Saturday, December 30, 2006

Two subcontractors from European Lathing and Plastering were working at the job site this afternoon putting the finishing touches on the layer of building paper and metal mesh.

Two areas they won't be able to complete until next week are (1) the wall above the window seat (because the sheet metal installer from Bonanza Heating and Air Conditioning has not finished installing the window seat roof yet)

and (2) the space below that same cantilevered window seat because the insulation under the seat has not been applied yet.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Yesterday evening we had stopped at the job site to look at the rough plumbing for the tubs and showers. We noticed that the plumber had positioned some of the shower heads incorrectly. The guest bath shower, bath #2 shower, and bath #3 tubs are supposed to have shower heads offset from the center line by about 1' to accomodate a shower hose and shower bar. So this morning when I saw Brad at the job site, I told him about it.

Brad had asked me to stop by the job site again in the evening to make sure the subcontractors had locked the gate. It was locked, but the carpenters had left the light on in the basement.

It looked to me like the stucco contractors have finished wrapping the second floor.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

This morning we called Dana at Burgess Hill to give him the green light to start working on our bathroom vanities. We also went to Cornelia's to have another look at plumbing fixtures. Michelle happened to be available so she helped us pick out just about all of our fixtures!

Here's a picture, taken a couple of days ago, of the inside of the window seat. It shows all the plywood that has been nailed to the wall to provide sheer strength.

Yesterday the sheetmetal fabricator was working on the roof of the window seat. Here's a picture of his work in progress.

The roof load was delivered yesterday, and the roofers started installing the asphalt shingles today. They should be done with the first floor today, and then the stucco contractors will be back to wrap the second floor tomorrow and Saturday.

The roofers should finish the second floor shingles by early next week. Today, someone from SolarCity dropped off the flashings for their stand offs. The roofers will also be installing those flashings.

Brad hopes to schedule a rough framing inspection for next Wednesday.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The stucco contractors started wrapping the house yesterday. They were out there again today, finishing up the first floor.

The installers from Argonaut Window & Door were also there today putting in the final door. This is the four-panel gliding door in the master bedroom. On the left side of this picture you can see the structured wiring for the TV in this room.

It looks like the structured wiring is almost done. Here you can see the back side of the three panels and all the wiring from around the house terminating into them. The 50" one on the left is for audio, the middle one is for Cat-5e, and the 38" one on the right is for home security.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

We met with Brad and Gary this afternoon. There weren't too many things to discuss.

Brad said that putting two side light "doors" together to form the door between the front of the house and the family room/kitchen should work just fine. He's going to send one of our selections to James at Sunnyvale Lumber for a quote.

Brad really doesn't want us to choose any cabinets from Home Depot. I guess he's had bad experiences with them in the past. I'll email Dana to see if there are any changes we can make to the laundry room cabinets to lower the cost.

Brad wants us to go back to Da Vinci Marble and look at edge details. That way we can give his tile guy more precise instructions for a more accurate quote.
Great news today! Our structural engineering issues have been settled. An inspector from the city came out this morning and gave the okay. Brad just needs to add some plywood to the front walls and some straping and a hold down in the back.

Tomorrow, Brad will start wrapping the house and next week the roofers will start putting on the asphalt tiles. Waterproofing Associates will also be coming back to put down waterproofing material on the back balcony. Once they're all done, Brad will call for a rough framing inspection.

All systems are go!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Brad called me this morning to tell me the structural engineering issues are all but resolved with the city. This is great news! He also said he'll be scheduling an inspection in the next few days.

This afternoon I stopped by the job site and popped in on Chris (left) and Frank, two of the installers on Dave Bengel's team. Chris was putting in speaker brackets and Frank was sorting the wires down in the wiring closet.

Chris and I went over the speaker placements in several of the rooms. Here is a picture of the speaker bracket installation in the playroom.

Also working today was Angel and another one of the home security installers. They were putting in the door and window contacts.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Yesterday afternoon Dana, from Burgess Hill, sent us quotes for the five bathrooms and the laundry room. So this morning we went to Home Depot to get a quote for the laundry room. We would consider buying prefabricated cabinets for the laundry room only because we don't care how that room looks, as long as it's functional. Based on a preliminary quote, we should be able to save a bundle, so there's a chance we may go with the Home Depot solution in that room (sorry Brad).

I arrived at the job site this afternoon just as the low voltage installers were wrapping up for the day. They've pulled most of the wires now. They're going to pick up a couple of 50" panels for the wiring closet for terminating all the Cat5e and coax cables. The speaker brackets arrived today, so they'll be installing them tomorrow.

Angel, the home security installer was still at work in the basement. He said he'll be all done by tomorrow.

The tile installer had left three edge samples in Brad's trailer for us to look at. None of them were quite what we wanted, so I called Brad to tell him. He suggested we go down to the tile shop and look at their samples.

