Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 1 of Drywall

Well, it looks like the inspections went well and the deliveries went without a hitch.  When we arrived this evening, drywall installation was well underway.  With the racket in the house, the drywall team was pounding away on every floor and working past 6pm.   Not much done to the outside of the house but i got to see the kitchen and morning room in drywall.   Walking through the garage, I saw that our Navy blue shutters were in.  That meant that the hardiplank siding couldn't be too far away.

This is how a Washington Trace homeowner feels about Gold Key Realty.

While I was doing this Amy was at the annual HOA meeting.  Even though we did not close on the house, we thought that it would be prudent to go    WOW.  Lots of problems with the association.  The homeowners were thoroughly pissed off at Gold Key Realty--the folks that developed this neighborhood.   Among the problems.
- Pool in disrepair
- Clubhouse requiring a $1000.00 deposit for rental
- Workout facility crowded in disprepair 
- The HOA dues were going up and services were going down.
- HOA dues were highest in the area.
- HOA dues continues to climb despite more paying homeowners

Neighbors were citing mismanagement as the cause for the raising of the dues.   Here we are not even moved in and the area isn't even 40% developed but it's common facilities are at capacity--not a good sign.  I am expecting some lawsuits against the developers soon.  As for Ryan, they have stated the amenities of the neighbornood as a matter of factly, but need to be careful that Gold Key doesn't get them tangled in this mess.  Maybe since Ryan has more extensive development experience, they can help them with this.   Else, if these problems get out into the open, Neither developer will be moving houses.

Anyway, tomorrow's going to be a late day since I am going to the college for some advising appointment.  Probably won't see the house until Friday.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Pre-Drywall Inspection

Today, we hit another milestone on this journey--the pre-drywall inspection.  In a nutshell, your PM will go over all of the things that were done in the house prior to the drywall arriving on site and before the county and Energy Star inspectors arrive to do their thing.   Again, we had a 0730 appointment with Brandon at the homesite but this time it was Amy, me and our two little ones in tow--and it was muddy and raining. 

Not much had changed since we had seen it the night before and after having pored over each one of the 2X4s inside the house we were quite familiar with the house at this point.  Brandon told us that he had the place cleaned and went over every inch of the house, front to back, side to side, and floor to ceiling, answering every quesiton and affirming every change order that we had put in.  

As said yesterday, to our delight, our concern areas marked with green tape had been mitigated from whe could see, split boards were braced and sloppy work was corrected.   At this point, Amy and I felt better of going into drywall now that everything was corrected.  What I also failed to mentioned yesterday was that everything was sealed and boards around the perimiter of the house were caulked to be somewhat air-tight.   It definitely looks like they do take the Energy Star very seriously and it has forced the builder's hand to design and build a very energy efficient home.  At the end of it all, we were given a survey and signed that we did the pre-drywall walkthrough.   At this point, we received our final walkthrough dates (April 8, 2013) and our closing (April 10, 2013).

It was nice that Ryan homes wanted feedback on our experience with the process.  For Brandon, he gets a 10.  I really have no complaints about him.  When it asked about how I felt about the quality of the materials, I gave them a lesser rating.  Sadly, if I had put a 10, I would not have been real honest with myself.  With such a high percentage of scraggly 2X4s and so many split 2X4s that needed (and were) corrected, how can anyone give them a 10?

Later this afternoon, Amy received a text from our neighbor-friends up the street telling us that they were delivering the drywall today.  Her little boy was watching from their house in fascination.   We returned later that evening in hopes of catching a glimpse of the drywall in the house but it was dark and everything had been sealed up...booo.

I'm going to give Brandon a buzz and set up a walkthrough with him and Amy for Thursday.   All in all, a great day. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Pre-Pre Drywall Walkthrough.

Hello Blogger!  As previously written, I had arranged to meet with Brandon regarding alot of the framing issues found in the house during our covert and not-so-covert visits to the site.   Surprisingly Brandon is actually a good sport about us doing QA parallel to his QA.   Got to the site at 0730 and he was there picking up some of the garbage on the site.  

