pre-construction meeting, lot clearing, next steps
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We met with the architects and builder on Friday for our pre-construction meeting. Items discussed:
- Communication among all parties is key. All parties agreed. The builder has sent us updates via email on what's going on, so we'll be seeing how that works. So far so good...
- Will be having key progress meetings on site. After the forms are laid, after the electrical is in (but not drywalled in), and before (and during) the finishes. I also gotta imagine after the framing is done is also a critical part (as well as the plumbing). The forms get a lot of attention. The architect and engineer will carefully review the forms, and the bank requires a survey to ensure it is where it's supposed to go.
- Although the builder had expressed concern about advanced framing at earlier meetings, he's no longer concerned about it. He and his framer haven't done it before, although they've wanted to, so they're gonna give it a shot with this house. From our perspective, we're not advanced framing perfectionists, so we're not gonna yelp "Why the hell is this two by four here!?!?!!" Ideally a house is designed from the get-go with advanced framing in mind (making sure the windows line up with where the studs will go), but we didn't do that (not a criticism of the process, just the reality of what happened; I don't think we brought it up early enough in the process). Plus we're not sure how willing we would have been to compromise aesthetics for framing purity (sometimes things need to be the way they need to be to work well for proportions and placement, framing be damned).
- McMansion and design leaves us with little room for error (especially with the lack of clarity of what the code means). We're pretty close to busting the McMansion envelope on the two-story side of the house, so the builder will need to be sure he doesn't give us any extra inches on that side...
- Need more details on the baseboards. The architects will draw up more details on the baseboards we want, including how they work near doors and up the stairs. This is good news because the builder was making noises about not running floaty baseboards up and around the stairwell, which really would have been a shame. Now he's on it!
- Need a few changes for the cubist pooper. Our pooper for the powder is a wall hanger, so the tank will go into the wall. Not only that, the drain will also be in the wall. Since this places the drain pipe very close to the edge of the foundation, we need to kick out the foundation a several inches. Not a bad thing, and it could actually be cool.
- To sidewalk or not to sidewalk? City code requires that we put a sidewalk in front of our property if there's no sidewalk. There's no sidewalk. What's goofy about this requirement, besides obligating the landowner to do something the city should be doing anyway, is that the sidewalk requirement is oblivious to the circumstances. No one on our side of the street has a sidewalk, so the sidewalk we put in would be an orphaned sidewalk (dab your tears now). There's a city-installed sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, so it's not like you couldn't stroll the hood on a sidewalk if you're a sidewalk stroller. The city does allow you to pay them the cost of installing a sidewalk in lieu of putting in a sidewalk, but your payment comes out to twice the cost of putting in a sidewalk. That's a $1,400 bill instead of a $700 bill. We haven't decided what we will do, but I reckon we'll suck it up and write the check...