Monday, June 18, 2012

Pre-Con Postmortem

I'm not much for words tonight but we did have our pre-construction meeting today with the SR, PM, and realtor.  I am pleased to report that there was not any loss of blood or threats to reclaim the cookies.  The only heartache (and a minor one at that) is that the oil-rubbed bronze finish is not an option at all for the bathroom fixtures.  (Is anyone interested in purchasing slightly used faucets, toilet paper holders, and towel rods in a nickel finish?)

Not only are we getting sod (thank you, thank you!  I am grateful that I won't have to wash muddy dog paws every time it rains) and some landscaping out front, but we are also getting trees and shrubs at the back of the lot.  Thank you, RH!

We swung by our lot to get another shot of 106 again for the starting pictures.  Lot 105 is going up rather quickly--the framing is near completion and there isn't much lumber still in our lot.  We also met our neighbor across the street (Lot 103).  His Courtland was the first house built in this new phase of the community.

Shout out to Holly, an RH online consultant, who is tracking down the SR for another community with a CG model which might have the luxury owner suite (and possibly send some pictures).

- Determine location of utility sink (garage)
No utility sinks in the garage but we can add one on our own in the future if we wanted. .

- Add garage drain
N/A. No drain required as the floor is sloped.

- Determine location of hose bibs (2)
Front, by garage; Back, under the morning room bump out.

- Determine location of sump pump
As detailed in the floor plan.  We cannot change the location.

- Determine location of water heater
As detailed in the floor plan.  We cannot change the location.

- Is there enough water pressure for a dual-headed shower? Do we need a booster?
No booster required.  There should be enough pressure to handle the dual heads; no pressure issues reported from other customers.

- What is the general water pressure?
TBD.  This will need to be checked further in the build.

- Determine location of floodlights
Assuming they get approved, rear wall, near second floor corners.

- Will you install owner-purchased ceiling fans?
Maybe.  (I surely hope so or we're going to need to get some lamps!)

- Will the wall switch control the light/fan rough-ins vice wall socket?

- Can you align attic lights? (just one is off-center)

- Add exterior outlets
N/A.  We opted to skip this one.

- Add garage outlet
Assuming it gets approved, near garage door.

- Add garage light switch to the mud room
TBD. Might be possible.

- Add island outlets
N/A.  We opted to drop this before the meeting.  Island already has one.

- Is it possible to add whole-house surge protection at the circuit breaker?
We (as in homeowner) will need to talk to the electrician.

- Is it possible to upgrade to a 300 amp circuit from the standard 200 amp?
N/A.  With the finished attic, we're bumped to 400 amps automatically.

- Can we run a Smurf tube (ENT conduit) from the basement to the attic?
This is not recommended as it's not to code.

- Disposition of foyer chandelier? We lose the two-story foyer with the addition of the attic.
The chandelier is replaced by two dome lights -- one for the first floor (foyer) and one for the second floor.

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Insulation
- Is the over-the-range microwave vent internal circulating or external?
Re-circulating; no external vent.  (It's a good thing I'm short--at least the exhaust won't be blowing directly in my face.)

- Where are the bath/dryer exhaust vents located (rear or roof)?
Whatever is the shortest path. Dryer and second-floor bathroom vents could be roof or rear exterior wall.  (see below for powder room) 

- Are there any vents on the façade?
There will be at least one because of the the powder room (shortest path is the front).  When we finish the basement bathroom at a later time, there will likely be another vent in the front.  I may have to paint the vents so they blend in with the façade.

- Determine location of 3-piece bathroom rough-in in basement
As detailed in the floor plan.  We cannot change the location.

- Determine location of HVAC unit.
As detailed in the floor plans.  We cannot change the locations.  (Two units; one basement, one attic)

- How many HVAC zones with four floors? Any floors combined?
Two floors per unit. 

- What kind of garage insulation, if at all?
Batting will be placed between the studs that share walls with interior living spaces.  This means no insulation on the exterior walls and the ceiling but we can personally complete the insulation.  The garage interior will have hung drywall and tape but no mud or skimming.  If we don't get to insulating prior to hanging, we may have to rip down the drywall -- we'll see how cold it gets upstairs.

- Add additional exhaust fan in owner's bathroom. There's only one vent and it's in the toilet enclosure.
Fan should be efficient enough to exhaust the bathroom.  Moisture board will be installed in the bathroom. 

- Do you seal the concrete interior in basement? If no, what options for vapor barrier?
No sealant on the interior walls--Not really necessary on the back half since it's a walkout basement (no soil touching wall).  Since we aren't finishing the basement yet, we can do this ourselves if we want to overkill.

- Can we get a wider driveway?
N/A.  We opted to skip this one after looking at the plat.

- What is the issue with the garage access/service door? Why are you removing that option?
 This is due to the grade of property and having to add steps on a slope.

- Relocation of the basement walkout door
Cannot make changes to the foundation (internal policy) so it will stay as-is.  With the patio door on the morning room being on the opposite wall, we are going to have to suffer with adding a larger deck if we want the basement walkout covered.

- Relocation of basement windows
N/A.  We opted to skip this question.

