Thursday, October 29, 2009

Medicine cabinets

Though Eric fell in love with the medicine cabinet with a built-in refrigerator, handy for drinks of cold water in the night, we opted for more economical ones. We're excited about how big they are and how nice they will look recessed in our white glass mosaic tile wall!


The house is bustling with activity these days! The plumber, HVAC installer and electrician are all on site at once for the next couple of weeks. Washington Gas also came out on Wednesday and moved our gas line from the center of the yard to the side (more for aesthetics than anything). This was actually a simple task but apparently no one digs by hand anymore so they brought all of this heavy machinery to do the job. The plan is to be able to get a close-in inspection in about 2.5 more weeks. Then it's time for drywall and finishes!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Done with DCRA

I spent 3.5 hours at DCRA today doing what should have taken 30 minutes, so the sign pictured here which is located in the Treasurer's office (where you pay for your permit) is very appropriate, I think. I arrived at 8:15 because they open at 8:30, only to learn that Thursdays are different and they open at 9:30 on Thursdays. Wow, wouldn't it be nice to have an extra hour of sleep every Thursday... Then when I get in at 9:30 everyone's talking about a fire drill that's going to happen at 10am. So, at 9:45 someone said to me, "now, we're just getting ready for the fire drill" as a reason not to do any work on my permit. I also heard from a DC employee, "you have to think of [the fire drill] from our perspective, it's a break!" A break from doing nothing? The fire drill took about 45 minutes and then all DC employees had to come back into the building before any visitors could. I finally got out of there at 11:45 and proudly hung our last and hopefully final revised permit in the window at 2300!
The plumber has turned out to be very unreliable and has a lot of work yet to do. The HVAC installation started today and will supposedly be done in 3 days. And electric starts on Monday. Yay, everything's moving forward. I also keep ordering samples and light fixtures, and getting closer to tile decisions... more on that soon!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Liens, O my!

Unfortunately I had to learn about liens this week when our framing contractor sent us a draft notice of one on Monday morning. I think this is the cheapest threat available to a contractor get someone to pay. I told him we'd be happy to pay once he finished the work, i.e. caulking & sealing the windows. I talked to our bank about the situation because I don't want this to impact future draws requests on our construction loan (they update title with each one) and they are not worried about it because it's such a small amount ($1,900) and we can easily get around it by "bonding it off" or putting $1,900 in escrow to protect the bank in case we lose the case when/if the contractor chooses to enforce the lien (which in DC has to happen within 180 days if filing it otherwise it goes away). The whole situation is stupid because it's such a small amount of money and it's not worth anyone's time or money to fight about it, but the lien just makes me angry and I'm prepared to play hard ball if necessary.

Framing photos!

Sorry the blog has been a little dry lately. Eric has been taking gorgeous pictures but not finding the time to send them to me. I got a bunch of them from him last night so enjoy! This week Eric is focused on determining what's necessary for a 1-hour fire-rated ceiling in between the basement and upper units. Once he's satisfied, we can make any final tweaks to the electrical and HVAC contracts and sign these guys up. HVAC is already scheduled to start on 10/19. You can also see the start of plumbing in a lot of these.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Nothing's Easy

Framing is complete and we're really happy with John's work, except for his interpretation of "window installation" in his contract. He takes it to mean setting windows in the holes and we take it to include caulking and sealing. I was hoping we could caulk all weekend ourselves and get it done but Eric is seeking the perfect color match in all of the world and it may take a few days to come in. We've got $2,400 held back from his contract due Monday, and I'm not inclined to pay it just to be nice. I think our contract interpretation is fair and money doesn't grow on trees. I'd like to compromise at 1/2 or something but he told me directly today that there is no room to compromise for anything other than a 100% payment of our balance. Needless to say, he's really mad at me. Nothing's easy!

The picture here shows the shoddy stairs that were replaced this week. Also plumbing is moving forward and we just about signed up the electrician this week until he sent us an insurance certificate in someone else's name. Scary that he's been an electrician for 30 years and working illegitimately under someone else's coverage... this industry is ridiculous.