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Builder has wiring limitations. Best way to sneak in & do it myself?

post #1 of 77
Thread Starter 
I know I'm not the first person to have this issues, but my builder is really killing me with trying to force me to deal strictly with their vendor for structured wiring. I'm talking Cat5e, RG6, 14/4 speaker cable, HDMI & component cabling. There are certain aspects that I'm okay with. Even though single runs of Cat5e and RG6 are like $125 each, I can live with that somewhat. But I refuse to limit myself to HDMI & component cable runs in the house at the prices they're asking.

They want close to $500 for a each individual HDMI or component run from wall plate (which has to be on the same wall) to plasma locations. Right now I have three... the basement, master bedroom and above fireplace. All I asked for was conduit or Carlon smurf tube and neither the builder or vendor does this. At least, they claimed that they don't do it. At this point, I figure it's easier for me to just go in and do it myself. I'm wondering if I just should go with a basic wiring package which will at least give me a cable path to follow when I do my own wiring from wall location for equipment to plasmas/lcds. Also what kind of wall plates to use or purchase. I think having the smurf tubing allows me some flexibility in the home and not limiting myself from the very beginning.

I'm just seeing if any of you guys can provide some better insight on getting through or around this the best possible way.

Thanks
post #2 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by NahLaterz View Post

I know I'm not the first person to have this issues, but my builder is really killing me with trying to force me to deal strictly with their vendor for structured wiring. I'm talking Cat5e, RG6, 14/4 speaker cable, HDMI & component cabling. There are certain aspects that I'm okay with. Even though single runs of Cat5e and RG6 are like $125 each, I can live with that somewhat. But I refuse to limit myself to HDMI & component cable runs in the house at the prices they're asking.

They want close to $500 for a each individual HDMI or component run from wall plate (which has to be on the same wall) to plasma locations. Right now I have three... the basement, master bedroom and above fireplace. All I asked for was conduit or Carlon smurf tube and neither the builder or vendor does this. At least, they claimed that they don't do it. At this point, I figure it's easier for me to just go in and do it myself. I'm wondering if I just should go with a basic wiring package which will at least give me a cable path to follow when I do my own wiring from wall location for equipment to plasmas/lcds. Also what kind of wall plates to use or purchase. I think having the smurf tubing allows me some flexibility in the home and not limiting myself from the very beginning.

I'm just seeing if any of you guys can provide some better insight on getting through or around this the best possible way.

Thanks

There are a ton of threads on this topic which you should read, but just run 5 cat5e cables to HDTV location - 2 for HDTV, 2 for future proofing and 1 for IPTV (forget the HDMI or component), 1 RG6 for locally room connected cable boxes, and 2 cat5e cables for internet/phone to each room. Then you can just use whatever flavour of baluns you like along with a matrix switch centrally located. You don't really need conduit. Make sure you do it AFTER the electrician has install all wiring as you want to cross electrical wiring at 90 degree angles and maintain a distance away from the electrical wiring when you are running in parallel (some say 6", some say 1' but the more the better).

You could run all these cables in a day or two easy with help from a friend. The builder is trying to hose you. Can he stop you if you tell him you are just going to run your wires yourself? It's your money or is there something in your contract with him that does not allow you to hire anyone or do the work yourself?
post #3 of 77
Thread Starter 
I suppose that they can't stop me per se. They just discourage the entering of the premises by the home owner themselves without supervision and no other contractors are allowed to work on the house. Only their approved list of vendors are allowed and the one they utilize for structured wiring sucks!!!! Their only multi zone audio option is with On-Q/Legrand products and their stuff is very basic. I'm pretty much limited to allowing them to do prewiring for each zone with Cat5 and 14/4 speaker wire. I'm not foolish enough to purchase any equipment from them.

I figure I'd just stroll in on a Sunday afternoon after the basic structured wiring is done by them and run whatever else I need with one of my buddies who's real good with that stuff. I don't think that would too difficult. I could be wrong though.
post #4 of 77
They can discourage but not stop you.

