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retired framer
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Oh, you don't think multiple of layers of mulch aren't good. 馃榾
We had one builder complain about a water leak in the basement, went outside to see a concrete sidewalk about a foot away and about a foot higher than the damp proofing full of wet mulch.
 

walt1122
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Well, 1st screw up shame on them, second screw up shame me I always say. Time to get some new guys.

As for your questions, hard to even understand.
I know I've been calling builders and nobody wants to touch this project. I've tried to GC it myself but I can't get the trades to even come and quote. Building boom going on here and they all are super busy and don't want to step on this guys toes. he is a major builder with many contacts here in this little town. Because I'm making waves he recently told us he won't be around or do anything on the house for the next two months. It now reaching our one year anniversary since we started building . We still aren't even dried in.
 

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I know I've been calling builders and nobody wants to touch this project. I've tried to GC it myself but I can't get the trades to even come and quote. Building boom going on here and they all are super busy and don't want to step on this guys toes. he is a major builder with many contacts here in this little town. Because I'm making waves he recently told us he won't be around or do anything on the house for the next two months. It now reaching our one year anniversary since we started building . We still aren't even dried in.
Labor only agreement ?
Grounds for contractor abandonment ?

Maybe you should hire a owner's agent/representative.
 

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I know I've been calling builders and nobody wants to touch this project. I've tried to GC it myself but I can't get the trades to even come and quote. Building boom going on here and they all are super busy and don't want to step on this guys toes. he is a major builder with many contacts here in this little town. Because I'm making waves he recently told us he won't be around or do anything on the house for the next two months. It now reaching our one year anniversary since we started building . We still aren't even dried in.
Don't take it personally. Everybody is experiencing shortages of material and labor. Suppliers will always try to meet the needs of their current ongoing customers. But my guess is with interest rate hikes that very soon there will be gluts. Then you will be able to get anything you want.
 

walt1122
Joined
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Labor only agreement ?
Grounds for contractor abandonment ?

Maybe you should hire a owner's agent/representative.
As a last resort! Yes, but this is the wife's project. I didn't want any part of it. We are in our 70's and this is the last thing we needed. She hired this "well respected" builder without my knowledge or consent. No contract, no Idea what the price would be. He is just doing cost plus with her. So he got most of the profit already. All the lumber, windows and doors. He is currently building 5 other houses in our gated community. And we are told he is doing more elsewhere.Three of the ones here started about the same time as ours. Similar homes but they are mostly finished. Siding on heat and electric and plumbing done. Some are even getting the interiors finished, flooring and paint. He is just pissed at me cause I criticized his crews work. He is just punishing me for it. I just see sloppy work. No knowledge of what or why they do things. Bowed walls, room sizes don't match the plans, uneven floors. Hell, holes in floors I had to patch. Windows installed poorly. Anderson windows and ZIP tape company have requirements on how to install correctly to honor the warranty. The builders installers argued with me that they new better on the best way to do it ignoring the best practices by the companies. They don't ever roll the tape although it is a requirement by the ZIP company and is written right on the tape in English AND Spanish. I tried using the non-expanding foam around the windows and because they didn't even run their hands down the tape to help seal it the foam escaped everywhere around the tape. Job site a mess, he told me I had to clean it up cause he didn't have men or time to do it. Thirty two yard dump filled to overflowing with tons of "scrap". I kept lots of good pieces for blocking on steps ( hand rails) and in the kitchen for cabinets and bathrooms. He wasn't going to do it. And then I can get picky!!! Just sloppy, shoddy, poor quality. They use rotten old termite eaten wood for some of the exterior framing. I can go on and on but you get the picture. So when I see things that concern me I come here to you guys for advice. I don't want to leave a badly built house to who ever buys this place. I'm tired and I just want to enjoy the years I have left. Don't want to be stuck doing the lawyers thing and waste even more money. The people here are all professionals and wouldn't understand any of these issues. I know I tried to explain it to them. They just see a nice coat of paint. The "lipstick on a pig" approach and think this guy is a god. His reputation makes the house worth more so I have to try and work with him to get the best price when I sell. Damned if you do...damned if you don't. But I can't compromise on my beliefs.

