Thursday, June 28, 2007

The right side fence is almost complete now and Daniel Mendoza's landscapers are starting to put in the posts on the left side.

SolarCity came and patched a hole they put in the wall next to the inverter where they installed it.

Nelson Cleaners came back in the afternoon to do some more cleaning in areas they had missed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

We met with Brad this afternoon and spent about 1-1/2 hours going through our punch list with him. Over the next couple of weeks, he's going to schedule each of the trades to come in and finish up their items on the list.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Daniel Mendoza's landscapers were busy working on the left and right side fences today. They started to dig the holes for each of the fence posts.

City workers from the utility department arrived later in the afternoon to hook up the power line to the house and install the electricity meter. But first, I had to call Brad and ask him to remove the temporary power to the house. He showed up right away, removed the wires, and a few minutes later we had full power!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

On Friday, Daniel Mendoza's landscapers started removing the remaining parts of the old fence. They also started clearing out the area to prepare for installing the new fence.

We spent Friday and the weekend going through the house and making our final punch list for Brad. You could say we're anal -- there are about 300 items on the list (most of them are just minor paint touch-ups)!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

This morning Daniel Mendoza called to tell us he was planting the tree that our neighbor had selected. We're replacing a tree which we removed about a year ago when we started digging the basement. The very large tree was on our neighbor's property but the roots were growing right where one of our light wells was going to be. At the time we promised to replace his tree with a new one of his choosing.

When we arrived at the job site, Daniel's crew was finishing up.

They will be back tomorrow to start working on the fence.

Also early this morning, Nelson Cleaning Service came back to finish cleaning the house. They spent the whole day working on everything including the walls, floors, windows, doors, tiles, and cabinets.

Later in the morning, we had our last meeting with Brad and gave him our final payment. While we're looking forward to moving into our new house, the meeting was bittersweet. This project was a large part of our lives for the past year. It was both a challenging and an exciting experience, but now it's come to an end.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Brad had to wait several hours for the inspectors to show up, but eventually they did, and.... [drum roll].... WE PASSED THE FINAL INSPECTION! Unfortunately, we couldn't be there when it happened, but Brad called us afterwards to give us the great news! The city will come out in seven to ten days to hook up our power so Brad's going to call and have our temporary power pole removed on Monday.

Brad also told us that tomorrow, the cleaners will be back to continue where they left off. And tomorrow, Daniel Mendoza will start on the fence.

Earlier in the morning, we had met Alberto at the job site. He thought it would only take a couple of hours to finish touching up, cleaning, and sealing the granite counter tops, but by the mid afternoon he still had not finished, so I had to return in the evening to lock up.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

We saw Brad at the job site this morning and he told us the final re-inspection will be tomorrow morning. I think we'll pass this time because everything on the list from the first final inspection will be completed by tomorrow.

I met with Alberto (Lucia sent him to touch up and seal the granite) at the job site later in the morning, and he said he would look over the project today and come back tomorrow to do the work. We went through the house and discussed each of the rooms. I also asked him, when he comes back tomorrow, to give me an estimate for sealing all of the tile in and around the house.

In the afternoon, I met Ekrem at the job site. He had to torque down the bolts in the electrical panels. I also mentioned the fireplace outlet and he hooked it up. I need to ask Brad to get West Coast Insulation back to finish installing the fireplace.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Louis and another painter from Tercero Painting were doing touch up work today. By the end of the day it looked like they had finished almost everything.

We spent some time going over the cabinets and tiles/granite, filling out a punch list for Dana and Ernie/Lucia, respectively.

Later in the afternoon we called Lucia and arranged for her to send one of her workers, Alberto, out to the job site tomorrow morning around 10 AM. He will focus on caulking and sealing the granite.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Phil and his crew of three painters worked on the house all day. They had to touch up all of the windows because they had missed a part that's exposed when the windows are open. They also touched up the baseboards and crown moldings. And they painted the front door and sprayed a coat on clear varnish on the double doors leading to the family room.

Phil said one of his painters will return on Monday to finish up.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Early this morning, Bonanza Heating & Air Conditioning arrived to fix a gutter downspout and tied down the A/C condenser pad.

I went with our neighbors to Boething Tree Farm and looked for a tree to plant between our houses. They selected a Ginkgo Biloba tree in a 36" box, so I called Daniel Mendoza to let him know. Daniel told us to tag the tree; he'll pick it up on Monday.

The plumbers from SCM Plumbing came and moved the cutoff valve closer to the range.

They also secured the gas line to the attic furnace.

Ekrem and Dave from CBE Electric Co. finished putting while-in-use covers on all the exterior outlets.

