Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pre-Drywall Meeting

On Thursday we met the PM at our house for the pre-drywall walkthru.  Most things looked pretty good, however, there were several items of concern.  The first thing we noticed is a crack in the side of the front door.  The PM stated this would be replaced.  We then went from room to room with the PM pointing out switches and outlets.  He had already been thru the house and marked out issues with orange spray paint.

In the powder room there was a lot of orange paint.  Apparently the ceiling in there has to be lowered to accomodate proper placement of the exhaust fan.  While in there we also noticed that the switch and receptacle boxes next to the sink were not lined up vertically.  PM said he would notify electrician.  Next was the mudroom.  Again, the ceiling in the mudroom needs to be lowered to make room for plumbing, fan exhaust, and heat runs upstairs.  Not thrilled about it, but not much we can do.

So then we move to the kitchen.  First issue, the CPVC plumbing feeding the upstairs bathrooms and laundry room is undersized.  They used 1/2" pipe where 3/4" should have been used.  Probably saved $20 on the whole house.  Guess we can't run more than one thing upstairs if we want any water pressure/volume.  Asked the PM about this.  His reply, "we always do it like this and never have a problem."  OK.  Hopefully not, because fixing it would require tearing out the kitchen ceiling.  Then he states that we are actually in a high-pressure area and we need to install a pressure reducing valve.  Well that's great, but it's not really pressure we are concerned with, it's volume!  In fact, the smaller the pipe, the higher the pressure!  Kind of like when you put your thumb over the end of a garden hose...  Volume, on the other hand, requires a bigger pipe.

Next issue in the kitchen, and several other places, was the heating system.  They completed omitted the heat runs in the kitchen.  So for a room that measures approximately 16' x 22' we have ZERO heat vents.  NICE.  Their answer:  it is surrounded by conditioned space and therefore does not need any runs.  If we did install them we would just end of closing them anyway once the system is balanced.  I foresee having to add vent(s) to the kitchen once we install central A/C and find out the kitchen does not cool adequately.

Looking out into the garage I see the bath exhaust duct running across the ceiling.  Looks like another boxed-in area.  This is starting to look like a remodel project rather than new construction.  Wait a minute, what is all this orange paint on the wall separating the garage from the family room?  Well, that wall is not going to be flat across, it's going to have 3 or 4 separate bumped out areas where the heat ducts run up to the second floor.  Okay great.  That's going to look like crap.  Here's an idea: let's just bump out the entire wall and make it straight all the way across.
PM: "No we can't do that, you have a service door".
Me:  "The door is like 5 inches from the wall, the wall would be 4" thick, it's fine."
PM:  "Well, then it would interfere with the door casing."
Me:  "Rip down the casing.  I don't even care if there is casing."
PM:  "Well that wouldn't look finished."
Me:  "Won't look any worse than 3-4 bump-outs projecting from this wall."
More arguing and then silence, then "we are not a custom builder" and "you can talk to my boss about it."  His boss wants to charge us more money to make it look like it belongs instead of an afterthought.  If the HVAC system was done according to plan, this would not even be an issue.  Apparently in our region they do not follow the HVAC plans.  Guess they figure the professional architects and engineers who design and spec out these homes don't know what they are doing.   This company, and their willingness to please the customer once the contracts are signed and the deposit is collected, really suck sometimes.

So moving on we then went upstairs and found that the door to the owner's bath toilet room was going to be swinging out into the bathroom rather than into the toilet room.  They are going to correct this.

Of course that room, the laundry room, and the upstairs hallway were missing the heating supply air ducts as indicated per plan, but we were told we would not be getting these.  Don't need them was their excuse.

Then we look in one of the master closets and see the dryer exhaust duct running across the floor.  That is going to be a "shoe rack"!  Basically another drywall bump-out afterthought.  Now in the laundry room, instead of having the dryer vent connection located behind the dryer, it will be next to the washing machine.  Bet that will be convenient to hook up.

The other issue noted was with the electrical system.  They ran a ton of switches as "switch loops" which does not give you a neutral conductor in the box.  The 2011 NEC requires a neutral in each box in case you want to use a switch that requires one.  However, since NYS is still using the 2008 NEC code, they get a pass on this one.

