper quote and decided to pay up because I trusted them--simply because I'd written an article about them, liked them, and thought they were great. What I found out is that they probably are great at building big expensive houses but should not have taken on a 'small' (to them) project. I have never done this before and didn't have the time to do all the research I should have done. So I went with the glowing refs and assumed that everything would be installed fast and carefully and that I would be free of supervising. Apparently no-one wrote anything down. Receptacles in the wrong place, no whole house water filter, and after spending hours discussing how the countertop alkaline water filter worked, the plumbing contractor had never actually figured out how to install it...his subcontractor had to take hours more. Three freaking months later...I guess I have another article to write. I got so frustrated over the disconnects that I hired and paid the flooring contractor myself--why the heck would I pay contractor's fees for absolutely no input?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 5:31PM
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It seems more and more that using a GC is a waste of the homeowner's time and money. Yes, I am sure that there are good ones that earn their profit margin, but so many stories of GC's who are really just passing the work on to subs, taking a cut for themselves and taking NO responsibility for the work! Yikes!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 11:33AM
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No kidding. I could write a book. Found all kinds of issues yesterday--lots of things aren't centered properly. New windows were smaller than old windows, so they managed to install them wildly off center to sink. A little more care and thought would have prevented lots of little things that add up to an 'off' kitchen. Think I have to chalk it up to learning experience. Next time I definitely wouldn't bother with a GC. And let me tell you, these guys have a great rep.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 1:38PM
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I have a similar opinion....for people that are very detail-oriented and particular about how their projects are done - you have to act as GC alongside your GC if you want everything done properly. Even with good, pleasant tradespeople doing the work, DH or I had to be around to make sure everything was done properly. I would not even trust detailed written drawings without physically being able to pop in during the process to make sure it was going okay.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:49PM
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