Friday, July 29, 2011

Home Inspection

We had our home inspector come in yesterday.  HVAC, plumbing, gas, electric, and Guardian are all complete and they were just finishing up the sealing process with the caulking and spray foam when we arrived.  The inspection went very well...we have a punch list of about 30 items that needs to get attended too.  A huge majority of those were related to the siding trim work and the house trim work.  While the siding looks really good, the siding trim work needs some work.  The attention to detail was not good at all...mitered corners not mitered, j-channels too long or not seating properly.  The house trim work that was done the last couple of days wasn't done that well at all either...the good thing about all of that is it is easily fixed.  We had about 5 or 6 warped studs that will need fixing before drywall.  We have asked that a few areas be reviewed for the need for squash pair looks like they are not in the right place.

I don't know for sure if this is a problem or not.  They used hard plumbing for the gas line almost all the way to the fire place, but the last few feet they used what is called CSST is very flexible which makes it easy to route through walls and around corners.  Our inspector pointed out that it is supposed to be grounded in case of a lightening strick, but the ground appeared to run back only as far as the furnace instead of all the way back to the main electrical service panel.  From what I have read it is advisable to run it all the way to the service panel.  That was really the only major item, the rest were what I would call "cosmetic".  My wife and I found 2 areas with a very squeaky floor and our inspector showed us that it appears like the joist bracket beneath was not quite right...he said it was easily fixed with a shim.  We also had 1 window that would not go up and down without quite a bit of effort.  He also told us to expect to have problems with the windows on the front of the house where they are surrounded with brick.  He said typically brick expands with age and the house shrinks causing windows to have problems....hmmmm...we will see.

Our PM was not able to be there with us for the walk thru with the inspector so we left the report with our sales rep and I also summarized the more concerning items in an email and sent that off last night.

I will say that everything looks fantastic and is moving right along.  Insulation was to start today and drywall will begin next week.  When they were sealing the house they put a small bead of clear silicone along the top plate of each wall where the top of the drywall will sit...does anyone know what that is for?

After the inspector left we spent another couple of hours video taping every room, every wall, every electrical, plumbing, Guardian, and HVAC item that is in the wall so we have a permanent record of where everything is inside of each wall.

Here are some random pictures from this past week:

 It's starting to look like the picture above.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Update from PM

Our PM was on vacation yesterday but sent us an email first thing in the morning.  HVAC should finish up on Monday, Plumbers should finish Monday afternoon or Tuesday, and the electrician will finish on Tuesday.  The siding and brick should be finished by Wednesday "hopefully".  Even though there were a fleet of guys doing the brick work it seems to be going slow...I know it has been extremely HOT and I am sure that is slowing them down and I know we have a lot of details on the front of the house that will slow them down, but it just seems slow, but as long as they continue to do great work like they are doing I am okay with that.

Our inspector will come in Thursday afternoon, with insulation starting Thursday or Friday.

I mentioned on Chelly's blog that our tentative date has changed to September 18th which is about 8 days later then the 85 day build cycle we were told.  I think I have said that seemed pretty agressive to me so I am ok with the change...seems reasonable to me.  This is still not an official date...will see what that ends up being in a couple of weeks.  I think they are making great progress and our neighbors keep telling us they are working long hours.  It is a big house and tons of work to do...our framing took from July 1st till mid July 16th...the framers immediately moved over to our neighbor's house...they were completely finished that house in 3 days...roof shingled and house wrapped...DONE!!!  I would not be surprised if we slide a little past the September 18th date...we will see.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No Room at the Inn

Our meeting with our PM and the electrician was scheduled for 9am.  We pulled up right on time, but there was no place to room on the room in the gravel area...heck, not even any room in the yard.  Everyone and I mean Everyone was there all at the same time.  The Electricians, Plumbers, Brick Layers, Siding Installers, Concrete guys, Garage Door installers, our PM, and US!!!  Everywhere you went there was work going on and somehow everyone was not running into each other, but instead all putting a coordinated effort into building us a lovely home...siding guys working with brick guys...HVAC guys working with Electricians to get recessed lighting in the right places and still leave room for HVAC duct work to squeeze buy...coordinated conversations and discussions to get things just right while keeping in mind what the final product will look like to us.

The Electrician did an excellent job getting everything where we wanted it...had a couple of items he wasn't sure about but they were in place before we left and he came and got us to double check his placement.  He and our PM had obviously put a bunch of time in planning and laying out the bar area...we loved their ideas!!!  Just as we finished up going over all the electric, the guy from Guardian arrived, not our sales guy, he was on vacation, but a division manager out of Pittsburg came down to little ole Delaware to do the walkthru with us.  He was excellent and had knowledgeable suggestions and ideas on placements for everything from speakers to motion detectors. 

