Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The carpenters from KC Construction are starting to put the plywood on top of the rafters. Their goal is to be done by tomorrow. This picture is a closeup of the exposed eaves.

All American Scaffold, Inc. is continuing to put up scaffolding around the house.

Monday, October 30, 2006

As you can see, the house is really starting to take shape!

All American Scaffold, Inc. started putting up scaffolding for fall protection in the light wells. Soon it'll be much safer for the carpenters and all the other contractors that will be working on the house over the next few months.

I talked to Brad at the job site this morning. He had met with the plumber earlier in the morning, and they had discussed the routing of sewer lines. The good news is, because of the way the drains line up on the first floor, the plumber will have to use a 4" sewer line. With the wider pipe, he only needs a fall of 1/8" per foot instead of the 1/4" per foot with a 3" line. That means Brad won't have to soffit in the basement and we can have full height ceilings.

There were, however, a couple of other issues. The guest bathroom shower head needs to be moved to the opposite wall. This would have implications for the pocket door located there, but if the pocket door is reversed, then the light switch would be affected....

After talking it over with Gary, we decided to change to tub/shower into a shower only. We'll fir out the wall for the water pipes and move the pocket door over a couple of inches to accomodate the larger width required for a shower. But the light switch will still work.

Also in the corner of the kitchen, behind the cabinets, Brad will have to roll the sewer lines around the top and bottom plates because of the sheer walls and Simpson Strong Walls. In the back corner of our full-height, overhead cabinet, the cabinet maker will have to build a box to hide the pipe. Same thing in the back corner of the bottom cabinet. Not a big deal because these are buried deep in the corner, up high and down low.

Finally, Brad said he'll be pouring concrete for the garage floor first thing Wednesday morning.

On another note, this afternoon, I met with Wes from Century Stereo at the job site. I explained to him what I would like to be able to do as far as home automation and audio/video distribution. I'm going to send him a set of our electrical plans and he's going to come up with some rough estimates for systems to accomplish what I'm looking for.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

We stopped by the job site this morning and there were a couple of stackers at work. A painter was also there applying primer to the paint grade boards that will be used for the exposed eaves.

It looks like the carpenters from KC Construction have finished most of their work on the window seat.

The stackers have also made lots of progress on the rafters.

Friday, October 27, 2006

It would have taken a couple of days to get the plans printed onto D-sized architectural paper. Rather than waiting, I emailed a set of plans to Paul at Adanac Fire Protection. Hopefully, he can begin designing our sprinkler system next week.

The last two Simpson Strong-Walls were installed a couple of days ago, so the carpenters from KC Construction were able to frame the front gable. Now they are working on the cantilevered window seat.

This second picture gives a better view of how much has been accomplished by the stackers in just four days.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The carpenters and stackers from KC Construction were busy this morning working on different parts of the house, including the rafters, the small balcony, and the front window box.

Brad was there meeting with Brian, the HVAC contractor. They discussed how and where to locate the return air vent on the first floor, the air and exhast ducts for the furnaces and water heater, and the vent for the dryer.

Later Brad called to let me know that Paul from Adanac Fire Protection had not received our paperwork or deposit yet, but I called Paul and he was able to locate the paperwork. Paul just needs a set of plans now so he can begin his work on the project.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The stackers from KC Construction were busy putting up rafters this morning. Those notches at the ends of the rafters are called a bird's mouth, and they fit over the top plate.

Each piece is cut to size on the ground and then lifted up to the roof, including the back-breaking PSL (parallel strand lumber) beams. It took five guys to lift that PSL beam up to the second floor!

Brad said the stackers should be done with the rafters and they should have plywood on the roof by next Wednesday -- a week from today!

Yesterday afternoon, Dennis had come by and put down rebar for the garage floor. Brad told me an inspector will be coming on Monday, and that Dennis will be pouring the concrete on Wednesday or Thursday.

