Tuesday, March 30, 2010

General Contractor Blues

The list of things done wrong, or not to our expectation, by our general contractor is growing.

We've got the General Contractor blues.

We have heard from a number of people who have gone through the home building experience who have told us that it is normal to hate your GC by the end of the project. I guess I can see how that could be true as no one ever cares as much about the project as the people paying the bills! But it is a real bummer to have to deal with poor quality work.

We've got the General Contractor blues.

So here is a list of things that have failed to meet our expectations:

1. The framing took such a long time, that completion of the septic system had to go on hold until Spring. We talked to several builders who indicated that 2 weeks was a typical amount of time to complete the framing. Our crew took 2 months!

2. Dean is not happy with the way the roof overhangs were constructed. So there is more than one "acceptable" way to construct these, but the way it was done was the "less strong" way. The way it was done is that the overhangs were tacked on to the side of the gable end wall. The better way would have been to lower the gable end wall and construct a ladder that is cantilevered and supported by the gable wall as illustrated in this diagram.

Thanks to my brother Tom for the loan of the book that this diagram comes from.

3. One of the windows was installed "un-level" and so would not operate correctly. He did fix this once it was pointed out to him.

4. The porch is not level. His partner tried to tell us that this was due to settling in the cement piers, but Dean noticed this within a couple of days after it was constructed, so I do not think that was the reason.

Does this look level to you??

5. One of the exterior door frames was installed wrong so that it did not operate correctly. The screws were too long, pushing the doorjamb down and causing the door to squeek and rub. This drove Dean crazy! So he had to fix it himself.

6. Dean had to go around the entire house securing the strapping where it had not been nailed up correctly.

7. The shower was not installed correctly. (It is not clear whether our GC planned to come back and secure it properly) but Dean spent 1/2 day leveling and shimming it, and securing it.

8. Some of the Zip tape on the outside of the house was put up incorrectly leaving the house vulnerable to rain water getting in.

9. One of the rake boards was put on backwards so that the bevel invites water into the house rather than away from the house as it is supposed to do.

10. The stair stringers were overcut rendering them less strong. This could have been avoided if he had used a hand saw to cut the last inch on each stair...

11. There is a squeek in the upstairs floor which Dean fixed.

12. Two of the windows had damage to the finish. He says he will get the window company to come out and fix this.

13. One of the electrical outlets that we had indicated in the plan for the outside of the house was not placed. We did not discover this until after the insulation was installed.

And last but not least, our drywall contractor has observed and commented that several areas of the framing is not square!!

I really don't think that it is too much to expect brand new construction to at least be square!

We've got the General Contractor blues...

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