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Old 09-23-2022, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Deep 13
1,197 posts, read 1,257,674 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim in FL View Post
Hire a project manager… your real estate agent, unless they’re the builder, won’t offer what you’re asking and even then it’s not a guarantee.

Are you planning on doing any in person inspections of your own during the building process? If not, you should.
I'm about 10 hours away by car, so it's not outside the realm of possibility to make it down there, but having someone to inspect before major milestones is the main thing. The one link showed a break-down of what they offer:

Quote:
Phase I - Foundation/Pre-Pour Inspection

Phase I inspections look at grading and excavation of the property, anchors and footing spacing and sizing, and slab pre-pour layout. Some of the specific components inspected include:

Drain, Waste, and Vent lines
Water supply lines
Plumbing and pipes for water and gas distribution
Trenches and soil excavation
Elevation, grading, and drainage
Rebar, and concrete form layout

Phase II - Framing/Pre-Drywall Inspection

Phase II inspections are the most in-depth phase inspection focus on framing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, cladding, windows and doors, and roof. Some of the specific areas inspected include:

Beams, bearings, and other framing members
Trusses
Nails, screws, anchors, connection plates, clips, straps, ties, etc.
Stairwells and stair structure and attachment
Fireblocking and draft prevention
Electrical conductors, panels, and outlets rough-in
Plumbing distribution and waste lines rough-in
HVAC ductwork and air distribution and return system rough-in
Building envelope penetrations (doors and windows) water and air intrusion resistance
Roof system framing, sheathing, underlayment, and flashing

...ect...
I would imagine I could get batch weights from the concrete if I wanted as well as making sure the concrete wasn't too wet when placed and such. All of this costs money, but I see it as a warranty before the fact. Between the cost of travel and lodging, it might be cheaper to have a professional do the legwork for me and send me the documentation via email.

It would be one thing to have someone like that for a regular build, but since I want certain aspects of the build to be beyond code, I need eyes on the project before things get covered up with cladding. We walked through some houses under construction during a visit and saw some plumbing layout issues set in concrete. If money was no object, we could rent in the area until the house was built, but at this point in time, we are somewhat stuck.
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Old 09-25-2022, 12:50 PM
 
10,749 posts, read 24,518,988 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucifer View Post
I'm about 10 hours away by car, so it's not outside the realm of possibility to make it down there, but having someone to inspect before major milestones is the main thing. The one link showed a break-down of what they offer:



I would imagine I could get batch weights from the concrete if I wanted as well as making sure the concrete wasn't too wet when placed and such. All of this costs money, but I see it as a warranty before the fact. Between the cost of travel and lodging, it might be cheaper to have a professional do the legwork for me and send me the documentation via email.

It would be one thing to have someone like that for a regular build, but since I want certain aspects of the build to be beyond code, I need eyes on the project before things get covered up with cladding. We walked through some houses under construction during a visit and saw some plumbing layout issues set in concrete. If money was no object, we could rent in the area until the house was built, but at this point in time, we are somewhat stuck.
And your contractor is ok with having a third party traipsing through their job site looking over everyone’s shoulder? Doesn’t your contractor offer a liaison person who can deal with these details for you?

What you need is your eyes on your project… no one else is going to look out for interests like you. Either get unstuck, wait until you can be local or make a trip every fortnight.
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Old 09-25-2022, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
2,746 posts, read 7,641,138 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucifer View Post
I'm about 10 hours away by car, so it's not outside the realm of possibility to make it down there, but having someone to inspect before major milestones is the main thing. The one link showed a break-down of what they offer:



I would imagine I could get batch weights from the concrete if I wanted as well as making sure the concrete wasn't too wet when placed and such.



You can ask for batch slips from the concrete delivery but if that right is not defined in your contract don't expect any cooperation in getting them.


