Friday, May 31, 2013

Foundation drama update and fixes

For those of you who followed my blog the past few days know about our foundation problems.  If not you can read about it here (with pictures).

I wrote a 2nd letter with a copy of this posting from my blog to SR and asked to get Ryan's management involved.  Not long after I received an email from PM's supervisor apologizing (good start).  PM's supervisor informed me that he has contacted the Framer and the Foundation contractor to fix the problems.   I wasn't satisfied with the answer because I want to know what their plan of action was to fix it.  I don't want just a patching job covering over the mistake.  The supervisor email back and ask us to meet him onsite the next day.  (Isn't the power of the internet amazing).  With Ryan's reputation online (pun intended), he wanted to make sure all our concerns were taken care of. 

When we arrived onsite and met up with our PM first.  He showed us that they have already fixed the steel beams and the wall cavities where the beams sit.  They have straighten the metal plates and made a clean cut of the concrete instead of the sloppy hammering job before. 
PM said they will also weld the steel plates and fill in the cavities.  They normally just leave the cavities open so that's good.  (before and after pictures):


As you can see the markings on the beam above, they had to jack up each beam (and the rest of the house above it) to repair them.   I ask PM why didn't they halted construction and fix the problem before adding more weights on top of it? (especially the beam with the wooden block)
Supervisor arrived while we were going over the repairs.  He asked why I still look concerned... well....because now I don't know if the whole structure has been compromised from the repair.  It looks fine now but will it hold up in the future?  They both assure me it'll be fine.  OK THEN!
We would much prefer an extended warranty over talking.

Now back to my question to PM about halting the construction when problems with the foundation supports were discovered.  This is what we disagreed on.
If this is your house, I know most will agree with me that construction should stop until they have the proper tools and Plan of Action to fix it before proceeding.  It's only logical and especially we are dealing with the foundation support.  Our PM had 29 years in construction for various builders and he said he would've done the same and continue to build on top of faulty support.  He sees it as a difference in opinion but I see it as common sense to stop.  I'm not an expert but I would rather be safe than sorry later. What do you think?

We are happy they did the fix, it's better than before but our concern now is will there be issues from this in 5, 10, 15 years down the road.  We'll see, at least now we have documented everything.  If they can give use a 20 year structural  warranty (normally 10) and 3 years of wall-to-wall warranty (normally 1 year), It will make us feel less concerned or even closing cost help since we have delayed from June to August to close.  Mortgage rates were much lower a month ago if we are to close in June.

On a side note.  Ryan's management acted quick and responsive.  They really care about their reputation and customer satisfaction (so far).  What had happened to our house don't happen often as none of my neighbors  had this issue. (I checked out 5 other constructions in the area and they were fine)  We just happens to be the unlucky one.

At that same meeting I asked if I can insulate the garage before drywall goes up and the supervisor offered to have it done for us by the insulation company.  I also asked PM about TV mounting supports and we went around the entire house and marked where I wanted the extra 2x4s in the walls as well as extra support underneath the washer/dryer.  As we walked around, PM let out a small chuckle and said "I'm helping you while you're beating me up" jokingly I think.  I assumed he meant that I wrote him up and got his supervisor involved.  We had no intentions of offending him, just want to make sure our house is safe and sound for our family.  We really do feel bad about it but we have to voice our concerns especially on such a large investment or it'll be too late when the house is finished.  He's a really nice guy like I said in previous posts and we still plan to giving him high marks on the survey.

I guess we are ok for now and wait for inspection.  Here are some pictures I took yesterday to show how much they've done in 4 days (Monday-Thursday) from steel beam install to roof.  That's fast but not sure it's a good thing either. :)

House as of 3/26/2013.........
House as of 3/30/3013.
From foundation to roof in 4 days.
 The dirt ground in front of the house will be future green area. 

 TV support markings
 TV support markings

2 level family room and future fireplace.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Right and Wrong way of installing foundation beams

(update: repair update Click here

 The correct way vs the WRONG WAY!

I'm not an expert or home inspector but even a common person can see the job they did on my foundation is obviously A disaster waiting to happen. 
 YES I'm going to hire an independent home inspection for Pre-dry wall and final walk.


