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What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Posted by EmmJay (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 16:04

I mentioned this in my "pee" thread but wanted to start a new one where I can post a photo and better explanation. We're building a town home and realized that three of the placements make no sense, as you can see in the photo:

1) Toilet paper is under towel rack in a position where wet towel will always be on it, despite there being plenty of room to attach it to the cabinet next to the toilet. Photo is from the model.
2) Hand towel rack is positioned so wet towel will hang over outlet and light switch, despite a completely bare wall on the other side (also from model).
3) Rack by washer is hung so low that you can't hang clothes because of washer below. This one was taken in my house. There's no equivalent in the model, but it looks like the top should be flush with the top of cabinets.

I want these things changed, but the builder wants to charge me, despite the fact that they'll all interfere with livability and the fact that the interior is not painted yet. I think they should be changed because, to be frank, they're idiotic and shouldn't be like that in the first place. Yes, the model is like that for two of them, but I never even saw the toilet paper because the towels literally cover it completely.

So am I justified in digging in my heels and fighting to get these fixed without charge? If not, do I insist that if they go by the model, then I want my doorbell move from it's current wall to the place where it's at in the model? I bought a hanging chime doorbell because of that, but they randomly put it on a different wall in a spot where it's over a door frame. So if things have to be like the model, fair is fair, right?

Or am I just being way to freakin' picky?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

These would all be easy things to change if you so desire when you move in. I would actually prefer the bathroom placements that are currently there because they would leave a bare wall or surface that could be used to hang a decoration.
Renais


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Your correct in asking to have them changed and they are correct in saying you need to pay to have them changed. That is the way they are in the model unfortunately that is the way you bought the unit, based on the model.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

I agree that you should pay as you had seen the model and approved them. Even if you feel duped. However, it sounds like it will really bother you so pay to have it changed and hopefully it will be cheaper than if you wait til they are done. Good luck.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

So does that give me the right to then insist on them moving the doorbell to where it is in the model, since I specifically bought the chime bell based on that position and now it's undoable? And the washer rack doesn't exist in the model because the cabinets in it are larger and centered. Seems like if they insist on the model thing, they'd have to move the doorbell at the very least, and even the thermostat if I want to be a witch because they randomly moved that to a completely different wall, too.

This post was edited by EmmJay on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 16:42


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Yes, I would think that they should fix the doorbell to match the model home and also the thermostat. Perhaps ask them to fix the other items at your expense and the doorbell/thermostat at theirs. Maybe they will bargain with you or at least break even that way. The laundry rack should be darn near free to patch up the holes and reposition higher.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

I think a little deal is the way to go. I'm sure moving toilet paper and a towel rack is much easier. For the door bell, they could simply move it a few inches to the right. I asked them to do that before they even completed it, so I know there's plenty of cord. I'm sure that would be much cheaper than moving it to the opposite wall, so I think I have enough ammo for a deal. I have all my previous doorbell correspondence documented.

This post was edited by EmmJay on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 17:03


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Have you looked at your building contract or sales contract to see what your rights are, and what the builder agreed to provide? That would be a good starting point for you...

Good luck on your project!


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Sadly, if you have not yet moved in, and this is new construction, this stuff is chicken-feed compared to what you will find later, in my experience. Hopefully that is not the case, but I would be surprised.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

If you weren't happy with these locations, why didn't you have the changes specified in your construction documents?

Do you know why they changed the doorbell location?

Is your unit an EXACT replica of the model unit? Exact same footprint? Exact same dimensions? Why aren't you complaining about the cabinets and washer rack being different?


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

It is unwise to assume that builders will place things where they should logically go. The way to avoid these problems is to walk through the house with the builder when the walls are still open and mark where the bath accessories and switches will go. The contractor is guilty of not giving you that opportunity. The only other way to do it is to pay a designer to draw elevations of all bathrooms.

Moving accessories later involves opening up the wall to add blocking unless you want to rely on drywall anchors that might fail later.

If you speak up after the accessories are in place, the contractor has a right to ask you to pay for the changes. Pay it and move on.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

It's an exact replica of the model in terms of floor place and positioning, but not all the options since it was spec and the designers chose cabinets, flooring, etc. I'm going to look through the contract to see how it addresses changes. I did get a pre-drywall walk-through, but it was more about looking things over than specifying any placements. The only things I specified were the placement of the patio drain and the hot tub electric box because I added those two things.