thanks all

Walt

Walt
 

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As a last resort! Yes, but this is the wife's project. I didn't want any part of it. We are in our 70's and this is the last thing we needed. She hired this "well respected" builder without my knowledge or consent. No contract, no Idea what the price would be. He is just doing cost plus with her. So he got most of the profit already. All the lumber, windows and doors. He is currently building 5 other houses in our gated community. And we are told he is doing more elsewhere.Three of the ones here started about the same time as ours. Similar homes but they are mostly finished. Siding on heat and electric and plumbing done. Some are even getting the interiors finished, flooring and paint. He is just pissed at me cause I criticized his crews work. He is just punishing me for it. I just see sloppy work. No knowledge of what or why they do things. Bowed walls, room sizes don't match the plans, uneven floors. Hell, holes in floors I had to patch. Windows installed poorly. Anderson windows and ZIP tape company have requirements on how to install correctly to honor the warranty. The builders installers argued with me that they new better on the best way to do it ignoring the best practices by the companies. They don't ever roll the tape although it is a requirement by the ZIP company and is written right on the tape in English AND Spanish. I tried using the non-expanding foam around the windows and because they didn't even run their hands down the tape to help seal it the foam escaped everywhere around the tape. Job site a mess, he told me I had to clean it up cause he didn't have men or time to do it. Thirty two yard dump filled to overflowing with tons of "scrap". I kept lots of good pieces for blocking on steps ( hand rails) and in the kitchen for cabinets and bathrooms. He wasn't going to do it. And then I can get picky!!! Just sloppy, shoddy, poor quality. They use rotten old termite eaten wood for some of the exterior framing. I can go on and on but you get the picture. So when I see things that concern me I come here to you guys for advice. I don't want to leave a badly built house to who ever buys this place. I'm tired and I just want to enjoy the years I have left. Don't want to be stuck doing the lawyers thing and waste even more money. The people here are all professionals and wouldn't understand any of these issues. I know I tried to explain it to them. They just see a nice coat of paint. The "lipstick on a pig" approach and think this guy is a god. His reputation makes the house worth more so I have to try and work with him to get the best price when I sell. Damned if you do...damned if you don't. But I can't compromise on my beliefs.

thanks all

Walt

Walt
Okay Walt, you've introduced a few things into the equation.

Disclosure:
I am a GC experienced with the challenges you see. Experience brought about by completing what other contractors have started.

You concerns are not unusual.

I have questions.

First: What is your professional experience ?
Has that experience included 'in the field' construction experience ?
 

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As a last resort! Yes, but this is the wife's project. I didn't want any part of it. We are in our 70's and this is the last thing we needed. She hired this "well respected" builder without my knowledge or consent. No contract, no Idea what the price would be. He is just doing cost plus with her. So he got most of the profit already. All the lumber, windows and doors. He is currently building 5 other houses in our gated community. And we are told he is doing more elsewhere.Three of the ones here started about the same time as ours. Similar homes but they are mostly finished. Siding on heat and electric and plumbing done. Some are even getting the interiors finished, flooring and paint. He is just pissed at me cause I criticized his crews work. He is just punishing me for it. I just see sloppy work. No knowledge of what or why they do things. Bowed walls, room sizes don't match the plans, uneven floors. Hell, holes in floors I had to patch. Windows installed poorly. Anderson windows and ZIP tape company have requirements on how to install correctly to honor the warranty. The builders installers argued with me that they new better on the best way to do it ignoring the best practices by the companies. They don't ever roll the tape although it is a requirement by the ZIP company and is written right on the tape in English AND Spanish. I tried using the non-expanding foam around the windows and because they didn't even run their hands down the tape to help seal it the foam escaped everywhere around the tape. Job site a mess, he told me I had to clean it up cause he didn't have men or time to do it. Thirty two yard dump filled to overflowing with tons of "scrap". I kept lots of good pieces for blocking on steps ( hand rails) and in the kitchen for cabinets and bathrooms. He wasn't going to do it. And then I can get picky!!! Just sloppy, shoddy, poor quality. They use rotten old termite eaten wood for some of the exterior framing. I can go on and on but you get the picture. So when I see things that concern me I come here to you guys for advice. I don't want to leave a badly built house to who ever buys this place. I'm tired and I just want to enjoy the years I have left. Don't want to be stuck doing the lawyers thing and waste even more money. The people here are all professionals and wouldn't understand any of these issues. I know I tried to explain it to them. They just see a nice coat of paint. The "lipstick on a pig" approach and think this guy is a god. His reputation makes the house worth more so I have to try and work with him to get the best price when I sell. Damned if you do...damned if you don't. But I can't compromise on my beliefs.

thanks all

Walt

Walt
Shoot Walt, sorry to hear it. Your right, a man of your age shouldn't have to go through much stress.