This morning I also stopped by Lowes and picked up three 8" x 8" x 3" glass blocks for the master bathroom.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The stackers from KC Construction showed up this morning and started their prep work for building the roof. As you can see in this picture, it looks like the carpenters have finished putting up all the plywood on the second floor.

I talked to Brad briefly while I was at the job site. He thinks the 8" column might be too small in diameter, so he's ordered one from Sunnyvale Lumber. He wants us to see how it will look before we commit to purchasing all of the columns.

Monday, October 23, 2006

On Friday, Waterproofing Associates mopped a layer of primer followed by waterproofing material in the garage. You can see they're ready for the concrete to be poured.

This morning a load of lumber for the roof was delivered. Unfortunately the stackers from KC Construction were not there -- maybe they were rescheduled for tomorrow. The carpenters were there, however, putting up plywood on the outside of the second floor and suspending the ceiling joists in the garage.

We saw Brad at the job site and talked to him about several items:

1. We gave him our column selection for the front porch and back patio -- a tapered round PermaCast column from HB&G. We still need to talk to Gary about some details for the railing around the courtyard and how it ties into the column in the back patio.

2. We also told Brad we wanted Presidential Shake in Charcoal Black for our roof.

3. Brad told us we won't need to select our garage doors until much later -- next spring. For the garage side door, he's going to select a basic windowless, four panel, fiberglass door.

4. I asked Brad to call James at Sunnyvale Lumber to make sure his quote is for a complete, mulled unit (3' 6" x 6' 8" door plus three light transom). He's also going to confirm that it's a left-hand swing "butt to butt" door.

5. Finally, we talked about the railings for the light wells and courtyard. He'll setup a meeting with his welder to go over the options later. In the meantime, Brad had a scaffolding contractor come out to look at the scaffolding needs for fall protection around the light wells.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I went to Lowes this morning, and they have 8" x 8" glass blocks in two different thicknesses: 3" and 4". We'll get the 3" ones because then we can have a small ledge on the inside.

This morning I also received an email from James Lo (Sunnyvale Lumber) with an updated quote. This one is for a Jeld-Wen A110 3' 6" x 6' 8" fiberglass door with a 3-light transom above it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The first picture was taken this morning at 9:30 AM when I stopped by the job site, and the second picture was taken at 2:00 PM after the framers had left. The second floor was completely framed in less than six hours -- amazing work by Rick, his crew, and the framers from KC Construction!

This morning we received a fax from James Lo (Sunnyvale Lumber) with a front door quote. We need him to fix one thing on the quote and send it to us again. I also received an email from Chris Pieper (Argonaut Window & Door) with a quote.

We met with Brad today and gave him the dimensions for the skylight -- a Velux VSE 606.

I still need to go purchase a few glass blocks for the master bathroom. Home Depot didn't seem to carry them, so I'll check Lowes.

And we still need to give Brad the details for the columns for the front porch and the back patio.

Tomorrow, Waterproofing Associates will start waterproofing the floor of the garage in preparation for pouring the concrete. And on Monday the stackers will start building the roof.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I stopped by the job site around 10 AM this morning, and to my surprise, the crew from Jim Giancola Concrete was there pouring the back patio. They had already finished the stairs to the lower courtyard. When I returned later in the afternoon, they were done with both the back patio as well as the front porch. In the third picture, you can see the flashing between the bottom steps and the plywood.

Rick (from KC Construction) was also there today. His crew was starting to lay out the second floor. It looks like he's almost ready for the framers who are coming on Thursday.

While I was there, I talked to Rick about a few issues:

1. Before he puts in the header for the small window in the master bathroom, I need to get him a drawing that Gary had sent a few days ago, with dimensions for the exact location of that window.

2. Rick brought to my attention an issue with the tubs. A typical tub is 5' long, but accroding to the plans, the bathrooms are only 5'-7" wide. With a 3-1/2" wall plus sheetrock on either side, that leaves only about 4'-11" for the tub. I called Gary and he said the sheetrock stops at the top of the tub and doesn't extend down, so he only needs 5'-7".