Brad also told us that John Ou is meeting with the head plan check engineer today to iron out the structural details for the window seat. Brad's going to meet them downtown later this afternoon. He hopes to have a relatively simple fix, with just some additional plywood and strapping. This is great news for our schedule as well as our costs.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Brad called me this morning to ask if I had talked to Dale at Bureau Veritas yet. I hadn't yet, so I called them right after I got off the phone with Brad. It turns out Dale is on vacation -- I spoke to someone named Kathy instead. She had to look up some information and call me back.

When I arrived at the job site, only two installers from Dave Bengel's crew were working. Brad was there too, and he wasn't pleased there weren't more installers at work. Kathy called me back so I handed the phone to Brad because I didn't understand what she was talking about.

It turns out that we were worried about the wrong structural change all along. The stacked Strong-Walls on the back right of the house were okay. It's the front gable that the city plan check engineer didn't approve. We have Simpson Strong-Walls on either side of the window seat. But the filler between the Strong-Walls and the rafters is greater than 12" and that violates a city policy. If we have to make a change, it will be a BIG deal because Brad will have to tear off the roof, the window seat, etc.

Brad called John Ou, and between them and the city plan check engineer, they need to figure out the best solution to solve the problem.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This morning I met with Norm, the home security contractor from CB Electric Company. We marked the locations of the various sensors and keypads with one of his installers, Angel.

I also talked with Dave Bengel while he was showing his two installers, both named Chris, the locations of the Cat-5 and RG-6 drops, the speakers, the pre-wired TV's, and other low-voltage connections.

Because most of them had never worked at one of his jobs before, Brad gave all of them a speech before they could start. His main points were safety, safety, and safety. He also told them to keep the job site clean and lock up when they leave. Both the home security and structured wiring installers started pulling wire today. They should be working tomorrow, Sunday, and probably most of next week.

While I was there, the fire marshall was inspecting the fire sprinkler system that was installed by Adanac Fire Protection. Hopefully we'll passed the inspection, especially since this is a voluntary installation.

In the afternoon, we returned to the job site and met with Brad for two hours. We discussed a few items:

1. An outlet in the master bathroom above the right vanity needs to be moved to accomodate a mirror.

2. The cans over the jacuzzi need to be placed directly over the tub. They are currently too far to the left and right.

3. The header in the workout room still needs to be removed and the side walls need to be furred out.

4. He told us the city's plan check engineer rejected the structural design changes from John Ou that had been certified by Bureau Veritas. I need to call Bureau Veritas to make sure this get taken care of.

Brad gave us a copy of the quote from Sunnyvale Lumber for all the interior doors -- a total of about 36 doors. We had chosen a two panel smooth Roman door style.

Brad also gave us a copy of the quote from Tile Plus for the tile and granite installation. We discussed some different options for the edge detail on the countertops. He's going to get us two samples of a Single Ogee, one with a 3/4" Bullnose and one with a 1-1/2" Bullnose. When we got home, we started to look through the quote more carefully, but we quickly noticed several corrections:
  • The Lower Courtyard tile is supposed to be set diagonal.
  • The Covered Porch listed is probably mislabelled -- based on the price, it's probably the Covered Patio.
  • The real Covered Porch is missing from the quote.
  • The Master Bath vanity is missing from the quote.
  • The tub in Bath #3 doesn't have a niche.
Finally, Brad had a long to-do list for us. These are decisions we need to make in the next few weeks:

1. Select our baseboards, casings, and crown moldings. We did this today during the meeting. Brad strongly advised us to use real wood (pine or poplar) rather than MDF because the finished product will look much nicer and be less prone to damage.
  • Base: Victorian Base (9/16 x 7-1/4)
  • Casing: Carolina Casing (11/16 x 3-1/4)
  • Crown: Double Bead Crown (1-1/8 x 7-3/16 and 7/8 x 4-5/8)
2. Work with Dana from Burgess Hill on the cabinets. Focus first on the bathroom and laundry room cabinets, then on the kitchen, and finally everything else.

3. Choose our tiles and slabs. Hopefully we'll hear from Claudia (the interior designer we'll be working with) when she gets back into town. Again, Brad wants us to focus on the bathrooms and laundry room first, including showers and tubs, floors, and counters; then the kitchen; and finally the front porch, back patio, and lower courtyard.

4. Select our hardwood floors. Some possible choices are Brazilian cherry, ash, or walnut. We would like the slats to be about 3-1/2" to 5" wide. Brad suggested we go to Golden State Flooring to get some ideas.

5. We should start thinking about the handrails for the main stairs and the lower courtyard stairs. In January, Brad will set up a meeting with his stair contractor for the main stairs and his wrought iron fabricator for the courtyard stairs.

6. We need to start thinking about the exterior stucco color.

7. If we want some additional trim around the exterior of the windows, we'll need to decide what we want to add.

8. We should start thinking about our shutters.

9. And last, but not least, we should start thinking about the garage door. He suggested we go to Sousa's Garage Doors and take a look at their selection.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It rained hard last night and we had a couple of small leaks, so Brad brought the roofers back out to fix some of the flashing and asphalt paper.

This morning Rick put in the front door frame (with the temporary construction door).

