Builder accidentally veered from plans

We are doing a custom build home in a subdivision and we were very excited to be able to design the layout. The builders are at the point now where tile is going on the floors and with the tile on the floor we are able to see that the proportions in the open kitchen/dining/living room are not correct. We didn't notice this before because the open plan made it difficult to judge distances and sizes of the different areas but with the tile down it is easy to see where the kitchen ends and other rooms begin.
The french doors that define the edge of the living room should have started one foot away from the edge of the kitchen tile, but the doors actually start three feet away from the tile. This effectively makes the living room 2 feet narrower. It may seem like a small deal but as our house is very small and economically designed around our existing furniture we didn't have two feet to spare. As a result our living room furniture will need to overlap the doors by almost two feet, and our small dining table will have to be out of alignment with the doors and look like it is starting to encroach on the kitchen. Our fireplace is also closer to the door now (originally we had planned it to be centered in the wall - that should have been our first clue but the builder said the fireplace had to be moved a bit because of the basement windows and we didn't realize the off-center appearance was also being affected by the door).
I am sure this happened by accident because the builder has been good to work with overall and quite reliable, but that doesn't explain why we were the ones to discover the mistake so late in the game. I am very upset about our careful planning being thrown off, but I am trying to decide if it is worth making a fuss at this late stage. Do I have the right to demand that they fix it, or are they not obliged to fix a two-foot mistake? The siding on the exterior is completed and they just finished mudding and priming the walls this week. Moving the door two feet would mean moving wiring and light switches, redoing some of the siding and fixing the wall. We are scheduled to close in 6-ish weeks and I don't know how long it will take to fix the door. Are they obliged to pay for it or can they come back at me and tell me I am throwing them off budget and off schedule with a late-stage change? If they refuse to fix it do I have the right to ask for some kind of compensation? If nothing else I would like them to cover the cost of new (and unfortunately smaller) living room furniture.
If anyone has any ideas on how to handle this situation please let me know. I am looking for advice. Should I just count my blessings that this is the worst of the problems we've encountered so far? Or will the misproportioned layout affect resale? That doesn't even count the fact that I will be aggravated every time I sit on the couch or eat at the dining room table for the next X number of years...
Thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You left out some key points. Who is the General Contractor on the project? Was the framing done by a sub-contractor? Did the plans specify the exact location and size of the doors? For the most part, the General is responsible for following the plans. If he/she approved the framing, then it's his/her problem. You should try to settle this ASAP. It would seem much easier and cheaper to fix it now, rather than waiting. Forget about the furniture idea.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

As the other poster said, some additional details as to who was in charge of the design/oversight would shed a little more light but in your post you stated you were unable to visualize the space during framing and missed the problem. This leads me to believe you were in charge of the design hence overseeing it. You also noted that a change had to be made to the layout (which I assume was approved by you) regarding the fireplace. One thing that isnt quite clear is did the relocation of the fireplace alone throw the floor plan off or did the door get framed in a different location as a result of the fireplace move? Was the relocation of the door inevitable due to the fireplace being moved? etc.
I am not sure if you were working with a designer/architecht on the project or doing it yourself. This sounds like it would fall under the designer/architecht's responsibilities as it doesnt sound like the builder made any actual mistakes. The builder simply had to move the fireplace (and possibly the door) and the impact of that move was missed by the designer/architect (you?).
Of course if the builder misread the plans and this can be clearly shown you have some recourse but even if you were working jointly with the builder trying to achieve your vision for the space it pretty much falls on the designers shoulders.
If you were working together on the space, and as you say they have been good to work with so far, I would think they would gladly work something out with you that is mutually acceptable but that is of course speculation.
You have to look at who was in charge of the design and its oversight throughout the project. Things happen during construction that impact the original design. Being able to catch and adapt to those changes is the job of the designer. The builder can only inform the designer/homeowner that a change is required. The solution is in the hands of the designer and homeowner.
Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What does your blueprint say? Are the dimensions wrong or not? Were these dimensions you needed noted on the prints or just something you hoped would happen? Were the prints dimensioned with feet and inch call-outs or were you working to scale?
All blueprint dimensions are subject to very slight modification unless noted on print as critical. Two feet is not slight. The fireplace location was probably locked in when the basement walls were poured.
Only you can decide if the design can be saved at this point. You and the builder will have to decide who would stand the costs of the changes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DanG A live Singing Valentine quartet, a sophisticated and elegant way to say I LOVE YOU! snipped-for-privacy@okchorale.org (local) http://www.singingvalentines.com/ (national)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

2 feet IS NOT a 'small deal'. That's HUGE.
<snip>

I've seen contractors *willfully* build things incorrectly because it was easier/cheaper for them, thinking they would pocket the difference on a fixed price contract. Happens all the time.