As for your concrete concern what you would need is a slump test of any truck not arriving from the original concrete plant and original batch created. If you Google "concrete" & "slump test" you will have plenty of articles and videos describing it. I rarely see these tests performed on site even though they should. Typically they are only done on site for the One Off Builders really watching their custom projects and/or when it is written in the contract. Instead what happens is the pumper is set near the pad site and trucks are coming in as fast as they can get there, get into position, and dump their load into the pumpers. Any slump test performed under those conditions obviously is going to be ignored as the money is already flowing through the pump truck.



All of this costs money, but I see it as a warranty before the fact. Between the cost of travel and lodging, it might be cheaper to have a professional do the legwork for me and send me the documentation via email.


Yes it will be cheaper if you can get the Builder to acquiesce to your requirements. Again if it is not in the contract don't expect that to happen.


It would be one thing to have someone like that for a regular build, but since I want certain aspects of the build to be beyond code, I need eyes on the project before things get covered up with cladding.



Your contract will state the standards they are building to which is no doubt the Building Codes and other relevant standards dictated by the municipality providing the building permit. Again unless you are custom building and/or have set specific requirements in the contract the Builder will build to the required standards as well as the home's engineered plan and typically not "beyond code".


A typical pre-drywall inspection will be the ticket for "before things get covered up with cladding". after that point the only real issues are the installation of the claddings themselves such as brick and stone veneer, stucco, EIFS, etc. You can easily have additional inspections for those as they are being installed to ensure the various issues do not occur.



We walked through some houses under construction during a visit and saw some plumbing layout issues set in concrete.



Not really sure what you mean by "plumbing layout issues set in concrete"? If you mean layouts/runs that you see issues with (directions, distances, etc.) that is something that needed to be spelled out in the design and/or purchase contract. If you mean plumbing that is physically running through concrete that is a normal aspect of building. At some point along their runs subterranean plumbing may pass through interior support beams (concrete beams) and enter up through the slab. There are codes for how that is to occur and if all else is correct with the slab these issues can be seen in the pre-pour inspection.


If money was no object, we could rent in the area until the house was built, but at this point in time, we are somewhat stuck.

Some responses in blue above.



What State are you actually building in and is the home being built with a basement, crawlspace, or monolithic slab poured on the ground?
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Old 09-25-2022, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Deep 13
1,197 posts, read 1,257,674 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by escanlan View Post
Some responses in blue above.



What State are you actually building in and is the home being built with a basement, crawlspace, or monolithic slab poured on the ground?
Former ready-mix driver, so foundations (and ACI testing) have always been an interest of mine. I'm used to monolithic slabs or post-tension and the occasional stem wall, but it seems in south Florida, they pour a footing with rebar, stack three high on top of that with CMU, then cap it at the end with a slab. I would prefer a monolithic slab, but budget isn't going to allow that. Usually, batch weights are printed with the ready-mix tag, but aren't sent out with the driver unless requested. I'm guessing that most of the concrete is placed by tailgating to cut the cost of the pump. Footing mix is usually self-leveling, no matter what slump is called for on the ticket. Slabs will probably be tailgated, again, at a slump that is easy on the finisher. A small, line pump would be used to grout the cavities of the CMU walls.

All variations on the base plan would be hammered out before signing any deal on construction. Things like extra outlets, extra plumbing, ethernet cabling would need pricing before starting. I'm not 100% knowledgeable on Lee County codes, and it may be the same as what I am thinking to make it more hurricane-resistant. We have been told that we can have a third party to act as our agent during construction. The agent would be more for the 'extras' than the standard build. Granted, I would expect them to check the normal aspects of quality as well.

As for concern of quality in a build, here are two pictures in a house that was under construction down the street from us:

In the entry:


Master Bedroom, next to the Master Bath:


Not sure what they are planning to do with the Pex, but making a channel and bending them 90 degrees is what it appears to be the plan.
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Old 09-25-2022, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Deep 13
1,197 posts, read 1,257,674 times
Reputation: 3539
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim in FL View Post
And your contractor is ok with having a third party traipsing through their job site looking over everyone’s shoulder? Doesn’t your contractor offer a liaison person who can deal with these details for you?

