Sunday, March 31, 2013

Framing Has Begun!!

We went by the lot on Friday hoping to see some framing action since the heavy machinery had been dropped off on Thursday night.  Unfortunately, there was nothing happening on Friday.  We went out for a little while on Saturday and decided to drive by, assuming that there would be no change....  We didn't expect to see two guys working on the framing of our house!  The I-Beams under the kitchen and morning room were in place and the mud sills were in place around the whole perimeter of the foundation.  Also, there was 1 I-Joist installed over the morning room.  My husband spoke to the guys who were framing and they said it should take between 4 and 5 days to have the framing of our house completed.  We are excited to see a lot of progress this week...hopefully, by Friday, the framing will be complete and we will have a house instead of a hole!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Under-slab Plumbing Complete and Lumber Arrives

When I drove by the house this morning the plumbers were there.  I stopped and chatted with them for a few minutes.  They were able to omit the rear plumbing stack that would be right within the future finished space.  Instead of having the two stacks, they will simply direct all of the drains to the main stack located within the utility space of the basement.  This is how the CG model we looked at was done.  So it looks like we are now ready for a floor slab.

The other exciting event that took place today was the delivery of our lumber and windows.  There is a ton of framed and sheathed walls, trusses, glu-lam beams, steel columns, I-joists, OSB panels, etc., all stacked up and ready to go.  Looked like just about everything was there with the exception of the front door and rear slider.  Framing can begin at any time now.  According to our PM, the framing crew is finishing up on another house right now and will hopefully start ours on Friday.  Things should really start taking shape now!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Backfilled and Electrical Work Started

Yesterday the dimpled membrane, aka "Delta-MS", was applied to the foundation walls.  This is a method of water-proofing, or "damp-proofing" as DELTA MS calls it.  The membrane is fastened at the top of the foundation walls just below grade and is draped over the footing.  Any water that gets past the membrane is supposed to trickle down the voids between the membrane and the concrete wall where it will hopefully make it way into the perimeter footing drain.  Then the egress window well was fastened to the foundation wall.  We weren't able to get over there before dark, so no pictures of that, but today a lot took place.

When I first drove by this morning, the "Stone Slinger" was back and there was an excavator back-filling the foundation.  We were pleased to see that all of the basement windows, minus the egress, will sit above the final finished grade.  This is good news to us, since we did not want window wells.

Later this afternoon, I made a second trip over to the house and saw the electrical contractors finishing up.  They were installing the meter, service conduit, and panelboard.  Apparently due to the family room side windows, the meter base could not be located on the side of the family room.  So it had to be installed next to the service door on the garage.  They ran PVC conduit from the meter base, under the garage slab, and into the basement where it will feed the panel.  It actually worked out for the best, because now the panel is located in the area of the furnace, water heater, sump pump, etc., instead of under the family room where they would have installed it.  We don't actually plan to finish under the family room, but if we do it will be nice not to have to integrate the circuit breaker panel into the space.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Forms Removed and Foundation Exposed

Today the wall forms were removed.  The foundation is now visible.  All of the door and window openings are in place.  The porch is ready for a floor.  It appears that the basement windows, with the exception of the egress window, will all sit above grade like we requested.  Hopefully no window wells will be necessary.  We can really get a feel for the size and shape of the structure now.  There will be a lull in the action over the weekend, but on Monday the waterproofing is scheduled to take place.  Hopefully things should really start moving along quickly now.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Formwork Finished and Concrete Poured

This morning the foundation crew was at the site bright and early finishing up the rest of the forms.  Then, at some point during the day, the concrete arrived and the forms were filled.  The insulating blankets were placed on top of the forms to retain the heat from the concrete.  Unfortunately one of the blankets blew off, but hopefully this will not have any adverse effects on the strength of the wall.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Foundation Walls Formed

Progress on Wednesday included the assembly of the majority of the wall forms that will create the basement walls.  First the footings were drilled and vertical pieces of rebar were inserted to tie the foundation walls to the footing.  Then the actual wall forms were erected on the footings.  Corrugated drain tile was also installed around the outer perimeter of the footings and will eventually be connected to the sump pump crock to keep water out of the basement.  The rest of the forms should be completed on Thursday and, more than likely, the wall pours will take place.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Footings Stripped and Wall Forms Arrive

Last night we were hit with a few inches of wet snow.  That didn't stop them from stripping the wood forms from the footings and replacing the insulating blankets over them.  It didn't appear that anything was going to be done today, but by 3:30 this afternoon the truck carrying the forms had arrived and was  left parked on the site for the night.  The footing drain tile was also delivered and waiting to be installed.

