Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Time to wrap it up

Someone told me recently that I should finish this story, they were right.  Tonight I'll add final photos and in the next couple of days, I'll cover our finished house now that we've been here quite a while.

Outside Front

Entry Way

Great Room

Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2

Dining Room


Master Bath

Master Bed

Laundry Room




Upstairs Hall

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Just pictures

Finally have flat work in the front, we'll get paint some day!

Trim work waiting in office

More trim work in great room

Kitchen from great room

Girls room

Boys room

Another kitchen shot

Master bedroom

Upstairs bath

Bonus room

From front entry to back

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nearing the finish line

Cabinets getting started

Wood floor ready to be installed

Office with blue
Tile at entry

A lot to tell since the last post.  We've been busy and I've had a computer go bad........in short, lot's of reasons for no post up until now.  Since I left off, the home has been sheetrocked, painted inside, cabinets installed, finish truck (Inter-Pak Supply) has come and gone, and the flooring has started.

Let me retrace so perhaps our experience will hopefully prove useful to someone else building with Adair.  After framing and plumbing and electrical rough in......we sat.  We were waiting for a sprinkler sign off when I left off and that's when some fireworks started.  Our whole schedule was completely in the hands of the fire marshall and we hadn't received word when he was going to inspect.  Finally, through a couple of well placed calls, I got the word that he would inspect.  After his inspection, he called me back and told me that most of it looked fine, but in a not so nice tone, told me a couple of things that he thought had to be fixed.  He indicated he had told me to do these things and couldn't understand why I hadn't done them.  Needless to say, I had never been told to do anything and when I told him so, he said "oh, you're the homeowner, I thought I was talking to the contractor" (as if to explain why he had been so harsh.)  Naturally I asked, "what difference does it make who your talking to, there's no reason to speak in such a way."  There were a few other interesting notes in the conversation, but suffice it to say........issue with public servant number one.

We did get the sprinklers signed off, but next we needed framing and plumbing.  It was our hope to get both at the same time, thus saving a few days which we really needed.  Jeff at Adair told me the city inspector wouldn't sign off on both because of erosion control and he didn't know if it fit into his schedule.  The next morning I was at the building department when they opened.  After some very interesting conversation about how framing and plumbing had nothing to do with erosion control, and the fact that any issue (bio bags, which are just bags filled with wood chips) with erosion was in fact his oversight, not mine - I left, but not before some choice words with the building official in charge.  I left being told that they wouldn't sign off and we would lose valuable days (with a weekend coming up).  I found out that afternoon both were signed off.......we got our days back and the drywall folks were there the next day!  I have respect for everyone who has to do their job, but over the course of these couple of days, I really wondered if these city officials realize that they have a job to serve the public - not do whatever they want.  Probably the exception, not the rule, but I can't remember being that angry in a long, long time.  It ended well and we are thankful, but word to the wise, make friends early and often with officials who will help you through your project!

The drywall company did an excellent job!  They were fast but also very neat.  Drywall is by it's very nature a pretty messy ordeal, but there is a neat and organized way to keep garbage and there's a very messy way to keep garbage......these guys were excellent at keeping it neat.  I can't tell you what a difference it makes cleaning up organized garbage.  I am definitely appreciative of almost all the subcontractors that have been on this job site........neat, organized, thoughtful and efficient.  The drywall job inside the house I have been told is excellent. 

With drywall complete, our painter got right in and got through in a couple of days.  Next up the tile installer and I went and picked up hardy backer board on the rainiest night of the year.  I have a new respect for tile installers - hardy backer board is heavy and there's a lot of it (plus, I'm apparently kind of a wimp).  The backer board got installed the day before the cabinets showed up.  The cabinets got installed the day before the supply the supply truck showed up.  The supply truck showed up as scheduled, actually a little early so we could get our concrete work done.  If you've ever tried to get concrete work done in December you know that there is a lot of planning, flexibility and luck involved.  It can't be too wet, can't be too cold and that makes cement work in the month of December interesting to say the least.  Regardless, due to persistence and understanding on behalf of our concrete contractor we have most of that completed.  Only a couple of hurdles left.

After the supply truck came last Thursday and the good people of Inter-Pak Supply assured that our finish materials are at the house, we're installing tile and wood floor this weekend.  It's great having all the decisions made and to be on the home stretch!  After moving boxes of tile last night and today, I know I'm a wimp and I also know that hardy backer board is not that bad!

