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This whole experience - WHEW!!

Posted by wwwonderwhiskers (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 29, 11 at 13:26

We were VERY prepared with everything.

My BIGGEST disappointment has been in Humans and Companies.

The ONLY companies we have not had to do Mortal Combat with have been:
- the delightful Lighting supplier in Chantilly - Dominion Electric;
- the delightful site-finished flooring folks in Woodbridge - Vanover's;
- the rock-star Granite folks in Ashburn - Dominion Granite & Marble.
- the fabulous stonemasons - Greco Masonry.

EVERYBODY ELSE we have had to second guess, third guess, hold their hand, argue with, and repeatedly send the information OVER and OVER and OVER again. Their work has been faulty, broken, leaking, incorrectly installed, incorrectly ordered, the wrong piece, the wrong color, the wrong ROOM, the wrong location, or they have destroyed their OWN work while installing, or destroyed their adjoining work while installing. Or my favorite "oh, uh, we didn't realize that was a "custom" (fill-in-the-blank), so it cannot be ordered within the timeline. Was there anything else that you wanted?" YES - FOR YOU TO GROW A BRAIN!!! ARE WE YOUR FIRST CUSTOMER??? That delightful happenstance was with ABW - Appliance Builder's Warehouse in Ashburn, VA. Thank HEAVENS their "rep" left for another job - but only after spacing out our oven order (which - if people had talked - we would have had PLENTY of time to get the correct color). The other was with the builder - "yes, we can get white oak".... wait, wait, wait, don't order yet, wait wait wait, go on vacation, wait wait.... oh sorry, white oak is a custom order which we don't have time for now - would you like Red oak??" NO!! I wanted white!!! And since there has been further delays, if you had ordered the white oak when you found out that it was a custom order, rather than tap dancing for two weeks, WE COULD HAVE HAD IT BY NOW!

I just assumed that most people had some reasonable intelligence with most things. I am wholeheartedly disappointed. This entire process has taken me to places that I do NOT want to go within myself - and I was prepared!!! Maybe I assumed that "be prepared" meant "know what you want to go where & when". Guess I didn't realize that "be prepared" meant 'be prepared to deal with complete morons and idiots who are in Sales, Rep, and VP positions. And I've heard that people who make this craft their living are not rocket scientists, but holy Heavens - do they know how to tie their own shoes????? These people are funding college educations in Ivy League schools and have beach houses - and you cannot Answer a simple question or explain your quote? Not just one - but ALL OF YOU.

Now the Propane Mafia in Northern VA is up to bat - not only were they total Mafioso in their dealings, but now they install a leaky regulator? If you give us one iota of grief, or try to bill us for an emergency call (when we have not even moved IN yet) I will come visit you in person - my husband is MUCH nicer. And who was the idiot who put a NG regulator on the line joining the Propane tank to the generator??? There are 7 other homes in the neighborhood, and we are MILES away from any NG pipes - were we your first house Sweetheart??

All this compounded by a builder's biz mgr to whom we have had to explain what the word "communicate" means. And his father - The Builder - is a magnificent framer, who does not know enough to surround himself with quality Teams, then nurture them to Success, but surrounds himself with people who make him feel smart, whome he can berate, and who deal with his yelling at them all the time. And who DOES NOT understand yet the fine line between:
1.) I am building a high end Spec home, so I can put anything I want in it, and wow - lookie lookie - I already have a buyer!! and
2.) I am building YOUR custom high end home. I will do ANYTHING you want in that home (as long as you pay), no matter what my opinion of it is, or how stupid I think it is - if YOU want it, I will do it.

BIG difference those two.

And while I have been typing this for your entertainment or information, I have seen an email from the banker, that the builder's biz mgr has not yet gotten back with her on something - so AGAIN he is not communicating.

Freaking unbelieveable....... I gotta go pack.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

Wow....what an experience!!! But, hopefully once you get in the house, you'll be able to relax at the island or bar or wherever the designated spot for alcoholic beverages happens to be :)(btw...I have heard about tons of issues with ABW, so I'm not surprised there)

Where are you building? We are getting ready to start building in Leesburg....

RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

Close. Near Gilber's Crossroads. HIGHLY recommend the Granite folks - they have a fun FB page too. You should at least meet with them - they've done some incredible stuff in the area - we are small potatoes, and they did rock star job.

But then, we found them. ABW was the Builder's recommended supplier. We found Vanover's - excellent there too. Would be happy to let you know separately which Vendors if you need to know - let me know.

RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

I may take you up on that as we start going through the details! We are waiting on permits now, and I've still got the interior details/selections to figure out..ugh! My email is aklalexander at verizon dot net.


RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

So TODAY'S fiasco....

Well Sears was a no-show for the W&D, but what else is new? Besides that, I hear that the front door has been stained. DH says "it's dark. it's REAL dark. what color was it supposed to be?"
Mahogany. Should look light cordovan. black cherry. spilled pommegranite juice. something along those lines. Like our bedroom dresser.

It's normal wood-grained, fiberglass door & we chose Mahogany stain with black wrought iron strap-hinges & hardware. Therma-Tru Classic Craft Rustic (without the little brad-looking dot hardware things, but yes to the strap-hinges).
We enforced the "USE CORRECT STAIN" after one of the other neighbors had "stain drama" on her door. I had actually seen the stain package on site, so I knew they had actually ordered the correct stain, and not rely on the painter to use whatever was in his truck.

To make a long story short, the painter did not do the stain correctly - he left it on too long, or something. So everyone says it is VERY very dark almost black brown with touch of reddish, and that the woodgrain underneath is ruined. DH, builder, super, biz mgr, everyone is pissed off & gonna make the painter buy us a new door & re-do it.

