Morningside Renovation

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

Structural Repairs

Well even though it may not look like it, a lot of work has been done on our house since my last update.  The vast majority of them are structural repairs as it seems that age and carpenter ants had compromised the structural integrity in some places. 

As age and gravity can tend to make things sag over time, houses built in the 1920’s aren’t immune to it either.  And while some have said that the waves in our hardwood floors add character, I would rather let that come from elsewhere.  So they have been supporting  the floors by adding new beams below the main floor as well as re-supporting the ones that were already in place.






They’ve also discovered a few places where carpenter ants and Mother Nature had spent some time.  Because of this they’ve removed and replaced all of the rotted and eaten wood and re-support the house in those areas as well.






Last, they’ve supported the back of the house, I’m really shocked that the temporary supports held it up for such a long period of time.


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.

The Punches Keep Coming

After inspecting our new slab the Structural Engineer we hired feels pretty confident that the slab doesn’t have the necessary grade beams which were in the plans.  How is this missed? My opinion, lack of supervision and possibly cutting corners.  Question, what is to support the fireplace on the above floor?  I think I know the answer, nothing.  Glad that I caught it now instead of 5-10 years from now.  And… the recently RE-POURED walls for the carport, well they’re actually foundation walls and not retaining walls.  Meaning that our Structural Engineer will need to redesign our carport/deck plan – thanks Mr. Architect, great job.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, the walls aren’t deep enough which means that we will need to redesign the plan since our GC has stated that he won’t dig it up.  Totally doesn’t make sense with his stance, he screwed up so wouldn’t one think that he should replace it.  Please make this stop, please!!!

Footings Poured

The footings which will eventually be part of the foundation wall system to connect the existing house with the expansion were poured today.  Yes!!!!  Our Structural Engineer says they look great, however you would think that after all of the other previous bad pours and mistakes our GC would have been there to at least supervise.  Nope, once again he left it to his subs.  It is no wonder why we have had so many issues. 

At least Max enjoyed seeing the cement truck, he was even able to press a button to extend the boom – what simple things that can make a 3 year olds day.  At least he’s loving all of this and thankfully he’s too unaware of the sh!t storm his mom and I’ve been through with our GC throughout this whole process. 

Being positive, while I’m still highly frustrated, at least we’re finally taking a step forward.  Next up, foundation walls and then the slabs!!

Another Sacrifice

We found out today that we will now only have 1 entrance connecting both basements, I would rather not expand on it but I’m sure you have an idea as to the root of it.

Our Structural Engineer is still concerned that we don’t have the appropriate grade beams laid within the foundation however the concrete sub “thinks” they did it but did admit that he was unsure.  Our GC?  As expected he remained quiet.  He has no idea being that he didn’t visit the site from grading until the day framing was to begin.

Tip to All:  Make sure you have a good Construction Manager as well as GC.  One who will visit the project, takes an interest in it and values his clients.

A New Start

While I was instructed (told by Julie) that I couldn’t attend because of my anger towards our GC, Julie and our Structural Engineer actually met with him this morning and initially it seems as if progress was made – Wonderful!!!  Our Structural Engineer had a slew of questions for him regarding his plans for the joist system, support of the existing structure since he removed the majority of the original support columns, various load bearing wall questions as well as a few about the carport foundation wall.  Unfortunately but not surprising, both of them told me that it seemed as if it was all Greek to him and he actually kept making the statement that his plan was to “figure it out as we go along” – same line I’ve heard from him so many times and look where it got us. 

As for the progress, he agreed to remove all of the framing this Tuesday as well as clean out the existing basement and then the Structural Engineer will meet with him and the foundation guy to discuss the next steps.  Our Structural Engineer will design the framing as well as the roofing plan versus the one supplied by our GC which he admitted was created by a computer at a building supply store and not an engineer as he had previously stated…and billed.  Our GC also said he was unaware that there were 2 entrances from the new to the existing basement – clearly marked on the plans and JUST discussed in our meeting on May 17th.  I’m wondering if when he is faced with something confusing or for which he doesn’t have an answer if his solution is to act as if he forgot about it and hope that it doesn’t come back up? 

Bottom-line, progress was made.  We’re moving past what was previous done or not done.  We’re making sure that everything is structurally sound and we’re going to get this house built!!!   At least that’s the plan.

Lack of Communication or Just Incompetent?

I received a rather rude email from our GC today, his response to me asking that the carport slab be pulled up and poured correctly and re-poured as according to the plan.  Basically his feeling is that I’m being unreasonable for asking this and we should be satisfied with it. The slab was poured incorrectly and can definitely present a water issue with the house, it’s not our fault that he did it wrong.  

I also asked about the repeated delays, his crew has yet to work more than 3 days in a row, of course he wouldn’t address that question.  The carrying cost is costing us a lot of money, we were originally supposed to be in the house in May however now we are at least 4 1/2 months away if they hustled. He also chose not to respond to my request for a meeting to discuss how we can prevent further problems and delays – a lot of the issues that have arisen had already been discussed numerous times and should not have occurred.  Really makes me wonder if there is a lack of communication between our GC and his subs or if it is just simple incompetence?

Fix a Wrong

Our GC informed us today that tomorrow they will remove the carport retaining wall which was  poured in the wrong location and then they will start excavating the area closer to the house as well as install pier pads and posts to support the existing structure.  Hopefully this will help us achieve a footprint a little closer to what was shown on the plan. Not sure why this wasn’t done originally but I’m just happy that they’re finally doing it.