The carpenters from KC Construction also cut out the hole for the master bathroom jacuzzi.

I met with Dave Bengel, the low-voltage expert from CB Electric Co. this morning. We spent about 1-1/2 hours walking through the house and mapping where all the structured wiring will go. He's going to send me an updated quote based on what we discussed, and hopefully he'll be able to start the installation on Thursday.

This afternoon we visited Da Vinci Marble in San Carlos. They have a wide selection of natural stone slabs and tiles. We started to get some good ideas for the kitchen granite.

One more thing: I forgot to mention that the electricians put in the main panel last Friday.

Monday, December 11, 2006

This morning I brought my 16-page document to the job site and showed Brad the changes. Then when Ekrem, the electrician from CB Electric Co. arrived, I walked him through each of the changes. They're supposed to be finishing up all their work today.

Later in the afternoon Brad called to let me know that Claudia from Casa Bella Interiors can work with us on our interior design. We had met with her several months ago, but Casa Bella is closing down their interior design business so we weren't sure if she was still available. Claudia wants us to visit Da Vinci Marble in San Carlos to get some ideas. Then she's going to take us to see a house they staged so we can see some design elements put together.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

This afternoon we returned to the house and continued our examination of the switch and outlet box and light fixture locations for the second floor. We also looked at the areas of solid backing in the walls for hanging pictures, window coverings, and towel racks and came up with a list of additional areas where we would like the solid backing.

Back at home, I finished the document showing all the electrical changes we wanted. The document is 16 pages long, but it's mostly pictures and diagrams!

Friday, December 8, 2006

This morning the job site was bustling with activity. The electricians were working on the second floor. The HVAC installers were putting in the furnace in the attic. And the fire sprinker installers were finishing up their work.

Later in the afternoon we went back to the house and checked the locations of all the switch and outlet boxes and cans in the basement and first floor. Unfortunately, we ran out of time so we'll need to make one more pass for the second floor.

We made a detailed list of the changes we would like and I started to put them together in a document, complete with diagrams and pictures for the Ekrem, the electrician from CB Electric Co.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

This morning I went to pick up the template for our master bathroom tub from Michelle at Cornelia's.

We met with Brad at the job site in the afternoon. Dana also met us there, and he took measurements for all of the cabinets.

Brad had purchased some plywood for the window seat roof and had one of the carpenters put it up. Now we can really see what the roof will look like.

The electricians were there working on the boxes and cans for the first floor. They'll be installing the main electrical panel tomorrow.

Adanac Fire Protection was also continuing their work. Brad said they should be done tomorrow.

Finally, Brad had me call Bureau Veritas to find out when they will finish their analysis of the structural changes. I spoke to Dale and he said he would try to complete his work today and deliver his results to the city.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Rick has finished creating the frame for the new window seat roof. It looks just like the drawing from Gary.

The installers from Adanac Fire Protection have been busy putting in the sprinklers in the first floor.

Also, the frames for our front door and garage side-door were delivered. These are just temporary doors for use during construction. As you can see the front door (lying sideways) has the transom above it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Rick from KC Construction was there this morning disassembling the small roof over the window seat. Although he had followed the original plans when he built the roof, it's not what we wanted, and he didn't have an updated drawing at the time. Brian was there too, and Brad showed him where all the solid backing needs to go.

Two installers from Adanac Fire Protection also showed up this morning to start their work.

This afternoon I had lunch with a friend who's building a house in Los Gatos. They're just a few weeks ahead of us in their construction project, and we compared notes on low-voltage wiring.

Along the way home I stopped at Hometech Solutions in Cupertino. They have a wide array of home automation products. I'll probably be buying some of my gear from them in the coming months.

Monday, December 4, 2006

It was quiet at the job site today. In the morning, only the HVAC contractor was there, working on the second floor.

Brad arrived about the same time I did, and I talked to him briefly. He was surpised Adanac Fire Protection wasn't there installing the sprinklers yet, so he was going to give them a call. Also, he's not happy with the installation of the kitchen window box and is waiting to hear back from Argonaut Window & Door. The window extends out from the wall and there's a large gap between the wall and window. There's also a large gap between the header and the window.

When I returned home, I called Dave Bengel from CB Electric to check on the status of the home security installation quote. Dave said he received it, and he'll send it to me.

Later in the afternoon, I returned to the job site, and the electricians were there working on the cans and wiring for the first and second floors. Sometime earlier, another subcontractor had been there because all three showers had been hot mopped.

Friday, December 1, 2006

I stopped by the job site this morning and talked to Ekrem, the electrician from CB Electric. I gave him the locations for the lights above the master bed.

I also met Norm, Dave Bengal's home security expert, and talked to him about the sensors I'd like to have wired to the security system. For smoke detectors, I'll need to have a secondary system, not connected into the primary smoke detectors (some sort of code restriction). He'll wire doors and windows, water sensors, motion detetors, heat and smoke detectors and plans to run all the wires down into the wiring closet into a 38" panel. Norm said he will have a bid ready on Monday.