Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One Step Forward 2 Steps Back.

We haven't talked much lately about our dealings with the design-build firm we hired Winans Construction. That's because there really hasn't been that much to tell. They were supposed to deliver to us the final parts of our contract the week after Thanksgiving..... They showed up on our door the week after new years.... Anyone noticing a pattern here? They set this deadline and they blew right through it without as much as a 'by your leave.'

Irene and I had a chance to look over the plans they dropped off and we found numerous's a copy of the email I sent our project manager.

Hello xxx,
We’ve had time to look thru the plan set in detail and have some issues with what we are seeing and a couple of things that we don’t understand.

Plan Set Issues we have noticed so far.

1. Engineers plan is not what we decided on still shows new footing in radiant heated areas.

2.Concerned that showing the proposed deck at the back of the house will be an issue-confuse the planning and building dept people.

3.The plan shows the proposed rear deck starting 2’ in from the side of the house; we need it to start at the edge of the house and use the 2 existing columns.

4.Concerned Engineers drawings will be too light for city to accept. I have been chastised in the past for drawings where they thought the lines were too thin-too hard to read.

5.The engineer’s wet stamp is not included in price? How can his stamp not be included in the price? We do not understand this.

6.Your note says that we have 2 copies of the planning plan set and 3 copies of the building permit plan set. What I see is 5 copies of the building permit plan set. It is our understanding that the planning set should be different from the building permit plan set. I believe that the planning set needs to show such things as all exterior views before and after, and not show interior detail, the planning set might also require photographs of the exterior views of the house and the neighboring properties?

7.It looks to me like all the plans need to be ‘cleaned up’ there are spurious dimension lines, and dimensions, on the 2nd floor demo plan, the 1st floor construction plan, 2nd floor construction plan (G), and (H) is misnamed 2nd floor construction plan when it should be 2nd floor electrical plan. I mention this as I believe that these are the kinds of things that will get it kicked out of plan check in a hurry.

I’m sure that you are eager to bring this matter to a close, as are we, but these issues will need to be addressed to our satisfaction before we sign off on the project and send you the final check.


I sent this Sunday night and have not yet heard back from anyone at Winnans. I think what chaps my hide the most is they are trying to get us to pay EXTRA for the engineers wet stamp. The plans are useless without it and there is no way that it shouldn't of been included in the original price.

What I'm afraid of is, Winnans uses the design services as a loss leader and then makes their margin on the construction side. They've realized by now that they are not going to get any construction money out of us and are trying to do as little additional work as possible to close out our contract...we of course will not pay until they complete their end of the agreement to our satisfaction. We've held back $2500 out of the $8500 total which I thought would be enough to get them hopping to finish this but apparently and learn next time we'll hold back more.

They were also supposed to give us electronic versions of the files and Chief Architect X1 native versions of the files which they have done.

Our plan now is to shop out the permit ready plan set to several other builders to get quotes to see if the $500k+ figure we got from Winnans is waaay off the mark. If it turns out that all the quality builders we contact come in around the same price then we will move on to phase two.

We'll then have to act as GC's and shop out the 'shelling' of the house option to quality builders-framing crews. If the cost of this option is still way insane we will move onto phase three.

Phase three is paying Winnans Construction designer to adjust our plans for a much cheaper remodel where we don't alter the roof at all or the windows in the kitchen. Then we go back to the quality contractors we've already identified and get a consensus view on what it will cost to have them do the entire thing themselves versus us acting as GC's and doing some of the work ourselves.

Then we decide what its worth to us and which route we'll take. One thing I can safely say is that we will never take the $500k+ route...unless we hit the lottery big time that is.

Wow, no pictures!

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