Other than all of the above issues, things looked pretty good.  Insulation, drywall, and siding are scheduled for next week.  Then once the drywall is up, finish work begins.  At that point the cover-up stage is over.  All the work will be readily visible and will be analyzed, scrutinized, and picked apart as necessary.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Garage Door Installed and Mechanicals Started

Since we are not allowed to access the interior of our future home without a Ryan representative present, we have to settle for peering in the windows and whatever happens on the exterior.  Driving up the street this evening we were happy to see our garage door installed.  It is a Wayne Dalton insulated door, 8' high carriage-style with the faux-hardware appliques.  Looking in thru the side door, I was pleasantly surprised to see it had the upgraded torsion spring system--what Wayne Dalton refers to as the "TorqueMaster" spring.  It is a fully enclosed counter-balance system that stays clean and has an integral safety mechanism to prevent the door from going into a free-fall if the spring breaks.  Nice to see considering the PM indicated it was the exposed, older-style torsion spring, when we asked him about it at the pre-construction meeting.

Around the back of the house we were a bit disappointed to see a PVC pipe stubbed out of the back of the house.  It was the discharge tube for the sump-pump and it was installed right in front of the sliding door on the morning room.  It is in a very inconvenient location in regards to our future deck.  It will either have to be moved, and the empty hole filled in, or the ledger board for the deck will have to cut around it.  Either way it pretty much sucks where they put it.  Not to mention it is currently going to dump water about 1 foot off the corner of the morning room foundation.  We will have to bring this to the attention of our PM and see what can be done.

Looking in the windows it appears that the rough electrical, at least on the first floor, is essentially complete.  We have our pre-drywall meeting on Thursday and we plan to bring copies of the electrical drawings and verify the correct number and placement of outlets, fixtures, switches, etc.  The rough plumbing looks mostly done as well.  We'll have a better idea of what's been taking place on Thursday. Finally, there are a few heating duct runs going up the interior walls to the second floor.  Unfortunately we couldn't get very good pictures thru the windows, but we did get a couple of outside shots.

One last note, the ridge vent, if you want to call it that, was installed over the morning room.  The plans call for a 4' vent.  It doesn't look like 4' from the ground but I guess I'll know on Thursday if the morning room ceiling is still open.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Roof is On

The roofers have been busy and have just about finished the roof.  It looks okay, however, several issues exist.  Unfortunately they did not run the ridge vents across the entire length of the roof.  They only installed the minimum length venting per plan, which seems somewhat inadequate given the overall size of the roof.  Since the model home in our development has the ridge vents across the entire roof, we were hoping they would do ours the same way.  No luck.

The next issue with the roof is the complete lack of aluminum drip edge on all of the rake edges of the roof.  I have never seen a roof done like this in our area.  Drip edge is like $5 for a 10' piece.  What a lousy way to save forty bucks!  Now the inch of unsupported shingles overhanging the edge will likely curl and sag over time.  We are not happy about this and have emailed our PM for a resolution.  Of course it is too late to install it easily and correctly without taking up the shingles around the edges but we'll see what happens.

Another major issue is a missing ridge vent over the morning room.  The plans specifically call for one and it is not there.  No cut out in the sheathing for it and the roof has been shingled right over where it goes.  That we discovered today so we will have to bring that one to PM's attention as well.

Finally, the step flashing that gets installed at the roof/sidewall connection between the back wall of the house and the morning room roof is missing for about 6 feet along the edge of the roof.  It's there along the top and bottom, but missing in the middle and of course all of the shingles are installed so, it's going to be difficult to get it installed correctly at this point.

So far we have been very pleased with the work of the concrete guys and the framers, but we are disappointed with the cut-rate roofing job/crew they used.  Hopefully our PM will make things right...

One other thing we noticed is a crack in the edge of our front door.  We are going to request a new door be installed.  Who wants a cracked door in a brand new house?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pre Pre-Drywall Walkthru

Since we have not had the chance to "officially" view the inside of the house yet, we setup an informal walk-thru with our PM today.  It was nice to be able to go thru the house and see what has been done up to this point.  Let's start with the exterior.  Just about all of the preliminary exterior trim details have been completed with the exception of the trim around the palladium window and the decorative details on the gables.

