Nothing New to Report

No new posts, because not much is going on. At the beginning of August we had the issue of the less than 6′ basement. The Builder went to the engineer to get permission to dig down between the footings, so that we could have a 7′ basement. The engineer took a look at the original drawings and realized what absolute garbage they were: inaccurate, not compliant with building code, and missing essential information. Of course, this is the same drawing that the Builder approved last fall, the one we signed the contract on, the one the  City approved for permits, and the one the engineer provided a stamp for, at least in regard to the basement.

I don’t know how the drawing was approved by so many people and yet now they are only noticing its significant deficiencies.

So, we’ve undertaken a new drawing.

Three weeks later we still had no new drawing.

In the meantime, the Builder attempted to move forward where he could: He’s built the main floor, the main floor walls, the main floor ceiling, and has built the upstairs walls but not erected them, because he wants to wait for the roof trusses to attach them to. Makes sense.

One ironic aspect is that once the main floor was on, it was clear that the basement was in fact 7′, even without any further digging down. Someone try and explain to me how the Builder could not have calculated that before pushing the panic button a month ago!

I’d have pulled my hair out that we’d entered this twilight waiting zone for no reason but one of the things the engineer noted from the original drawing is that the roof trusses as designed were garbage, as was the staircase. So, some kind of new truss is being designed and then we’ll have to wait for the build on that.

Another main issue is the staircase. The original design had the stairs turning into the new space, which would allow for a large foyer on one level foyer. What I have right now is a tiny space with a step that causes me and others to stumble. The engineer noted that the turn in the stairs was not accurately reflected in the drawing and did not comply with building code. Further, when the turn is accurately reflected in the space, it cuts the space in half, making it unusable and unattractive – something a homeowner would not want.

So, back to the drawing board on the stairs. Now we’re brainstorming ideas on how to get the step up out of the space. I might have to suffer with the tiny foyer area, but I will not accept a step up. That has to go. The new drawing is supposed to provide some ideas for what would work. Brainstorming will of course cost me lots of money and no doubt delays. Sigh.

Wait wait wait. Unbelievable. I’m beginning to see it will be Christmas 2017 before this is done. We’ll be freezing our butts in an incomplete house until then. A full year after it was first agreed to be finished.

Finally, on September 14, 2017, the drawing came through from the new draftsperson and the next day the builder poured the basement floor. He came and polished it the day after that and hasn’t been back since. Yesterday it rained, inside my house and out. Again, water pooling in my basement, on my basement stairs, and on the upstairs landing, which is hardwood. I am not a happy camper.

The builder says we are now waiting for the roof trusses to be done. I’m flabbergasted and amazed that this could not have been in process while we waited for weeks on the basement floor. I simply don’t understand how every step of this renovation could not have been lined up in advance. Why would a builder wait until one step is done before making arrangements for the next???

I’ve talked to a couple of people who’ve had renovations. Some go smoothly enough. Nothing’s perfect, but no real glitches. But many also go sideways like mine. I think this is an industry that needs a journalist’s spotlight and better regulatory control. There should be an ombudsman for this type of situation. I’m sure many people are just like me; have saved or borrowed a specific amount of money, have a maximum amount they can afford to devote to a change to their house, and then are held over a barrel by the builders and end up paying far more than they ever agreed to or even contemplated just to get the work done, and then not even getting what was promised. If that happened once in every thousand builds, you might say that’s a reasonable chance. But, I think it goes on much more often than that.

What do you think?