Just another feature of the house which has to be Re-Done. I am numb by now. At least we don't have to go to the matt for this one.

*sigh* back to packing......

RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

Wow I need a glass of wine just reading about it! I'm so glad your granite was done really well. (I've read sad stories about people picking out their perfect slabs and paying for them... only to have the granite yards sell them to someone else and try to pass off less lovely slabs to the original buyer.)

Good luck with the rest of it and may you have many happy years in your new home!

RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

It might make you feel a little better to read the thread on PITA building review committees -- something you have evidently been spared.

I doubt that anyone who has never built before --or done extensive remodeling, which is worse -- can realize how frustrating building can be. Nobody doing the work is going to burn as bright for the project as YOU. Sometimes they are 'the only game in town'. When your house is finished, they go on to the next one. The attitude that it's just 'a job' is out there everywhere, not only for builders and subs. It's just that you're seeing it up close and personal. You are at the mercy of mopes.

RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

Chisue, thanks for that recommendation to read that thread. We have covenants where we are now, but we read them in advance (I was VERY very happy with the lighting covenants - part of why we're building far out is to avoid light pollution), and the "ARB" was the builder. I believe in the philosophy, and understand their weight & value. I believe it is up to the people to read themselves in, and either agree or disagree. Very sad if people get caught into that who weren't aware. HOpefully info sites like GW can be helpful for the newly initiated!

RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

Today's update:

BEFORE they planned or ran the Electrical wire in the house, WE planned EVERY three-way switch, switched wall-plates, dimmers, where EVERYTHING would go, and most importantly: Which Circuits To Put On The Generator. With good GW counsel, we planned for a 20kv - a little more than we needed, but better have more than not enough, right? Especially with a small price diff between the 17 & the 20.

DH gets out there, and finds they ordered, installed, connected, tested, certified & passed a 17kv.
Builder " oh. "

AND, the items on the generator are TOTALLY RANDOM. If there is ANY overlap between what we planned, and what they did, it is complete coincidence.

Front Door: They have fired the painters, and the cleaning crew (painter's wife & friends). Painter went on vacation (I had to look up the definition of what that actually IS, a "vacation") & left his somebody in charge.... and they left without coming to our lot for their work today.
Someone on the cleaning crew was having a nervous breakdown, so they didn't show up.
Check - both Teams gone.

We'd heard about the 'cleaning crew', and already left bilingual notes all over the house.

TIP - try They will convert ANYTHING you want into understandable destination language.
Every 12 inches on every granite surface we put "Utilice Solo Agua" out of fear that they would screw up the sealer on the stone. Or stand on my Island. Or bleach the colorant out of the colored grout. Or any of the other things I'd already heard from other neighbors.

Aside from all this, the Estimator has some great idea for some type of something that will alter the color on the door without having to order a new one.

DAVE - IF YOU ARE READING THIS - LESS STUFF WILL BE SCREWED UP IF YOU WOULD JUST ORDER A NEW FRONT DOOR WITH SIDE-LIGHTS. Measure the amount of Time that Whomever will be doing this, per hour, + cost, add deductions, and just figure it out. Be sure to matrix into that whatever you are docking the painter for these issues. SEE? That is called "ROI" calculations. Actually for the PMP, I think it is called something else, but you get the point.

I haven't been to the house in almost a week - I can't take it - but I have been to the ABC store twice now. *sigh* And the packing is being done in an orderly fashion.

Now it is 4:45, Gov't closed @ 4, and I haven't heard anything about the CO which needed to be obtained today, so the whomever has time for whatever so we can close in 48 hours.

Anyone want to wager?

RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

I'm so so glad my husband was able to build our house and we didn't have to deal with a bunch of knuckleheads to get things done. Took us 7 years, but the wait was worth it in the long run.

RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

You have my utmost sympathy, having had a similar experience in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
The only advice I can offer is to continue to stay on top of it all, until completed. Withhold payment until mistakes are corrected. Call in city inspector if necessary on anything not up to code.
In my case I could not enjoy our finished house, after all the stress and numerous issues with substandard work etc. We ended up selling at a loss within a year and moving far away.!

RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

Ahhhh, this was me a year ago. I've linked the thread for your amusement. I still get mad about some stuff (the paint splatter marks on my windows) but really I just need to let it go.

Here is a link that might be useful: Done with build

RE: This whole experience - WHEW!!

Man, can I relate!!! I thought I was pretty prepared, but it's clear you have done waaay more than I have.

Nonetheless, if you want to watch a woman lose her mind before your very eyes, try telling her that you discussed with her the fact that you were going to be pouring a concrete footing over the existing well she told you she was going to keep for landscape irrigation, then when she tells you that conversation never took place, you tell her that she "should have known" the well was going to be covered (how? no one knew exactly where the well was until you dug the footing. And you have a cell phone, right?).

Then when the exterior trim is wrong, you tell her that the installer said the design she provided 6 months ago "wouldn't look right" and you authorize him to change it without her input because it would have required her to "come back" to the site (I live 15 minutes away, spend 2 - 2 1/2 hours per day on site and had responded to your text that I would be on site by noon that same day). Then you complain that "now" you'll have to score the caulking to remove the offending pieces (not my problem) and the windows can't be finished today because the installers don't have a router on site (ah, now we finally get to the bottom of things -- they changed the design because they forgot their tools).

And have your DH stand by mutely while all this is going on so that you look like the world's biggest witch with a B and he looks like a prince.

I am soooo sick of being the bad cop . . . .

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