Category Archives: change order

T minus 2 days

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Notes, 29 Jan. 2016

Ron is home sick. Day three. He and Steven suspect a virus. The plumber was sick a couple of weeks back. The garage door company pushed back into next week because the install team is down. Steven compared symptoms with Peter, one of the carpenters — sinus cavities so blocked you gasp for air. Combined with allergies to ceder pollen, because ceder is off the scale.

We campaign on without our leader …

Above, the team from Gilsa continues to lay weed block and cover it with gravel, extending the gravel deck off the kitchen side door around to the front of the house.

About an hour later, the gravel extends to the front porch and dirt is going in between the concrete pavers.
About an hour later, the gravel extends to the front porch and dirt is going in between the concrete pavers.

Steven signed off on change order 26 — we went $600 over on the lighting budget.

Steven also signed off on draw 7 — and Ranserve has begun to reconcile all the line items, change orders, monies not spent, as we approach what promises to be the final month of construction.

It’s one-third the massive truck that Ron drives, but Steven was able to transport two eight-foot-long and two six-foot-long lighting tracks inside his serviceable Honda Element from Lights Fantastic to Emerald Hill. Now the electricians can finish putting up the track in the office.

Since the garage doors are reportedly on schedule for next week, Steven cleaned up the random pile of lumber stored in the garage, moving it clear of where the doors will be assembled, sweeping the floor clean, and shifting out of the way Ron’s desk, a pile of pavers and a second pile of bricks. That leaves only a second pile of dried-out 60-year-old studs that the framers cut from the garage when joining the existing two-bay structure to the new garage shed; Ron plans to recycle these.

And … between conference calls and work, Steven began assembling the specs requested by the Austin Green Build program. This homework will take a while.

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Change order 17

Work at Emerald Hill today was called off on account of torrential rains — something like six inches since midnight.

In the interim, Steven approved change order 17, the most expensive LED on the planet.

When the drywall went up on the ceiling in the kitchen, Steven discovered that the three 4-inch ceiling cans for lights above the island were not equidistant from each other. Details here.

The bill for this misadventure is $309.

“Add one 4-inch recessed light at kitchen island including installing recess trim supplied by others” $195
Site supervision $75
Profit & overhead $39
Total $309

That recess trim supplied by others? Steven purchased the 4-inch LED at Lowe’s, on sale, two for $19.98. Let’s do the math — each LED cost less than $11, including tax.

Electrical, drywall and labor account for the balance of the $195.

In retrospect, back when Jacquela and Steven selected lighting fixtures, one of the options we considered was a linear LED three, four, five or six feet long. That would have required one electrical connection instead of four, and no need to discover just how out of whack the framing is.

We should have also hung plumb bobs to verify the distance between each recessed can before the drywall went up, verifying locations against the planned island that the three original recessed cans, now four, are supposed to illuminate.

And a FLIR thermal/imaging camera to see through the drywall to structure would have also helped.

Lesson learned. Expensively.

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Notes, 8 Oct. 2015

  • Ron and Steven met yesterday with Ed King from Binswanger Glass to talk about glass doors for showers and “water closets,” aka toilets behind doors. Earlier in the week, Ron met separately with Anchor Ventana. Today, Jacquela and Steven received the first estimates on what it might cost to buy and install the doors. It’s twice the amount budgeted. Why? First part of the answer — when Ranserve compiled the working budget it did not properly account for all the glass doors, even though they are detailed in the architectural plans. Second part of answer — Steven did not pay enough attention to this line item and all the glass doors when reviewing the plans. Now we have to decide which doors to eliminate, as one approach; or which glass doors to replace with wood doors and frames; or which glass doors to keep. With any of the three approaches, there will be a change order coming. Yich.
  • Lowe’s is selling a two-pack of 4-inch LEDs for ceiling cans for $20. That is HALF the non-sale price. Steven checked with the electricians to make absolutely certain these LEDs are correct. They are. Off he went to Lowe’s, coming back with 11 two-packs — a total of 22 LEDs. One more than actually needed. But half the cost of missing the sale price. The LEDs are 2700K, what the industry identifies as “warm white,” which Steven sees as conventional yellow-cast light with his aging eyes. But these will work well when installed in the hallways. We will reserve 3500K or 4000K “cool white” or “bright white” 6-inch LEDs for use in the rooms that we spend time in, instead of halls we walk through. Lowe’s also has two-packs of 6-inch LEDs, also for $20, a killer price savings, but these are also 2700K, too yellow. Lowe’s does not at this point carry cool white LEDs at anything less than $40 each, sometimes more, a lot more. Every dollar counts.
  • The painters continue priming the walls in the house and almost all the ceilings are now painted with one coat of the final “pure white” from Sherwin Williams. The interior of the house glows — bright, clean. The spaces feel so much bigger than when we bought the house, when most rooms and hallways were painted a shade of yellow. Paint is magic.
  • Brett Grinkmeyer, Jacquela and Steven signed off on draw #4. Kathleen at Ranserve will submit it to the bank for payment.
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Fenced in

Above … Ranserve today erected a temporary fence around the house. It’s a signal that framing is nearly complete and a new construction phase begins, focused on systems inside the house.