We had to eliminate recessed lights in our 2 hall closets because code doesn't allow that plus our electrician said it would be overkill to have 2 recessed lights in our bar area since we already have 3 pendant lights that left us with 4 recessed lights to figure out...we added 2 eyeball lights above the fireplace in the family room, 2 recessed lights in our sitting room, and 2 recessed lights to the exercise room.  We added another motion detector for the security system.  We discovered that our sunroom will have a vaulted ceiling(awesome), we have so much electric that we will end up with 2 panels instead of one, which is good since it will leave room for expansion, our PM is going to do some custom work to blend the bar in with a support column, our attic access will be in the walkin closet of bedroom #3 AND it will have pull down stairs. 

All in all a very productive meeting which took 4 hours...yes...4 hours, but worth every minute of it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tons of Work!!!

Since our last post the framers have finished the remainder of the interior framing and a bunch of the little exterior framing/trim detail work, basement stairs installed, removed all the support posts from inside, and cleaned everything up.  HVAC duct work was dropped off over the weekend, scaffolding was put up on the exterior.  We have our meeting with the electrician tomorrow morning to go over some custom details and we stopped down tonight to take some measurements and make sure we had things clear in our heads.  All kinds of worker bees there today...Brick has started going up, siding was delivered today and installation has started and will probably finish tomorrow, HVAC duct work has started in the basement (holes cut for vents in each of the rooms), holes cut for most of the plumbing runs, and the electrician has almost all the outlet and switch boxes in place as well as all of the ceiling fan rough ins.
First Picture of Framed house in the daylight!
 Bay window in living room
 Stairs through the front door
 Morning room with breakfast bar
 Basement fireplace
 Length of Basement towards walkout
 Siding - PlyGem Variform - Victoria Harbor - Georgian Gray
 Bay window, scaffolding, and Brick
 Brick work closeup

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ups & Downs of Home Building

As I mentioned before we were supposed to meet with our PM and electrician tomorrow, but our PM called today to say we needed to push the meeting out till next Wednesday.  He did a walk thru of the house today and there is just too much work still to be done by the framing crew to get the skilled trades guys started.  I would agree with his assessment but I was hoping the framers came in today and waved their magic wands, but it was not to be.

He did give us the weekly update...they would be putting all stairs in today...but we only saw the basement stairs in the garage...he said that is correct because they had the nice stairs tucked away in the shed by his office...they can't get wet so they were there until the roof was on.  They were working on the tar paper on the roof, waiting for the shingles to be delivered.  Bay window would be installed today.  Basement framing and roof would be complete by weekend.  I saw 2 metal support poles in the basement that weren't square...our PM says there are 2 more.  Concrete guy will be there tomorrow to cut away more concrete for the other 2, they will square up all 4 and then the concrete guy will do his thing.  He will also do any repair work a few places on the foundation.  Next week:  HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical...also trying to get Guardian in as well.  Our Home Inspector has also been rescheduled from next Friday to the following Tuesday.  So while there is tons getting done on a daily basis, slipping those dates out was a little disappointing.

And now for the ups:  We went down tonight and as usual they were still hard at work and did not pull out till about 9:10pm leaving us to prowl around in the dark...btw...we found out from our PM that these guys have a 2 hour trip to and from our house each day.  Not only was the tar paper on the roof, but they finished up installing the shingles(surprise #1)...bay window not installed :( , foyer stairs and back stairs installed but not basement stairs, house completely wrapped, and the big surprise....drum roll...the basement framing was about 90% complete. 

Since the stairs were in we got our first opportunity to check out the 2nd floor.  I have pictures but will post them another time.  It was interesting walking around by tiny flashlight and an iphone flashlight app and trying to take pictures when you can't see what you are taking a picture of, but we got some good ones...we were extremely pleased with what we saw...the view from the 2nd floor hallway down the stairs to the foyer was really nice...even in just it's framed/unfinished state...we can only imagine the final product...It's getting there...slowly but surely.