@dbrown2351, thankfully we've been watching every step of the way, and I don't think we've missed too much. Other than getting them to replace a cracked shower wall board, catching the water bib that would have been inaccessible, and noticing smaller things like a missing fan switch, we really haven't found any major issues. They also caught some big things themselves, like the cabinet/range hood.

I know the things I'm complaining about here are minor in comparison to some of the horror stories I've read. The illogic just totally boggles my mind, and I'm shocked that no one has complained before since people have been living in similar units up to a year, and most were sold as spec.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

1. Many people do not want to attach a TP holder to cabinets.

2. The hand towel position is extremely common and found that way in many houses.

3. The rack in the laundry may be a shelf rather than a hanging rack for clothes.

4. The thermostat may have been moved to a better position as far as air circulation/temperature in the house.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

All true, but they're building it for a specific person now, even though it started as spec. The other units already have those things clearly in place for a buyer to see. It's not painted yet, so the changes would cost them virtually nothing and win them lots of goodwill, especially since they'll be building there for a while. it's not like I didn't make the doorbell position very clear, even though I didn't catch the other things till they were done.

Oh well, if I have to live with it, at least I can warn plenty future buyers, since there will soon be a new set of townhomes under construction right in front of mine.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

My house had the TP holder and towel ring issue when I moved in. People had been living with it for 13 years by then, and nobody tried to fix it. I fixed it myself, and it was dead simple.

The shelf in the laundry room is probably low so you can reach it when there's a washer in the way. The washer will stick out about 3' from the wall. Are you going to be able to reach it if they move it up?

Yes, I would insist if they're going to pull the "it's like this in the model" card, then you should get sticky and demand they move the doorbell and thermostat, too.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

This kind of stuff would drive me crazy, and I'm so glad I'm working with contractors that expect/don't mind small changes like this. I've gone the other way too- things that we had specified in certain spots, didn't work out well for whatever reason (stud placement for example, or ducts in the way) and I've been flexible too.

It would literally take the contractor 10 minutes to do all 3 things you mentioned. I would do the deal with them- and not pay. Tell them you won't make them fix X in order to fix Y.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

I keep stumbling over "it's not painted yet." The towel bars and toilet paper holders have been installed before the walls were painted? If I'm reading that correctly, won't they get paint splattered? In our new build those things were installed after the paint.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

The painting thing boggles me too. They actually painted the whole place early on, right after the drywall installation, in its final color. Then they proceeded to destroy the paint job with nicks and holes in the drywall, overspray, marks, gouges, etc. when they installed everything else. I asked and they said it will be all repainted. You can barely tell now that it was once a nice gray, but that's fine with me as I'm glad it will have two coats. The order in which they're doing things makes zero sense. The last one that made me scratch my head was being told that the yard pavers had to go in before the upstairs carpet.

I do have one other item to bargain with that I was just going to ignore. There's a built in closet shell that's quite unlevel. I'm not planning to store baseballs up there, so I wasn't even going to bring it up, but now it's suddenly bothering me a lot. It would be be way worse to fix than those simple moves.

I get the washer thing in terms of reaching the shelf, although it annoys me that they said they'd let me talk to the shelf installer about placements when it was being done and that never happened. My husband does the laundry, and he's tall so he prefers being able to hang things, but I'm not as insistent about that one since it doesn't create an ongoing issue like the others. The towel and toilet paper are my big sticking points, especially since they didn't move the doorbell like I asked when it was in process.

This post was edited by EmmJay on Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 9:04


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Your complaints need to be more clear if you hope to address them successfully. Read your contract as suggested. Keep in mind you missed these things in the model, and try to find a middle ground. This is not a 100% custom job so they are not going to be used to treating it as such. Your strength is your contract and what they are required to do for you.

Do you have it in writing that you were going to talk to the shelf installer? I would not complain about your husband's height an wanting to hang things, but rather complain that you weren't given the opportunity to speak with the shelf installer as promised. Delivery and clarity is key here in my opinion. Good luck, these are all minor in comparison to many things that go wrong in building.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

You say this was a spec condo. But now you've bought it. Have you bought it? Or are you just under contract to buy it? Do you have a contract with the GC? Or just the condo developer?


