Friday, March 21, 2014

Week 6 Progress

The house is coming right along. From the outside at least the major things completed this week have been the siding, shutters, trim, and garage door.

The project manager called me this afternoon to give me an overall progress update. In addition to what I noted above several other things have been completed as well. The big thing inside is that drywall has been hung. And just this afternoon the water, sewer, and gas lines were finished, inspected, approved, and buried. He also told me that the sidewalk had been pulled up and re-poured because he wasn't pleased with the finish on the original one. I've arranged to meet him Monday afternoon to do another walkthrough to see the progress on the inside and take pictures. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Water and Sewer Lines

Jenny and I drove by the house this afternoon on the way out to get some groceries. We noticed as we approached that a small excavator was out front and a guy was working in one of the trenches that had been dug. I thought one of them was for the drain line from the French drain under the house but come to find out from talking to the contractor doing the work that it was our sewage line out front and water line on the side. Standing at the street I snapped a few photos:

Sewage line coming from the house.

Curving around to where it connects with the sewer underneath where the driveway will eventually sit.

Trench for the water line.

I didn't notice it until this evening until Jenny pointed it out but you can also see from that first photo above that the sidewalk that was poured earlier in the week has apparently been removed. It looked fine when I walked through with the project manager yesterday but something must have happened to cause it to be ripped up. I guess I'll ask him the next time he calls. 

Friday, March 14, 2014


The project managed called me yesterday and asked if I wanted to do another walkthrough with him now that insulation has been put up. I'm definitely not going to pass up an opportunity to go through there with him so we arranged to meet this afternoon. Seeing as I just went through there with him on Monday and the only thing that had been done so far as the insulation it didn't take very long as there wasn't much else to see. We talked briefly about the failed inspections from earlier in the week. He showed me where the missing fireblocking is supposed to go and also in the garage where the steel i-beam needs additional bolts. It didn't sound too major but at least the issues were caught and corrected.

As I left crews were working outside putting up the vinyl siding. I also noticed that the concrete for the sidewalk and front porch floor had been poured as well.


Front porch.

Insulation along the side wall of the garage. They only add insulation to the living area walls of the house and don't do the parts of the walls of the garage that don't back up to inside areas of the house. I wish it had been an option to do the other areas as well. I insulated the walls of the detached garage on my current house and it made a big difference. I will probably eventually go back and do something similar in here as well depending on how cold it gets in the winter. I want to be able to work out there comfortably year round. 

Insulated walls of the garage against the living areas of the house.

Uninsulated side wall.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Failed Inspection

Throughout the build process Jenny and I have been checking the county inspection records that are available online. Everything so far has passed until today. Checking on it this afternoon the house has failed not one but two inspections.

Jenny and I both think based on the comment on the second framing inspection that the inspector is just a wee bit annoyed right now. I was supposed to meet up with the project manager this week to do another walkthrough once the insulation was up but it doesn't look like that will be happening until next week now. I drove by the house today and boxes of vinyl siding were sitting in the driveway so it looks like that will be done in the next few days at least. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pre-Drywall Meeting and Closing Scheduled

I met this afternoon with the project manager to do the pre-drywall walkthrough of the house. Similar to the walkthrough we did last Wednesday it was another chance to see everything done so far and prior to the hanging of drywall and ask questions. Similar to the pre-construction meeting Jenny and I read through numerous other Ryan Homes blogs to find out what to expect and questions to ask.

The major things were to double check to make sure that things such as cable and phone jacks, ceiling fan rough-ins, and similar things were installed and placed where we wanted them. Most everything else were things we went over in the walkthrough last week or even in the pre-construction meeting or subsequent phone calls with the project manager.

One thing I noticed today that I was especially impressed by was how thorough they seem to be with the energy efficiency thing. Everywhere you look there's either yellow or pink expanding insulation foam that has been used to seal every possible area where air could leak into the house. Even the electrical outlets and ceiling fan rough-ins have been sealed in this way.

Based on suggestions I received from several coworkers one thing I did today during the walkthrough was take photos of each wall to have a record of where the wires and plumbing are before they're covered up by drywall. This way if we ever want to hang a picture or something else that requires putting a nail into the wall we have a rough idea of where things are. (Along with using a stud/wire finder of course.)

Over the weekend we also received a letter in the mail with the schedule for our new home orientation meeting and closing. The former is scheduled for Tuesday April 22 and the latter for April 24. It sounds like this is pretty much set in stone at this point although after talking with my realtor the closing date might change slightly since we're using an outside law firm for settlement.

Breaker box in the garage.

Main air intake and wastewater lines.