I hope things start going better.
 

walt1122
Joined
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Okay Walt, you've introduced a few things into the equation.

Disclosure:
I am a GC experienced with the challenges you see. Experience brought about by completing what other contractors have started.

You concerns are not unusual.

I have questions.

First: What is your professional experience ?
Has that experience included 'in the field' construction experience ?
Sure, My experience is varied and long.

Have done virtually every facet of construction. From roofs to foundations to bathrooms to kitchens including electric, plumbing HVAC ( put in our own Geo-thermal Loop system for our last house.) Was a certified installer many years ago. Two year certification in HVAC. Worked at P&G as a production maintenance mechanic and at Honeywell as a production and facilities mechanic.

Built most of our first house in 1976 I had a friend who was interested in getting started in the construction industry. I had him as the contractor of record but he was terrible at money and instead of paying off the lumber yard for materials he bought himself a new truck. I had to co sign the loan and it cost me tons more to build the house. I had the shell put up by framers and then I took over and did roofs, windows door, kitchens baths etc, etc. Farmed out the sheetrock and insulation. I hate fiberglass insulation.

Fired the builders for our second house it was a modular all they had to do was connect the boxes But after they ripped us off for money to finish a house they did not have approval to build in the first place. They were on a no build list in Trenton NJ but the regional offices did not have that list and gave them the OK. They never paid the subs, Our neighbor who did the excavation and septic work never got paid so we had to pay him twice. They ever got any inspections. We had to fix their messes and the local inspectors who were fooled by them took it out on us. Five years later the state asked us if we wanted to sue. They had done the same thing to a half dozen people. Thanks State government but... little late don't ya' think.

OK just to keep this theme going. Hired a guy down here to build a 3 car garage with an apartment above. Good references. Was already building two houses here in the community ( screwed them up too) We were still in NJ 800+ miles away so he promised to keep us informed of the build. Never happened.! He built the garage floor 5 blocks off of the ground. I know I can't explain it or understand it. But he did. Picked the highest spot on the property ( not where we showed him) to erect the foundation. Found rock so built up instead of going down or moving to a new location. By the time we found out the best I could do was have him remove a few courses of block and bring in load after load after load of soil to bring up the surrounding property so I could drive a car into the garage. Kept screwing up other things. Ten foot ceiling in the garage became an 8 foot ceiling once he put in the duct work for the whole house right down the middle of the bays and boxed them in. Found hidden electrical splices, no box, nothing just tape in the wall holding it all together. . The wire from the temp hook up for the electricity that ran across the driveway he reuse inside the house with the nicks and scrapes and bare hot wires showing. And we were paying him cost plus so why reuse the wire? Although, I did pay him to put thing up wrong, tear them down and pay again to out the up right.

So now we are building again and true to form we get another winner.

My only know defect regarding the building industry is not being able to judge people. I work better alone.

Oh, and before you go thinking I'm just a nut case and I am but in a different way. Every decision about building and picking these idiots was predicated on my wife's "strong desires" to get them done no matter what. And yes there are many words to describe my behavior. I hope you just go easy on me and for years I lied to myself and said "cheaper to keep her" but not so sure anymore. So leave it with "happy wife, happy life" but even that is iffy now. Cause I ain't happy.

thanks for the opportunity to just let me let it all out. I feel a little bit better now. Time to go and put in the 250 - 300 pound picture window in the great room. Doors are coming next week and I'm falling behind.

Walt
 

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Overall you must see the work of the person you are hiring. Referrals are inadequate. If they haven't built what you want, they can't build it for you. Unless they are willing to work with you on your design.
Mutual respect is very important in getting a good outcome. I would say the buyer must treat the workers with tremendous respect and admiration.
Everyone who wants construction must have a written plan. Someone must professionally draw this with every detail.
Even though the permit department gets a lot of bad mouthing, they often are the ones who push for a detailed comprehensive plan.
If someone has in their mind what they want but just turn it over for the contractor to build something, it will be a disaster. I am doing extensive plans right down to stud placement. It allows me to save money. I can actually count number of studs.
I am very picky. That is why I will be the general. I will be choosing, buying and paying for all materials. I will be on the job site while workers are there.
Hopefully I won't have to intervene but I have in previous builds. That is my job as the construction manager. I will avert errors before they occur. Hiring experts is important. They give input. I listen. And we work together to get the best outcome.
 

