Morningside Renovation

Our Journey Through The Renovation Process Of Our Future "Forever Home" In Morningside (Atlanta,GA)

This Isn’t Me

After trying to reach our contractor since last Thursday to find out when framing would begin, we finally received an email from him yesterday (Wednesday) stating that on the previous day Julie and I had refused the framing package at the house. 1) Why would we do that? We’ve been begging for him to begin reframing before I can remember. 2) We don’t even live at the house, plus we both work all day – how would we have refused an order?  This really doesn’t make sense and to add to it, we’ve been trying to reach him ever since receiving that email and he has yet to respond to voice mails or emails.  Seriously, is this really the way to conduct business?  What is he trying to pull?

Tip:  Make sure that you hire a GC that will return your calls as well as emails

To top it off, I received a huge bill today from the Structural Engineer.  She’s doing a fantastic job, no complaints on that, however this extra, unanticipated expense is killing me because the vast majority of her expense (98%+) is due to her fixing the screwups and incompetencies of our GC and somewhat the architect’s. 

I’m not sure that I can continue with this project.  I’ve never quit anything, I don’t quit.  An obstacle that’s too high or too tough to climb? I take it one step at a time, little bits while focusing on the end goal.  However I just don’t know how much more of this I can take and that crushes me that I would ever consider quitting.  This was going to be Julie’s forever house and before all of the screwups it was a place where she could actually find some happiness over the last year (see About page). I just don’t know, it’s wearing me out emotionally, mentally and has been a huge financial stress. I’m hopeful that things will turn around but it seems as if it is only getting worse.  I don’t know, I just don’t like what I’m feeling – the excitement is gone.  Maybe that’s the answer, maybe we give up and quit fighting our GC about his “work” and just be done with it?  I don’t know?


Mad, Resentful, Angry, Guilty

As I sit here tonight typing out my thoughts I’m basically pissed and feeling very dejected.  This house/project/our future home feels as if it has basically been taken from us.  I do feel robbed, not saying 100% of this lies with the GC, however a vast majority of it does and I feel as if he has basically ruined what could have and should have been our home. Whether through his inaccurate estimate/budget, lack of knowledge and expertise, pure incompetence, lack of supervision and oversight, costly mistakes, etc…at this point it really doesn’t matter.  I feel as if we’re at a point where we need to decide if it even makes sense to continue trying to move forward.  Just the thought of abandoning our dream kills me,  but I almost see no alternative.  I just wonder which would be worse; the frustrations and disappointments that now seem to be created almost daily or throwing it away and just giving up?   

Nothing further to add, maybe this site will end up becoming my pseudo therapist.

Why Oh Why am I Not Surprised? Seriously Though?

Well, they drilled the foundation slab today to check for grade beams and guess what?  Yep, no grade beams!!  It mustn’t matter that they were in the construction plans and highly important, they just didn’t pour them.  Okay, now we’re getting past serious, he’s basically building a structure that could put my family and/or our friends in danger.  Forget for a moment the fact that 5-10 years down the road we would have all sorts of issues with a foundation that’s crumbling and walls collapsing, this mistake could seriously put my family at risk of injury or worse.  These were designed to support the family room above the kids play room, family room with a FIREPLACE.  Apologies for ranting but how do you miss these?  And you want more?  He wants to charge us for it – said that for him to change anything it would be considered a “change order“.  All of this is because he wouldn’t remove his original mistake. QUESTION, is there a word for someone who is beyond incompetent?

It only gets worse, the carport foundation (supposed to be retaining) wall which has already been poured twice isn’t deep enough, meaning that we will need to adjust the slab in the carport as well as the framing plan for the deck and outdoor room.  We asked the GC if he would remove it and pour a new one at the correct depth and as a retaining wall and of course he said no. 

And, we also found out on our own today that we will need a new water-line as well as sewer line due to roots. 