In short, we are so very blessed and thankful to be this far along.  Other than a few stressful nights with the city and a few tense decision making times, the whole process continues to be fun, exciting, and certainly a learning experience.  Have a great weekend and a Merry Christmas!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

A call for patience

Siding installation

Big mess to clean up

Taped and ready for painting
It's now the middle of November in the Northwest.  You might catch a few sun breaks, but you have a better chance of catching quite a few gray and wet days in a row.  Most of this is not relevant to a home that is closed in with a roof on, but it sure can throw a wrench in painting and flat work.

Today is one of those gray, wet days.  I feel myself getting impatient as I look out the window wanting to see my back yard, not an apartment fence.  While it might appear as if progress has slowed on the house, well, it has but it hasn't.  The exterior, for the most part, is moving toward completion.  If we're able to get some paint on it, get the flat work done (which also needs a little dry weather) and then get the rock on the outside installed, it will look like the house we've been thinking about all these months.

Inside, the plumbing, electrical and other such items have cruised right along.......well, except for the Fire Sprinklers (have I mentioned how I really feel about the sprinklers?).  Turns out, the Fire Marshall that inspects these systems is on vacation.  So insulation is waiting on vacation, and so is drywall.  Flat work and grading are waiting on drywall, because you don't want a heavy drywall truck driving over new flat work.  Outside rock and down spout adjustments are waiting on flat work, which is waiting on drywall, which is waiting on insulation, which is waiting for the Fire Marshall to come back from vacation.  You would think, since the City has made these sprinklers mandatory, they might have a back up plan for inspections, so that an entire project, and all the people who need to work on the project, aren't waiting on one person........but alas, we sit.

All the other things with the project continue to be exciting and interesting.  During our big outside clean up weekend last weekend, my brother in law tripped and seperated and broke a bone in his shoulder.  This brought the paramedics and all the excitement that flashing lights bring to a neighborhood.  Obviously this put a damper on the clean up effort, but we are happy to report it all got picked up, we tore down the wood box in front of the house (of which the scraps were sitting in) and my brother in law is home safe.....albeit a little sore.

What can prospective buyers learn from my experience?  If you're installing fire sprinklers, plan everything well in advance!  This also reminds me how intricate every part of the home building process is to each other, so make sure you make your choices up front, so no little changes throw a wrench in your construction schedule.  I'm hopeful we're still tracking to move in before our apartment lease is up, which will make for a great start to the year 2011!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coming along 10-25-10

House with windows and door

Front door with designer power cord through the hole
  A lot going on in the nine days since I have last reported.  Windows are in, front door in, back door in, roof is on - amazing, we made it this far into October and barely had any rain get into the house!  Literally I think Adair got the roof and gutters on one day before all the rains hit this weekend and this week.....talk about timing.  I imagine Jeff and the rest of the construction team from Woodland will tell you they had it all perfectly planned out and knew exactly when all the weather would hit!  Either way, we feel so fortunate that it was able to progress quickly enough to keep the inside dry.

Things are going on all over on the inside of the house.  The HVAC contractor has put in the vents and hung the system in the garage.  I should have taken a picture of this as it is actually a great idea for saving space in your garage.  Adair, where possible, has been elevating systems for maximum space utilization for about the last year.  Always trying to improve for customers.

The plumber has installed a majority of the inside plumbing.  Of course, we had to re-install the main water line because the original was a 1 inch line and we needed a 1 1/4 line..........we needed the larger line because we have to put crazy fire sprinklers in our house (the City of Camas makes new homes do this.)  Of course, all this really equates to, is a more expensive house with very little benefit, and potentially even more downside, but hey, why not make people spend more money than absolutely necessary in this great economy!  I'm not against trying to save lives, but the tests show that smoke alarms actually save lives, fire sprinklers actually have a greater chance of causing more damage (water, leaks, frozen pipes) than the actual fire risk.  I apologize for my rant, but the one thing in this experience that has definitely gotten me a little ticked off, is paying a lot of money to the city for permits and system development charges, and paying a lot of money for fire sprinklers because of the city officials who made it mandatory.  I wonder if they have fire sprinklers in their homes?  If not, they should be forced to foot the bill to install them.

