Construction survival tips for 950s-970s

Here is Gabriela’s question to the WCP community list, followed by the responses. My own take is that the procedures have been substantially refined, and were getting a few final optimizing tweaks in the 930s, so that things will go very smoothly for the rest of the clusters.
Harold, 932
Dear Neighbors,

Construction in the 950s is set to start next week and a few of us cluster neighbors have been gathering information from the rest of you.
We have all heard random collection of facts, good stories, horror stories, and some great tips (most are about how to keep dust out).

If any of you have some concrete advice, would you mind sharing?
1) What do you wish you had known or had done before the crews started at your place?
2) What do you wish you had done differently?
3) what is the best thing you did? Why?
4) What should not be done during this time? (leave clothes out in the open is one I heard, for example)

You can e-mail me directly or share with others. I’ll compile and send out to the 960s and 970s
Thank you for your time.
Gabriela, 951
What a good idea, Gabriela! I wish I’d known how nice the workers are; how hard they try to do their best, even as they don’t always succeed in doing the best work; how trustworthy they are; and how much simple words of appreciation meant to them. It would have buoyed me as I looked ahead to what has admittedly been a difficult process (which included having to redo part of the flooring in my study and all of the flooring we had recently installed in our utility room because we were flooded during the rains when we did not yet have our roof/drains in fully functional form). Had i known all this, it wdnt have taken me so long to realize that I need not be there when workers were in the house and cd just leave a key to the house with bob Landegger.

I also wish I’d known how difficult it would be for me personally to live in what mustache bobby calls “plywood purgatory.” I knew I needed light, but i didn’t realize how much! That part of the process, however, has a different impact on different people. It didn’t bother randy, and one of my neighbors almost liked it. And yr time in plywood purgatory shd be shorter.
I wish I’d known beforehand how responsive Gail and the rest of the board wd be in dealing with my issues. They were great, and that also wd have buoyed me.
Pets. That’s a tough one. We have been waiting to get cats until they are finished with us. I guess I’d try posting reminders everywhere (eg on all doors) to keep them closed because of pets. There are a lot of people moving arnd and doors will be left open otherwise.
Flents ear stopples. I’d lay in a good supply. I prefer wax. With those suckers, I was able to continue working at home the entire time, except for a couple of days.
Good luck!
Lk, 901
We had pictures fall off the walls when the noise and vibration was at its peak: I would take everything down.
Tom Turner #905
[Harold’s note: I think the prescoring of the stucco and levering out made the jackhammering of the walls almost unnecessary, so this may no longer be such a problem. But better safe than sorry!]
Indeed, I took everything off the walls including sconces and a hanging lamp. The utility rm was the worst affected rm by really heavy dust. I would wrap china cabinets in plastic to keep dust out. Be sure that everything is covered when the drywall is done because they are spraying paint.
Good luck,
Cynthia, 919
The workers are nice and try not to be invasive. But there are instances of hammering, therefore I will take things off walls, nicknacks off tables. You can ask contractors to cover your furniture and carpet with plastic to prevent dust. Our garage flooded during the rain because the deck was not well covered but they were quick to fix the damage. The darkness inside the house was a bit to long because work stalled in our cluster for about 4 weeks. Gail always responded to any problem as well as Bob, he is a nice guy. With scaffolding entering and exiting the house was difficult at times. Your unit will be done quicker than ours and I think that you will be fine.

On another note we decided to redo the tiles of our courtyard. I hired Jose who installed the tiles in our house. His price is reasonable to remove, install, buy tiles, and sealed them. If you prices I can send them to whom is interested.
Magda 906
From the 940s, freshly at work (still in week 2): By far the most dusty part has been the demolition of the tiles in the courtyard– LOTS of dust. This dust will find its way in at cracks you did not know you had. I would buy blue tape at Home Depot (Scotch “delicate” adhesive level if you want to protect inside paint) and tape every possible seam both inside and out. Also get yourself some plastic and use the tape to try to seal the utility room vents (and don’t forget to tape around the edges of the utility room door). I’m not worried about CO from the water heater. But that dust is very fine and will filter everywhere.

