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Progress and Setbacks

Posted by jeff2013 (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 1:51

We broke ground over 2 months ago and framing is about to be finished sometime next week.

I had planned for a lot of pictures and even thought about a building blog. Somehow I could not do it. Sometime I became too excited when progress was being made. Most of the time, there were problems that needs too much of my attention (and nerves).

Example issues we run into so far.
1. Dirt contractor walked away after he literally left behind him a big hole. He said sorry that he did not expect the difficulty of the work. Too bad the builder gave him 1/3 of deposit. We lost money and over 3 weeks of time there.

2. Concrete contractor did not follow engineer's plan to dig trenches. At first, we thought they used the designer's foundation plan instead of the engineer's plan. Too much information was given to them. Later, we realized that it is a mix of both plan and they also made their own changes without builder/owner/engineer's permission. I don't know how big the problem is. However, we spent a lot of time and money in dealing with soil test, engineered slab to deal with the fat clay soil. The interior load bearing beams should be positioned to support second floor walls. Some of them are off by 6-12 inches (besides some of the trenches from the designer's plan should not be there). The engineer was called for a site visit and corrections are made. Site visit fee, more concrete and steel cost.

3. Truss manufacturer made duct opening too short. Upon reviewing the truss layout, I realized that the head clearance of the first three steps could be made bigger than the minimum code requirement as in the plan. This could be easily achieved by changing three trusses depth from 24 to 12 over the stairs ONLY. However, they made the three trusses all 12 inch deep. Excluding the top and bottom cords, we only have 9 in duct opening. The engineer from the truss company was called in to identify a solution and problem got fixed quickly without extra cost to us.

4. Framing is slow as they only have half crew on our site. We complained they once had full crew showed up early in the morning. They only worked half day as some lumber pieces were not there. Apparently the framer/builder thought they had everything ready. The contract had planned 2 weeks for framing and we are now looking at least 4 weeks.

5. Roof framing problem. I realized there was a problem when the eaves from the garage and the ones from patio are at different height. Off by about 5 inches. That is not the case on the elevation plan. The framer and builder think they did not do anything wrong. When two walls share the same plate height and they have different pitches and same roof overhang, the eaves cannot be at the same height. After I sent a picture to the designer and asked him. He said that there was a drop of 3 1/2 inch in the patio on foundation plan. Therefore, same ceiling height of 9ft implies different plate height. That seems to make sense but it is not every clear on the plan.

Anyway, I proposed to make larger overhang in breakfast area so that the roof will meet the garage at the same height and the increased overhang would protect the door from rain and heat. The builder and I asked the framer to figure out a way to break roof height at the other side of the breakfast area as we do not like to have over hangs of 4ft over the entire patio. The framer made a mistake in that section of the roof by trying to make the two roof meets with a slanted eave and crooked roof.

I just figured out a fix to this problem and would tell the framer and builder how to make the correction tomorrow.

I am starting to think that thing would not happen as expected is the new expectation. Hopefully we would be prepared.

In the meantime, we need to make a lot of decisions soon. Bricks, roofs, ceiling designs, rough-ins. I am right now doing central vacuum systems piping with hide a hose. I plan to run structured wiring for cable, network, and home theater. I would also install surveillance cameras myself. I am not sure if I shall hire somebody to wire the intercom or do it my self.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Progress and Setbacks

Things are bound to happen... we broke ground in March and we still do not have a completed roof as of yet. Sometimes I even wonder if anyone is following the plan or simply looking at pictures and doing there own thing. But too far along to look back. I keep thinking about being in for the Holidays.
I wish you the best of luck and hang in there. Glad you have come up with an idea to fix the framing problem.

RE: Progress and Setbacks

jeff- our framers went off plan until we caught them at it and had them tear it out. It was at our expense though, one way or another. They did, however- stop improvising as much when they realized we were paying attention to the details.

The crew leader actually had the gall to tell me he went off the architect's plans beacuse he thought our neighbors would like his ideas better. No kidding.

RE: Progress and Setbacks

colleennc and musicgal, thanks for your comments! It is hard as I do not know a whole lot about home construction. I am paying money to have the professionals do the work for me. It worries me when people are not following the plans / standards.

New problems that I noticed over the week
1. Drywall was installed over the garage ceiling with nails only. Are they supposed to be installed with nails?
2. Windows were installed without sealant before the fins are nailed to the frame. When I questioned the framer and the builder, both said that is the right way to do. They said there would be peel and seal flashing from outside and foam poly seal from inside and guarantee water would not get in. However, the manufacturer's instructions require the sealant. Another thing, they use fewer nails as required. For example, one bottom has no nails except the two at the corners. I am afraid the vinyl window would fall off if I push them hard.

On the positive side, we do have a roofer now. They are starting the underlayment and plan to cover the deck by tomorrow.

I am almost done with central vacuum piping myself. Would start working on some low voltage wiring next week.

 photo 0817_zps7a2fcc69.jpg

RE: Progress and Setbacks

Hi Jeff,

Sorry to hear about your stresses. Our framers and other subs often did not go according to plan either. We did not always catch their mistakes as soon as they were made, and in some cases have had to live with the mistakes that were made. It seems many subs struggle with reading construction drawings and the head guys are not always on site. Often times they just looked at the elevation pictures and did their best, but missed lots of important details.

It sounds like you are doing some of the work yourself. My DH is as well. It is a steep learning curve. Hope things go smoother.


RE: Progress and Setbacks

Jeff, isn't exciting to see your house take shape? I like the way your roof is turning out. Good luck!

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