Our Structural Engineer is still trying to reach our GC to discuss the framing options but once again he said that he would have time to meet with her and every time she brings it up when they’re meeting about other items he always says that he has to go.  She’s basically doing this by herself, I guess he meant it the other day when responding to one of his subs he said ” I don’t know, she’s the one in charge”, referring to our Structural Engineer. 

And of course our GC and architect didn’t respond to my email asking for them to work with our Structural Engineer to design a framing plan to utilize all of the mis-ordered lumber that is sitting on our property  and basically going to waste.  I would just hate for all of this to be taken to a landfill.  As for our architect, I was a huge fan but that is starting to fade, I’m not sure what’s going on but from what I’ve been gathering there is absolutely no coordination or communication between him and our GC. 

Absolute last statement, it has always bugged me why our GC would work 2-3 days on our project and then move to another.  After talking with a few people in the industry it was their opinion that he is basically banking one job on another.  Working on a job and collecting a check once a certain phase is completed and then using that money to pay for the next job – similar to kiting a check.  Not sure if this is the case but it sure would make sense.

Enough for today, I’m done, worn out mentally and emotionally.

A Little Quality Time Picking up Bricks

It was 90+ degrees but that didn’t stop Max from wanting to spend the morning with me picking up bricks that we’re hoping to salvage and reuse in our renovation.  We’ve asked our GC to try to save any bricks that weren’t broken however we soon discovered that didn’t happen so the two of us spent a few hours collecting wheelbarrow loads of bricks which had been scattered around the property as well as buried in the dirt which was excavated for the new foundation walls.

Not sure if it will last being that Max isn’t quite 4 yet, however currently he’s quite the worker – no slowing down, wants to stay busy and you have to make him take a break.  Half expected that the majority of the time I would be telling him “don’t do that”, “get back over here”,  “put that down”, “get off of that” – never once, just a father and son picking up bricks while talking about all that goes through a 3 1/2 year old’s mind.  Three hours of work and sweat that I wouldn’t give back for anything. I love being a dad!

There He Is

He responds, our GC let us know that the footings will be poured on Monday, foundation walls on Tuesday, plumber will be there on Wednesday and the slab will be poured on Thursday. He has no idea on when they will drill to make sure that they poured the necessary grade beams.  Isn’t this pretty close to the same schedule as last week?  I just looked, it is – seriously?  What kind of Mickey Mouse crap is this?  Aaauugh, I hate this feeling of being trapped and under the mercy of someone who we feel doesn’t even care, but we basically have no choice as he has our money and he’s told us that he doesn’t have the money to refund the difference.  Also, I’m really getting a very strong feeling that our GC and his concrete sub are doing everything they can to delay drilling for the grade beams, maybe they know that they didn’t include them when they poured the slab.

Backed Up

GC informed us that it will be Friday, at the earliest, when the concrete company will be able to pour.  He says that the concrete sub is a little backed up.  Really?  I hate, absolutely hate that I now doubt almost everything that he says and feel as if I can’t depend on him.

That Explains Things

Our GC told us that they are supposed to finish the excavating for the footings as well as the grading today and they will pour either tomorrow or Thursday.  We’re still trying to get them to drill for the grade beams, however their reluctance is puzzling.  Our luck they didn’t do it but again, I don’t understand how they could make this mistake since they’re on the plan, but that hasn’t prevented screwups so far.  I did have an interesting conversation with one of the subs today.  I stopped by this morning and asked them about some of the previous mistakes and he told me that the majority of the time our GC leaves the decisions up to the subs and that they very rarely see him at any of their jobs; before, during or after.  Yep, confirms my suspicions of there being a lack of supervision.  15% for sitting on his rump and quarterbacking from his desk – just answers so many questions as to why a lot of the issues/mistakes/screw ups weren’t caught.

At Least Now the House Won’t Collapse

The temporary and proper temporary supports for the existing structure were constructed today, not as our Structural Engineer drew them but they are sufficient.  Seriously? Can’t even simple drawings be followed?  This is almost a joke, it’s as if our GC and/or his subs just don’t care.