What you need is your eyes on your project… no one else is going to look out for interests like you. Either get unstuck, wait until you can be local or make a trip every fortnight.
We can have a third-party act as our agent.

We would love to leave now and start the whole process, but rents are insane at the moment and that's not even counting trying to find someplace that would allow three dogs. Any monies made from the sale of our house now would be consumed by rent. As for the spacing of personal inspections, it would also depend on the speed of construction. With the current state of the supply chains, 8 month builds are stretching out to 14. There may be weeks were nothing is being done to the house since a trade may be waiting for supplies to arrive.

At this point in time, we are just trying to work through options. I like to say that I'll have this house built three times before they even break ground: it's just the anal-retentive part of me that wants to plan for every contingency.

Sun-Tzu would understand.
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Old 09-25-2022, 05:30 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
2,746 posts, read 7,641,138 times
Reputation: 4882
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucifer View Post
Former ready-mix driver, so foundations (and ACI testing) have always been an interest of mine. I'm used to monolithic slabs or post-tension and the occasional stem wall, but it seems in south Florida, they pour a footing with rebar, stack three high on top of that with CMU, then cap it at the end with a slab. I would prefer a monolithic slab, but budget isn't going to allow that. Usually, batch weights are printed with the ready-mix tag, but aren't sent out with the driver unless requested. I'm guessing that most of the concrete is placed by tailgating to cut the cost of the pump. Footing mix is usually self-leveling, no matter what slump is called for on the ticket. Slabs will probably be tailgated, again, at a slump that is easy on the finisher. A small, line pump would be used to grout the cavities of the CMU walls.

All variations on the base plan would be hammered out before signing any deal on construction. Things like extra outlets, extra plumbing, ethernet cabling would need pricing before starting. I'm not 100% knowledgeable on Lee County codes, and it may be the same as what I am thinking to make it more hurricane-resistant. We have been told that we can have a third party to act as our agent during construction. The agent would be more for the 'extras' than the standard build. Granted, I would expect them to check the normal aspects of quality as well.

As for concern of quality in a build, here are two pictures in a house that was under construction down the street from us:

In the entry:


Master Bedroom, next to the Master Bath:


Not sure what they are planning to do with the Pex, but making a channel and bending them 90 degrees is what it appears to be the plan.

For the Building Codes make sure you are in unincorporated Lee County since individual municipalities can make local revisions to the codes. This is Lee Counties Community Development page which is the department issuing permits for unincorporated Lee County https://www.leegov.com/dcd. They will also specify the code versions any any of their required amendments. I would expect all municipalities are running with the Florida Building Code which can be viewed here at the Florida DBPR https://floridabuilding.org/c/default.aspx . It links out to the ICC WEB site for the actual code pages. Not sure which version of the NEC they will be using but you can also view it for free on the NFPA site here https://www.nfpa.org/Codes-and-Stand...ds/Free-access . All you need is a free login. Yes Florida Codes are written with hurricane resistance in mind and is why they have created their own set.



I've seen quite a few monolithic poured slabs in that area, in the very far past that is LOL as I have not been there in years. It might be what that Builder is comfortable building for a slab. Monolithic slabs can be either PT or conventional deformed steel for reinforcement. However with all of the sinkhole problems they seem to have I would be more comfortable with deep pile piers as supports. The main reason being if there is a sink hole potential they would probably find it while drilling the piers LOL!


As for concrete delivery the only time we see them tailgating is for those occasions where the Builder does not want to pay for a pumper which is mostly One Off Builders and homeowners GC'ing their own build. Pumpers are way more efficient for the pour and quicker as well.



Not sure what the Builder means by "a third party to act as our agent" but do expect they only mean a RE Agent. Of course there are RE Agents that come from construction backgrounds and possibly you can find one you can pay for recurring visits and updates. If issues arise you can have either an Inspector or Engineer and other Trades identified and ready to delve deeper with documentation.


