Saturday, May 21, 2016

One chapter

An update for those who've been following along... Things on our renovation were moving very slowly to this point. In four months, only the insulation, drywall and primer got done. Week after week went by with not much progress, sometimes none at all. I started mentioning this in our weekly meetings, but then the project manager left to join another company. Why were things moving so terribly slowly? It may be due to other projects that the builder has going on. One of them I happened to pass by this week and found it seems to have been stalled over the past year.

Getting stretched thin across too many ongoing projects is a problem. If one of the projects runs into problems it could affect all the others, and that may have been the case here.  There should be someone dedicated on your job site every day, and work happening continuously. That wasn't happening for us.

I spent a lot of time the past two weeks running to meetings, emails to the engineer and architect, talking to our lawyer, and trying to figure out next steps. We closed things off with the original builder, but we had to settle with a compromise and lost a lot of money. We'll need to fix a lot of things that were incomplete, broken or not done right. It's sad.

We've been talking to a new builder and the good news is they're willing to take over. The bad news is it's going to cost a lot more. We're hoping we can find some ways to cut back. One difficult chapter closed, but we hope the next one is better.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

On Hold

Unfortunately our builder quit. Things were getting tense and delays were ongoing. Some things were invoiced and paid but were not built. Finally the builder quit. He pulled his crew and equipment and left us with a half finished house we can't live in.

When people talk about the stress of renovations, I get it now. We've had it in spades. We're now trying to line up a builder who can complete the work to get us into the house and finish the exterior.

A sad turn of events but stay tuned. It'll be a triumph or a train wreck but either way an interesting story.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May update, week 1

Well, needless to say we didn't move in on May 1st as planned, and we're certainly concerned with the building schedule, which originally showed that everything would be completed by now.  At this point there is still a lot to finish before we can move in, and we've been out of our house for one year now. There are structural things like posts in the basement and under the stairs, as well as the carport and basement walk out. At the start of the project we hired an engineering firm to review all the structural work and sign off on it, which now seems like a good idea since there are currently a lot of temporary supports holding up various bits and corners.

The flooring has been mostly installed and the good news is that it looks really nice. I wasn't sure how well I'd like it but I'm actually really pleased with how it turned out. However, the flooring installers accidentally put hardwood throughout the area meant for the tatami room, so they ran out of material to finish the front part of the house. We'll just make the best of it; the bright side is that there's now flooring through most of the house so it's closer to being complete. The tatami room platform and mats would've taken more time to build, but tatami mats are  something that we can add later after the dust settles.

We also got the kitchen cabinets delivered and the boxes are now put together and some of the cabinets hung. We went with IKEA cabinets because they're cost effective. We thought of installing custom doors on them, but decided due to time constraints to use their standard doors in birch and white.

The tiles were supposed to go down first because we bought enough to do the whole floor including under the cabinets. I'm not sure if that will be done now or if they'll just tile under the stove and fridge areas. The builder, Bramel Design and Build, prefers to put the cabinets on wooden plinths and finish them with wood instead of the cheap plastic legs and tie kicks that normally come with IKEA cabinets. That should make them a little more solid.

The Top of the Slope

After a year-long hiatus I've been wanting to get back to this blog because a lot has happened in the meantime, and a lot of interesting...