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Old 01-05-2009, 04:49 PM   #1
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banquette near a window?


I am in the process of having a home built.
It has been 8 months since we started working on this less than 2700 sq ft house.

NOW my builder tells me the banquette, that is in the plans which he saw before even signing a contract, is not legal because it is under some windows.

Is it possible this isn't legal? Would my architect have told me/warned me, redesigned if it was?

He says he'll come back and complete it and a few other tasks after we get our CO, but to be honest this guy has taken this long to build this house, ie he's not there everyday, nor all day on those days he is there... so I am doubtful he would come back in a timely fashion to complete the job.
My wife is having fits.

Also he has installed a couple items that are now damaged. He is insisting that we damaged them, but I spotted the damage and hadn't been in there since the install until that time, so how we damaged it I have no idea.

FWIW, this is our first [only] build and we did not insist on a finish date in the contract. Yes we now realize how stupid that was. However at this point who wants to move in Jan anyway? He may as well take his time now, since there's no real rush to pack up and lug everything through snow and ice.

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Old 01-05-2009, 05:08 PM   #2
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banquette near a window?


How did you go about choosing this particular builder? Its obvious that you realize that you've made some contractual mistakes so there's no point in us twisting that knife!

As a building inspector, I'm unaware of anything in the International Residential Code that would prohibit installation of a window seat, buffet, or banquette under the windows. What room are the windows in? My first thought was that it could make egress difficult, but there is not anything in the code to substantiate that stance. Unless the banquette encroaches into a stair landing or something like that, it can be there.

My suggestion would be to contact the local building codes official and quietly run it by them. I think that you'll find that what I'm saying is true, thereby making your builder a liar. Or, ask your builder to substantiate what he says with a code section.

As for trusting him to do it after a certificate of occupancy is issed...Heck no. First, he's demonstrating a willingness to circumvent the inspection process, which advocates for you! Second, I think your description of his record with this job clearly illustrates that as soon as the last check clears the bank you'll never see him again.

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Old 01-05-2009, 05:11 PM   #3
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Would my architect have told me/warned me, redesigned if it was?
Hopefully, but not necessarily. I often encounter architectural drawings that contain code violations.
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Old 01-05-2009, 05:18 PM   #4
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banquette near a window?


The banquette would be inset into a small alcove that is part of the eat-in dining area of the kitchen. It does not obstruct anything.

I heard back from my architect who says it is not illegal.
I have no idea why builder is saying it is... unless he is trying to get out of Dodge. So far there are about 6 things he has not completed from the last bank draw, and he's already submitted for the next bank draw.

I'm just thankful my wife bit her tongue when she was there today.
He's got her so mad about this and then blaming us for damage to the wood floors.

Are all builder/homeowner relationships strained towards the end? Is it normal for the builder to start dropping the ball hoping you'll be so anxious to get in there you'll just forget about it? That is what we feel he is doing.

We selected this builder based upon recommendations of 2 friends with very high standards. They are astonished at the run around we are getting.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:43 PM   #5
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Are all builder/homeowner relationships strained towards the end? Is it normal for the builder to start dropping the ball hoping you'll be so anxious to get in there you'll just forget about it?
No they're not. It happens, but most builders out there are honest folks. Some are even really great people to boot. Sad thing is you rarely hear about them. Is it normal for the contractor to start screwing up to force a desperate situation? No, that should never be normal.

You need to sit down and review every word of your contract. Figure out where he's in violation of it, and also if you've violated it in any way. Remember that suing a builder rarely results in any financial gain, especially in the current market. You're in too deep by now, so your best bet is probably to sit down with him, go over the terms of your contract, go over the things that are bothering you, and come to an agreement. Or, fire him and get a new builder to take it over ($$$$$).
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:14 AM   #6
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banquette near a window?


We already have $15k in a well that has clay, so we can not afford any pricey fixes to this situation. We'll be lucky to get the well cleared without more outlay of cash so we can get a CO.

There's the thing, the builder appears to be dragging things out, but what he is forgetting is that we are at the mercy of the well to move in. If he was finished tomorrow we could not move in, so we are able to sit tight and wait him out.
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:02 AM   #7
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So far there are about 6 things he has not completed from the last bank draw, and he's already submitted for the next bank draw.
He shouldn't get paid if he didn't get things done from the last pay period(draw). At this point, payments should be based on project completions, not attendence.
I would hold back enough end money so he has the incentive to complete everything in the contract.
Ron

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