We're building a new house in a development with many new houses going up by
one builder. I have some things that I have brought to their attention
during walk throughs and I wanted to find out if I need to demand they
re-work a couple things.
First, can you tell me if using green board in bathrooms is industry the
industry standard? I asked them about it when I saw they had used normal
drywall. They indicated that it was not required by code and that semi
gloss paint would prevent moisture rom getting through. I konw that's
false, but how concerned should I be with getting them to use green board
in the three bathrooms?
There is also a significant break in the concrete floor slab at the base of
an alternate cellar entrance. The edge of the concrete in a section about 3
inches wide by 18 inches long is broken off. Can I demand that they correct
this? Are they obligated to fix it at all?
There are some places where the flashing is ripped and it shows general poor
workmanship. There are some places along the fascia boards where you can
see through to raw plywood that will be exposed to weather. What are my
options to get them to address these concerns?
Any input would be quite helpful. Thank you!
Also, they made us sign a paper indicating that we are responsible for
keeping the lawn watered and they are not responsible for it as it requires
proper care to flourish. The problem is they told me they will be putting
the lawn in prior to our closing date so we will not be able to keep it
watered. They said they would let us bring hoses over to water it... not
really an ideal way to spend evenings... waiting at an unfinished house that
you can't go into while your lawn is irrigated. What are my options here...
can I demand that they wait until after closing to add the lawn?
Building Standards as per Building Codes are "MINMUM" Standards.
The minimum adherence to Canadian Building Codes for examples amount to
substandard construction, but will cost the owner over the long run.
If you look for quality in your building assets, you should not accept,
what you the relative layman (I assume) notice already.
The problem has to do with the relative low level and scarcity of real
trained, skilful and committed tradesmen; Professionals (Planer,
Architects, Engineers) being educated and dropped in to the Business
from the "top" rather coming up through the ranks; Suppliers and there
products who to often deliberately design too short life cycles into
their products along with lousy quality standards; Government agencies
who pretend to protect
the citizen but rather interested in short term political, fiscal
I may sound harsh, but if we live in world of limited resources the
very best may just come close to obtain sustainability. Not more! Going
the other way is not an option.
Unfortunately many have no clou what I am talking about.
To build quality we must think quality first; for today and tomorrow.
How can you do better?
Educated yourself, be very much interested in all aspects from design
to the last finishing touches.
Insist to be involved and part of the loop; not just the source for
If you up to it, be the general contractor yourself; maintain control
and compliance to
your own higher standards.
Hire the best, most trustworthy peoples, companies; check out their
work and references.
Fancy titles, association memberships, overdone advertisements are not
a draw for me.
Question things; don't be railroaded by down talk of "experts".
Of course it's a matter of money, but.....
Unfortunately the lower standards in codes and workmanship will
initially be less costly; but you definitely going to pay in the long
PS: Somebody close to me moved into a new house build in a "good"
subdivision with "top" developers and contractors. Costs of these
new Buildings not cheep either!
The newest methods to erect foundation and also walls are the concrete
filled insulation blocks; highly stated as the best there is in terms
of many important building features.
Insulation claimed to be top notch, when in fact the minimum thickness
amounts to a total of 4" Styrofoam @ R4/inch giving a total R value
of 16 at the weakest areas.
Membranes on the inside are considered unnecessary. The outside is
wrapped with "Tyvek" etc house wrap(or left bare) and sided over.
Basement sections are covered with thicker membrane below ground level.
Does not sound bad, right?
Wrong! Here is what happened.
Ants, wasps, mice and many other critters have recognised this
Styrofoam not only nutritious (go figure) but incredible nice to build
extended dens and passages into.
Of course each new species attracts new ones and soon you have your own
How did the get in? Well bad craftsmanship; too many uncovered areas
open to the outside, even if hidden by siding etc.
If water gets in, freezing will further destroy and weaken the
substance and the insulation
value goes down the drain.