For three of the visits we looked over the framing work and marked it with a number and some green tape and logged it into our list of discrepancies.   Without wasting time I walked with Brandon through all 23 of my discrepancies.  

Our Green Tape was all over the place!
Now, I am not  a experienced inspector, but most of these discrepancies were pretty obvious and it wouldn't cause any heartbreak to have Brandon explain the work.   We felt that he needed to provide that as a customer service.  Besides, that level of receptiveness keeps me from freaking out on him.
Yay!  They finally completed the roof!

 Actually, going through, Brandon would either explain why the discrepancy was OK, or mark it for correction.   All through this, I am wondering in awe how receptive he was.  It has been my experience in Construction, getting folks to redo their work was equivalent to pulling teeth.  In addition I did ask him about our half-roofed porch (boo on the roofers) and the mud on the studs.    He said that he had those on his to do list and we confirmed the Pre-drywall meeting for tomorrow.

We got to the house after work today and took a gander at the changes in the house.   Fiberglass insulaton was put in the house and the house looked rather "full".  To my delight, the mentionables on my discrepany list were corrected.  After 2 weeks, the roofers finally finished the roof on the porch!  Because we walked in after hours, we ran into Larry who was one of Brandon's guys who was locking up for the day.  Very friendly and courteous and he told us that we'd be seeing a lot more of him.  


We took a break on Saturday and went furniture shopping after Mikey's indoor soccer game.  Great news is that his team won!  The opposing team only had three kids show up so it was a forfeit.  A victory is a victory any way we can get it.


So, today after Church, I was in a post lunch coma and Amy wanted to go to the house and look around.  So we paid the site a visit.    In testament that these cats work on the weekends, we found that they had finished all of the brick, so the house does look kind of cool.   We tooked across at the newest house on our side of the street and they had finally finished the framing.  Now it was a Yorkshire B as well!  The orientation is opposite ours so it was pretty cool to see.  Another difference is that they don't have the porch option.   We ended up meeting these folks as well.  Looks like we are going to have at least some friendly neighbors.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

New Revelations


We have finally arrived at Friday.  With all that was going on at work and following President's Day, it amounted to a very long work week.  Don't know why.  Testing at work was done for the week and Friday is a relatively light day for us.   I figured that I would put in some time for the house.

My first order of business was to shoot an email to Brandon with some concern items before our Monday meeting.   This included the half done porch roof, daily access to the house, and an outlet for the kitchen floor.  Again, Brandon was quick to respond and in discussing the issues with him.  He gave me an answer for my inquiries.   The roofers had run out of shingles, but that's OK since the underlayment was there.  They will be finishing the roof on the porch next week.   The electricians had put in the outlet to the kitchen floor they just haven't cut out the hole for it yet.

He did notice my green tape, marking the discrepant parts of the house but did not scold me for taking it upon myself to do it.   I guess he wants me to be as happy and satisfied with the house as possible.  A gold star for Brandon.

When it came up to see the house daily, we needed to be with Ryan personnel in order to tour the house for insurance reasons.  Well, being that it legally wasn't my house and such a rule was probably due to some jerk who got himself hurt and sued Ryan, I really couldn't push the issue.   Since I get off at the same time as Brandon, seeing the house every day was going to be a problem and taking off of work a couple of hours everyday wasn't the answer as well.

After pondering all of the options, I'll just have Amy visit around 1:00 MWF since Mikey's preschool is nearby.   She has a much keener eye and will ask him about everything.  I'll probably do a meeting weekly once I week.  That should keep my leave balance in check.

I had some surfing time and went to read the blogs about Ryan owners and their experiencing,seeing what each of them had done during our current phase of the build.  I did run into Mike P's blog and man was it helpful.   One of the great ideas he had was putting this 2" PVC pipe that ran from the attic to the serve as a conduit for the low voltage media.  I immediately emailed Kelly about this and hope that the plummers can do something like this before drywall goes in.  Hope so.  

