2007 House Remodel Project

When we moved into our house back in 2001 we soon discovered that we did not have enough space for our living needs. Over the course of the next several years we put together some ideas on how we could add additional space to our house. As a result we hired a firm, developed a plan to construct a new master bedroom and family room by adding approximately 720 square feet of living space.

Construction began in October of 2007 and is expected to be complete sometime in February of 2008.

Please take a look at the construction photos.

In May of 2007 we contracted with a local company to do the addition for us. We expected to start sometime in August with a completion date in late October or early November, just in time for the holidays. Actually the contractor did not get started until the last week of October and their last day they worked on our project was the 2nd week of January. At this point they were still about 8 weeks from completion. At this point the project was stalled

We took the time to call the city for inspections since we were not getting a warm and cozy feeling that our project was being done correctly. After completing several inspections and having the project reviewed by several other local contracting firms that do remodel work what we discovered was:

  • Approved plans not followed
  • Not a single change order was ever drafted and approved for any aspect of the project when the contract stated that all changes would have a change order created and approved prior to any work being performed.
  • Wrong master bedroom window was orderded and installed without a proper change order
  • Excavation not dug deep enough by as much as 15 inches
  • Roof truses not constructed according to approved plans. Oregon has some specific rules for roof trusses. Roof pitch also incorrect
  • The proposal called for engineered trusses and floor joists. Conventional lumber was used
  • Discovered several ares in the remodel where support trusses were not installed when old walls removed.
  • According to plan the downstairs room was to be 18' x 15' 2". Currently it is 18' x 14' 8"
  • Second floor level 8 inches higher than what plans called for
  • According to the plans the floor difference between the original floor and the new floor was to be 30" currently it is 38" The plans also called for 4 steps up and not 5.
  • Due to problems with excavation and floor height problems the bathroom door had to be removed and replaced with a pocket door (not in plans)
  • Clearence at the botton of the lower staircase was only about 6 feet. If I stood at the bottom stair going down stairs the header at the bottom hits the middle of his forehead
  • Lower level celing height is only 7' 6" when plans called for 8' 1"
  • Contractor did plumbing work (floor drains) when they were not licensed
  • Continue to find alignment problems with framing. Take a look at the closet photos to see how things were mis-aligned.
  • Many problems found with siding including boards cut too short or at an angle. New siding mis-aligned with old.
  • Second story floor for the most pard has only been glued to joists. Only the seams have been screwed and in many cases these screws did not come through to a floor joist.
  • Bottom concrete floor is cracking away from foundation (stem wall)

In late January we contacted 3 local contracting companies to help us evaluate the project and also had the city perform inspections of work completed. As a result we found many of the issues and problems described above. We selected a new contractor and started the project back up in mid April with a long list of "fix it" items. He is making good progress and I will continue to add pictures to this website on the progress.

In early August we finally completed the project and signed off as complete. We also settled with the original contractor.

Lessons Learned

There were many and looking back at the project we would have done things quite differently. The list below only highlights the bigger lessons:
  • Get everthing in writing as change orders before work is started, then everyone fully understands the scope of the change. Don't let your contractor try and tell you that since they are not charging you for it that a change order is not needed.
  • Do not accept email as an alternative for change orders. Emails do not offer the formal process of approval.
  • Have your plans drawn up first by a firm other than your contractor. Once you have a good set of plans then find a contractor that that build according to your plans.
  • Add a penality clause to your contract if your contractor does not complete the work in time. For our project we were expecting a work start date in August and a duration of about 3 to 3 1/2 months to completion. The project was not started until the end of October and by mid January who really knew how far behind we were.

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last update: 04/01/2013, 10:33:54