The next step will be removing stucco from around your deck door and the bottom of the deck area. then the deck surface will removed (and you will probably get a chance to see the back side of your garage ceiling). The stucco removal work generates a lot of dust. So again take precautions to tape the deck door (and certainly tightly close your bathroom window–maybe tape it too).

The noise is pretty bad, so you will want to plan a place to escape to. The stucco guys like to get under way at 7:30. Some workers are getting in position at 7:00. So no more lazy mornings.

We have protective plastic everywhere, and it is probably not really necessary, but I find it kind of reassuring.

The water testing of the roof drains went off (yesterday?) without a hitch. In general, the production line seems to be really moving along. I’m grateful to all who suffered before us.

John, 942
[note by Harold: I second John’s suggestion of using masking tape to seal door cracks. The contractors did this outside for some of the work, but the better sealed your doors are, the less dust penetration. I had some old fitted sheets that I stretched over nails around my living room & study courtyard doors, which worked well, judging by the dust on the doorknob and carpet strip at the bottom. I also closed my utility room door vents with plastic, and was glad I did.]
Thank you, Gabriela; and thank you neighbors for your helpful tips. Please keep them coming! I will be alone with our toddler and dog when construction begins on our unit (David will be traveling overseas) and anything we can do to prepare ahead of time will ease the stress.
Anna, 966

If possible, try to find somewhere that the three of you can take refuge from the noise during the worst of the stucco removal.    While adults and older children can use earplugs or other kinds of hearing protection, for a toddler or a dog, that isn’t really feasible.

It may be that by the time the “assembly line” process reaches your unit, the number of days for this phase has been greatly reduced from what it was for us in the 910s, but it will still be long enough that for a toddler or a dog, with their sensitive hearing, I think it could be quite traumatic.
Phill, 911
After reading everyone else’s posts I’d add this:
The various contractors try to do their best, which is very difficult with so many homeowners each with our own quirks. I tried to make interior access as easy as possible (by leaving courtyard door open or at least unlocked at 7:30am), and didn’t complain when I came home after they had gone (3:30/4pm) and doors weren’t locked. I just made sure I got there soon after and locked them myself. 4-5 different companies’ workers are going in & out, so it is impossible for them to know who will be the last one on any given day, or whether an owner is home. Of course this depends on your own security concerns, and how many valuables you have out in the open.

Also, I swept up the dust and remaining rubble from carport, ctyds on several days, which helps keep interior clean and removes stray nails (those especially after the removal of the old roofing).
Harold, 932

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930s: Log of construction activities, weeks 4-7 (illustrated)

Week 4 (June 10-14)
Entry courtyard tiles scored, then demo’d 2 days later. Very loud and dusty. You can get an impression of the sound in the video walk-by:
Back windows boxed, back patio cement demo’d around perimeter. All Stucco around back side d/w removed after scoring the previous week. Upper deck framing was completed on all units in the cluster.ImageImage

Week 5 (June 17-21).
Framing work on back patios–doors removed. Carport ledger caulked & paper prepped. More tufflex on upper deck. Scoring of courtyard walls for stucco demo (might not have been deep enough–done again next week). New upper deck door installed–very public with the big windows & workers still up there: put up a curtain! More tufflex on upper deck–full coating with sand. My 3 windows in dining room installed (still behind plywood, invisible from inside).Image

Note the how the new back trellises don’t have a ledger on the study or living room walls:Image

Week 6 (June 24-28).
Lots of flashing work, which (at ground level) includes tufflex, hammering, screwing. Later paper and wire mesh to hold the stucco are installed–again lots of hammering. The back side boxes over the doors/windows was removed going clockwise around the cluster. They just got to my doors, did the 3 windows the following week. Entry courtyard stucco was scored, then demo’d a few days later.ImageThis is how the walls look after final prepping, prior to application of the various stucco, Sto waterproofing & color coats.