This evening, it looked like they didn't make too much headway with the brick work and there was a fella working in the house, correcting some of the discrepant carpentry--I'm assuming.   Ventwork also looked done  I saw new grates over the ventholes.  Hopefully these aren't the ones I am getting. They look a little beat up...

So, another good day with Ryan!  With Kelly and Brandon handling this,  I am having a good experience.   Hope this continues!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bricks are Coming Up!

This evening, we got out later than usual to the house so we were at the brink of darkness when we arrived.  Amy was cooking ribeyes for dinner and I wanted some quality time with them.  The brick layers were finishing up for the day and packing to go home.   Looking at the other houses on the block, we saw that they were leaving for the day as well.  

Bricks are starting to come on.

There was some significant brickwork on the house today.  They got the South and West walls of the garage and were about a third up on the front of the house.   Inside the garage, they nailed plywood to the wall that the garage and the rest of the house share.  This was some sort of fire wall if I am not mistaken.

Electrical progressed a little more from what I had seen.   Need to get inside to take a deeper look.  I am preparing a list of discrepancies (or rather percieved discrepancies) to go over with Brandon on Monday.

Now that the house needs to be closed up, I need to arrange with Brandon to see it every day after work.  I am hoping that can be arranged.


Earlier in the day, I emailed Brandon on my concerns with the 2X4s in the frame of the house and he called me right away.  Talk about service..he gets a 10 for that one.   I told him that it was a bit long and drawn out and we agreed to meet first thing in the morning on Monday.   He did start to explain some of the methods to the madness of the woodwork and I said that if the explanation (not excuse) was within reason, I would be willing to listen.   Now I did see evidence of Brandon marking areas of the frame for correction with orange spray paint and a marker.  I'd like to look at those and see Q&A from his point of view.

There were some split boards in the framing and I am going to insist that those be reinforced.   Though i am not happy with the amount of scraggly end-type pieces that Ryan does not discard in it's build, I'm going to put it on the topics of discussion with Brandon.  

After work, I did stop by and mark the areas that I wanted for discussion and will be putting them on a list to go over when I meet Brandon on Monday.   We did get about 10 of them on the first floor today, will see if I can get the others before Monday else it is going to be a long morning on Monday for Brandon and I.   Looking through,  the previous days work on the electrical looks done---all junction boxes were wired up as well as the lighting.   We didn't see the outlet that is supposed to be in the middle of the kitchen floor, so we'll put it on the list for Monday.   All of the Guardian wiring is now done with a little frame for connective faceplates.  


Good work for today.   Still kind of nervous about the boards.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Guardian Mark Out and a Closer Look

Today, temperatures took a horrible dip (again), but with the house structure up and sealed, it shouldn't slow down progress.  After a very speedy 25 minute drive from work, I was on time meeting Ron from Guardian to mark out the outlet locations for all of the low-voltage wiring.   Most of the locations were under recommendation from Ron, not because we had no idea, but because Ron reminds you of those things that you usually forget about when at a meeting like this.   Since I was there before Amy we did alot of the marking before she got there but Ron was good about showing Amy all that we had done to get her seal of approval.   I did forget to mention that at the same time, there was a crew in the beginning stages of running all of the electrical wiring and rough-ins and they didn't seem to pleased that we were in the way.   A couple of times, I was thong-ed by a run of three-conductor--guess I should watch where I'm stepping!  Looks like those electricians were on a mission and as long as they do it right, I don't care how fast they go.

After we signed off with Ron, Amy, the kids, and I took a look around and examined the structure.   This frame has alot of imperfect studs.  Also, there are alot of cracked, split, and unrepaired studs.   Not happy with that and will be talking to Brandon about it.  I figured that the speed of which the house went up and the quality of the work was a inversely proportional relationship.  To say otherwise was too good to be true.   Even with that being said, if the frame of the house isn't right, no drywall will go up if I can help it.  Kinda pissed off at the work tonight but I do trust that Brandon will make it right.

A Busy Week with Bricks!

Well, the weekend was less than restful.  Between Mikey's soccer game, Church activities, and fighting this wicked cough, I was dragging by Monday.   Of course, no day off for me on President's day.