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Sounds like the situation is really going south from your perspective. In such a case, do you really want to continue your involvement in the project?

The items you have described are small, almost superficial items, but I understand you see them as major items. If these bother you now, what will it be like after living 6 months in the home and discovering things that you have yet to see?

I wonder if it would be better to ask for a return of your deposit (if you made one) and look elsewhere.

Have you read the terms and conditions of your construction contract or purchase agreement (or whatever covers your situation)?

Good luck on your project.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

I think you are incompatible with new construction realities. Move on.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

This isn't bad enough to make me rethink my purchase so much as make me worry what might happen if we have problems down the road. It's being purchased from the builder, so that's who my contract is with, and this particular builder did a lot of homes in previous years in the area and will be nearby for quite a while to come, so that negates some of the worry. I love most things about this town home, but I think it's just the lack of attention to detail that gets to me (for example, the hose bib I mentioned earlier, that I thankfully caught pretty early but that still required them to dig out part of the block wall). I can't believe no one ever questioned wet towels over toilet paper and an outlet, at least to the extent that the builder would ask purchasers if the placement was okay.

Granted, these are small things in the cosmic scheme of things. It just seems that when they're fixing up their own huge screw-ups, like the cabinets/range hood, they should be a little more sympathetic to fixing something so tiny in comparison to keep a customer happy. No matter how this is resolved, I"m sure I'll ultimately love most things about the house (I already new light fixtures to swamp out the awful builder selections, furniture to make the yard into my sanctuary, and other things to transform it into a beloved home). The only variable outcome is whether I wholeheartedly recommend the builder to others as one who exceeds expectations or one who meets the minimum and nothing else.

One thing I'll give them credit for is allowing their buyers free access during the construction process. In addition to noticing all the nit picky things, it's also been a huge help to be able to do measures and planning and also to document all the stages in case I need to know something like what's behind a particular wall later.

This post was edited by EmmJay on Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 18:55


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Quick update, and a special thank you to those who said I'm being unreasonable, as it caused me to do a little mental inventory and hit on something that will probably resolve this whole issue.

Back when they installed the granite counter top on the kitchen island, they cut the granite wrong. It was supposed to be like the model, which is narrow at one end and wider on the other, and the brackets were installed to reflect that. However, they cut it as a rectangle with an oval curve, if that makes sense. Thus, one of the decorative wood brackets stuck out quite prominently on the end that should have been bigger, extending past the counter end. That means I lost some space on the countertop, which is an eating area and also houses the sink, but I just couldn't see insisting that they have to cut another huge slab of granite so I said they could leave it as-is. All they had to do was change the bracket rather than redo the counter and hope that the new piece would match the counter tops.

I'm thinking maybe a little reminder of my latitude with the island might be in order. Otherwise I just might grow to hate that smaller counter top.....

This post was edited by EmmJay on Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 21:05


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

This kinda stuff is why I tend to be onsite almost daily with a build. Agree walking through before things placed with builder is hte way to avoid this. Also agree that builders seem to lack common sense in where to put things, you would think they would think it through more, but they don't.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Just be reasonable and keep the concerns straightforward and to a minimum. Make a list to keep you on track, once you start ranting, you will lose all respect and progress. Also, be prepared for them to have a counterview, perhaps they have already done something extra that you haven't noticed or maybe they have a reason the doorbell wasn't in the model location. Keep an open mind, limit your requests to what is really "wrong", and be respectful. Keep us posted.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Hollysprings, I don't get your comment. The reality of new construction is that builders sometimes make mistakes and home owners sometimes make mistakes. For a homeowner to be have to spell out EVERY single detail in their contract, and the builder only address those things is ridiculous. Unplanned things come up all the time, that is the nature of the beast. A good builder will not alienate a homeowner because of something that will take 30 minutes to fix, especially if other things have come up that the owner has been flexible with.

As said in the post above, the best advice I'm hearing here is to make a list of all the things you've given in on, and all the things that are bothering you. Be friendly and honest with the builder, but clear that some things you've given in on are a big deal (and saved him a lot of CASH-like the granit) vs. the TINY TINY things you are requesting. Hear him out as there may have been other things he's 'upgraded' that you don't know about it. The granite thing is a big card in your favor. If he continues to be a pain, pull that card out.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

The granite thing is a big card in your favor. If he continues to be a pain, pull that card out.