The team from Capstone, pulling wire.
The team from Capstone, pulling wire.

The electrical team from Capstone Electric is first to arrive, pulling spools of cable through the second floor, tracing the electrical plan to rough-in outlets and switches. Steve from Capstone, Ron from Ranserve, and Steven walked each room upstairs, talking through which switch in what location turns which light on or off, whether outlets should be 42 inches above the floor at the countertop planned for the utility room, how high on the wall the TV will be mounted in the loft with a corresponding outlet, where to put how many outlets at the vanity in the master bath, which ceiling cans are actually integrated units that include LED lighting and ventilation for the bathrooms — item by item, detail by detail, getting it right with the walls open …

Steve from Capstone writes down on the studs exactly which switch controls which run of track lighting planned for the model train room -- north/south gets one switch, and east/west gets a second switch.
Steve from Capstone writes down on the studs exactly which switch controls which run of track lighting planned for the model train room — north/south gets one switch, and east/west gets a second switch.

Separately, Jacquela and Steven met with Dale Markel at Landers Premier Flooring to explore options for wood flooring. Can we save the existing oak? Probably not …

Also separately, Steven approved a quote from Kyle Bacon at Elite Heating & Air Conditioning for what will be come a change order to the HVAC system — adding dampers and thermostats to the master bedroom and office, putting these two rooms into their own heating/cooling zones. This will help to make the master bedroom more comfortable and controllable at night, and help to deal with the heat generated by the computers and other equipment in Steven’s office.

And, Ben Feldt, structural engineer,  reports he walked the framing late last week. He will complete the documents “saying you passed” for the pending inspection by City of Austin.

Cris from Ranserve test fit one of the fiberglass doors -- this is the back door off the kitchen to the back yard. The doors came with brickmould pre-installed by the BMC West at the factory. Ron plans to remove and replace it with PVC trim that cannot rot because it's basically plastic.
Cris from Ranserve test fit one of the fiberglass doors — this is the back door off the kitchen to the back yard. The doors came with brickmould pre-installed by the BMC West at the factory. Ron asks Steven if it’s too ornate for what Steven and Jacquela plan for the house. Yes. Ron plans to remove and replace it with PVC trim that cannot rot because it’s basically plastic.
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Notes, 29 July 2015

Above — the boneyard in the driveway continues to grow. It’s astounding how much old wood has been carved out Emerald Hill’s skeleton — undersized, termite weakened, insufficient for the house that Emerald Hill is becoming.

  • Potential garage addition. Ron and Steve met with architect Brett Grinkmeyer to begin planning a potential third garage bay; Jadin will be driving soon and Steven’s tablesaw needs a home.
  • Stairway. Ron and Brett continued separately to review design plans for the stairway. Ron plans to demo the existing stairs next week, building new to code.
  • Structured wiring. Steven met with a candidate to install structured wiring — phone, network, AV, alarm, etc.
  • Save the oak floors? Ron and Steven met with a flooring expert. We might not be able to save and refinish the existing oak floors. More info to come.
  • HVAC. Kyle from Elite Heating & Air Conditioning inspected the install to date by his team. Steven took the opportunity to ask about adding a third duct into the Great Room — the combination of the family room and kitchen. Kyle advises against — it will compromise airflow elsewhere in the house, and the additional airflow will not be needed. Steven opts to have Ron expand the vertical chase in the laundry room on the second floor, to make it easier to install this potential duct run more easily, if we discover it is needed while we live in the house.
  • Foam insulation. Mark Rehberg and Ron Dahlke from Ranserve advise Steven it will cost $400 additional to insulate the entire exterior envelope of the house with expanding foam, instead of blown in, not just the attic. Steven knows from insulating Sea Eagle View with foam 11 years ago that this is the smarter route. Steven approves the additional cost. Ranserve will deliver change order.
  • The range hood. Jacquela and Steven choose the final appliance, a Zephyr Brisas range hood. Kristin at Harway updates the paperwork. Jacquela and Steven to review. Steven sends specs to Ron for HVAC team to frame in ducting at kitchen wall.
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Notes, 22 July 2015

