Custom building is a nightmare. We’ve been through that. Building a tract home that a crew has built over and over will still have mistakes and miscommunication. But building a custom home is just asking for trouble because the general contractor and subcontractors have no experience with your design. It’s a first-time-only-time build. No chance to move up the learning curve.
Our last custom home (built by a different general contractor) had three enormous decks (one in front, two in back) that were eight feet wide and 60 feet long. We also had a captains walk on the roof (amazing!) that was approximately 10 feet wide and 20 feet long. That’s a ton of decking.
When the decks were built, we ran into a huge problem. Before the coating was sprayed on, a metal flashing was attached to the edges. Although the surfaces were appropriately angled to allow snow and rain to drain off, the flashing built up the edge just enough that the precipitation would back up and puddle all over the decks. Nightmare.
We had discussed the issue with that builder initially and made the mistake of assuming he had the expertise needed complete the project. It wasn’t until we moved in — and it rained — that we realized he hadn’t managed the construction carefully. We talked to him about the problem. He wasn’t about to fix it, due to cost. But he grudgingly offered to do some additional work on the home for free. He did a couple of minor things, but didn’t remotely compensate us for the need to rebuild the decks.
This morning, Sam went to our new house project and climbed the ladder up to the main floor. The last time we’d been up there, the window bucks weren’t in and the windows and doors were just lightly roughed out. Now that the structure was complete, it was apparent that the second door on our porch — the door going into the office — was placed nearly a foot off specifications. Apparently the crew had followed the basement plan and aligned the main floor door with the basement storage door below.
The placement not only looked bad from the outside (this being our front entry), but made the door open part way into the office kitchen area. The entry door no longer made a straight shot through the lab to the interior door going from the lab to the office.
Moving a door is not a huge deal for most homes. But cement homes aren’t like most homes. Remember, we just poured cement in the second floor panels.
Sam called Brad and told him of the problem. His response? “We’ll fix it.”
Rather than feeling like our general is giving us push back when we notice a problem or want something corrected — we’ve been there before! — we feel like our general contractor has our backs. He wants the house done right and is willing to do what it takes to get it that way. That’s my idea of a good builder.