Well, it's been a few weeks since I've updated. The renovation is moving along, but it hit a few snags that have caused some angst and frustration. From my perspective, the contractor has tried a few shortcuts which I guess I should expect, but which makes me very unhappy nonetheless.
First, the framing came too far out from the new concrete footing, which comes out 6" from the wall. This is not a large basement so every inch counts. Part of the problem is they framed the wall in front of the new drains instead of flush with it. We quickly got them to re-do it and gained back about 2.5" on either side of the walls in the storage room:Framing wall in front of drainsFraming re-done
The other problem stems from the new footings being done in sections and there are a few bumps sticking out here and there, so in certain sections, the framing looks really far out from the floor! Remembering that we're already losing 6" around the perimeter of the room because of the new concrete footing, losing another inch or so just seemed too much! So the elegant solution my wife came up with was to make a ledge about 32" in height! This will work well because we're going to mount a plasma on the wall and have a projection screen come down just in front of it.Framing for the ledge
Now this is the part that really upset me. The engineer had spec'ed steel angles to be installed directly into the new footings to help support the wall from buckling in. I know for a fact that both the underpin crew and the contractor felt this was unnecessary and the engineer they usually work with felt the same. Nevertheless, the engineer we hired felt it was necessary and we paid extra to have these steel angles installed.
Well, they did a poor/lazy job installing some of the steel angles. Some of them are not even making contact with the wall!Gap between steel angle and wallThis one is the worst
What's worst is that the engineer had already caught this a few weeks ago and had asked the contractor to parge (grout) behind the steel angle so that there is contact between the steel angle and the wall. Well, the contractor never told us, and the engineer didn't (still hasn't) write up a report to let me know. And I'm pretty sure the contractor was just going to leave the angles this way and chug along with the framing and drywalling and no one would the wiser!
Now, the contractor was away last week on vacation so I won't have a chance until Monday to give him hell and ask him why it wasn't done in the first place. Luckily, we caught it in time and called the contractor on his vacation to call his underpin crew back to parge the angles. The underpin crew came back on Thursday to grout and I can tell he was not happy about having to do it. The engineer also dropped by on Friday to inspect the work and he has now signed off on it. I still feel pissed that the contractor appeared to be ignoring the engineer's instructions and not bothering to tell me about it.Grouting the steel angles
It's one thing to take short cuts, but don't take short cuts with the structural integrity of the house! Maybe I'm overreacting and the steel angles really are overkill, but if the engineer designed for it, then I want them in there and installed properly! I will have to be even more vigilant about the contractor's work from this point on. I hate to say that because, as a homeowner, you want to be able to trust the people working on your home. Otherwise, you might as well be the general contractor yourself if you have to supervise/monitor the work every step of the way.
So, that's where we are today. They've done as much of the framing as they can until the contractor is back on Monday. Electrical is starting probably next week. I already know I want a 15 amp dedicated circuit and a 20 amp dedicated circuit for the a/v gear. I'm debating whether to put in a 3rd dedicated circuit for the projector receptacle which will be high on the back wall or on the ceiling. I'll have to get ready to run the speaker and ethernet cables in the ceiling as well as the 40' HDMI cable I bought from Blue Jeans Cable.How the basement looks now
Sigh. I can't wait until this renovation is finished!