Week 7 (July 1-5).
My 3 dining room windows were unboxed (yay), only to be followed the next day by the boxing up of the other side of the house, including the utility and Juliet doors. I unhooked my garage door opener so that I can go in & out easily through the garage.Image

Living room boarded up, next photos show foyer and study:


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July 8-12 Stonemark newsletter

I. Cluster/ Units 911-916:  Access Required All week.

  • Contractors will be in & out of homes all week working on final tasks.
  • Punch List Inspections have been scheduled for your cluster for July 8th & 9th between 8am to 3pm.
    Please make sure you respond and send us your punch list items for consideration before this date.

II. Cluster/ Units 901 through 909:  Access Required All week.

  • Contractors will be in & out of homes all week working on final tasks .
  • Punch List Inspections have been scheduled for your cluster for July 11th & 12th between 8am to 3pm.
    Please make sure you respond and send us your punch list items for consideration before this date.

III.  Cluster/ Units 921 through 928:  Access Required All Week.

  • Contractors are installing interior drywall, casing /trimwork /baseboard.  
  • Roofing work will stop for a couple weeks, and plastering will resume.  

IV. Cluster/ Units 931 through 938:  Access Required All Week.

  • Window & door replacements are in progress for the courtyards.  
  • Carport work is ongoing. Please continue to refrain from parking in your carport between 7:30am to 5pm.
  • Roof work is ongoing .

V. Cluster/ Units 941 through 947:   Access Required:  Monday, July 8

  • Mike with Mac’s Solar will be onsite Monday morning to drain down the solar panels. (If you have a disabled solar panel, pls disregard this message).
    • Access is required to utility room where the hot water heater & solar panel hook-up are located.  If your solar water heater (not control panel) is located in the garage, please ensure access to this is provided.  This work should not take more than a few minutes. The disconnection of your solar panel will not adversely affect your hot water supply.  
  • Plaster Demolition and roofing will begin.
  • Trellis work is ongoing. Please continue to refrain from parking in your carport between 7:30am to 5pm until Further Notice.
  • Deck work is ongoing: please do not lock the deadbolt on your deck door any longer.
  • Expect the first application of Tufflex waterproofing either late this week or early the week of the 15th. 
    • Courtyard demolition is complete.  

VI. Cluster/ Units 950s:   

  • As discussed at the Cluster meeting, exterior demolition work will likely begin the week of July 15th
  • Work will begin with demolition of the carport & deck trellises. 
  • Please make sure that all personal items are removed from your patios and decks by Monday July 8th in anticipation of work.   

Project Manager Martin Lee Kim will be on-site with the workers on Friday July 5. 

Best Wishes for a Happy & Safe 4th of July!!
Bob Landegger
Jacklyn Wolf

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June 25 Construction meeting notes

Schedule update.
910s: Unfortunately, the final punch list will not close out this week. The contractor(s) have not completed their own confirmation that all work has been done to specifications (completion list). Bob can’t do his punch list (with the architect) until SM receives confirmation from contractors. At that time Stonemark will solicit input from homeowners. Bob and the contractors & higher-ups (bosses) inspected unit(s) in this cluster at this point (prior to Bob’s punch list) as a courtesy to the contractor, but this is not the norm.
See separate item “How homeowners submit a punch list,” below.
900s: stucco color coating and final roof tile installation (over living room) on the final pod is being completed today. Concrete pouring in back patios will be done soon. Some of the storage bins can now be consolidated and removed, alleviating the parking congestion.
920s: all doors & windows now set; drywall and trim in progress; then exterior patching, plastering & finish coat.
930s: All decks are reframed & waterproofed (final color coat after plaster work); all trellises are rebuilt. Back side doors being set this week. The boxing of study & kitchen windows will be moved to the other, entry side this week. This has begun today, proceeding clockwise around the cluster.
940s: trellises were removed yesterday (6/24), stucco demo has begun. NOTE: the stucco demo starts with scoring of 1-2′ rectangles. This is the peak of dustiness, so if you want to do taping and plastic covering, this is the time. The demo of the perimeter courtyard tiles will be done right after too, this is also very loud and dusty.
950s: tomorrow 6/26 the first cluster meeting will take place.

