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week 19: holidaze...

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Dec 31, 2012 01:03 AM
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by bubba of the bubbles ( last modified Dec 30, 2012



I figured that nothing much would happen this past week with the holidays and all, but I figured wrong!

we have door (frames)

The front and back store-front doors arrived (although we haven't seen them yet...), which apparently allows the store-front men to install the frames. No glass, no doors, but still coo as poo to see entry level progress!

an electrifying meeting

Had a sit down with the builder and the electric sub to go over the sub's (shocking) cost proposal on changes to the electrical plan. Several of the items that had me the most miffed were simple mis-understandings and went away and the builder assumed responsibility for several items, but there's still a big (additional) bill to pay at the end of the day for change orders. It is what it is.

One goofy thing was that the sub was working off the old electrical plans, the ones with the words "NOT FOR CONSTRUCTION" on them. So a sizable chunk of change orders was related to differences between the final and draft plans (something the builder is going to take care of). Then there's change orders due to changes to meet code (a number of additional plugs [including one in the stairwell!] and additional smoke detectors).

Other charges were due to honest-to-goodness change orders we asked for such as adding lights to the top shelf of the bookcase (to perhaps hi-lite my antique electric fan collection...), adding a recessed plug for the flatscreen tv, installing a data cabinet, moving a light fixture in the master bath (too close to the tub spout), changing phone lines to CAT5e, dealing with can locations at the rear entry, adding a plug below one of the counters in the laundry room (builder: "Why do you want a plug under there?" me: "So the cat can see when he's pooping." [uncomfortably long silence] sub to builder: "Don't ask questions you don't really want to know the answer to."), and moving the wires for the main service from the back of the house to the side. We were able to talk this latter cost down substantially when we noted that none of the home runs (long lines that go to the main electrical box) would have to be pulled and rerun.

One interesting discussion was the cost to change out the single-junction electrical boxes for the smoke detectors to double-junction boxes. The specs list the smoke detector, which requires double junction boxes, but the sub doesn't look at the specs. Essentially, according to the sub, if it's not on the electrical plan, then they are going to assume it's just like everything else they've ever done. I kinda find this amazing, but the plumbing sub (and to a small degree the framing sub) were the same way. The other item of note was that if the electrical plan doesn't show exact measures of where electrical stuff is supposed to go, then the electric sub is not obligated to put it there (makes certain amount of sense: they'll place stuff like plugs to the nearest stud).

lessons learned: Spend time on the electric plan to make sure it is exactly what you want, call out anything non-standard on the plan, include measurements on items you really want in a certain place, show where you want the electric box to go, and insist on a walk-through with the builder and the sub to discuss the electric before the sub begins work. This all will (hopefully) minimize change orders. Trust me: This will save you thousands of dollars...

electric (work ) back on!

With the sit down done, the electric sub is back on the job finishing the work. Regardless of the wee bit of drama, it feels good to have it resolved and be moving forward!

Electrical work is not terribly photogenic, but here's a photo of the moved electrical service:


sound and security

Our wee bit of sweat equity is to install the sound and security wiring, something we did this past weekend. I would say we ran about 500 feet of speaker wire and 350 feet of CAT5e wire in addition to  installing speaker guides.

Here's a neat resource on installing speaker wire. The key is installing in-wall wire, which meets fire code requirements (and is quite a hefty wire, thicker than coax!).

Media wall:

Kitchen ceiling:

Looking up at the kitchen ceiling:

Looking up at the master bathroom ceiling:

Looking up at the master bedroom ceiling:

Aimed to center the speakers on stuff they could be centered to.


It was rather chilly this past weekend. Whilst working at the house, the cold and working-at-the-house bit brought back a memory from when my folks were building a house back in northwestern Illinois (in John Deere country). It was the dead of winter and cold as popsicle. Ma and pa were inside working (no heat in the house at that time), so they left my two brothers and I in the International Harvester Travelall (example below) to stay warm. One of us was playing "Drive the Travelall" when someone disengaged the parking brake, which sent the IH rolling backwards down the hill and into (and across) the neighbor's fence.

We didn't destroy any fences today!



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