Maybe or maybe not. The granite thing could have been the granite subcontractor's problem and not really effect the GC. In other words, it may have been the sub that would have been out the $ if they had to redo the granite, not the GC.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Regardless, the time it takes for the GC to go after the granite sub to replace an entire piece of granite is WAY more time and effort than it will take for the GC himself (or almost any sub that knows how to use a screwdriver) to move a TP holder, Towel holder, and wire shelf. What we are talking about here is zero work since they are at the point where the painter still has to come back and fill in spots and nicks with spackle, and the final coat has not been done.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

We went over today to measure the correct granite vs. mine to see exactly how much space I lost and also to confirm that the adjacent under-construction units have the model-style granite, which they do. Some also have the more sensible toilet paper placement, so it's like the installers went random on that. I'll update on how this all works out. Four out of the five units are sold, but none of the others come out to the construction site.

Thankfully, I think those items are really the only bones of contention as there's not much left to be done. Last major thing is the carpet upstairs, toilet and sink install downstairs, finishing repair of their screw-up with the range hood, and fixing the missing tile on the shower door lip. Since I don't think anything else will come up before the actual punch list, I'm sending these items as my list, along with a gentle reminder about the granite, so we'll see what gives.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Let us know how you make out. I think seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is key here. You will be calling it home in no time. Good luck.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

I think you could have just moved the towel bars after you move in with less time and energy expended than writing or reading this thread, much less worrying about them.

Really not worth the aggravation.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

I know they can be moved, but I don't want to mess with patching and color matching. At that point I'll be busy enough getting the old place ready for market so I want the new one as turnkey as possible. It's so much easier to move them now than when it's done. Heck, I'd do it myself right now, but of course they won't let me since it's not officially my house yet.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Just a quick update and a warning about the importance of documenting everything. The builder is checking on the other items, but he said he showed me the doorbell spot when we did the pre-drywall walk-through. Fortunately, I videotaped the whole walk-through and can prove that's not so. I also have photos from every stage, including the day the installer was working on it and told me it was still very easy to move but that the builder had to give the okay, as well as my repetitive emails asking the builder to do so since my plan from day one was to replace it with a new one with longer chimes.

I'm sure this will all be hashed out soon, but the moral of the story is: you can never take too many photos and videos, and document everything every step of the way.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Hopefully the final update: I played the "granite card," and now the doorbell, towel ring, toilet paper holder and laundry shelf will be moved and the incorrect granite countertop will remain. I guess it's lucky they cut that granite wrong.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

I still can't believe your builder made such a big deal about this after you let go of the granite issue. I think I would have made him fix the granite instead, in the end, just to spite him. Probably not, because of the aggrevation, but still.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

I'm just glad I had a copy of the plans to prove that the granite was not to spec. Not that they necessarily would have denied it, but it eliminates any chance. The plans show all five units, and I don't think any of the islands were done properly. I doubt that contractor will work for them again. When I dug in my heels about this, the builder shared correspondence from a month ago in which they approached the granite guy about this and with no response. All the better for me, since I can live with it as-is and am getting the other details taken care of. I urge other buyers to make sure you have copies of the plans, as well as documenting every stage of your build.

That attention to detail served me well when buying my current house, too. Originally I was under contract for a condo, as I had no idea they were building similarly priced triplexes in the community. I met a realtor who told me, but I'd already put down a substantial condo deposit. However, I'd been going back and forth with the condo builder because they didn't provide me with a copy of the community covenants and kept putting it off. A bit of research revealed that under state law the contract isn't officially in effect until I have all those documents, so I was able to break it when I pointed that out, get the money back, and get the home I've enjoyed for the past 10 years.


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Saw this and thought of you....


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

Annie, that's awesome!


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RE: What Were They Thinking? Stupid Placements

LOL! is that from UglyHousePhotos? I absolutely love that site. The good news is, everything's move now other than the laundry shelf, and that will be done shortly. We close two weeks from today. Woo hoo! New house and no soggy toilet paper.


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