It's easy. You just need a drill, bit, stapler gun, rough-in metal plates or plastic boxes, plastic ties so you can loop the ends with 2' of extra cable to facilitate terminating them later and to tie them to the metal rough in plates/plastic boxes, staples (I use the ones that are black plastic and metal, kind of a U shaped) that don't go right into the stud so it doesn't press against the cat5 and some labels that really stick so you can label all the ends.

Just makes sure all the electrical is in first and observe proper distances.
post #5 of 77
Have you closed on the house yet? If not, you don't own it and you have no right to do anything.
post #6 of 77
True. I was thinkin he was having the house built for him on land he owned.
post #7 of 77
With the market the way it is, I would tell the builder that I would step away from the table and let him find another buyer if he was going to be a prick about running wiring in a house that I have all intention of purchasing.

My wife and I bid on our house on a Sunday evening that was in fairly early construction (framing, roof, electrical were done), the next day I had to fly out to San Diego and was there until Friday morning. During the time I was away, the builder accepted the offer. I called him directly and told him that I wanted to run wiring before the sheetrock went up, which he explained was going to be the following Monday. I contacted vendors, to have all cabling that I wanted ordered and available for me to pick up on Saturday - first available work day for me, as I got back home from the work trip Friday night. I had 2 days to run all my wiring before the drywall went up. I pulled 22/4 for alarm contacts to all the exterior doors and windows, along with some for motion and the keypads. Also, 3 RG6 to the living room TV for component, as well as CAT5e to various locations.

Knowing the position they were in to have the house sold, if I were told that he wouldnt let me have done it, I would have told him that Id find another house. The market is hurting now - you are in the position to force the issue if you want, in no way do I see them doing anything to change that regardless if its YOUR LAND, or home. It obviously will be yours soon enough, and they should understand that you would like some of the new advanced conveniences in your home that they are already going to be profiting from.

Also note, I have posted this in other threads but want to post here as well for the sake of it... When I initially told the builder that I would be pulling 22/4 for the alarm, he and his Realtor freaked out, and had me go pull a permit even after the work was completed, so it would be inspected afterward.. I found out shortly after I pulled it, and when I spoke with the inspector, that because it was MY home, I did not have to pull any permit for LV wiring that I do in my own home. He explained the only people (in our area anyway) who have to pull permits are local installers who do the work in customers homes - which have to be inspected for safety as well as liability reasons. He said, "Its your home, you can do what you want." Obviously, the only thing that could change any of this, would be later, when we sell and something wasnt up to code.. but then the walls are well covered and no one would know anyway.. fortunately for me, all my stuff checked out well anyway :-)

Just my $.02
post #8 of 77
When I built my house 4 years ago, most of the major custom builders in the area would remove any wiring that you tried to put in.
My next door neighbor actually had it happen. He decided not to pay the outrageous fees for some of the wiring and came in on a Sunday and spent a good chunk of the day putting in wiring before they were planning on sheetrocking. When the builder came on Monday, they removed all the extra wiring and started the sheetrock. As a result, not only did he waste a whole day and the expense of the wires, but his house ended up being built with hardly any of the wiring that he wanted.

Just a word of caution.
post #9 of 77
I guess buyers have to learn negotiate into their home purchase contract the ability to do some of the work themselves (with a suitable credit against the purchase price or no credit). I've always built my houses on land I own and I hire the builder on a cost plus basis and everything is optional, so I have never have had a problem.
post #10 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stew4msu View Post

When I built my house 4 years ago, most of the major custom builders in the area would remove any wiring that you tried to put in.
My next door neighbor actually had it happen. He decided not to pay the outrageous fees for some of the wiring and came in on a Sunday and spent a good chunk of the day putting in wiring before they were planning on sheetrocking. When the builder came on Monday, they removed all the extra wiring and started the sheetrock. As a result, not only did he waste a whole day and the expense of the wires, but his house ended up being built with hardly any of the wiring that he wanted.

Just a word of caution.

Fortunately for me, the contractor who was building our home was ok with me doing the wiring.

