Thursday, May 3, 2012

Soiled during pre-construction meeting

As I mentioned in my last post, we broke ground on Monday and we were surprised this morning that we didn't have footers yet but just assumed there were still getting preparing before laying out the forms.  We found out during our pre-construction meeting that our PM has concerns with the strength or density of the soil on our lot because it and a couple neighbors lots have were filled in some time ago.  They're working with the developer and are bringing a couple engineers to our lot early next week to determine how to move forward and ensure the footings are on solid ground.  It sounds like either they will need to excavate down to solid ground with a high enough density or they will have to drill holes, fill them with reinforcing steel and concrete and then pour the footings on these concrete pylons.  In either case, our timeline is going to move at least a couple weeks which pushes us into mid August.  We're getting married in September so there is some worry there...  Our PM has been doing this for years and we feel completely confident in him and are glad that he took the initiative to test the soil and stop progress until the engineers decide the right approach.  We feel lucky for this and feel very lucky that this is an item that will not have the cost passed on to us and Ryan will incur the cost and not pass it on to us.  I'm not sure this would be the case with other builders.

I had a lot of questions about how our home will be built and our PM answered every single one of them and was great.  Here is some of the highlights of what we learned (some of these could be dependent upon your floor plan and community):

  • Drywall is only tacked in place with nails and then screwed in - pleasant surprise
  • The sub floor is glued down and nailed with ring shank nails - another pleasant surprise since these nails bite and hold better than common nails
  • Our basement rough-in plumbing will be vented so we don't have to deal with venting when we finish it
  • Based on current electrical code, all non GFCI outlets are AFCI (Arc Fault) - this is great in my opinion because these will trip if an arcing of electricity occurs (sparks) because of a short, a screw driven through a wire (guilty of that myself once), a hungry squirrel, or even bad extension cords.
  • Window wells have gravel in the bottom that drain down to the french drains that surround the foundation.

Next week will be an interesting week and we're really curious to see how we move forward and when we can get moving in the right direction again.


  1. Thanks for the highlights. These are all good questions to ask and get answers on. I will have to borrow them during our pre-construction meeting.

  2. Another blogger dealt with the soft soil issue. She also happens to live in my community. As far as I know, everything worked out fine for them. Here is her post:

  3. Arc Fault breakers are nice but know they can be finicky. When we first moved in we kept popping ArcFault breakers with basic Family room power eaters AND running the vacuum. I yapped with the electrician who said that he is aware that many replace the ArcFault with standard breakers after move in. I was thinking that may be my future but after a few weeks it's like they "broke in" and have not had issues since.

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  5. I'm sorry you have been delayed a bit, but glad that PM is on top of it. It's great to know that your are in good hands. Surely, this is not the first time PM has dealt with this type of soil issue. Hopefully, they'll reach a conclusion by the end of the week and things begin to move along as planned. Keep us posted!

  6. I know this post is over a year old, but I found it interesting because a) we have (had) the same SR as you and b) are building north of Pittsburgh in a Ryan development.

    I wanted to ask several of these questions (mostly about screwing in the drywall and having the sub floor glued down and nailed with ring shank nails) but my wife was embarrassed already with the number of questions I wanted to ask.

    Anyway... I think it's interesting that you were told that your bathroom rough-in will include ventillation to the outside! This was something I specifically asked about, and we were told that NO this was not included. I think had I known about this at the very beginning, I would have considered not doing the rough-in at all.

    I could completely understand if all we were getting is the powder room... but we're paying $1k for the full bathroom, and they don't put in the vents.

    Do you happen to remember the name of your PM? The more I think about this the more I think I might want to argue to insist they put this in!

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