And everyone thought we had the top ideas about basements and walls.
This new building technique is around for over 12 years where I live,
so we would think Codes and construction practises are on top of
Wrong again; the whole Building Code does not address the issue of
infiltration by insects, rodents etc at all.
The National Research Council (the brain behind the Canadian Building
Standards) is busy studying many other irrelevant issues where the
results can be predicted with common sense and a reasonable amount of
Of course the Manufacturers are not moving to improve products unless
In the meantime John Doe enjoys the new House along with all his
uninvited friends' und lives happily thereafter; he can sell the
house and any problem with it.
But if you want quality, it starts in your mind!
Building standards are usually pretty vague. Levels of quality vary greatly
That said, your contract probably has a "walk-thru" or "punch list" clause.
It says you will deliver in writing items that you feel are insufficient or
improper. The seller will then respond, telling you which items they will
fix and which items they deem "good enough". You don't necessarily get the
option of telling them what "good enough" is. Its their house so they get
to decide. You, however, get to decide if you want to continue with the
closing or if you would like to walk away. If the builder chooses to not
fix some of your items, you contract probably says that you can request a
refund of your earnest money and terminate the agreement.
Also, the method of correction is usually left to the builder. For
instance, you may think that the only way to fix that broken concrete is to
remove the entire slab and replace it. The likely fix for the builder would
be to simply form and repour the broken section. Although it will be a
visible repair, it will no longer be a defect.
If I were your builder, I would repair the broken slab as slabs may crack,
but should not be broken.
Moisture resistant sheetrock is useful in wet areas. A bathroom as a whole
does not constitute a wet area. I install green board around showers and
tubs only. Areas such as bathroom sinks typically have a splash that keeps
water off the sheetrock. Unless the building authority in which you are
building sees it differently, I doubt you have any leverage to have green
I don't fully understand your comment regarding the flashing, but if the
plywood is above the fascia, a metal drip cap could be installed to cover
the crack and protect the plywood. However, what we see around here is
roofing shingles that hang over the plywood and cover the plywood and the
water runs off into the gutters. If you are in a freezing area, this
probably won't work out very well.
Lastly, just like all of my other comments, the house is theirs until you
close. Thats their grass and shrubs until you own the property. After
that, they do not warrant the yard to survive. But they cannot deliver it
dead. If you want to make sure you have a thriving lawn when you move in,
buy some good sprinklers, some 3/4" hoses and some automatic timers. You
can set them to water every day. Then all you have to do is come by and
move the sprinklers around every couple of days.
green board is not required by code in bathrooms where i live, and i
haven't yet met a drywaller who uses it in that situation.
i would get them to fix this.
this sounds unacceptably sloppy. you should not see raw plywood.>
i would not sign such a paper. they could always have the sod laid at
the very last minute.
in construction, you usually get what you pay for! unfortunately, even
substandard work is frighteningly expensive.
Industry standards as well as building codes are quite low. Industry
standards really only means that "everyone is doing it this way and our
industry has decided it's acceptable." (Even if it's WRONG.) It can be
crap and still meet industry standards and even building codes. BTW
neither is well enforced so you can get a house that doesn't meet
standards OR codes. (Codes are more about safety issues. So, if your
home does not meet code you may have a serious problem.)
That said, if the builder isn't installing materials correctly it will
almost certainly void any warranty coverage whether it's from the maker
of the material or from a third-party warranty company.
MANY new homes have incorrect installation of materials. You need to
have your own inspector come and look at these homes now before any
more is hidden under sheetrock and other materials.
If your builder still owns the property, as is typical in tract
developments, technically he is responsible for EVERYTHING until you
close. Including the lawn. He is trying to foist everything and
anything off on you that he possibly can. Though spending hours trying
to get a new lawn to "take" is a common new home owner task, you don't
even own the property yet unless you owned the land before they
Here's a link you will probably need soon: http://www.hadd.com
Good luck, I hope your experience goes better than many I can think of.
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