Saturday, December 25, 2004

Working hard for???

Merry New Year. The new contractor, Semmes & Company Builders (and myself) have spent the last 3 weeks removing lath, staples, nails, etc, so we can remove the windows and install them per the manufactures recommendations. We are down to the large picture windows and should have them re-installed before the end of the year. This is the epitome of taking 2 steps backward to go forward. Upon removing the windows we discovered that the framing was not nailed in properly, in some cases only 1 nail used in the window framing, none of the windows were level, and they did not remove the wood pieces that are shipped with the windows prior to installation. Things are not all that bad. The winters in Paso Robles are mild with temps normally rising to the 60s' in the middle of the day. There are also more Wineries being built which is nevera bad thing. I have included a map of the Paso Robles Wine Country. Please feel free to visit, the red X marks the spot.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

This is where the nightmare began...

12/07/04: Winter is upon us and the chill is in the air. Not just the 20 degree weather in Paso Robles last week, but with the construction of the home as well. After being over 3 months behind schedule and at least 4-5 months from completion we made the decision to change contractors late in the game. Semmes & Company Builders is taking over the project. Stay tuned...

We have arrived at this juncture in my opinion, due to the contractor making changes to the design, construction, and living conditions of the house without prior notification. Poor quality workmanship, abusive and derisive communications, changing rational forvarious costs, and arguing needlessly over items that are clearly done poorly.

Overall, it is my opinion that the quality of the lath work is poor, the installation of the windows terrible, the waterproof job under the lath is laughable as evidenced by these pictures
1, 2, 3, Take a look at the stapling job in #3. The stucco sub contractor and the County Inspector both remarked that it looked as if a kid got his first staple gun and went wild. This picture tho fuzzy, says it all. Unfortunately, they are very close to being right as the crew who installed the windows was by my observation, young, inexperienced and
not versed in how to install the windows per the manufactures instructions.

This includes:

  • Not installing heating or cooling in the theater room, Master bdr/bath and Guest
    bdr/bath and not informing owner. The county inspector is requiring heat and air
    to be installed in that portion of the house.
  • Changing the material on the clerestory from Stucco to T-111 wood siding on the
    most exposed part of the house and not informing owner. This is a link I found
    about caring for that type of wood siding. T-111. In short, this siding is perhaps
    the worst thing you could put in the location the contractor chose. It is the most
    exposed part of the home and takes the brunt of the wind, rain, and sun. It would
    need to be resealed every 2-3 years and given what the plywood on the roof did in
    106 degree heat
    , I am surprised he went with it.
  • Sub-par installation of the windows and doors that require them to be removed
    and re-installed. This entails removing the lath and expanded metal, taking the
    windows/doors out and re-flashing and sealing the windows. I have included
    links to the latest County Inspection Correction Card as well as the
    recommendation from Obispo Pacific Windows. In regards to the window
    installation, this a quote from the contractor " Just because YOU.. believe it to be
    incorrect..does not make it so...even if you got the inspector and Obispo Pacific to
    side with your one sided argument. I was never allowed to put my 2+cents in, and
    my explanation of the proper way to install in "Straw Bale" walls..with 10' of
    overhang, might have a different out come."
  • In regards to the installation job on the windows, here is another exchange.
    Contractor comments are in italics, Owner does not have an obligation to pay
    until the work that you say you completed(i.e. window installation) is done to my
    satisfaction. Lets see...where in the contract does it say this...hmmmm...seems to
    me that I am obligated to the Uniform Building Code, and the San Luis Obispo
    County Building requirements, and..State of California...but no where do I see
    Leslie Millie.., or ...Marvin windows, ...or...Obispo Pacific...hmmmmm..It seems to
    me that a f t e r I talk with the inspector, go over my plans and specificiation, the
    UBC, & my Details from the plans with said inspector, that at that time it would be
    determined what action, if any, might be required.
  • Unfortunately, the situation has have deteriorated the point that the parties are
    not speaking to each other.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

September 2004 Post

We live in earthquake country as evidenced by the 6.0 on 9/28 and the 700 aftershocks, several being 5.0 or greater. There are some additional cracks in the flooring but overall, the house withstood the shaking and baking very well. In other news, the windows are 70% complete and roof is 55% complete. I started the structural wiring for the stereo system and should be complete no later than 10/6/04. Lathing and Plastering/Stucco not yet started.

Days like this I wish I had a project schedule.

Lathing and Plastering should be happening this month. If all goes according to plan, we plan to have a
small gathering to do the plastering. Could be a good time for a mud party if it is still hot. Speaking of, it was over
105 degrees when these last pictures were taken. 105!!!! Thanks to
Pedraum for giving me space on his blog.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

August 2004 Post

Window bucks are in. We can now REALLY see what a Straw Bale Building will look like. Updated pictures have been posted. Go take a look HERE.

Straw has been delivered. If you have wondered how the straw bale homes stay in place, check THIS out. Looks like the set of a B Horror film to me. Speaking of B Movies, someone said there was a giant KING SNAKE in the straw. I guess he will take care of the Rattlesnakes. JOY!

The first course of straw has been stacked. As you can tell from this picture, there is still a lot of straw waiting to be stacked. Dave Exline does several bale raising per year, contact him directly at Three Little Pigs Construction in Paso Robles if you want to join in.

I added some pictures of the engineering that is going into the house. Rumor is that the house had been engineered to withstand an 8.0 earthquake. Ya gotta love straw bale construction. Check out the straps from the foundation to the post, and the extensive use of steel. I hope I never find out HOW well it is engineered. Dave Exline of Three Little Pigs Construction believes we should withstand most major quakes in good shape.

Work party is over. We did not get as much done as we would have liked but it was a great experience. We are considering having a plaster party. If you would like to join us, please email me here . Dave Exline of Three Little Pigs does several plasterings per year. Contact him for more info Special thanks to J.R., Scott, and Sharon for putting in some back breaking labor in 100 degree heat. They are good folks and are always welcome in my house.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

January thru July 2004 Posts

July - 2004:
Trusses complete and installed, Plywood for roof installed, facia board in place. Interior framing 80%

June - 2004: Bathrooms are designed and ready to be ordered. Many thanks to Nena at
European Bath, Kitchen, Tile
and Stone for the lunches and design advice. She gets to take the first bath! :-)

June - 2004: All trusses delivered.

May - 2004: Roof trusses measured and ordered. Three Little Pigs/Dave Exline informs me that trusses were not built
to spec and have to be re-ordered. Interior framing continues

Apr - 2004: Exterior framing complete, interior framing begins.

Mar - 2004: Straw Bale Building Exterior Framing begins.

Jan - 2004: Foundation poured.