Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Progress

A few steps forward, a few steps nowhere. Bernie from Clarke County Plumbing connected both our sump pumps, and removed our temporary sump. Once power is connected to the house, we'll have two sumps running as necessary to ensure the water level stays tame (below the house, that is).

The sump outflow into the drain tile:

A step nowhere was the power connection. Dominion Power talked a good talk about service standards to connect the permanent power, promising an install within three weeks of the order date. We originally were told it would be last week. Then on Monday, we were promised this week, absolutely, the power would be connected. Miss Utility has spray painted all of our neighbors' yards so often that it looks like kids came through marking graffiti! But still no permanent power service. We'll stay on their case - we need the power to be connected on Monday, or we may have to manage new challenges.

That new challenge is the delivery of the rainwater recapture tanks. Three tanks, 1,400 gallons per tank, totaling 4,200 gallons of rainwater. Those, too, were supposed to have been delivered this week, but they didn't make it. We didn't push that at all since Dominion Power's subcontractor has been a no-show.

The folks at ARS continue to do a great job installing the ducting for the TRV. They'll be back on Tuesday and they expect to finish then. The weather hoods for the TRV were supposed to come in today, guessed it...they didn't. We're hoping they'll arrive on Monday, and Bob DeMarr's crew can come out to drill the holes in the TerraBricks for the TRV air inlet and exhaust, as well as the dryer exhaust and fireplace fresh air inlet. Demarr has a core drill which will work perfectly for each cut. Tools are a wonderful thing!

Piedmont Roofing came today and installed the flashing around the East, South, and West side of the house. It looks like they did a nice job, but Aaron will have to inspect it when he's back on our project next week. We don't know if Piedmont re-sealed the flashing on the Northern side, which seems to have been allowing water through at the seams.

And we inspected Bartley's work with the concrete floor. Overall, the floor is really cool and it's definitely the contemporary look we're going for. Bartley's crew did a pretty good job with making the floor as smooth as possible. My three complaints are: 1) the shower was poured to the wrong height - it's too low as compared to where the drain was set, and now the water won't go down the drain unless we install tile on the shower floor which will cost us more money and is not the look we want. 2) they tracked mud into the still-wet concrete, so we have a few spots throughout the first floor where one can see mud in the now-dry concrete. The crew knew this was to be our final floor finishing - nothing on top except some soy-based stain. We explained that to them before they poured and insisted they be extremely cautious as to not track any dirt or debris in, or allow any dirt or debris to rise to the top, so it was irresponsible of them to allow this. The good news is the soy-based stain color is espresso brown, so it probably won't be a problem at all. I just can't understand why workers simply ignore such important details. 3) The workers were extremely sloppy and they did not clean up their messes. There are drink containers around the house. But most disturbingly, they dumped concrete all over the place and did not clean it up. I heard Aaron give them very clear instruction, and I heard their acknowledgement understanding the instructions, that they needed to be extremely careful about where any concrete is dumped on the lot. It needed to be dumped on OSB (leftover from the parging project) at the front of the lot. Again, instructions ignored and it's extremely disappointing that Bartley's crew did not clean up after themselves. This weekend, Andreas and I will be out there cleaning up after Bartley's mess once again, then driving the concrete to the dump and paying for it to be recycled by Fairfax County. Question for any sub-contractors reading this - why is it so hard for your colleagues to follow some simple instructions/requests?

You can't see clearly in the picture, but here's the shower poured to the wrong height:

Here's their mess:

And, the moment you've been waiting for, the concrete first floor:


  1. bummer on the wrong concrete height for the shower floor. any chance you can do more concrete (at Bartley's expense) on top of the existing to avoid using more costly tile?

    or get Bartley to cover your added tile expenses?
    (I can actually somewhat understand the workers not getting a few things right or being messy, but don't they have a supervisor who can be held to account for these things?)

  2. I'm sorry that you are suffering from all these needless frustrations.

    Do you call Bartley's when this stuff happens? If neither the workers nor Bartley suffer any consequences if instructions are not followed and they fail to clean up their mess, there's no incentive for them for them to do so. Some people just don't care about doing a good job, and I guess some companies don't even care about getting referrals or maintaining a good reputation. It's possible (as I learned when I had a large landscaping project done (badly) at my last house) that the employees are not being treated well by their company, like perhaps not being paid on time. This could ultimately be expressed in uncaring attitudes and even sabotage.