(Pics taken from another blogger's page)

This is what the steel beam support should look like when installed correctly on the concrete wall.  It fits perfectly with no breaking of wall to make it align correctly.

Notice how the beam is seated centered above the metal plates.  And there are minimal number of plates not 12+ like ours which is too high for any kind of stability.

This is what a banged up sloppy job they did to my foundation.

Breaking of the concrete wall to the right so they can align the beam to the other side. That's a lot of plates stacking way to high.  Stability is a major concern.
Again, too many metal plates and off centered.
They even use inserts to make it even higher!!!
No way this is stable.
I don't think this will support my house.

The beam should sit squarely above the metal plates, NOT TO ONE SIDE.

 Again, breaking of the wall in order to fit the beam.  The guy who frame the wall messed it up big time.  I guess no one knows how to read the blueprint or follow instructions.
It gets better, now they are using wood blocks instead of metal plates to support my house.
PM said it was "temporary", if it's temporary, why the heck they keep building on top of it.
Yes the whole house is pretty much sitting on top of this already.
 More wooden blocks supporting the steel beam which supports the entire house above.

How the heck are they suppose to replace the wood block when my entire house is already sitting on top of it.  If the foundation is moved in any way, it will compromise the whole structure.
 More breaking of the wall to the right so the beam could align.  The metal plates should sit squarely below the beam, NOT TO ONE SIDE.
This entire wall had pieces of concrete broken off where the beam rests on so it would align the steel beam to the other side.
The picture was taken a day before when they started to install the metal beams.  WHY DIDN'T THEY STOP when they realized the wall pockets were off (the pockets were too deep and does not align with pockets on the other wall).

I also have a video of them installing the first beam but left soon after.  The workers had to know they found a problem yet they continued to install it incorrectly and now..........
.......They are almost complete the framing and all that is sitting on top of those support beams.  They are probably putting the roof on it by now.  I'm going to tell them to halt the construction until they can fix the foundation.


They should've stopped on the 1st beam and wait for engineer to make correction and have the necessary material to complete.  My house is literally sitting on wobbly wooden blocks and off center plates.

I'm getting angry now


So yesterday I posted all the problems I found with our framing and foundation and sent a long email to our PM and SR.  This morning we received a 1 sentence reply from our PM basically stating YES the concrete guy F'ed up but we will patch it up. (The PM has as much to blame as the worker if not more since he has the blueprint and suppose to be SUPERVISING).
 This makes me so angry that I responded with the letter below to both SR and PM. 

We want our PM to be more involved with the building process (that's his job isn't it?).  His job is to "SUPERVISE" the construction crew to eliminate mistakes (at least the big ones) but we feel he's not doing that effective enough.  The construction workers could careless about the quality of work since they probably get paid very little so quality control is all in the hands of PM's.  Our PM is a nice guy but if he's not doing his job then we have a problem.  It's his ass now or my family's problem in the future and we are not paying 2/3 of a million dollar house to have problems nor can we afford to.
All the mistakes I mentioned from last post could easily be prevented had PM verified, went over the blueprint and supervised the pouring.

On top of everything, we have already been delayed from June to July to August so INTEREST RATES are now almost 1% higher meaning we are paying for all the delays.  I see further delay in the future when big mistakes like the happens.  GRRRRR I'm so upset.

Ohh one more thing, we also noticed that one of our neighbor's house is ready and they purchase the house months after we did.  I remember talking to them because they changed models from a smaller model to the same "Shakespeare" model.

PM and SR,

Thank you for the update.
We want to let you know we are not happy with things are going right now and you can mention this to Ryan's headquarter.
It's not fair to (PM's name) that his time is being spread so thin supervising so many houses at once and especially not fair to the paying customer.  I'm a firm believer that if things are done right the first time it'll lead to less problems in the future.  Hence our multiple change orders to get it right since we don't have a blueprint to follow.

The foundation is the most important part of the house and it really concerns us that it's not poured correctly for the steel beam support (and the big gaps by the exit).  The first 2 levels of framing is already sitting on top of the steel beam, so I don't see how the "temporary" wood block and the "inserts between plates" can be removed without compromising the integrity of the rest of the framing.  I know holes, gaps, spaces can be patched and filled but it's not the same quality.  A new build should not be a big patching job to fix mistakes. 