Laundry room hook ups and plumbing for washing machine and dryer.

Upstairs central ductwork.

Upstairs bathroom plumbing.

Bedroom wiring.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Surprise Walkthrough

I got a call from our project manager early this afternoon. Along with the usual progress updates (ductwork and HVAC installed over the weekend; plumbing and wiring being installed this week) he also asked if I was available to meet with him and do a walkthrough of the house later in the day. (NOT the pre-drywall meeting. That's going to happen next week.) Since I work at a school and my day generally ends by 3pm anyway I jumped at the chance meet him. As luck would have it Jenny was also able to leave work a bit early and also attend.

Jenny and I had walked through the house over the weekend and noted a number of minor issues that we went through with him. Among other things (and his responses):
-Gouges in the garage floor. (Normal and unavoidable. Will be patched prior to closing.)
-Several cracked 2x4's in the framing. (Imperfections are common and these were on non-load bearing walls so it's not an issue.)
-Several holes in the plywood on the walls. (Apparently the construction crew will do this intentionally to give them hand holds to lift walls into place and they will be patched later.)
-Numerous spots where you could look up at the second floor and see where nails were secured into the floor joists. (Also normal and results from going so quickly with a nail gun. The subfloor is secured with not only nails but screws and glue as well to prevent squeaks.)

We also found out what the deal was with the bedroom closet/laundry room nook issue I noted in my previous entry, Slight Deviation in Plans. According to him this was a result of a common tweaking of the house plans based on customer input and other factors and it just hadn't been reflected in the sales materials yet. Like I mentioned in that entry Jenny actually preferred it that way and is glad to have the spot in the laundry room for extra shelving/storage space. (Although he said if we really wanted it the other way it wouldn't have been a problem to re-frame the space.)

We went room by room and had a chance to ask questions. All the ductwork and plumbing had been run, and a crew was working inside on the wiring as we went through it. Being as curious as I am about such things I probably bordered on the annoying with everything I asked about. Seeing as all of this stuff is covered up behind the walls it was absolutely fascinating to me seeing how these systems come together and work.

A few other things of note I learned today that I found especially interesting:
-Electrical wiring around the exterior walls of the house is run at the bottom instead of in the middle as you see on interior walls. Apparently this is an energy efficiency thing. Lower on the wall creates a smaller gap when insulation is placed over it.

-Each spot where the wire is passed through a stud is covered by a little metal plate. This prevents a nail from accidentally hitting the wire if someone goes to put up a picture or otherwise do something that involves putting a hole in the wall through the stud.
Small metal plate protecting the electrical wire.

-One of the things Jenny and I had noticed over the weekend and were curious about was why there a piece of house wrap on the interior wall of the master bathroom. It's the only spot inside the house like that and we figured it was there for a reason but just weren't sure what that was. Turns out we were right and it's actually yet another energy efficiency thing. That piece of house wrap sits between the tub and the exterior wall and helps to keep the water in the tub warmer.

House wrap on the wall of the master bathroom.

I also received a slight slap on the wrist so to speak from the project manager regarding my visits to the site. He had told us any time we wanted to go on the property we needed to check in with the neighborhood office and be escorted. The first time I had done this I was told by the sales representative there that this was more of a formality and I could go down there whenever. I've also read on numerous blogs and talked to other folks that have been through the build process that they had no problem visiting anytime so I didn't think much about it. I've been waiting until evenings once the crews leave to go look around and snap photos and check on things but I was reminded this afternoon that I do need an escort for my own safety.

As it is we're scheduled to do our pre-drywall meeting next Monday and should find out for sure at that point our expected closing date. Hopefully we've finally seen the last of the snow and things should move right on along from here.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Slight Deviation from Plans

My wife came back from a work trip this afternoon after being gone for a few days and of course she wanted to go see in-person the progress made on the house. She has a better eye for detail and when we went upstairs one thing she noticed almost immediately was a difference in the floor plans versus the way the house was actually framed.

On the floor plan it shows the closet in room #3 as running the length of the wall and having double doors:

The way it was framed however leaves the closet smaller with only a single door and a small nook on the other side of the wall in the laundry room.

Looking at the closet from the bedroom.

Looking at the wall from the laundry room with the small nook on the right.

I haven't been able to find pictures on other Sienna blogs to see if other houses were built in a similar way but Jenny says she remembers seeing it in the house identical to ours that we walked through several weeks ago. I'm going to ask the project manager about it the next time I talk to him to see if there's been a change in the plans or an actual error in framing but Jenny would rather have the extra nook for shelving to store linens, towels, etc. so I guess it will be staying that way.