Friday, February 28, 2014

Week 3 Progress

One thing I've noticed both in our neighborhood and on the various Building with Ryan blogs is that the framing of the house doesn't take very long at all. Ryan seems to have the process down to a science almost and doesn't waste time putting it together. Our house has certainly been no exception. Every day I stopped by this week there was progress.

When I stopped by Monday the crew had begun building the second floor:

When I went by Tuesday the garage floor had been poured and roof trusses had been delivered:

By Wednesday the rest of the second floor above the garage had been added along with the stairs:

On Thursday afternoon the roof was on and windows had been installed:

This afternoon I got a call from the project manager letting me know framing had been completed and roofing work would proceed this weekend. Next week work will commence on installing ductwork, wiring, and plumbing with the expectation that we will have a our pre-drywall walkthrough sometime in the next ten days. 

I had a chance to walk through it this evening. It's amazing to me how far things have progressed. Just three weeks ago the lot was still bare and now we've got a framed house.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Framing Begins

The project manager called me yesterday afternoon and let me know they had begun framing the house in the morning. Due to a storm that came through in the middle of the day they only got the floor and one wall done but were going to be working through the weekend.

How it looked Friday evening.

When I stopped by this evening the first floor had been completely framed.

View from the street.

Left to right: half bathroom, coat closet, mudroom.

Looking from the living room into the kitchen with the pantry in the left corner.

Morning room with sliding door opening on the right.

Looking from the morning room towards the dining and living room.

Stairway/under stairs closet, entry hallway and front door, mudroom.


Back of the house.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Week 2 Progress

The project manager called me Monday afternoon and let me know what the plan was for this week. The forecast was for mostly dry and warmer weather all week so they were hoping to get a lot accomplished. Foundation completed, French drain around the perimeter of the crawlspace installed, garage floor poured, and lumber delivered for framing to start next week.

With living two miles from the lot and passing by the neighborhood at least twice a day we've been stopping by every afternoon to see the progress.

When I stopped by Monday afternoon there were huge piles of gravel and a bobcat scooping it up and dumping it around the inside edge of the foundation to build the French drain as well as to form a layer below the vapor barrier.

Tuesday afternoon plastic had been laid down in the garage and in the crawlspace. I've been told that the garage floor will be poured directly on top of the plastic.

Today I went by and the front porch had been built along with a pile of lumber sitting on the lot awaiting framing. I also had a chance to walk around the perimeter and take a few additional photos.

Close up of the garage.

Side by the living room looking towards the kitchen, dining room, and morning room.

View from the rear.

Pile of lumber for framing. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pre-Construction Meeting

Even though foundation work started on Tuesday this week we didn't have our pre-construction meeting until this afternoon. The torch was passed so to speak from our sales representative to the project manager. Like everyone else we've met during this process the people we met today were very nice and very patient with all the questions we asked.

We've spent the past few weeks reading numerous Ryan Homes construction blogs, learning a great deal in the process, and came prepared today with a long list of questions. This what we asked with the answers received in italics. Your mileage may vary:

