Friday, July 8, 2011

Building, hmmm

I know that building a house is a complex task, but I would expect that people supervising the construction would be on top of everything.

Having said that, I can appreciate the complexity when you have multiple houses that you are supervising with owners all giving you things to fix and the business always pushing you forward to completion.

During a site visit I noticed that the waste from the ensuite was running between the floor joists, through the laundry and into a void in the powder room.  Currently the waste pipe in the laundry is just there, I believe we are missing a void to hide the pipes, this has been confirmed by our SS.

I am amazed that given we are about a week from plaster, this has not been noticed.  We are on our second SS, had two sets of framers, multiple inspectors/inspections and a set of owners that know the plans like the back of their hands and still this gets missed.

I am amazed and concerned that this might not be the only thing missed.

I again put the issue straight at the contract documentation. I went to the plans (section where they provide a view of each room in each direction) and found the only reference to the bulkhead.

The electrical plans, small plans, large symbols. When we had our electrical consultation the consultant places symbols on the plans to identify the locations of power points, light switches, lights, etc. The electrician then looks at these plans (and what ever else they use) to determine the exact location of each point. The location of these items can easily be addressed if wrong and fixed before plaster, but after plastering they become an problem.

Over several weeks we have identified position issues with the electrical. In this time we identified stupid things like light switches behind doors (previously posted about this), doors opening in different directions because we changed the options in a room (again fixed by CSC and SS), lights not centred in a room, passage lights not evenly spaced, prewiring for stair (wall) lights not centred and light switches further into a room that you would expect.

The SS has had the electricians out a couple of times to fix some of these problems, the rest are still to be addressed. I believe they will be further highlighted when the electricians completes their work, at which time we will have lots of small patches in the plaster. Some of these problems can't even be fixed without making large holes in the plaster, the passage lights need to be moved between a set of floor joists. I can only hope that all the items  identified can be addressed before plastering.

So the question is, who is responsible for checking everything against the plans? Ultimately I think the owners should be responsible given its their house being build, the problem with this is that you don't have access to the house during the complete building process. Therefore the owners and the SS will most likely be responsible for insuring the house is as expected.

Only time will tell


  1. Great post

    I think we are the owners should be allowed to take the plans in and go over the electrical lay out before pre-plastering. After all it is us that have to live with it.

  2. I agree with your post & edsci comment.
    Our electrical work is apparently happening tomorrow!
    I will be going out next weekend & checking after hearing your issue Gary!
    I will say that I have been lucky enough to have 1 SS so far on my build!
    But with my PD customer service rep I'm onto no 4! Unreal.
    Did they fix your pre plaster issues? We are having NHI out Wednesday morning!

  3. Thanks edsci and melmox,

    I have no doubt that we are able to check the electrical layout (but generally during a site visit - not enough time), we need to study the documentation and electrical layout, identify all problems and provide the SS with a single list of things to fix. We did not do this, we have provided a few emails with different problems. I now need to make sure that they are all addressed. I have started keeping a check sheet of things I have emailed that need addressing or fixing.

    If I was to do it again, would spend a few hours on the weekend walking through the house (not allowed to do this), imagining coming home turning on lights, walking into rooms, etc. I would then check the locations of everything against the way you would interact with the house. That is how we identified most of the problems, some of which we will not be able to fix (no variations allowed). The current biggest problems are where we have only prewired for future use (like in wall light on the stairs) or the lights are fitted on battens. If these items are not fixed before plaster, I don't think PD will care, not there problem for prewiring items and not sure how they will fix the location of lights on batten, of which we have a couple.

    Melmox, good luck with our inspection. You have been unlucky with your CSC, the person we have is really good, she has been able to resolve a few of our problems.

    The SS said he would not start plastering until all the frame and preplaster items have been addressed.