Bricks are Here!

I got to the house and I see that our bricks have finally arrived.   For the first time, the ground around the house was solid enough for me to walk around.  It looks like they will be going up soon.    What I saw was a really good house, even in its rough form.   Through an open garage door,I had a quick look around to soak in the dimensions of the house.  The more you see it, the more real it becomes for you internally.   With our Gurardian mark-out appointment tomorrow, I am going to look at the internal structure with more detail.  Stay tuned.

With two events at Church today we decided to squeeze in a visit at the new homestead.  We were still soaking in the dimensions and noticed that the HVAC ducts were in place.  Progress looked good. 

HVAC ducts.

Not too much change from our Valentine's day report but we did get to slip in and view the dimensions of the house for the first time.   The initial feeling was that the house seemed smaller than we envisioned.  That led us to remember the visit to the Yorkshire B up the street and the memories of that visit led us to remember the dimensions in that house.  Spacing for the first time on our house was real.  With the folks working in the basement, we did not get to see much down there.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Back At the Homesite Again.

Happy Valentines Day!   Since Amy and I married and had kids, Valentines Day has become a family affair rather than a couples affair.   It's not really a loss but a evolution of how we celebrate our love for each other.   Perhaps a warning sign that we are becoming like minded, we both got each other fruit bouquets.  Amy made mine but I got hers at Edible Arrangements.  I figured that since I lack talent and time in fruit floral arranging, I'd leave it to the professionals.  Besides, when does a gift give you a few days worth of vitamin C?  

Flowers you can eat!
I received a call from Brandon for he weekly update this morning.  It was Thursday, but I figured that he was wanting to report the good progress.  Framing went up extremely quick and though I was impressed with the time frame, I'm hoping that quality did not suffer.   Brandon said that coming up in the next week would be electrical, plumbing, and the on site Guardian visit.  So we set a tentative drywall meeting and if I heard right, we have a little over a month to go.   Great news, I thought and packing will commence at the rental home in prep for the big move.

It took us a bit after work to get to the house.    I will spare you the details as to why.  Heck, I'm not sure at this point, but we went out of there during dusk and got to see the house 
before sunset.  


Garage Doors IN!
The Rear of the House
Roof is ON!

There was progress on the house.  They had one guy working on ours and there was quite a few on the one across the street.   Though we broke ground a month before they did, they are catching up fast and furiously.  I can see them catching up in a couple of weeks.  As Brandon had mentioned this morning, the roof and garage doors are ON! So, I think the house can be officially locked up and sealed.  Though the pre-drywall meeting is over a week away, I'd like some time inside the structure to confidence check the levels and squares of the structure.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Starting to Look Like a House!


This morning, Brandon calls with his weekly update a day early.   Funny, I thought.   How did he know we were leaving this evening for the week? He usually calls Friday morning and I didn't tell him I was leaving.  This dude is sharp.   The main point of the call was to let us know that framing is going to happen next week.   That is actually the best part to watch but with being out of town and Church, I won't be able to see it until Thursday evening next week.   Booooo.   It's going to kill me not to be able to visit the house for a week.   Until next week, It's holiday roooooooad.

The family Truckster
The Griswold's are back!  Our excursion to Omaha, NE and stops to the Children's Museum in Indianapolis were uneventful and we had a great time.  Since it was Chinese New Year, we paid a visit to Amy's kin in Omaha.  On our way back we stopped off for a day in Indianapolis to see the Hot Wheels exhibit at the Children's Museum there.  If you haven't been there, I highly recommend it.
A Hot Wheel we can all agree on.

So this is our first day back and I am raring to see the house but with Ash Wednesday services at Church, I wasn't able to go.   Fortunately, Amy got to see the house and took some pics.   The framing looked mostly done and it's starting to really look like a house.  