Third meeting of the busiest week yet for Steven with Ron Dahlke, who is cranking hard and fast on 12 cylinders. And it’s only Wednesday. Today’s agenda:

  • Roofing. Ron met with and Steven approved quote from Potter’s Roofing Co. to install sheetmetal and waterproofing at several locations; to remove existing and install new vent flashing in the lower and upper roofs; to patch where mushroom vents and the skylight are removed — and other damaged areas; and to replace the chimney flashing with a new cricket that will move water away from the brick at the back of the chimney where it meets the roof; water flows directly against the brick and existing flashing when it rains. This is wrong. Some of these tasks are built into existing line-item budgets. Some of this work will require change orders. Why the change orders? Ron and the framers opened up the framing behind the chimney and discovered signs of water penetration traveling down the brick.
  • Pocket doors. Ron finalized and Steven approved quote from BMC for interior pocket doors — built into the framing materials line-item in the budget.
  • Exterior doors. Steven also approved second quote from BMC for exterior doors at the kitchen, back door and at at the mudroom into the garage — not including the front door and not including the back door to the garage. The front door is an entirely different task — and Ron is researching whether the back door to the garage must be fire rated.
  • Vanities, medicine cabinets, electrical. Steven delivered dimensional plans for the bathroom vanities, and the medicine cabinets that will be used in bath 2, the mudroom and master bath. This enables Ron and the framers to properly nail lumber into position for the medicine cabinets, which insert into the wall between studs. It also enables Ron, Sean the electrician, and Steven and Jacquela to properly position electrical outlets for the medicine cabinets, which feature built-in LED lighting, and for wall outlets adjacent to the vanities.
  • HVAC. Ron advises that the HVAC rough-in begins Thursday/tomorrow, 23 July.
  • Kitchen cabinets. Also 23 July, Aaron Pratt at Centex Custom Cabinets is scheduled to visit, to begin measuring for the kitchen cabinets.
  • Pending. Ron continues to track pending submittals from subcontractors for refinishing the wood floors and laying new wood; how to get electrical power through the slab to the kitchen island; and the candidates for the potential front door.
  • Discovery 1: Structure. Taking out the hearth to the left of and in front of the fireplace reveals the brick may be the only thing holding up the ceiling beams above the fireplace — and we may need to add structural support across the front of the fireplace under the ceiling beams. Ron is researching this with the structural engineer, Ben Feldt at Feldt Consulting Engineers.
  • Discovery 2: Insulation. Ron advises that the sheathing between the brick and studs on the first floor may need additional sealing DSC_2230— every time that demo took out an old cable or fixture, that left a hole in the sheathing. One way to fix this may be to deploy the painters with silicon before we begin insulation. Another approach might be to use expanding foam insulation instead of blown-in insulation. The building plan already calls for foam in the attic, upper and lower roofs, with blown-in insulation in the walls. There’s a cost delta to switch out to foam — should we do this selectively, only where needed, stud bay penetration by stud bay penetration? Or, should we just foam everything? Ron offers to schedule a meeting with the insulation contractor. Steven notes his history with foam — the current house is the first built by John Hagy Homes that is insulated with foam, helping to qualify the house for 3 stars with the Austin Energy Green Building Program — 11 years ago, when foam insulation was new to market. And … the foam yields an airtight house that is much easier to heat and cool, and vastly more efficient.

Separately, Steven met with and walked the house with one of the candidate companies to install the structured wiring system — security, low-voltage cables for TV, sound and phone, and the computer network.

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Change orders 1, 2 and 3

“A change order is work that is added to or deleted from the original scope of work of a contract, which alters the original contract amount and/or completion date.” Wikipedia.

Change order #1 adds $60 to the cost of construction — $50 to ensure this remodel project complies with Austin Energy Green Building standards and rules, plus $10 in “overhead & profit” to Ranserve to incorporate this change into the build plan.

Change order #2 adds $66.57 to the cost of construction — $55.47 because the City of Austin charged that much more than we budgeted for the Water Tap Fee, plus $11.10 in “overhead & profit” to Ranserve.

Change order #3 adds $180 to the cost of construction — $150 to drain the freon from the two HVAC systems, then disconnect the units, plus $30 in O&P to Ranserve.

The Leons are now in the hole an additional $306.57.

On the other hand, a future change order will credit about $550-650 back to the Leons, because the HVAC system is going to cost that much less.

Every dollar counts.

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