If the above had happened to me before closing, I definitely would have given the builder the "option" to pull the sheetrock back out for me to reinstall my wiring, and reimburse me for the wire or walked away. This is a builder simply being a prick, because he thinks he can be.

Now that I think about it.. when I roughed in the speaker outside my front door here:



The contractor originally had the vinyl guys REMOVE my 1/2" plywood for the ceiling (which was intended for J-channel to be put around the plywood - as pictured) without asking me about it - I was livid when I saw this. They put the soffit up there without the plywood piece, and simply cut a hole out in the soffit. I called MY realtor and explained what had happened - she contacted the builder's realtor, who had the builder contact me directly. I explained what SHOULD have been done with the J-channel, and he had the guys come back out, replace my plywood, and redo the soffit work. I explained how much moisture as well as any insects/bugs could easily get access to the attic if it was not done the way I had intended - he wasn't exactly happy as he said "this is how we do all of our houses" but he certainly saw my point and understood what I was trying to do.

All I had originally asked the builder to do was run wiring, not how to trim out anything else. Yet, knowing that I was purchasing the home, he had no issues having them repair the work.

Maybe its just a southern hospitality thing.. I dunno.. :-)

Builders should treat you well if they intend for you to use them in the future. Even on the short time frame I had to work with, the builder still worked with me, and knowing how I was treated I may have the same contractor build my next home - as this was basically a spec house that we fortunately got into on the right time, and were able to choose flooring, wall colors, appliances, etc. which made it as close to our "dream home" as we could for a first home.
post #11 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by drvnbysound View Post

he wasn't exactly happy as he said "this is how we do all of our houses" but he certainly saw my point and understood what I was trying to do.

I hear this ALL the time from building trades. My response is always "Wow, and you are proud of doing it wrong on all of your houses?"

Thanks to the internet, the playing field has been levelled with respect to who has information. The main problem with the construction industry is that the traditional apprenticehip route has been eliminated in so many trades and so trades become worse and worse as each new group of workers enters the field. And, consumers put up with too much shoddy workmanship so there is not pressure on the trades to do quality work.

The stories that the residential building inspector from my area told me about the poor quality of workmanship and the things the builder left out or didn't do right made my skin crawl.
post #12 of 77
I just want to elaborate on one thing drvnbysound said. He talked his builder and his builder's realtor making him pull a permit and in the end it was not necessary.

If you do pull your own cable (LV) make sure you find out what the local requirements are on a new construction, even if you do own the house/land. Building codes very from city to city and each city has a different set of rules. Some city's require that you a pull a permit for LV and need an inspector to sign off before they will issue a occupancy permit and some do not. It's better to be safe than sorry.
post #13 of 77
That may be true, and I always get the necessary permits, but it seems that requiring a permit for pulling cat5e wiring is more of a revenue generator for the local government than anything else. My main concern, aside from having the proper permit regardless of how needless I think it is, is always having something done properly and in a manner so that it is safe (sometimes even the building inspector is wrong and the building code does not address a certain situation properly).

To install cat5 properly one only has to follow a couple of very simple rules that have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with making sure your signal can travel unimpeded.
post #14 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by NahLaterz View Post

I figure I'd just stroll in on a Sunday afternoon after the basic structured wiring is done by them and run whatever else I need with one of my buddies who's real good with that stuff. I don't think that would too difficult. I could be wrong though.

Tread carefully.

As others have noted, if this is a spec home being built that you are buying (a very different scenario than building a home), you don't own *anything* until you close, and the builder is probably expecting you *not* to close, so the house has to stay to spec.

You could breach your purchase contract (and lose your earnest money) and even face a lawsuit from the builder for essentially vandalizing their work property. Even if you "get away with it," you could retroactively void your builder's warranty if something bad happens and they find out (read a sample warranty first). Also, you could be violating local ordinances doing the work yourself, depending upon your location, resulting in fines and possibly even having to rip it all out and have it re-done by a licensed/bonded LV contractor.

The bigger the builder, the less likely you have any wiggle room here.

