Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pre-Construction Results

The pre-construction meeting was not as exciting as I expected.  (I'm not sure exactly what I was  I think I'm mostly just excited that construction on our house will begin on MONDAY!!  Yippee! 

Our PM seems very nice and knowledgeable.  My dad (who is also very knowledgeable about house-building) asked him some technical questions and he seemed satisfied with the responses so that's a good sign.  And although most of his answers were "no", he at least respectfully entertained my long list of questions.

Here are the answers to my questions:

Kitchen/Morning Room
1. Can we extend counter top over edge of island for extra seating?   It's probably possible, but they would most likely have to change the structure of the island based on the extra weight on that end of the island.  He said he could do the calculations and come up with a price, but I probably won't like it. 
2. Can we get a switched outlet behind cabinets for future under-cabinet lighting?  He said he can't ask the workers to do this (since we didn't pay for it), but if we remind him as it gets closer he will drill strategic holes in the studs behind the cabinets to make it easier for us to run the wires in the future. 
3. Can we put two of the recessed kitchen lights in the family room (or somewhere else)? No.  This is the answer to some of our other electrical questions too.  They said they can't change the electrical plans at all, but they also said the locations of the switched outlets are not set in stone.  So it's kind of contradictory.  Basically, WE cannot have the location of a switched outlet changed, but they can change it if it makes it easier for them. 
Living Room/Dining Room
4. Can we move the columns in the master bedroom to between the living room and dining room?  No.  He made a good point that the 2nd floor ceilings are 8' and the first floor are 9' so it wouldn't work anyway.  I didn't even think of that.

5. Basement windows… can we move any that are in our “storage area” out to the other areas?  No, they will not move them.  Which stinks, because the plans show one in the storage area, which is such a waste.
6. Where will towel bars be mounted?   I forgot to ask this.  I'll keep it on my list for later!
7. Can they make shelving in laundry room out of empty space between laundry room and powder room?  He said that area is pretty packed with HVAC stuff so he doesn't think we'd be able to fit anything.  I still plan on taking lots of pictures of these areas and hopefully we can do something in the future.
8. Could we get a utility sink rough-in in the garage?  It would have been $500 to get a rough-in either in the laundry room (in which case we'd have to stack our w/d to fit it) or the basement.  They won't put it in the garage because they won't put plumbing in an unfinished space.  This is the same reason they won't give us a rain shower head in the master bath since the plumbing would have to go through the attic and that's an unfinished space.  I'm skeptical of that though because I've heard of other people getting this.  But about the utility sink, my dad said we could easily put one in the garage later and they sell kits to insulate the pipes so they don't freeze in the winter.  So we'll add this to the list of projects for later.
9. Where will hose bibs be located?  Both sides of the house.  Their reasoning was that most people put decks on the back so they don't like to put them there and they put one right off of the driveway for washing cars, etc.
10. Outside light placement. Two on front door, two on garage, one in back next to morning room. 
11. When will final grading/landscaping be completed? Before we move in.
12. Which switches go to which lights/outlets? Can we determine?  See #3 above.  He also noted that in the bedrooms, only 1/2 of each switched outlet will be switched, so this addresses my concern of having a switched outlet where we'd want a tv or an alarm clock or something.  Also, the switched outlets will be upside down so they are easily identifiable.
14. Trim on windows (inside)?  No. Just sill and the thing under the sill (I forget what that was called).  Screens on windows? Yes, on bottom half.
15. Ceiling finish? Smooth.
16. Flooring transitions? Carpet to vinyl: metal strip, nickle toned to match door hardware.  Hardwood to vinyl: hardwood strip.  Hardwood to carpet: hardwood strip.
17. Smoke detectors and CO detectors… how many and where?  A lot, according to code.

A few other things we discussed:

1. Our lawn only gets seeded, not sodded (I priced it out and it would be >$10,000 to get just our front lawn sodded).  PM suggested seeding every fall to help the grass grow.  Hopefully it will help that our original seeding will be in the fall too.  Greg will be in charge of caring for our lawn :).
2. We get just minimal landscaping out front, but we do get some street trees in the front, so that's nice. 
3. Right now we are looking at a late September closing date.  He said they pride themselves on finishing on schedule so hopefully this is true!
4. Wallboard is glued, nailed and screwed, which is nice.  Hopefully this will minimize nail pops in the future.
5. There was a little issue with the foyer area, but I'm going to save that for another post since it's it's kind of a long story.
6. We reviewed all of our upgrades, color choices, etc and they got everything right, so I think that's a good sign!

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL OF YOU DAD'S (especially mine :))!!


  1. I'm jealous of your smooth ceiling!!!

    1. No doubt, jealous here too of the smooth ceiling!

  2. Congrats on the smooth ceiling (and not having to pay extra for it). Sorry that you got so many nos. Some things make sense (8 ft vs 9 ft ceilings), but others seem a little bogus to me (like the electrical). The good news is that if you feel strongly about it, you could always make some upgrades/changes later.

  3. Thank goodness for these blogs- I'd never know what "smooth ceilings" were and if they were an option!

  4. Smooth ceiling is standard for me me too. Seems strange to do anything else, but I guess every subdivision is different. We actually just added a utility sink in the garage, so it must really depend on your PM and community. Love your list of questions. I think I asked most of the same ones. You really can't assume anything with a new build. I was shocked by some of the things I learned. If you want to check out my questions and answers, you can here:


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