Sorry if I'm being blunt and maybe rude but we want to voice our concerns before things get any worse.  
We are putting everything into this house and we want to make sure nothing major will go wrong in the future.

Thank you for understanding.
Signed and delivered

Monday, May 27, 2013

Framing, broken windows and concerns

(update: repair update Click here
Happy Memorial day everyone.  I'm off today so I decided to go check on the house.

Framing has started!!!  They are already working on the 2nd level by the time I got there. 

I feel bad for the workers that they have to work on a holiday so I brought them Popeye's chicken and drinks.  I didn't really talk to them just say "Happy Memorial day" and left. They waved and thanked me.  

Some concerns about the framing, please tell me what you see is normal or I'm just being paranoid.

1) Broken windows - I see this a lot and I know they'll replace it but I'll post it anyway.  They should take better care of building materials.  I think it's a big waste of money.

 2) Gaps- I see so many gaps between floor joists,  wood was cut too short.
should I be worried about these gaps?

3)(most concerned)  Steel beam resting on steel plates and some on WOOD.  Looks like they didn't pour the concrete to the correct height/depth to support the steel beam and also too far to the left so they had to break away some concrete to the right to make it fit.

All the beam support on 1 side of the wall looked like this so it would align with the other side. Also, some of the metal plates have inserts in between and some don't.  It's not consistent, like they simply use whatever is available at the time.  (like the pic below - why the inserts?)  I don't trust my entire house resting on random objects.  Should I be concerned or no?

   They ran out of metal shims so they use WOOD!!!!  This is supporting my 3100 sq ft house?
  4) (most concerned) Breaking away the concrete wall to fit steel beam, Like this on all the walls where the steel beam is resting on.  Those are big holes in the basement walls.

   All the steel beams on this side of the wall require shimming underneath in order to lift the beam up and shift to the right (breaking concrete) to align with the other side of the wall.  The concrete pouring had major errors.

I'm not happy with what I saw.  They are moving too fast and maybe cutting some corners.
I know my PM is really busy but I'll send him an email of those concerns.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Everything is out in the rain! More delays! Mortgage rates are up!

I know it's a pretty common practice to leave the framing wood outside for a few days but it's been sitting out there for about 2 weeks.  They also left the stair case and doors outside uncovered and it's been raining last couple of weeks (raining right now as I write this).  Our framing was pushed back for the 2nd week in a row and now our closing time went from June (when we signed contract) to July (when we started construction) to August (no enough framing crew, rain, or whatever reason).

What concern us the most is interest rates are on it's way up and we can't lock until the 30 day mark.  When we signed the contract it was at 3.375% and now it's at 4%.  That means our monthly payment already went up about $200 based on our loan amount.  An extra $200 a month in interest is a lot of money, I can use that to lease a car or pay for a lot of home services (TV, internet, Netflix, etc...)

If we were on schedule with the initial June completion date, we would've already locked in at 3.375% 2 months ago.  I mentioned it to our SR and she said we can always BUY DOWN THE RATE...
DUH!!!! really, are you going to give us the money for that or can we just go pick them off the money tree we are growing in our backyard.           GRRRR SO FRUSTRATING.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Concrete slab completed

I stopped by after work yesterday and saw our finished slab.  Next week framing will start.

Is this normal (pic below)?  The metal piece inside the concrete (exterior) wall is exposed.  I'm afraid water can get in and rust can form.  Also can start cracking the concrete since there are so many opening.  Was it done on purpose or just a bad job?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ready for concrete slab pouring

PM (thanks!) sent this photo and informed us concrete pouring will take place Monday.  Actually our PM sends us a pic of each major activity so far and we appreciate him keeping us informed.
I'll go check it out after work.  Does anyone know why the dirt (in pic) are divided into separate beds?  Whats the purpose?  Looks like there are some damaged concrete to the left garage opening. I'm pretty sure that wasn't there before.

We can't wait to see the framing and roof. 


Looks like they fixed the garage entrance concrete.  and poured the slab as well.