How homeowners submit punch lists to Bob:
1) wait for Bob/Jacklyn to ask–once the contractors, both interior and exterior, have said that they’re done;
2) email is the preferred method, could also be a pdf (or a fax to Jacklyn, who would scan it);
3) Bob and the architect will be creating his own at about the same time. Bob will compile a master list using the homeowner list as well.

FAQ: What if a homeowner is not in the area at that time? They can submit a list when they return. Obvious issues that were missed will be remedied.

Bob will discuss with Jacklyn whether they want to create some sort of area/item checklist to expedite this process for both the project and homeowners.

Question regarding lifetime of elastomeric was not addressed.

Next meeting: Tuesday July 9, 2013, 10:15am.

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930s: Log of construction activities, weeks 1-3 (illustrated)

By the time the project reached the 4th cluster, most unresolved construction details, logistical problems, and construction procedures have been worked out. Thus for the 940s-970s the anticipated 12 weeks of construction per cluster will probably follow a similar pattern. I’ll try to log regularly, with a post for each week after the first 3. Note that the photo dates aren’t necessarily the dates on which the work was done.

Week 1 (Monday May 20): on the first day all carport, deck and patio trellises were disassembled and removed. Then there were a couple of days with no work. On Thursday demo began of the decks in first “pod” (conjoined units), proceeding counterclockwise. First just the bottom of the walls were removed, then the deck surface (and the ledgers–the boards in the walls holding up the trellises–were taken out during this time as well):
On the first days of week 2 (started with Memorial Day holiday) the framing for the new sloping of the upper deck was completed. The drain will now be in the middle of the wall, not at the far corner, so a drain pipe must be installed inside the garage. Here’s a photo of the reframed deck surface:
The next day–Thursday of week 2–the plywood surface was installed, and the first of two applications of Tufflex (with what looked like chicken wire mesh in between; note the new drain):
Monday of week 3 started out with a heavy drizzle, so that the yet-unconnected drain into the garage leaked. The photo below is looking up at the garage ceiling after it was opened up to install the drain pipe to the front–hooking into the existing downspout, which was done a day later (the drywall will be closed up again much later in the process):
Wednesday of week 3, the 10th day of actual work on this unit, the carport trellis was reinstalled (not yet painted), and the deck door pan flashing put in with a first (of several) coats of tufflex (note how the bottom of the deck door is cut off and replaced by a piece of plywood; btw mine was never screwed shut, so I could take these photos)
Thursday of week 3 my unit was “quiet” while they did work on other pods, but Friday work returned with a vengeance: the concrete was cut around the rear windows and doors as prep for the removal of the stucco (action photo from a later date, another pod). Note that this does not create a lot of dust inside, UNLESS you leave a window open (the workers should warn you).
Also that same day the roof drains of the entire cluster were tested. This means that the roofers need access to all rooms of all units in that cluster for several hours while water is filled into the sealed drainpipes and they wait to see whether the level drops. In one of mine a pinhole leak was found, the stucco immediately opened up (LOUD and MESSY outside), and the pipe replaced (note the ledger demo too):
At this time the vent covers–added during a previous remediation–come off, too. In the photo they are off of the living room wall, but not yet from the tower:
Big changes coming in week 4: boxing of back patio & dining room windows & doors, and removal of patio concrete around perimeter. I’ll make a separate post on that when the week is done.

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Photos of completed upper deck facade

As you know, the upper deck trellises were removed without replacement because they were a source of chronic leaks, and a new design and realization was beyond our budget. The decorative element of the round vents above was also jettisoned due to cost. I (Harold) was especially disappointed by this.ImageImage

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Photo details of new courtyard windows/doors,tile perimeter, utility door

Today after the construction meeting I took some pictures of a completed entry courtyard in the 910s, and a view of a completed upper deck facade in the 900s, where the trellises will not be replaced and even the Fypon “fake” vents as a decorative element were cut to save $. Here they are:ImageImageImageImageImage

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June 12 Construction Meeting notes & photo

Schedule update. SM released the tentative schedule to all contractors on Friday June 7.
910s: almost done, but still a few things left (window cleaning, securing carpet, dirt mounds, etc.).
900s: stucco color coating and final roof tile installation (over living room) progressing pod by pod. Entry courtyard tiling has begun as well.Image
920s: Window/door installation ongoing, some units are up to interior drywall work..
930s:.Boxing of study & kitchen windows will be completed this week. Proceeding clockwise from the other end, demo of the entry courtyard tiles will be completed as well.
940s: first cluster meeting this Thursday June 13.