I've been down this road with a high volume spec builder. If you own the land and you hired the builder, different story.
post #15 of 77
I hired a builder in 1999 to build my home, I was able to work with him and do all my "low Voltage wiring after the local County inspector had signed OFF (passed) the Framing & Finial Electrical Roughin (Allowing the builder to hang Drywall).

When that date was met, My wife and installed all the Video & Cat5 & Phones and the rest of the works. The Builder then Walled it all up and got the OCC permit and we are living happly ever after.

I would suggest to the orginial poster to Run Two 3/4 inch Conduits to each location of TV's And Home theater To a central place in the BSM't or wherever and Conduit 1/2 to any speaker locatiom or Display key pads or controls. Technolgy changes what is behind the wall today may not be good in the future and a conduit will hold your path for change (always a drag in it) Good Luck
post #16 of 77
I disagree about running conduit, but do it if you want.

A pair of Cat5e or Cat6 cables can transmit any signal up to the best available today - 1920x1080 progressive, or what most people call 1080p. Broadcast video is 1080i/720p. Broadcasters wouldn't go to 1080p as they didn't even want to spend the money to go to 1080i/720p. So you aren't going to see a new broadcast standard (which won't be anywhere near the 6-fold improvement off HDTV over SDTV) in the next 30-40 years, (ie as long as it took for us to get from colour SDTV to HDTV) by which time you'll be in a new home. It would simply just cost the broadcasters too much money for the marginal improvement it would bring.

Also, if there is some new higher definition Blu-Ray or HDTV standard, you'll likely be investing in it only for your home theatre where everything is direct connected, so it does matter what you have in your walls. You'll be happy enough to suffer with only having 1080p HDTV's in your other rooms, lol.

(Skip this if you are not interested in what new HD technology might be coming:

As an aside, NHK has developed a 7680 × 4320 pixel HD technology which they are calling Super Hi-Vision or SHV, and a codec to compress the 24Gbps video signal needed to transmit this resolution down to 180-600Mbps, with audio dropping from 28 Mbps to 7-28Mbps. The format is supported by NHK (Japan), the BBC (England) and RAI (Italy). They want to introduce this a standard by 2015. This is exactly 16 times the resolution of current HD (excluding any colour depth bit improvement). And, even though it's 16x the resolution, it's still not going to give you the big wow factor that HD did over SD. It will likely be used more for specialized applications like telepresence, video conferencing, commercial theatres, medical applications and signage.

Broadcasters currently use 18Mbps to transmit a 1080i/720p signal over cable but often compress it, but OTA HD is usually 19.4 Mbps. They often compress the 18Mbps HD signal down to 6-12Mbps so they can squeeze more channels, as bandwidth and infrastructure require high capital expenditures that they haven't had to endure for many many years. This NHK HD technology, when compressed to 180Mbps, requires 10 times the bandwidth as existing 1080i/720p does and 30 times more when the HD signal is compressed down to 6Mbps. So, yet a new and higher HD standard will cost both the cable companies a fortune to implement after they've already spent a fortune implementing the current HD standard, which is still not even done yet.

Now, look at the broadcasters. 18 minutes of video will take up about 3.5 TB of data in a raw format. This is astronomical in terms of requirements. Most equipment has to be upgraded to accomodate this requirement as the compression occurs at the back end not the front end of the process. Do you really think you are going to see broadcasters also upgrade all of their studio and broadcast equipment to a new format when they are also still spending a fotune to implement current HD?

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming )

And, if you are wondering about home networking, even cat5e cable can transmit data at rates that are orders of magnitude higher than the best internet transmission rates to the home. Even so, most people don't even upgrade their internet service as if it's good enough for surfing and watching online video, so why pay for more bandwidth if you won't use it.