Bitty, HW, Chelly, Ravenna have all got to be pulling further ahead of us, but in the end we are all going to have amazing houses...I am probably missing a couple more August/September close dates folks out there...oh well...time for bed.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

By The Light of the Moon

So the Framing crew continues to work very hard.  We drove down last night and they didn't finish up till 8:30.  The missing beam finally arrive and was install.  The 2x6s shown supporting the upper beam have now been removed.
 Framing is now complete around the Garage doors.  You can see it is starting to get dark in this picture and they are just finishing up.  By the time they cleaned up and departed it was after 9pm.  Glad we brought a flashlight and the flashlight app on the iPhone.  Huge amount of progress made today.  All windows and doors are in except for the Bay window and the basement walkout door.
 Morning Room
 Family Room
 Sunroom...upper framing panel still missing, but no where to be found...
 Back - that is the basement walkout door leaning against the morning room
 Halloween Pic - House with Moon hanging overhead
 Garage windows, Master bath window above.  That window is right above the soaking tub.  Pile of stuff on the ground is all the trim pieces for the exterior.
There is still a bunch of framing to do, but guessing they will finish up the odds and ends tomorrow.  Basement has not even been started other then installing the 4 windows.  They have come and enlarged the holes in the concrete so the 2 basement beam support posts can be squared up.  All the second floor flooring was finished up today.  Flooring in attic to support heating unit is in.  About 2/3 of the house is wrapped.  Our basement steps are sitting in the garage.  No sign of the foyer steps or back staircase.  Not sure when the exterior trim gets installed.

We meet our PM and the electrician at 10am on Friday to walk thru and go over all the electric in the house.  Our home inspector is scheduled to come out next Friday, so that leaves a very very busy week next week...HVAC, Plumbing, and Electric and I am guessing Guardian does their thing before the pre-drywall as head is spinning thinking about all of that getting done in a week, but we only had a 1st and 2nd floor framed when the week started...and it's only Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Roof, Windows, and Neighbors - Yippie

My wife and mother-in-law were out shopping near the house and stopped by to see what was going on.  She sent me these first 2 pictures at was hard not to immediately jump in my truck and head down...especially since they were playing with a big Tonka crane!!!

We drove down tonight and they were still there working all the way up till 8:45.  All but a couple of sections of the roof are on and most of the windows.  

 See Ravenna Ranter - we have the little hole too.

They pulled out and we pulled up.  I took my first picture and our neighbors across the street came out so we went over to introduce ourselves and chit chat a little...then another neighbor came by walking their dog and stopped to chat, and then our next door neighbors came out and before we knew it, it was dark and then started to not many pictures and no chance to investigate...oh well...that will have to wait till tomorrow night.  Wish they would either install the front door or move it into the garage...makes me nervous propped up against the corner of the house like that...especially with the big crane swinging things around today and the little lift/crane the framers use running around right next to it.  Even our neighbor mention he was surprised to see it sitting like that and one of our big front trusses was sitting in the street laying flat all weekend where anyone could have run over least that is up and installed now so I can stop worrying.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Some important things missing

As my last post stated the trusses should have been going up on Friday, but we had pretty ugly storms in the afternoon.  It appears as if all the second floor framing is complete.  The windows and exterior doors have arrived as well as 1 set of stairs...not quite sure which though and why only 1 of the 3.  The trusses are spread out all over the lot now...I guess to stage them for lifting into place.  1 of them was even sitting in the street which I wasn't too happy about...someone not paying close attention(ie looking at the house) could easily run over it.

We did find that the back wall of the solarium is not attached to the house...not sure if it is on purpose or not.  There also appears to be a wall section above the sun room that is missing as well...
 We were prowling around and my wife calls me over to the garage and says something doesn't look right here.  If you look closely at this picture, the steel beam is supported by 3 2x6s but it is about 3-4 feet from the side wall and about 2 feet inside the door opening...well that just won't work, but for the life of me I could not figure out how this beam was going to be supported adequately knowing that anything supporting it must span across the double garage opening.  We headed over to the model home and dug out the blueprints and found out that there is supposed to be another steel beam that spans across that will then hold up the steel beam in the picture...that makes sense, but that beam is no where to be found on site.
 And here is a question for those of you who have gotten past this point.  Does anyone know what all these white boards are for?  I am thinking maybe trim work or maybe for the solarium, but I just can't picture it.
 Front Door - Will be painted Old Colonial Red
 My wife's favorite window - this is above the front door.
And one final note:  One of the changes we made was to change the powder room to a full bath which was a standard option - Study to 1st floor bedroom with full bath, but we customized this change to add the 15-lite door back and remove the closet that gets added as part of the bedroom change...kinda crazy, but that is how we had to do it.  So I took a look at the framing for that and the closet was framed...notified PM and he said that wasn't unusual and that they would change that and he would mark it on the our pre-construction meeting we talked about taking the closet and turning it into a 5' opening...which is how we saw it in a finished Avalon that we toured.  Guess wife sees this marked out on the floor and goes:

wife:  that's not right...
me:  yes it is..exactly what we talked about at pre-construction and saw at the other Avalon
wife:  oh that won't do...I don't want any of that...I want it totally open
me:  deep sigh...that is how I would have preferred it, but not what we saw at the other Avalon which is what I thought you wanted.