A really cool moment for Adair..........I was talking with the City Inspector (he's totally great by the way and not the cause for the sprinklers!) and he said to me "I have to tell you, this framer is amazing!"  Of course, I asked him what he meant by this and he said "the framing job is excellent, they've really done an incredible job."  He went on to say "I mean this house is a tank, I don't know if you could knock it over with a bulldozer!"  He also added "I've been inspecting all levels of custom homes here in Camas for the last 4 or 5 years, and nothing comes close to what has been done in this house."  All this feedback is an honest assessment of what was said to me on the job site, totally unsolicited.  This makes me very happy as a homeowner to know my house is well built, and very happy as an employee to know that Adair stands behind it's words with excellent performance on every house.  I've been told many times over from other customers that Adair subcontractors are professional and very good, and I'm seeing that first person!

Siding has been taking place last weekend and into this week.  The electrician is well on his way.  We've continued to do some clean up around the home and in the home, but nothing major yet.  The big project will be emptying out the waste box in front of the house.  I did have to do some manual labor, digging a trench in front of the lot and putting up a silt fence.........for most people not a big deal, but ask anyone, I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to these kind of things!

I can't wait to keep the house moving along and I am very much looking forward to the day of move in!  More updates as we progress, we're still at a frantic pace working through outside stone, flat work, and a never ending amount of second guessing on choices already made!  Have a great night...........Matt

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A lot to catch up on #2

First floor front framing

House has two floors!

The whole family has their own building project

Taking shape and looking great, so excited!
As you can see, we went from the start of framing to a real looking house pretty quick.  Unlike site development, once we're to this stage, things seem to happen every day without us even knowing it.  The framing has gone off pretty darn smooth and we spent today cleaning up and enjoying being able to visualize our house, both internal and external.

I've already received a couple of comments from neighbors about how fast things are moving along, I think it's natural when you take some cement on a lot and turn it into home.......board by board and nail by nail.  Unlike some owners who are much better equipped to handle some site aspects, we relied on contractors and Adair to get us to this point.  So today was our first big day at the site, cleaning up, getting rid of extra wood, etc.  With the help of my father in law and a couple great neighbors, it was really easy.  We loaded up a trailer and my pickup, took it off to the wood recycling center while my wife and a neighbor did some sweeping and general clean up.  3 hours later, things are looking great.  I have visions of it being much harder, but as I stated before, if you plan it out and are ready for it, it wasn't bad at all.  Having a great, sunny fall day likely made it better, but still, it was actually kind of fun.  In addition, the kids had a blast playing in the dirt and using some of the scrap to build a bridge!

Talking with a neighbor today, it made me think about Adair and what a lot of customers tell us.  She mentioned it probably fun have some insight into the building of your house, and she's right.  We have customers tell us all the time how much they valued their limited involvement and how great it was looking back on the process.  I can say it with confidence at this point, I would definitely do it again.

More pictures and comments to follow, but that's enough for the night............Matt

A lot to catch up on #1

Foundation looking East

Rock wall for back yard and patio separation

So it has taken a while to get this updated, for this I apologize.  First, we've gone from ready site, to cement pour, to foundation, to septic, raindrains, backfill and on to framing.......more on this later.

First, as you can see, Adair got the foundation in and our excavator came back to complete backfill and the septic.  A majority of the "Owner To Do" items fall into the work preparing the site and right after foundation, so there's much to talk about.

What I didn't mention in earlier posts is the importance to know what is going on at your site during each step of the process and also with the entire project in mind.  It's not hard, especially with the guidance of Adair, but it is very helpful to be organized and planning out the build.  I had a huge learning curve when it came to utilities, connections, etc., but with the right help.......it is not all that hard.  With the guidance of Adair and a few phone calls, the utilities came in as planned, the site was prepard, and the excavator knew exactly what to do to get the house ready for framing.  My glitch came in because I forgot to have the gas connections put in at the same time as the ditch was open, but fortunately the gas company moved quick and it did not slow anything up.

What can I tell future Adair customers or those preparing for the process?  Getting details right on the site is extremely important.  Again, if you plan it out, and with the help of Adair construction superintendents, you will, it's coordination but it's not that tough.  You do need to pay attention and follow Adair's instruction by asking all the right questions from jurisdictions, to ensure things go smoothly, but if you do, it won't be overwhelming (and in fact, you might just like it, but that's for another post).  Things to think about and plan for:
  If you're putting in gas, remember to have the gas company set the meter and line while you have a utility ditch open.
  Make sure Adair is aware of the size of water meter the water company will put in to ensure proper water pressure and the necessary connections.
  Know your schedule and be ahead of the game planning out each step of the process (once your house gets started it will tend to go fast.)
  If you don't know a lot about the in depth details of building and site work, enjoy the ride, it's fun to learn this stuff and watch it applied to your own house.

Next post right after this with more progress to show and report on..........Matt