So, putting conduit in the walls so you can pull new cable when existing cable is more than adequate is a waste of time I think. You'd be much better off putting your money and time into pulling a few more cat5e or cat6 cables to accomodate some cat5e/6-based keypad system even if you don't install it, IPTV capability that is being enabled through ethernet jacks on TVs, the ability to run room-based source devices back to a central equipment closet, hardwired internet, phone etc. For this I advise 5 to 9 cat5e/6 cables, based on your needs. Cat5e cable is cheap, easy to run and you are drilling the holes anyway. Cat6 is a bit more expensive and a bit harder and finicky to run and maybe a slightly more future-proofed option (but I am going with Cat5e since it transmits everything up to 1080p and, from now on, the only equipment I am going to upgrade is the home theatre where everything is direct connected).
post #17 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGo Delicious View Post

I just want to elaborate on one thing drvnbysound said. He talked his builder and his builder's realtor making him pull a permit and in the end it was not necessary.

If you do pull your own cable (LV) make sure you find out what the local requirements are on a new construction, even if you do own the house/land. Building codes very from city to city and each city has a different set of rules. Some city's require that you a pull a permit for LV and need an inspector to sign off before they will issue a occupancy permit and some do not. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Certainly codes will likely vary based on location. The inspector I had come out, specifically told me for the alarm (which was the only LV device I installed) all he looks for is that the transformer used to power the alarm is not installed inside of the alarm panel itself. That said, he never actually stepped foot into my house for the "insepection" b/c my transformer is in my garage.

As far as any network (CAT5e / CAT6), Audio/Video (RG6, HDMI), or speaker wiring, there are no local codes or requirements on any of this for my area, so I didnt have to worry about any permit, inspection or other code violations for anything in these areas. From my understanding this is because they are used for data and not power (excluding Power Over Ethernet) which a lot of people are still unaware of.
post #18 of 77
There are certanily a couple of places that I wish I would have run conduit for.

One of them specifically is to the area behind my TV - even if the conduit were just to the attic area above. The problem I now have, is that we have a recessed plant shelf above the wall my TV is on. This makes it practically impossible for me to pull new wiring to anywhere on this wall without tearing out some drywall, because I cant access this section of the wall directly from the attic.

:: Will post a picture here later tonight detailing ::

EDIT: Here is a picture.. I hate the angle I had to take this picture, but wanted to show both the TV and the shelf so you could get an idea of the wall structure, and why I cant access the top plate of the wall the TV is hung on directly.

post #19 of 77
Since the builder owns the house until closing, they need to control the property for both financial as well as liability reasons. What would happen if you would have fallen from the open attic space to the floor of the Great Room 2 stories down? The other thing is that the builder is in business to make money. Why should he let you do the work for LV? Is he going to have you sweat copper pipe because you know how to do that as well? If you are lucky enough to have a contractor let you do this, great. But most do not. Most will not even let you bring your own CI in to do work that their LV guys don't do. They need to control the schedule, and the sooner the finish a project, the more money they make, as they all have construction loans out for their projects. Having to wait for a homeowner to finish their pre-wire because they were delayed due to work issues is not good for business.
post #20 of 77
I agree with everyone's sentiments here. If you don't own the house yet and will only own it when the transaction closes you are SOL.

'Having to wait for a homeowner to finish their pre-wire' is a big red herring that can be easily avoided. Pulling wires,especially cat5e/6 can be done in a day or two depending on the size of the house and one could easily do that on a weekend or a few evenings, when builders aren't working anyway. That won't delay the builder one bit. But, I do agree, if you are going to do this, then don't delay the builder.

As for liability issues, one could sign a complete release, including a release against negligence against improper safety barricades, etc. and that would protect the builder against anything. Also, you would have to have a pretty bad builder if the framing, plumbing, mechanical, electrical etc trades were all finished and the house was ready for drywall, yet the builder's safety practices were so poor that even though all those trades have been in the house, someone could still fall from one floor to the other? Also, I know it was just an example you used to make a point, but if you just run the wires to the second floor wallplates, you don't have to climb into the attic, and if you don't have a two storey great room, you can't fall down into it

And, this guy is only asking to do low-voltage and cat5e pre-wire not sweat his own copper pipes. I know your point was it has to stop somewhere, but just because the builder allows him to run his own cat5e doesn't mean there is a natural progression to the purchaser wanting to do the plumbing too, lol.