As-built drawings: Changes etc. should all be documented in submittals and meeting notes on Procore website.

Water testing of completed units? None is planned for the windows/doors–just the roof drains, which have a pre- and a post-test. The latter backs up onto the roof to test the connection between drain and pipe.

Question regarding use of elastomeric (and backing rods) on dining area windows in 910s: caulking is being used (is this what elastomeric means?), as submitted, documented and approved by the waterproofing consultant; see the ProCore website. Backing rods are foam inserts behind the caulking, less than pinky thickness around. Backer rods are being used. Lifetime of caulking not known offhand, but is in the submittals. Discussion of annual inspections being used to determine how caulking is holding up. Question should be addressed to the waterproofing consultant.

Window Screens: they have just arrived, Bobby will contact owners about installation.

Skylights: Gail will be consulting with aesthetics about this. Ours have two “lenses.” Bristollite’s colors are white opaque, smoke (tinted), clear. Usually clear on the inside, smoke on the outside. They are plastic, which can scratch during cleaning. Budget is $13,500, so about $200+/skylight, so not many options here.

Landscaping replacement: Sewer clean-out access (under kitchen window)–dirt pile from back patio flashing work will be removed/redistributed. Note: These clean-outs are usually in a vault, or have other access markers, but ours do not. Open question (for the Board): should we have Plowboy make all of these accessible as they work on those hedges, or mark them with flags.

Door Threshold detail: the stainless clips are being used wherever possible; wood where necessary (when the back of the threshold is too tight to the metal). This is on the inside.

Roof drain testing: post-testing complete for 910s; pre-testing completed for 930s on June 7.

Next meeting: Tuesday June 25, 2013, 11am.

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Scheduling update as of June 7

Stonemark has just released the following schedule update, subject to the usual disclaimers. How nice it would be to have everything done by early December! We’ll hope the contractors buy in to this timeline. The text below is from Stonemark’s pdf newsletter.Image

As you know, the schedule has been delayed on the early clusters. The project team is working hard to schedule construction activities for the balance of the units. In order NOT TO delay publishing a schedule to homeowners and as a management tool, we have prepared a tentative schedule for completion of the project by December 4, 2013. This is a one-month delay from the original plan. However, please note that there are a number of issues being considered in an effort to improve the schedule and bring it back to the original completion date. These variables may include re-sequencing of activities, retention of additional crews for key tasks, acceleration of some tasks and start dates, etc. Naturally, these changes could result in earlier or later work in clusters for certain tasks in order to optimize the assembly-line and overall completion dates.

Therefore please accept the following as our best estimates for start and completion dates. Note that start dates represent the early start date for trellis and deck work, which precedes the main sequence of construction by three to four weeks. Some roofing work will also be performed independently of the main body of work.

Schedules are naturally subject to change. Going forward, we will provide monthly updates to all homeowners identifying progress and any projected changes to the schedules. In this way we will give you the best information that we have and keep you informed. We understand that homeowners have been inconvenienced due to scheduling uncertainties, which is implicit in construction. We thank you for your patience.

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Roof Drain Testing procedure

  1. Drain bladders are placed as stoppers at the foot of all the downspouts for the home.
  2. The roofing contractor, under the supervision of Stonemark’s construction manager, fills the drain lines with water from the roof level. Another contractor will be present inside the home at all times during the test.
  3. The water is allowed to sit in the drain for about an hour to test for pinhole leaks and incipient failures.
  4. If there is no evidence of leakage i.e., staining or wet drywall, the water is released. Homeowners can then have some degree of confidence in the integrity of the existing drain pipes.

Roof Drain Testing is performed again at the end of the re-roofing to confirm that the joint at the roof level has been properly executed. You will receive another Notice when this procedure is scheduled to be performed.

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