The roof has been started.  Ice and water shield has been applied around the edges and the entire surface is covered with tar paper.  Due to the 40 mph winds we were experiencing today, the roofers were not able to stay up on the roof.  So hopefully tomorrow the majority of the shingles will be completed.  It's too bad it was so windy today, because otherwise it was a beautiful spring day.

When we pulled up to the house there was a flurry of activity taking place.  One of the basement windows was removed and there was a big concrete truck pumping concrete into the basement.  They were working on the floor slab.  As we were talking to the PM in the kitchen, I noticed one of the workers snapping a chalk line on the floor in the foyer in front of the door.  A few minutes later he had a circular saw and was cutting out a section of the floor.  Then the concrete truck backed up close to the door and they directed the chute over the hole in the floor.  Apparently they dump the concrete in thru a hole in the sub floor if they are pouring the basement slab after framing has taken place.  There was also a man in the garage troweling out the floor slab and tooling in the expansion joints.  My wife asked our PM if she could put our initials into the garage floor slab and he allowed her to do so.

The electrical contractor also got started today.  Several of the device and fixture boxes were installed as well as a bunch of recessed cans.  Since there are so many outlets, switches, etc in the house we plan to go thru with the electrical prints and verify the work before the drywall goes up.

Now for the bad news.  Our closing date has been pushed out 2 weeks due to the delays we have incurred so far.  Hopefully it will be sooner and definitely not any later.  We are supposed to close on our current home next week and are going to rent back from the buyer but can probably only do that for 30 days.

Our official pre-drywall meeting is scheduled for Thursday so we will probably know more then.  Here's hoping the weather stays good and the trades stay on schedule.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Garage Gable, Palladium Window, Tub Deck & Cleanup

Major developments occurring on Tuesday were the gable over the garage and the palladium window at the top of the two-story foyer.  It appears that the roof is ready to be shingled now.  Hopefully the OSB decking will dry out some before tomorrow since it poured this evening.

The Palladium window over the foyer looks great and adds a lot of light to the front entry.  All of the 2 x 4 braces stabilizing the walls have been removed and the framing scraps/trash has been cleaned up.  The house seems much bigger now.  All of the sole plates in the door openings have been cut out and the soaking tub deck has been framed out in the master bathroom.  Also, the garage attic access leprechaun door that was in the master sitting area has been reframed in the master closet.  The attic access over the main portion of the house was added to the laundry room, per our request.  It is normally placed right in the middle of one of the bedroom ceilings.

Finally some trim boards were added to the porch ceiling.  They still need to add a bit more housewrap, the curved trim over the palladium window, and the keystone head-piece details over the 4 front lower windows.  Then, that should do it for the framing crew.  When I drove by this evening they were loading the tele-handler (big forklift with long boom) onto the truck to haul it to the next job site.  Their trailer was still parked out front so it appears they will be back for at least one more day to finish up.

So it was almost 3 weeks they have been on the job.  The PM originally said 6 days to frame and one of the framers said 4-5 days.  Both estimates way off, but it looks good now and that's all that really matters at this point.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Roof Trusses, Sheathing, Front Door and More

Well we were told on Thursday that the framers would be finishing up on Friday, but that didn't happen.  So we figured they would work on Saturday since the plan was to put the roof on today (Monday).  That didn't happen either.  Over the course of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday they did not accomplish much.  Basically they put in a few windows and some housewrap and stacked the trusses on top of the second floor walls to stage them for installation.  Oh and the safety rail supports around the staircase were lagged into the floor and had 2 x 4 rails attached to them.

Today they put in a full day.  They were there past 7PM.  All of the trusses were put in place and covered with OSB sheathing.  The gable/peak detail over the center of the house was installed.  They installed the half-moon window and the slider in the morning room.  The front door/sidelights/transom, which was all one unit, was put in.  Decorative trim/crown molding was hung around the garage door opening.

So it appears that to finish up the framing crew still needs to install the decorative moldings around the front windows, add the front gable detail to the garage, install the palladium window over the 2-story foyer, finish up the housewrap, frame the soaking tub deck, and move the attic access door opening into the closet.  Most of those things may not happen until the framing punch list is completed but hopefully we can move to the next stage soon.

We have an informal walk-thru scheduled for Thursday and our pre-drywall meeting is on Monday.  At this point it is looking doubtful that the rough mechanicals will be done by then, but anything is possible...