In the end, it's more about the builder being inflexible and wanting to make more money off the homeowner. But, if the homeowner wants to pre-wire and his right to do so is not in the contract and the builder won't let him, he should just forget about it because it was his fault he didn't think about writing that option into the contract when he was negotiating it.

And, I wouldn't 'sneak' in to do it as the builder has many ways to get you back for that, including ripping all of your work out.
post #21 of 77
Thread Starter 
Decided to bite the bullet on good portion of the structured wiring. Basically agreed to the install of wall plates (2 Cat5e/2 RG6) in a handful of locations. That 2 & 2 combo was duplicated in about 6 areas of the house. The rest were 1 & 1 of each in the 3 bedrooms for the kids. The total number of runs was about 30 which included 5 that came 'free'. Crazy? Yeah. But I felt like I didn't have a lot of options. In looking at the entire price of the house overall, it's not much. I bit the bullet on things structure and amenity wise on the entire from top to bottom with carpet, various plumbing and electrical rough ins, tiles & flooring, etc.

With my knowledge of AV, I of course saw the guillotine when it came to multimedia related stuff and the pricing. Knowing that there was an 'easier', more cost effective way to get it done makes it a harder pill to swallow. I did not purchase any equipment however. Not one single item. I still couldn't get myself to agree to have them run a 10" cable (HDMI or component) over my fireplace, in bedroom or in basement from wall locations where components will be. At a cost of between $350 - $500 for each of those individually, I might as well have bent over and grabbed my ankles. I also decided to go with a pre-wire option of running Cat5 cables from basement closet to 6 zones where volume controls will be in-wall for whole house audio. From there the 14//2 cables to the ceiling speaker locations. They were trying to hit me for an additional $300 just to run 14/4 from the volume control to the basement closet.... x 6 that would've been $100. I declined that.

My hope is that by basically gifting them about $7000 for cabling and such that I can somehow find a compromise somewhere with the integrator or electrician where they'll at least let me run some speaker cable and the short video cable runs. It's a long shot, but it's better than telling them no to every aspect and expecting to walk in and do everything myself. At the least, I'll have a path to follow once they complete their wiring in most of the house.

I've never built a house before, so this is all new to me. I have 5 days to cancel or make adjustments to selections made today. I'm sure there are a lot of various opinions on this. I welcome all thoughts, ideas and/or criticism.
post #22 of 77
Are you going to have a peaked roof with attic space? If so, why don't you just forget having them run anything ($7,000 for just running wires? sheesh!) and run 1, 2 or 3 fat 2-4" diameter (depending on the wall thickness) ABS or PVC pipes from the basement to the attic. ie Just one vertical pipe with no or a few bends. Then you could just pull the wire through the pipe from the basement to the attic and then drill holes in the top plates to drop the wires down into the second floor rooms. Just measure where you are along the wall in the attic, go down into the room and open up a hole in the wall to fish the wire through and install the wall plate or box.

For the first floor you can just drill holes in the top plates of the basement walls, push the wire through, then go up to the first floor and open up a hole in the wall and fish he wire through and install the wall plate or box.

The only thing that seems to be a bit more problematic would be the ceiling speakers on the first floor.

Even if your basement ceiling is already going to be drywalled, ripping the drywall off and having to reinstall it, or simply telling the builder to not drywall some of the ceiling would be way cheaper than paying the $7,000 he asking for. That would even cover re-doing some of the first floor drywall if you have to rip it off to run some ceiling speaker wire.

Anyway, you get the general idea. Is this possible?
post #23 of 77
I guess I was lucky when I worked with the builder of my current home. I started the dialogue with them early on. Practically right after I signed the contract on my home. At first my builder was against allowing me to do some custom wiring which included a mix of Category cabling and custom electrical stuff. I kept pestering them for about a month until they finally decided to let me have their electrical contractor do the work I wanted. I put together a list and presented it to the builder. About a couple days had passed when the builder said they didn't want to be the middle man for this work. So they gave me permission to work with the electrical contractor directly.