They also pounded a 10 foot long grounding rod into the ground, about three feet from the edge of the basement, near the main panel and connected it the to grounding bar in the panel.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

When I arrived at the job site this morning, Brad was just finishing up with the city inspector. The inspector asked for about eight or nine items to be fixed, including:
  • the gas shutoff valve for the range must be within three feet of the range
  • torque down all of the bolts in the electrical panels
  • add while-in-use covers on all the exterior receptacles
  • secure the A/C condenser pad to the ground
  • some outlets were not working (they were probably turned off at the breakers because we only have temporary power)
  • add insulation to the attic access panel
  • add vacuum breakers on the handheld showers
Overall, the inspector said Brad did a great job, especially since this project has a basement, but he'll have to address these items and then call for another inspection. Hopefully that will happen early next week.

Ekrem showed up right after the inspector left and started to work on some of the items that needed to be corrected. I also told him about the light switches in bath #2 that didn't work, and he fixed them.

Later in the morning, Dana came to install the closet rods in the master closet.

He also started to install the flip-up cover above the vent hood in the kitchen, but he was very embarrassed to find that somehow he had miscalculated and ordered a panel that was about 3/4" too short! He'll need to order a new panel which will take a few weeks.

And finally, Tony came to the job site to stain the oak threshold at the front door. He's going to try and match the color of the walnut floors.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Brad called early this morning to say the cleaners had showed up to start working on the house. This was somewhat unexpected for us because we are in the middle of creating our punch list, and there's blue tape all over the walls. We told him to have them concentrate on cleaning the doors, windows, cabinets, and floors. They'll have to wait until Phil is done with paint touch-up before cleaning the walls.

When I arrived at the job site, the garage was all cleaned up and they were working on the kitchen and master bathroom. Brad came by a little later and I talked to him briefly. He needs to have the paperwork from SolarCity showing they passed their inspection because he scheduled his final inspection for TOMORROW!

National Construction Rental showed up around 11 AM and removed all of the construction fencing in about 15 minutes. Here's what the house looks like now.

And here are two pictures of the cleaned kitchen.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

When I arrived at the job site, Josh, from SolarCity, was there waiting for the city inspector to show up. The inspector had wanted him to check the torque on the bolts holding the panels to the brackets. He had also wanted a sign on the inverter indicating where the DC disconnect switch is located.

Brad showed up later. He called National Construction Rental and scheduled them to remove the construction fencing tomorrow. It will be nice to see the house without the chain-link fence.

I spent the afternoon, moving stuff we wanted to save, from the garage to the storage room in the basement. Also, Argonaut Window & Door delivered our window screens sometime today -- they were all stacked in the back patio. So I moved all of them to the storage room too. Whew -- that was tiring!

Later in the evening I received an email from Josh describing how to turn on and off the solar power system. I suppose that means he passed the inspection.

Monday, June 11, 2007

We met with Brad today and walked though the house to discuss the punch list items. He asked us to write it up in a list to give to Phil, so we'll work on that this week.

Brad told us that he got the fire sprinkler installation approved by the fire marshal last week. He just needs the SolarCity approval and then he can go for final.

He called National Construction Rentals and asked them to remove our construction fencing. They'll be coming out on Wednesday to take it down. Yeah!

He also said he would call Edgar and have him come out to clean our our garage and remove the last of the construction debris.

After Brad left, a couple of plumbers from SCM Plumbing, Gabino and Antonio, came by to check on some things. First they verified that the sewer ejector pump and alarm are working properly. We filled up the sewer tub until the pump turned on and emptied it. Gabino then showed me what to do in case the alarm goes off (indicating the water level has risen above the float for the pump).

While we were in the utility room talking about the pump, he suggested that I install an expansion tank on the water heater. Since water expands as it heats up, it needs a place to go. But because of back flow valves, the water can't push back into the main supply. Expansion tanks are installed in the cold water line between the valve and the water heater to give the water somewhere to go.

Next the plumbers fixed the sump pump in the lower courtyard. The pump was pumping, but the water wasn't going anywhere. They disconnected the pump from the pipe and that cleared out whatever was causing the problem.

While working on the pump, Gabino noticed a problem with the bubbler box. He explained to me that the pipes from the sump pumps are at a lower level than the through-curb pipes leading out of the bubbler box (he said they should be higher). When the pumps are operating, the bubbler box fills up with water, but before it can overflow out to the gutter, the water starts to flow back into the pipes leading back to the pumps. Additionally, because the rocks they used in the bubbler box are smaller than the diameter of the pipes, they can flow back into the pipes and clog them up. I'll have to show Brad tomorrow if I see him.

Towards the end of the day, I checked on the inverter and electricity meter. When the panels were first powered on, the meter read 4558 kWh. Today, four days later, it read 4518. So right now we're generating about 10 kWh (net) each day. Woo Hoo!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

We decided that I should try and take care of the easy punch list items. That way we can let Phil focus on the more difficult ones. So yesterday and today I worked on patching and painting walls -- I did the bedrooms upstairs and the some of the rooms in the basement. I will take care of all the walls with flat paint and leave the trim, ceilings, and glossy surfaces to Phil.