It depends on the contract.
The siding on the exterior is completed and they just

Without know anything more than you've disclosed, I would say this is a BIG DEAL, and I would have it fixed. If it was a 'fixed price' contract, I would have the contractor pay for it, but he'll be looking to spread the blame. If you have an architect doing field review, he/she should have noticed that big an error, but even if they didn't it's not their responsibility to measure the construction to confirm it matches the drawings.
If you are paying money for this building, you should get what you asked for, not whatever the builder managed to do.
--


MichaelB
www.michaelbulatovich.ca
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Michael Bulatovich wrote: <snip>

How can you think the contractor should pay for it when the OP doesnt even state that it was the contractors mistake? The OP stated that a fireplace had to be moved because of some basement windows. Was the french door also impacted by the fireplace? The fireplace move was obviously approved by someone. If the overall impact to the floorplan was missed that is the responsibility of the designer/architect to catch and deal with.
It may well be the contractors problem if he/she misread the plans but that has not been stated even remotely.

That depends. And if by moving the fireplace there was an unacceptable impact to the floorplan they would have come up with a workaround and revised the plans with the builder and homeowner.

You should get what you pay for, and if you are doing your own design, you have to accept what you design and subsequently the mistakes you make in that design. The OP has not even stated that this was infact a builder error or not. I may well be wrong but its clear there were some issues with design from the get go in that the fireplace had to be moved.
The OP states "We are doing a custom build home in a subdivision and we were very excited to be able to design the layout".
This sounds to me like the OP _is_ the designer/architect which means it is their responsibility to deal with any needed changes throughout construction and have the ability to foresee any and all impact said change will have to the total project. It sounds like they may not have foreseen a critical problem.
Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The subject line says it.

Where did you get that?

See subject line.

That's a possibility.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Michael Bulatovich wrote:

The subject line is voided by: "we were very excited to be able to design the layout" It doesnt say , we were excited to be able to work together with the builder on the layout, or the builder worked with us on the layout to accommodate our existing furniture. It says _we were able to design the layout_

From the OP: "Our fireplace is also closer to the door now (originally we had planned it to be centered in the wall - that should have been our first clue but the builder said the fireplace had to be moved a bit because of the basement windows and we didn't realize the off-center appearance was also being affected by the door)."

Again, the subject line is voided by: "we were very excited to be able to design the layout". Layouts change for other than obvious reasons throughout construction. If it is not the builder/contractors design it is not their responsibility to forsee problems with furniture not fitting into a space as a result of a needed change.
It is their responsibility to bring to the attention of the designer/architect that the drawn floorplan is not possible due to XYZ. It is then the designer/architects responsibility to adjust the desing to either accommodate what is possible or what is wanted. Unless the builder/contractor accidentally or intentionally deviated from the desigin (in which case we wouldnt be having this conversation as it would be crystal clear on paper) the builder may not be at fault.
The subject line says "plans". This is a stretch but what defines the plans? Were these dimensions (due to the furniture) put on the prints? Were they off the cuf? No one knows. The only thing that is known is that the OP was, at least in some part, responsible for the floor plan.

The simple fact is, if the plans say one thing and the construction says another its simple. Other than that it may or maynot be a contractor issue or it may be a shared responsibility. If it were as simple as a builder framing a door in a completely different location than that shown in the plans I doubt we would be hearing about it here.
Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Not if the 'design' was done before the drawings were issued, and the bid tendered.

In my experience, there are very few builders who know anything about design, and many have contempt for what designers do. Hell, so do I. Still, they generally focus on nuts and bolts issues, try to simplify construction processes above all, and will fail to appreciate the things that designers try to put into their work. Not all, of them, but most of the residential guys.

You may be right, but it doesn't say that exactly. Like most NG posters, the OP has painted a very fuzzy picture.

Should have or would have? You'd have to be there to say the latter.

You're making a lot of assumptions...like there *is* an architect/designer, or that the OP could make anything crystal clear.

No argument there.

Of course.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.