As for your pictures unfortunately errors are not an uncommon thing anywhere in the country these days. In the first picture:
  • Someone missed a measurement for the drain line and looks like they had to break out the concrete to add the offset to put it where it belongs.
  • There are two issues with this arrangement for the offset. The IPC requires protection against damage from expansion/contraction and structural settlement. In its location expansion/contraction is not expected to happen but structural settlement can and would possibly damage it. As a result pipes passing through concrete floors are typically sheathed to prevent the possibility of bonding to concrete and providing the potential for sliding during settlement. Sheathing has been many different materials but is typically 6 Mil poly plastic since it is generally available when laying a moisture barrier for a slab. There is no material of any kind wrapping it that is visible here and most likely was not used. This is currently in IPC 305.2 and has been conveniently removed/left out of the IRC. Also because of the placement of the offset you lose the ability of that pipe to "slip" up and down with settlement.
  • Look at the top of the pipe where the sanitary T is. Seems someone missed cementing a joint at the T.
On the second picture you have the same issue with protection and if you read the PEX manufacturer's documentation they typically require it and possibly a sleeve with an annular space around it. Also you are correct on the FUBAR concept of bending that PEX pipe that much as there are curve radius maximums which are spelled out in the manufacturer docs. If that was the crawlspace then they did not need to do that and could have just routed it to the framing.


One thing you need to be very careful of and it does not matter if it is Florida, Texas, or BFE USA. If the Municipal (or Lee County) Inspector green tags bad work the Builder will try to use it as a way to keep going after all "The County (or municipality) passed it!". Get to know your Building Inspections Department and be ready to take issues to them and request they re-inspect before the build progresses. Once it's covered over Building Inspections isn't going to make them uncover it just for your word the issue is there.
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Old 10-01-2022, 12:30 PM
 
Location: USA
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Any word on how the construction site fared during Ian?
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Old 10-01-2022, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Deep 13
1,197 posts, read 1,257,674 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillie767 View Post
Any word on how the construction site fared during Ian?
If you are talking about mine, I don't have anything under construction. I am merely trying to get info on having my ducks in a row if I am to do an out-of-state build.

The pictures are from a construction site I visited while there in July.

My lot and seawall are fine as well as most of my neighborhood. I am in Flood Zone 'X', and on two canals so there was no flooding, but the power is out.
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Old 10-02-2022, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Amelia Island
4,350 posts, read 5,332,036 times
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This is from someone who owned their lot and had a wife in a position working at the bank to monitor the construction loan.

Hiring an inspector since you are out of state is an excellent way to protect yourself. The bank should be your first line of defense as they should not be allowing draws until each phase is completed and inspected and signed off by your local code enforcement guy.

Now this can get a bit contentious if the code guy signs off on something and the builder is ready for the next draw and your inspector finds something.

Also if your contractor is using subs, see below:


“Neither the final payment nor any part of the retained amount shall become due until the Contractor shall deliver to the Owner a notarized Lien Affidavit that, so far as he has knowledge or information, all the labor and materials for which a lien could be filed have been paid”.
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Old 11-01-2022, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Sarasota County FL
19,832 posts, read 7,842,644 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucifer View Post
If you are talking about mine, I don't have anything under construction. I am merely trying to get info on having my ducks in a row if I am to do an out-of-state build.

The pictures are from a construction site I visited while there in July.

My lot and seawall are fine as well as most of my neighborhood. I am in Flood Zone 'X', and on two canals so there was no flooding, but the power is out.
The obstacle I ran into was our builder required the home inspector to have lots of insurance that most do not have. The inspector must provide the builder their insurance certificate prior to scheduling any inspection appointments. I could not find 1 inspector that had th level of insurance being required by our builder.

So, get the requirements by the builder 1st, then 1st question you ask any potential inspctors is"do you have these limits of insurance coverage and can you produce a certficate with the builders name on it & send to me? Some will say oh yeah, I have that, then no certificate comes, and you lose time. Get the certificate 1st ask technocal questions later.
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