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Overall you must see the work of the person you are hiring. Referrals are inadequate. If they haven't built what you want, they can't build it for you. Unless they are willing to work with you on your design.
Mutual respect is very important in getting a good outcome. I would say the buyer must treat the workers with tremendous respect and admiration.
Everyone who wants construction must have a written plan. Someone must professionally draw this with every detail.
Even though the permit department gets a lot of bad mouthing, they often are the ones who push for a detailed comprehensive plan.
If someone has in their mind what they want but just turn it over for the contractor to build something, it will be a disaster. I am doing extensive plans right down to stud placement. It allows me to save money. I can actually count number of studs.
I am very picky. That is why I will be the general. I will be choosing, buying and paying for all materials. I will be on the job site while workers are there.
Hopefully I won't have to intervene but I have in previous builds. That is my job as the construction manager. I will avert errors before they occur. Hiring experts is important. They give input. I listen. And we work together to get the best outcome.
Yes, it's a team effort to build a good home.
 

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Yeah I get the concern about the closeness to the ground . Doesn't code say like 10 inches? But yes the front of the house is close to the ground. We are old and don't want many steps. I've seen the "run over" and see what you mean.But I would think that direct contact sitting on the block is a problem waiting to happen.
The walls meander in and out. From just inside of the block work to 3/4 ths of an inch or so out beyond the cement wall. Can't wait to look down the wall after the siding has been applied. Add to this in a couple of places they left the ZIP sheets overlaping each other and just ran the tape over the visible bulge in the wall.
My opinion is you are right. Not just my opinion, but industry standards for 200 years or more was waterproof sill seal between sill and concrete was used on top of the foundation, framing, starting with sill is almost always flush to slightly beyond the foundation, all framing is flush with sill, sheathing is flush to 陆 inch below foundation, siding is 陆 to 戮 inch below sheathing. Rule of thumb has always been, any layer on top of another, covers the layer that is below, there were almost no exceptions. The foundation is now covered by at least 1 inch.
I know this is something that cannot be done now, but I would set a saw for 45 degrees and rip the bottom of the sheathing and use a good bonding primer like Stix to paint the bottom.
I will not go into Zip sheathing because not being familiar with it I have been researching it, and it does not appear to do what the manufactures claim it does. Both OSB and plywood appear to be more reliable.
 

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My opinion is you are right. Not just my opinion, but industry standards for 200 years or more was waterproof sill seal between sill and concrete was used on top of the foundation, framing, starting with sill is almost always flush to slightly beyond the foundation, all framing is flush with sill, sheathing is flush to 陆 inch below foundation, siding is 陆 to 戮 inch below sheathing. Rule of thumb has always been, any layer on top of another, covers the layer that is below, there were almost no exceptions. The foundation is now covered by at least 1 inch.
I know this is something that cannot be done now, but I would set a saw for 45 degrees and rip the bottom of the sheathing and use a good bonding primer like Stix to paint the bottom.
I will not go into Zip sheathing because not being familiar with it I have been researching it, and it does not appear to do what the manufactures claim it does. Both OSB and plywood appear to be more reliable.
As all good builders know, when new products come out, be leary.
 

walt1122
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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Hi
Elmer-Dallas Texas

Yeah hear ya' however ever in every case we did try to be involved and did try when ever possible to look at their work as they built them or spoke with the people who were getting the homes built. We used plans from professionally designed architects shops. In the case of the modular home we went to the factory after we personally used their software to personalize their plans to meet our needs using a software called Chief Architect. Some times it isn't possible to be directly involved in the day to day operations and you have to rely on the builder.

In the most recent case we saw homes as they were built by the builder over the last few years. They were decently built homes from what I could tell. The problem is with the recent construction the builder has lowered his standards. His crews are unskilled Spanish speaking laborers not carpenters. This was not the case in the past and although he did mention that they were mostly from Mexico that was only to make his customers aware of this fact he couldn't find local workers, he never said anything about their lack of skills. They come with out any equipment and really don't seem to know what they are doing. I couldn't have know that in advance. I had my suspicions and addressed them with the builder but he blew me off saying I was asking for too much. That is why he took another hiatus for two months. He wants to punish me for speaking out.