- What is the boxed-off area next to closet in attic and mud room? Can we open them up to make it useable space?
As expected, the space in the mud room is for HVAC and plumbing.  No change there.  They'll need to investigate in the attic but likely this can be opened up.

- What kind of seat is in the mud room? If just boxed, can we remove it?
The prints say it's a bench seat (no storage).  TBD if it can be removed but chances are pretty good.  

- Can we reinforce flooring in second-floor laundry room?
TBD.  Will need to review the joist layout; may already be done.

- Please confirm no ceiling access doors in bedrooms with finished attic.
TBD.  Will need to review the prints but likely they will not be necessary and can be removed.

- Are the wire closet organizers single or double rows?
All smaller bedrooms will have a single row.  Pantry will have multiple shelves.  Owner walk-in closet will be a mixture:  multiple shelves; two walls with double rows; three walls (one is really tiny) with single rows)

- Do the windows come with screens?
Windows are single hung so only the bottoms will have screens.

- Is the cabinet hardware included?
Yes.  Hardware will be oil-rubbed bronze on all cabinets and vanities.

- Are towel bars included in the bathrooms?
Yes.  As are toilet paper holders.

- What is the ceiling texture? Smooth, swirled, knife, popcorn (gasp), etc.?

- Is the cushion-close option included with the kitchen cabinets?
Nope.  Getting the standard "slams shut" drawers.  

- Deadbolt on interior garage door?
Deadbolts could possibly be added afterwards (not by RH) but the door is stainless steel so this would require a metal hole saw. 

- What is the manufacturer's recommended number of days to allow the grout to cure before sealing it?
30-45 days to cure.

- Verify cabinets in second floor laundry (both uppers and lowers?)
Above the washer and dryer is wire shelving.  On the opposite wall are two floor and two wall-mounted cabinets.  RH to verify if these match the kitchen cabinets (since the upgrade bumped the kitchen price) and the counter material (likely cultured marble).

- Verify faucets match lighting fixtures and hardware in bathrooms.
These are separate options.  However, the plumbing fixtures do NOT come in the oil-rubbed bronze finish.  We'll have to buy the faucets, toilet paper holders, and towel racks separately if we want them to match.

- What color is the shower frame? Does it match the other plumbing fixtures?
The shower frame will match the fixtures.  Special exceptions MAY be possible. (Thanks, T!)

- Will a 35-1/4"W x 69-7/8"H fridge fit in the kitchen?
Yes, width-wise (40" space).  TBD height-wise.  The tallest fridge model offered by RH is 69" so likely it will fit but we may need to wait until the wall cabinets are hung to be 100% sure.

- Is there a screen behind the vent on the garage?
No.  This is purely decorative. 

- Can we get a copy of blueprints?
We can't get the actual blueprints but we can get portions of the engineering drawings blown up for my wall art.  I'm happy with that. (Thanks, B!)

- What is the ceiling height in the basement?
8-foot ceilings
- Update frequency?
Every Friday (excluding vacation plans)

- Permit status?
Still pending; under plans review.  (Note:  The Courtland Gate is new to the area and not already pre-approved so we may have to wait a smidgeon longer.  If all goes well, they may break ground next Monday.)

OK, so I fibbed.  I was much wordier than I thought I'd be.


  1. That is an impressive list!

    I saw that you mentioned "smurf tube" to them for the conduit between the attic in the basement. Did you happen to ask them if they would run electrical grade PVC? I was able to get them to agree to a 2" run of this top to bottom. They just have to put caps on either end to be within fire code.

    1. They won't run it and I'm not keen on running it myself. In the end, I think we'll be OK since we'll have a cable hookup up in the attic anyhow and can set up a wireless access point there if we need to.

  2. I can't believe that you aren't able to get the oil rubbed bronze plumbing fixtures. I have them throughout my house, except in the kitchen where there was no option. I know that things vary by region, but it is an option available through Ryan Homes. If it's something that you really want, I would try to push for it. They look amazing!

    1. Oh, I agree! I can't wait until they're all in (and matching everything else except the the kitchen faucet). Do we have to wait the full 10 months before we can switch them out? I don't know if I could handle waiting that long...

      How many batches of cookies do you think I'll have to bake to get them to install them up front, even if we have to purchase them separately?

      (Hey, T, are your reading this?) ;)

  3. Re: the fixtures...
    Aside from an additional cost after we move in, there is some good news I guess. Not only will we get the exact color/finish we want, we'll get the exact make/model we want. Not all bad....

    Yes Anj, you were verbose. ;)

    1. Pay no attention to the husband.

  4. I'm surprised your microwave is not vented externally. Our SR told us ours is and that it's part of the whole energy star thing.I'm jealous of your smooth ceilings! This is a great list!

    I still don't see a "join" option on your page!

    1. Thanks for the poke! I just added it (I think).

  5. Thanks for sharing... great questions! Good point on the fridge... I just noticed in our model home that the refrigerator is not much taller than me (I'm only 5') and there's cabinets above it, so that may be a problem.

  6. Best. Questions. Ever. Love your blog! Your home is gorgeous, and the selections are beautiful. Congrats!