Friday, June 8, 2007

We saw Josh, from SolarCity, at the job site today waiting for the city inspector to show up and complete the final inspection of the solar panels. Brad called us later in the afternoon to say that the installation failed the inspection and that SolarCity will have to make some repairs. This will delay Brad's final building inspection because he needs to have the solar installation signed off first.

Today we started creating our punch list by "blue taping" anything that needs to be touched up or fixed. We started on the second floor with the bedrooms. Mostly we found small spots that need a little paint, but there are also some nicks and dings that need to be repaired. This is going to be a long process because (1) we are very picky and (2) it is a large house! (Brad is probably shaking his head as he's reading this :-)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Josh from SolarCity called this morning to yet me know they scheduled a utility inspection for today. He said the final inspection for the solar panels will be on Friday.

When I got to the job site, Josh was just finishing up with the utility inspector. He then powered up the system to show me how it works and we started generating electricity -- the meter on the temporary power pole started to spin backwards!

About three hours later, here's what the inverted read: the system is currently generating 2.184 kW of power, and in the three hours, we generated 6 kWh of electricity!

Both Troy and Rob were there today. They installed the ball catches on some of the doors without latches. They also installed the fiberglass front door and hardware.

The door still needs to be painted (Kelly-Moore: Carbon Black). This is just the primer color.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

This morning, the HVAC contractors from Bonanza Heating and Air Conditioning put in all the registers and covered the return vents. Here's a picture of the register in the master bedroom ceiling.

And here is the register in the floor of the breakfast nook.

Ekrem was also there. He started to hook up the sump pump in the back yard, but he had a question for Brad about the battery backup. I think that's why it's not completed yet.

He also fixed the lower courtyard lights (after he had put in the light fixtures a few days ago, the lights could not be turned off -- none of the switches seemed to be connected to them). He also fixed some 3-way light switches in the basement.

Troy trimmed down all the doors in the carpeted areas. The doors were rubbing on the bottom due to the thickness of the carpet and pad. And Rob continued installing hardware for the pocket doors.

Later in the afternoon, a truck from Sunnyvale Lumber delivered our fiberglass front door and hardware. At first I thought they had made a mistake and sent us the wrong door because the door looked like it was wooden. But after freaking out Brad, I realized that it was indeed the correct door. Our door has a wooden core with a laminated fiberglass exterior.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I stopped by Murray Engineers this morning and William told me the soils letter still needed to be reviewed. I left him my number and asked him to call me when it was ready. Well, two minutes after I had left, he called and said he made a mistake -- the letter was ready. I told him to have someone drop it off at the job site before noon. By the time I made it to the job site, the letter had already been delivered to Brad.

Phil had a large crew working there this morning. They were busy caulking, cutting, touching up, and painting. Troy didn't show up, but Rob was there. He was installing some of the locks for the pocket doors.

I did some more work on the home automation system today.

Monday, June 4, 2007

I saw Brad at the job site this morning. He has a public works inspection scheduled for tomorrow, but he needs the final letter from Murray Engineers indicating that the project complied with their report and recommendations. Hopefully they can get that letter to him in time.

I spent some time working on the home automation system -- mounting components and wiring them together. For more details see my new blog:

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Tony and his crew from The Wood Floor Company were at the job site finishing up their last coat on the floors this morning. Here's a picture of Tony screening the floor.

They also installed reducer strips wherever there is an uneven transition or threshold in the flooring.

And they carefully masked off the carpets on the stairs.

Later in the afternoon we returned to the job site and hung up the house address. That's one of the requirements for the final inspection.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Liam was back today to finish installing the inverter and AC disconnect switch for the solar panels.

Everything is hooked up now and ready to go. I think they just need an inspection and then we can power it up.

The carpet installers finished up the basement. Here are pictures of the basement playroom and the upstairs hallway.

Dave, one of the electricians from CBE Electric came and finished installing light fixtures. He put in the stairway lights for the lower courtyard, and he installed the front entry light and the three pendant lights above the kitchen island.

Fred and Eddie, from Details, were back to finish installing the kitchen range. There was an issue with the location of the electrical outlet for the range -- it was preventing the range from being pushed all the way back against the wall -- causing there to be a 2" gap behind the range! I told them to work with the electrician and come up with a way to fix the problem. In the end, I think they removed the plug and hard-wired the oven.

They also finished installing the washer and dryer in the laundry room.

In the evening, around 6 PM, I returned to the job site to make sure the house had been secured. Well, it turned out that aside from the front door and garage doors, all the other doors in the house were either open or unlocked! Sheesh!