We contacted the PM regarding the lack of re-bar in the footing and were told it was not installed until the walls were formed to permit the concrete blankets to cover the footings completely.  Of course now they will need to be drilled in and epoxied vs. being set in the wet concrete at the time of the pour...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Gravel Spread and Footings Poured

When I arrived at the site this morning, the "Stone Slinger" was in action.  They were spreading gravel under the footings and where the basement floor slab will be.  At some point during the day the footings were poured.  When I went back thru at the end of the day I could see concrete poking out from under the insulating blankets.  It was pretty cold today, so we're hoping the concrete sets before it can freeze.  Of course the temps around here would have to be 10 degrees below normal while the most critical part of our home is being done...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Digging Complete and Footings Formed

They have finished digging our hole and the footings have been formed up but not poured yet.  Insulating blankets have been laid over the forms to keep them warm.  Water and sewer lines are in place below the footing.  There is a spigot installed on the end of the water line but no meter.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


We have officially broken ground on our new home!  The excavator was there working bright and early.  By 11am there had been some good progress made.  The PM called to inform us about the progress taking place.  We lucked out and are going to have a gravity sewer vs. a hung sewer which comes in thru the foundation wall above the floor and would have required an ejector pit and pump to handle the basement bathroom.  Also, the PM seemed very pleased with the quality of the soil they excavated.  It looks like very fine, nice soil.  Not like the hard clay that is prevalent in the area.  Being a former farm field we were not surprised.  Should be great for growing grass, plants, trees, etc.

When the PM called this morning he stated the digging would be done today, however we visited the lot this evening and it looks like they still need to finish digging under the family room and in the garage areas.  I'm assuming these areas will be done tomorrow and then work on the footings will begin.  They did place insulating blankets on the ground where the footing is going to keep things warm.  Wish it weren't still so cold here but assuming the proper procedures are followed we should be fine.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Just got word from our PM today that digging, which was supposed to start on Wednesday, (today), is being pushed back until tomorrow due to the mason's schedule.  Still trying to hash out the driveway slope/grading/elevation so it's probably not a bad thing we are delayed.  We are hoping things commence on Thursday as planned.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Lot Walk-thru Prior to Breaking Ground

A few days after our pre-con meeting, our lot was staked out.  We met the PM at the lot today to walk around and go over a few things prior to breaking ground.  The stakes allowed us to visualize where our new home would be situated on the lot and the PM showed us the approximate property boundaries.  Luckily there are a few permanent markers to indicate the property lines.  A fire hydrant on one side, utility equipment on the other, and a chain link fence that runs along most of the rear of the property.  Our PM suggested that we drive some re-bar stakes in at the corners if we want additional permanent markers of our property.  

The official ground breaking is scheduled for Wednesday the 13th when the hole for the foundation will be dug.

We are pleased with the size of the lot and fact that it is relatively flat.  The trees around the back provide a nice buffer from the rear neighbors.  In addition, RH is going to be adding more trees and landscaping.  There should be a good natural barrier around the property for privacy.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pre-Con Follow-Up

Had our pre-construction meeting today.  Met first with the electrical contractor and were very pleased with him.  He had a lot of good ideas and suggestions.  Was very laid back and friendly, not pushy at all.  Decided to add the "future tube" which is a 1.5" PVC conduit running from basement to attic to simplify adding additional wiring in the future.  We also opted to replace 2 of our kitchen recessed lights over the island with lighting pre-wires for pendants as well as add an additional light rough-in to permit a total of 3 pendant lights to be installed over the gourmet island after settlement.  He was also nice enough to put these on their own separate switched feed at no additional charge to us.

Immediately following that we met with the sales rep, project manager, and production manager for our division.  It was informative.  We went over the entire process and a tentative schedule for the process.  We were given a tentative settlement date of June 5th, but we are hoping to be closed on it in May.  We had several questions for the PM and, for the most part, got the answers we were looking for.  There are a few items we will have to keep an eye on, but for the most part, we heard what we expected to hear.  We knew going into it that RH was not a custom home builder and that is one way they keep the costs down.  They had not staked out the lot yet so we did not walk the lot, but staking is scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday and the digging starts next week.  Looking forward to seeing some progress!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pre-Construction Meeting

Hopefully tomorrow things will begin to move forward.  Our "pre-con" with the PM is scheduled for 2:00PM.  In our market we also get to meet with the electrical contractor to go over switch and outlet placement details, as well as any additional electrical items we'd like to add.  Apparently that is first on the agenda then we meet with the project manager.  Then, time and weather permitting, we will be heading out to walk the lot and observe the proposed positioning of our home on the site.

We have reviewed the electrical drawings and, for the most part, are pretty happy with the standard receptacle outlet offerings.  There are a few receptacles we want to move slightly based on proposed furniture placement and a few switches we'd like to relocate for improved functionality.  We are also hoping to have 3 of the kitchen recessed lights replaced with round ceiling boxes and blank covers to permit installation of pendant lighting over the gourmet island at a later date.

After studying the construction drawings and looking at several RH blogs, we also have a list of numerous items needing clarification we will discuss with the PM tomorrow.  There are so many aspects and details, both big and small, involved in building a house and we want to make sure we will be happy with our purchase for years to come.  We will be posting a page on the blog with specific items we are going to be asking about and will then follow up with the results.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

We have neighbors!

Upon driving thru our neighborhood yesterday to check our lot for signs of progress, we discovered that the lot next to ours had a SOLD sign on it.  Rumor has it they are building an Avalon!  We hope that's true!  Stay tuned...

Some Progress...

Well we have started to move forward with the sale of our current home.  The buyers had their home inspection done last week and came to us last Sunday with a request for a large concession to replace the HVAC systems.  Since they do work, we were a bit hesitant to grant this concession.  However, we negotiated back and forth for a few days and have reached an agreement both parties are okay with.  So one hurdle is cleared.  Only two to go.  Hopefully both items are uneventful.  We'll keep our fingers crossed...