3. There are three windows on the right side of the house, stacked on top of each other -- basement, first floor, and second floor. Because of the exact dimensions of the rooms, if he centers them in each of their respective rooms (as specified in the plans) they won't be exactly in line; they'll be off by a few inches. I asked Gary about this and he agrees that it's better for the windows to be centered in each of the rooms, than to worry about lining them up from an exterior point of view.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Brad and Kevin (from KC Construction) met with John Ou at the site this morning. They needed some details from John for a few of the Simpson Strong Walls. Brad also discussed the results of the concrete testing and gave John a copy of one of the reports.

Kevin said he had to delay the framing contractors until Thursday because Rick got sick over the weekend. The first picture shows some of the guys on their crew moving lumber the old-fashioned way.

The crew from Jim Giancola Concrete was also on site again today. Finishing up their prep work for the concrete porch, patio, and lower courtyard steps.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The crews from KC Construction and Jim Giancola Concrete were both on site today.

The carpenters were continuing their work on the first floor. Here's one of them putting up the sheathing. Kevin was also there, and he said they will be framing the second floor next week. Then the stackers will start either next Friday or the following Monday. He thinks it will take them about five to seven days to finish the roof. Brad hopes to have the structure water tight by Thanksgiving.

That's Dennis in the second picture, operating a bobcat. He and his crew had already finished filling gravel into the stairwell and they were working on the front porch and back patio forms.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

We met with both Brad and Gary at the site today. Most of the subfloor for the second floor has been installed. While we were there, a load of lumber, for the second floor walls, was delivered.

During the meeting we talked to Brad and Gary about several different topics/issues:

The sump pumps have been put in the three light wells. The plumber has hooked up temporary piping -- the actual piping won't be connected until after the light wells have been stuccoed. I had bumped into Dennis earlier in the morning, and he had told me that he'll be chipping out the drains by a couple of inches, to accomodate the height of the sump pumps.

In the lower courtyard, Brad said flashing will be attached to the plywood where it will be touching the concrete steps.

The blue conduit tube will be fed into the wall through the bottom of the steps for the electrical connection to the stairway lights.

We discussed the upstairs window sill heights. Brad will make sure the carpenters set the headers just below the double top plates without any cripple studs. That will set the rough sill height at about 2' 9-1/2" from the subfloor

Gary convinced us the change the 2' long half-wall into a full height wall, and position it so that it balances the wall on other side of the opening. It was a good idea, but it does result in a change order.

I asked Brad to have Rick put in a wall with a door, in the storage room so I have a place to put all the home automation equipment.

We discussed the insulation quote from West Coast Insulation. It will cost approximately $9K+ to insulate the exterior walls, interior walls, and between floors with batting. For an additional $7K+ we could use Air Krete, a type of insulation that is pumped into all exterior wall cavities. It's supposed to be more environmentally friendly, but I'd rather spend that $7K on more solar panels.

Finally, Brad told us to start thinking about the cabinets and flooring. He also gave us a couple of boxes of molding samples -- crown molding, baseboards, etc.

Later in the afternoon, I also signed the fireplace bid from West Coast Insulation and faxed it back to them.

Then in the evening, I emailed Gary and asked him to help up with the exact placement of the window in master bathroom. I also sent an email to Chris Pieper at Argonaut Window & Door and asked him if he has received a quote for the fiberglass front door yet.

Monday, October 9, 2006

I missed all the action this morning. It looks like they dug the holes and poured the concrete for the piers as well as the stairs and planter box in the lower courtyard. There were track marks on the right side of the property. I don't know if they were made by the drilling rig or by a small bobcat. I'll have to ask Brad, the next time I see him.

Obviously all the water had been pumped out of the lower courtyard (and also the other two light wells). I noticed a sump pump sitting in one of the light wells -- Brad must have used it to pump out the water. It doesn't look like the plumber has been here to install the real pumps yet.