This worked out well as without the builder mark up I was able to get more work done for less than the original builder estimate. The only catch for me was I had to pay for the work before I closed on the house...not a big deal.
post #24 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by NahLaterz View Post

I've never built a house before...

Not to labor the point, but this is central to the crux of the matter: are you building the house (e.g., bought the land, hired the architect, hired the builder, etc.) or are you buying a house that's being built (e.g., sales contract on a spec home)?

The former gives you huge leverage in getting what you want; the latter leaves you at the mercy of the builder. And either way, $7K for what appears to be a simple pre-wire seems high...$7K will pay for a lot of sheetrock repair post close.
post #25 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amillians View Post

Not to labor the point, but this is central to the crux of the matter: are you building the house (e.g., bought the land, hired the architect, hired the builder, etc.) or are you buying a house that's being built (e.g., sales contract on a spec home)?

The former gives you huge leverage in getting what you want; the latter leaves you at the mercy of the builder. And either way, $7K for what appears to be a simple pre-wire seems high...$7K will pay for a lot of sheetrock repair post close.

sorry about the confusion... buying a house being built

and yes, in that respect I'm basically at the mercy of the builder
post #26 of 77
Well then you entered into a contract for him to build you a house and provide any necessary buildings services and trades to execute that contract. He just has to fulfill the contract, which obviously did not include pulling the wire you want pulled, so this is an extra. And, obviously, the price was not worked out for this extra at the time you signed the contract so you are SOL on this one and have to pay him what he wants or go without and then have to string all the wires yourself after all the sheetrock is up.

If I were the builder I would want my contract to allow only me to provide the extras as I am the only one who can ensure the quality of the work and I probably have to provide some type of house warranty. Also, given he doesn't have to, why should he risk you maybe driling a hole into a vent, hitting an electrical wire and having something happen, etc. Also, maybe his general contractor liability contract only covers liability for what happens when his employees and subtrades work in the house and not the prospective homeowner. So, in the final analysis, why should he risk anything?

However, having said that, this appears to be a minor extra which he could yield on if you weren't going to delay the project with your work and you agreed to sign a release covering anything that might happen to you or your workers while in the house.

In any event, he sure is hosing you on the price, but you are stuck.
post #27 of 77
Here's the key point:

If you want the in-wall LV wiring done to your specs using your design, choice of cable and potentially your labor, you need to state it up front and get it into the contract BEFORE you sign.

I went through a major addition on our last house that included a dedicated HT. We wrote into the contract that all wiring and electrical fixtures were excluded from the contractor's responsibility and control. Now, this meant that I had to deal with his scheduling issues (which ended up with me working some VERY long nights to be prepared for drywall installers and deal with an idiotic county inspector). However, we ended up with a really good finished product, and got outstanding cooperation from the contractor and his team.
post #28 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by MauneyM View Post

We wrote into the contract that all wiring and electrical fixtures were excluded from the contractor's responsibility and control.

Wow, that is a brilliant solution (excluding both resp *and* control). Good job!
post #29 of 77
The problem is also do you know the building code for what you can and cannot drill thru? The size of holes? Where you can actually drill the holes? If you do it wrong, the building inspector can shut it down, and require the builder to rip out the framing. Who will pay for this? And before you say it can't happen, I have been on a project where the inspector shut down a 12,000 sq. foot house due to errors of the security guy.
post #30 of 77
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the feedback. This has been a learning experience to say the least. Even in speaking with 3 various AV integrators in my area today, when I mentioned the development I'm having the house built in, they all gave me the "nope... they'll never allow us in" speech. Negotiating it beforehand most likely wouldn't have been an option. I guess my biggest debate now is whether to move forward with the choices I've made thus far in the pre-construction phase or work with one of the integrators afterwards. The pre-construction allows it to be rolled into the mortgage, but of course at a high cost. After settlement and closing I can do what I want, but must pay out in one shot. I've got a few more business days to contemplate whether to move forward or not.
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