Oh well...easy change and a lot less work for the dry wallers.

Next week should be very busy:  Trusses, Roofing, Windows, Doors, HVAC and Plumbing starting, and meet with hopefully the missing items show up.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Framing Continues - 2nd Floor

For some reason they did not do any work on the house on Wednesday, but in mind that's okay.  Our PM called today and said that the framing foreman had told him last Friday that he had a personal event last Saturday so they wouldn't be able to work, but not to worry, they would work Sunday and Monday to make up for it.  Our PM told them that was not necessary and to enjoy the holiday...they worked anyway, so if they wanted to take Wednesday off...go for it...btw...we got there around 8pm and they were still hard at work...we watched them put of 3 more walls and then call it quits around 8:30pm...all the while there was lightening flashing in the distance.

Our PM said they would be finishing 2nd floor tomorrow, and working on getting the trusses up...not sure that is going to happen...we are supposed to get storms tomorrow.  He said they will start HVAC and Plumbing next week and we meet with him and the Electrician next Friday to go over everything in detail and his goal is to have us under roof by the end of next week.

I have sent him 2 emails with pictures of things wrong and/or problems and he has responded back quickly with answers and/or acknowledgement of the problems.  He told my wife that we should keep them coming and that he welcomes another set of eyes...especially with 4 houses under construction now.  He said he is very excited about building our house and making it perfect and that when it is finished he will personally stop back a few times to make sure the bar in the basement is working perfectly.

Here's a quick synopsis of a couple of the issues:
2 of the metal support posts in the basement that are supporting the steel beams are not plum (Noey - you are not the only one).  He said that was definitely not correct.  He said his concrete guy will be there tomorrow and they are angled because the hole in the basement floor for each wasn't quite in the right they will cut out the basement floor where it needs to be, re-pour the footer for the post if needed, square up (plum) the post, and fix any basement floor that needs fixing.  For me...that was the big one.
On one of the outside corners it looks like someone was driving a nail and missed and hit the foundation instead and took out a big chunk of the foundation right on the corner exposing the 2 sill plate straps and the sill plate is cracked.  He was heading over to look at it right after getting off the phone and would add it to his list of things for the concrete guy to look at tomorrow.
One of our options was to convert the Study to a Bedroom, but that was to get the full bath on the 1st floor, BUT we want the Study still configured as a study which means we don't want the closet.  The framing came in with that wall framed for the closet - PM said no problem, it is on his list and that happens all the time...they bring in the framing standard and then go back and make changes for the customizations.

I started a spreadsheet that has each problem that we find, the date we notify our PM, the date he responds back, the date it was fixed and how it was fixed.  There is no way I could keep it all straight in my head...we have 7 items already...just a tip for others.

And now after all of that, here are the latest set of pictures...sorry they are a little dark, but it was after 8:30 when we finally were able to grab some pictures.
 Garage side - Master Bedroom wall is up with the two windows.  The rest of the space above the garage will be the 2 walkin closets and the Master Bath.  The rest of the 2nd floor framing is complete.
 Solarium side
 And oh btw, they cut out the curbing for our driveway and did the cement work to create the driveway entrance today.  I guess they will eventually take the cutout in the curb in the front of the property and turn it back into a full curb.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Since my wife wasn't with me on Friday, we stopped by on Saturday thinking that they may have gotten started on the joists and 1st floor.  Much to our disappointment we found that they had not worked on Saturday.  My sister-in-law visited us today and we drove over early afternoon to show her.  As we approached the development we were pleased to see some framing work in the distance.  We drove around the development a little showing her some of the other Avalons, then headed over to our lot.  We were shocked to see the entire first floor was completed and most of the floor joists for the second floor were in place.  As we were sitting in front, a neighbor from the end of the block stopped and introduced herself.  She said that she had just said to her husband the night before(ie July 4th) that we were going to be shocked the next time we saw our house because they worked on it Sunday and Monday(July 4th)...what?????  Yes they apparantly worked both Sunday and the Holiday....WOW....that is crazy.

HW, Bitty, and Chelly....look over your we come!!!

Our 1st view of the Framing
 Solarium & Front of house
 Back of Solarium, Walkout, Sunroom
 Back - Sunroom, Family Room, Morning Room

 Morning Room, Corner of Kitchen
 Garage & Kitchen Window
 Steel Beam in Garage supporting Master Bath
 We can see ourselves sitting in the Solarium watching the sunset.
 Morning Room
 Family Room excited for this
 View out the windows standing at the kitchen sink

Our new neighbor was definitely right...we were shocked!!!