1. Will we be able to see inspection reports? These are available online through the county permit office.
2. Foundation - how deep is it? Was a concrete footer poured first? Depends on the frost line, water table, and other factors. A concrete footer was poured per building regulations and covered in straw (hence why we didn't see it) prior to a frost the night after it was done.
3. Will the cul-de-sac our lot sits on ever be opened if another neighborhood is built next to ours? The other rep said county regulation might require it. Future development around our neighborhood is impossible to predict and this could happen later.
4. Where are the outside spigots (house bibs) going to be located? On the left and right sides of the house roughly in the middle.
5. Where will the outlets be located? Per code, every six feet or so.
Will there be outlets in the bathrooms? (Seems odd but our current house doesn't have them and it's driven us nuts.) Yes 
Will there be an outlet on the center kitchen island? Yes
6. Will a termite treatment be done during construction? Yes and we will have the option of getting a contract with the pest control company or one of our choosing to do yearly follow up treatments after that.
7. Will the windows have screens? Yes
8. Where will the attic access be located? (We opted for a pull down stairway instead of the access panel.) In the third bedroom. 
9. Will there be a sump pump in the crawlspace? While some lots in our neighborhood will have them ours will almost certainly not need it. There will however be a French drain installed around the perimeter of the crawl space to drain away any moisture that gets in there.
10. Where is the inside air handler located? In the attic. It will have an overflow pan and an overflow shut off valve.
11. Do we need to buy a mailbox? The standard neighborhood model will be provided. 
12. How much flooring in the attic? Eight feet wide the length of the house. 
13. Will there be smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors in every room? (Noticed on the other Sienna we walked through) Per code smoke detectors will be in every room and one carbon monoxide detector for the house.
14. Is there going to be a light in the morning room? No, since we didn't opt for a fan rough-in in the ceiling. How is the lighting in each room? Since we opted for fan rough-ins in the living room and bedrooms we'll have to buy fans with lights. Dual switches (one for light and one for fan) will be wired in each room.
15. Is the garage partially finished? Drywall will be put up but it won't be sanded or painted.
16. Can we bring our own inspector come in before closing? Multiple inspectors from both the builder and outside will be done but we're welcome to get our own for peace of mind.
17. What are the standard outside lights? Front porch light, back door light, and a front pole light with a photo cell to turn on automatically at sunset are standard. 
18. Will there be a deadbolt on the door from the garage into the mudroom? No.
19. How does the large garage door lock? Metal slider latch. We also opted for a garage door opener rough-in and once we get one installed it will prevent it from being opened when the door is down.
20. Will the landscaping and sod be completed prior to closing? What sort of plants come with it? Weather permitting it will be done otherwise as soon as possible after closing. There will be a maple tree in the front yard along with basic box shrubs around the front. The lot will also be graded for proper drainage so that no standing water remains 48 hours after rainfall.
21. How is the subfloor attached? Is it just nails or glue/adhesive as well? (Less squeaking later with adhesive.) Adhesive will be used along with nails and screws. 
22. What companies are providing cable/phone/internet to the neighborhood? Comcast and Verizon FiOS have run lines. 
23. What are the dimensions of the lot so we can get estimates on the cost to build a fence. (With two dogs this is going to be a must.) We received a copy of the property survey with all dimensions. 
24. Where will the main water shut off be located? In the garage.
25. Best way to reach project manager with questions? Cell number and email was provided.

For further reading on this I'd suggest the following blog posts:

Along with the questions we also went over the floor plan for the house and where our extra outlets, ceiling fan rough-ins, and phone and cable jacks will be located. We also reviewed all the options selected, appliances, cabinetry, flooring, and pretty much everything else that will be on the house. Lastly we discussed a time line with pre-drywall walkthrough done in about four weeks with closing tentatively scheduled for the end of April barring weather delays. (Which are likely given how much rain and snow we've had so far this year.)

The neighborhood is only two miles from our current house and we pass by there at least once a day going to work and elsewhere. I expect at least for right now we'll be going by the lot pretty much every day to check on the progress being made.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I stopped by the lot again this afternoon and in just 24 hours we've gone from a trench to a foundation.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It has begun

I went by the lot yesterday and there was a big pile of gravel.

This afternoon I went by again. The pile of gravel is now a temporary driveway, the plastic sheeting is up around the lot, and the foundation trench had been dug. I didn't have a tape measure with me but the the foundation doesn't look very deep and I'm curious to ask about it in our pre-construction meeting on Friday. I'm guessing it has something to do with the higher water table in this area. When I was kid there was a neighborhood under development not far from my house and I spent many an hour playing in the foundation trenches of a number of houses. I was smaller then of course but I remember them being a lot deeper. 

Temporary Driveway

Front of the house.

Rear of the house where the morning room will be.

I'm not sure how much more will be done the rest of the week. A fairly significant winter storm is forecast to start tomorrow afternoon bringing 4-8" worth of snow to central Virginia. At the very least I'm expecting to have a few extra days off work. It doesn't take much to close school in this area. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Glimpse into our Future

With the kids in tow this afternoon we stopped by another identical-to-ours Sienna model under construction in our neighborhood to get a better feel for the interior dimensions. This particular house we had been in after it had been framed prior to signing our own contract but it was hard at that point to fully imagine it without the drywall up. In walking through it today we were able to better visualize where our furniture could be placed and make plans for things we need to buy. 

We also noticed things that were hard to see based on the floor plan available online. For instance the little nook that will be in our older son's bedroom is far deeper than it looks on the plans. The pantry is also smaller than what Jenny was expecting but still far bigger than what we have in our current house. And we hadn't noticed on the plans but there's no door to the mudroom so we'll have to make a better effort at keeping that area well organized since you can see everything from the living room.

We left there even more excited about our own house. It's going to be a long three months before it's completed and we're able to move in.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Flags are up!

I drove by the lot on my way home from work this afternoon. Flags have been set out that I'm guessing mark the outline of our house. Construction should start next week depending on the weather.