All I can say is wow.   That framing team really kicked butt and took names.  All of this in one week is impressive.  The frame is up and so is the Tyvek.  The roof is tarped and the windows are in.  From what Brandon says, we have made it over the hump and the production schedule will continue on regardless of weather.    Since the groundhog saw its shadow, this will be good news.  Luckily for me, I will be going out to the house tomorrow.   I am sure that this is when production starts really taking off.   Happy to see the face of our little home.   Hopefully, this is becoming real for Amy as well.  Notice the differences between ours and the illustrated pick on the right hand of the blog.   The side entry garage will distinguish it from the other 4 Yorkshire B with porch models.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Slow due to Snow...

Our secured window/door order.

Today is Tuesday and oddly enough, it will be the last day we will be by the house before heading off to Nebraska for Chinese New Years.    Since I haven't driven long distance in awhile I'm actually looking forward to some straight road, no drama driving.   We stopped by the house after dinner this evening and saw that they had done some filling of the foundation and our window order was chained up at the curb.   Though we were happy that our windows were secured, I seriously doubt that the chain was more of a deterrent than a preventative measure.   So this is it for about week.  See sweeping changes on the next few posts.

The rest of the lumber was delivered today.
For a change, there was no snow falling or single digit temperatures so we were able to get out to the site and have a look around.   It looks like more of the lumber came on site to include the trusses and more parts of the frame.   The garage was nearly done as far as backfill and it looked like the steel supports were in along with the completed in-foundation plumbing and backfill.   We could walk into the "garage" and peer at the progress over the main part of the house.  A couple of boards were placed over the mail steel beam--I'm assuming that the trusses will run in this fashion.  With the ground frozen, we could walk over the piles of dirt and see the progress without sinking into the mud.

Overall, progress is moving along.   Looking forward to the next steps!


Our First Function with Neighbors!


Not much going on at the site today.  However, we ended up in the new neighborhood to attend a birthday party.  Steve and Jenn built and closed on a Ryan home up the street from our site and their house turned out gorgeous.    They have two boys and get along rather well with ours so it's been most comforting to move into a neighborhood where you have at least 1 friendly neighbor.  

It was nice to chat with Steve and hear that their build experience was a rather good one.  Though they had a different SR than we did, they had Brandon as their Project Manager as well and gave us some insight into Brandon's MO.   Still pretty impressive.     Walking through their house, it gave me an opportunity to absorb what a newly finished Ryan Home was like without all of the lavish trappings of a model home to lure buyers.  

Even when comparing notes with Steve, it looks like we are doing OK and on the right track.   Now if this weather clears up long enought to get framed and roofed!   We drove by the site after the party and work was at a standstill--after all it is Saturday.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Setting Off for the Weekend!

Well, we got to the site a little later today--Amy picked up a shift at North Village this evening.  So, it's just the boys and me--kind of a guys night type of thing.   Really thinking about picking up Ted at Redbox and something for the boys.   Still up in the air.

Brandon gave me the weekly update this morning and admittedly, he told me that progress was slower than expected but moving.  With the weather being as crappy as it has been, I've been more than pleased to see that there has been some movement everyday.  So in upcoming days, Brandon reported that the foundation plumbing will go in with some rebar before the foundation is complete.   This all should take them into late next week.   I've been impressed with the consistency of timeliness of Brandon.   The professionalism has shown on every facet of this experience.

After a quiet day at work, I scooped up the kids and we minivan-ed it to Benham Estates and gave Kelly a toot as we drove past the Ryan Homes Model.  Arriving at the site I saw that more work was done.  A insulating wrap had been put around the foundation.   I got to go to the back of the house and was able to look in to see that the plumbing was being put in place awaiting to be backfilled, steel put in and concrete poured.   Happy with progress. 

Plumbing lines installed in basement

Insulation wrap on basement-foundation wall.
 Also, late last night Kelly did get back to me about the brushed nickel upgrades and it is a go!   Though it is unorthodox to get changes done, they found it within their scope to let us have the upgrade.   Kudos to Kelly for running it up the flagpole.   She is truly awesome.   Even though alot of the interaction at this point is with Brandon, Kelly hasn't ever left our side and has always been there to answer our questions, help with requests and share in our joy.

So, now we have brushed nickel faucets in our home!   We are happy campers indeed!