Like I said in earlier posts. You try to learn as much as you can about them, you look at their work and you give them the best information using the plans and discussions and red lining/changes on the master plan so everybody is on the same page. You expect grown men to do what they promise. My biggest problem is believing in people. The friend just had to build the first house, just use the money we gave him and use his profit later to buy a brand new truck and instead use the construction budget money for materials as designed. The builders putting together the modular home just had to put the boxes together and not walk on wet concrete leaving their footprints in the deck of the front porch. Collapse the exterior per-fab superior wall modular panels three times cause they wanted to get the next payment and back filled without supports. Tried to pour a basement floor with a total of three guys and one wheelbarrow. Refused to pay the 75 dollars more for a front offloading concrete truck so they cooked the concrete, couldn't work it, and the floor undulated up and down 3 inches over it's span rendering it totally useless as a usable space. I had to lift the entire house high enough to replace inadequate lally column supports. They didn't pay subs! We did our due diligence and checked on them by checking with other home owners who they did work for in the past. The county regulators gave them a clean bill of health and gave them a permit. This is only a small list. Tried three time to fire these guys but I was overruled. Yes as I said she is strong willed. I'm being polite here so please realize sometime it just isn't worth the fight. After 50 years of marriage I know. Think of me what you will. I'm just looking for some peace. I'm stuck with this white elephant and just want to be done with it.

Appreciate all the help and for your suggestions and thoughts.

Walt
 

walt1122
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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
As all good builders know, when new products come out, be leary.
Yes so true but you should also read and follow the directions if you expect anything close to what they promise. Today with the WEB you have company sites and tons of YouTube videos and as a last resort usually a contact number to to get it from the company reps. And best of all we have Diychatroom.com!!!
 

walt1122
Joined
501 Posts
Discussion Starter · #36 ·
My opinion is you are right. Not just my opinion, but industry standards for 200 years or more was waterproof sill seal between sill and concrete was used on top of the foundation, framing, starting with sill is almost always flush to slightly beyond the foundation, all framing is flush with sill, sheathing is flush to 陆 inch below foundation, siding is 陆 to 戮 inch below sheathing. Rule of thumb has always been, any layer on top of another, covers the layer that is below, there were almost no exceptions. The foundation is now covered by at least 1 inch.
I know this is something that cannot be done now, but I would set a saw for 45 degrees and rip the bottom of the sheathing and use a good bonding primer like Stix to paint the bottom.
I will not go into Zip sheathing because not being familiar with it I have been researching it, and it does not appear to do what the manufactures claim it does. Both OSB and plywood appear to be more reliable.
Hi Matt1963, That is kinda like what I was thinking. I want to just cut away and save about three inches of sheathing from the bottom of each sheet sitting against the block work. Run a quick bead of caulk suitable for this purpose. I have some really nice tubes of rubberized stuff they use for around new window install. I started to use it around the house already wtih out the gap and after a few feet I came up with the thought that got us all here. Put the cut strip of sheathing back and a couple of nails later I'm done. I have more of the ZIP tape I can use over it all and that should fix it all.

I think I like the ZIP system. Better I think then OSB and housewrap. I agree the plywood is the better alternative but I think those days are gone $$$. I wanted to use the ZIP sheathing with the rigid foam insulation already installed but the builder didn't want to try it. The benefit is the thermal break from outside to inside. Keep the heat from leaving and that coupled with the tape sealing every joint help keeps the drafts out.
 

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"Won't moisture wick up over time and cause premature rot of the OSB?"
I'd say they've done it properly, they just haven't taken the final step of sealing up that junction. You might look here
for one approach.
 

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I would run a skill saw to create a small space which I had to do once myself. For a nice straight cut screw on a two by four guide board to guide the saw. The only way I can comfortably work with contractors is being present 100 % of the time looking over their shoulder. That is a overkill for the few and far between who take pride in their work. The six mil plastic is a poor substitute for the blue sill material which by its thickness seals the block imperfections and makes a better seal.
 

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Seems pretty unprofessional.
Not exactly sure what you mean by that.

This guy is a pro, building multi million dollar homes in Texas and is a real guru when it comes to air sealing, water-proofing, (not only in the sense of keeping water out, but also in the sense of design and construction to allow any water that gets in a way to dry), and overall energy efficiency.

He shows a situation that seems in all ways similar to the OP's situation and the product he's showing here has a low enough viscosity to be forced between the the sheathing and the foundation, short of the sheathing being crushed into the foundation. If you look further down the wall in the video you can see that the Zip sheathing is touching the foundation. There's many other ways of doing this with other products, and it's simple enough to do that you don't need to be a "pro."

So what, exactly is going on here that you deem "pretty unprofessional?"
 
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