Another question I have for Brad is about the last few steps in the stairs leading down to the lower courtyard. As you can see in the third picture, it seems like the steps will be in contact with the plywood from the wall. Also that small blue tube coming out of the wall is supposed to hold the wires that supply power to the lights along the stairs. I think that tube should go into the building so it can eventually be connected to a power source. More questions for Brad...

I didn't expect to see anyone working on the site today, as it was Columbus Day, but clearly lots of things have happened. In fact, the crew from KC Construction was there all day, working on the joists for the second floor.

On another note, I finally heard back from Dru Sutton of RecSolar last night. Based on our usage pattern, he recommends a 4.8 kW system comprising 28 Mitsubishi 170 W panels. This system would require about 450 sq ft of space, and he recommends putting it on the SE side of the house.

Friday, October 6, 2006

No more rain in the extended forecast!

The second floor joists and lumber were delivered this morning and Brad had them craned into position. By the afternoon, the carpenters from KC Construction had already started putting some of the joists into position. They also continued their work on the exterior plywood for the first floor.

The last picture shows how much water has accumulated in the basement light wells. I don't think the plumber ever showed up because by 4 PM the sump pumps had not been installed yet.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Last night it rained. No, it POURED! This morning there was an inch of water in parts of the basement. One of the carpenters from KC Construction was busy using a broom to push the standing water out of the basement and into the light wells.

I had to meet Brad at the job site this afternoon. It was raining so hard I didn't want to get out of my car! When I got there, the carpenters were packing up for the day. They couldn't get anything done because of the rain.

Brad also had to cancel the scheduled drilling and pouring of the piers because of the rain. Ugh.

Brad said the plumber is coming tomorrow to install the sump pumps in the three light wells. Then we'll be able to pump the water out of the light wells.

This afternoon I got confirmation that the fireplace bid from West Coast Insulation does include the installation. We'll probably go with them because with the Four Seasons Remodeling Center we would have to obtain a separate installation quote from their installer.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

West Coast Insulation sent us their bid for the fireplace today. Unfortu- nately it was 50% more than the quote we got from the Four Seasons Remodeling Center. The West Coast quote did include the venting ducts, though. We're just not sure if it also includes the installation, which would make it the better deal.

The carpenters from KC Construction continued their work on the first floor framing. They started putting in the Simpson Strong Walls.

The city inspector came by and took a look at the rebar piers. He signed off on them, so Brad can go ahead and pour the piers now.

By the mid afternoon, it was starting to sprinkle. The weather report calls for a 30-40% chance of rain over the next day and a half. Ugh.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The crew from KC Construction continued their work on the first floor framing. They also started adding the plywood to the outside of the house.

A few of the Simpson Strong-Walls were delivered this morning. According to the structural drawings, there should be 11 of them of various sizes.

Brad's trailer/office also arrived today!

Monday, October 2, 2006

If you had blinked, you would have missed it all!

I stopped by the job site at 10 AM this morning, and the framing contractors from KC Construction were already busy at work putting up the first floor walls.

You can see in the second picture, how much they accom- plished during the hour I spent there, talking to Brad and Dennis and watching them work. Dennis was putting together the rebar for the concrete piers that will be poured in the back patio and front porch. Brad and Dennis were talking about getting a bunch of paperwork from Murray Engineers and DCI and scheduling an inspection on Wednesday, so that they can pour the concrete on Thursday.

In the third picture, taken at 3 PM, it looks like the entire first floor (minus the Strong Walls) has been framed.

On another note, this afternoon we drove down to Terico. They have quite an extensive assortment of stone and ceramic tiles in their warehouse. We found a nice 16"x16" chiseled Tuscany-color travertine tile that we'd like to use in the lower courtyard and on the back patio. We borrowed a sample piece to show Brad.

We also stopped at Four Seasons Remodeling Center, a fireplace dealer who carries Regency fireplaces. The Regency website told me they have a Regency P36 model on display and we wanted to take a look at it because that's the fireplace we are planning to select now.