Week of March 18 - March 22, 2013

On Monday this week, I received a call from the owner wondering if the contractor needed to build a wall cutting off open attic space from an unfinished room in the apartment upstairs in the day care facility. This is something that we discussed in the pre-construction meeting, but had not brought up since. I told the owner and contractor that I believed it was going to be necessary, but would contact the MEP Engineer to verify. The contractor replied that he did not believe it was shown on the bid documents or included in what they bid, and the owner replied that he really did not want to have to pay anything additional for the wall. The MEP Engineer was also not entirely sure of the wall's necessity given the odd condition of the space, but noted that it was called out on his sprinkler plans as a one-hour firewall to be built by the general contractor. On Tuesday, I called the contractor to inform him of the note about this wall in the sprinkler plans. Before I could tell him about the note, he informed me that the fire inspector had just completed a lengthy inspection of the building (including the space in question) and raised no issues. Given that the only purpose of the wall if required would be for fire protection of the open attic space, we agreed to leave the wall out for now, and add it later if it was raised by the inspector as a necessary item. He conceded that it would be his responsibility to build the wall if the inspector raised the point. I explained all of this to the owner afterwards, and the owner is content with the outcome of the situation.

In a separate conversation in the same phone call as above, the contractor expressed concern to me that the owner's "friend" who is supposed to be installing new VCT throughout the facility, has been difficult to reach and has not yet come on-site. The contractor stated that this was not yet an issue for him, but that it could become one if the flooring continued to be a delay. We agreed to play it by ear, and I agreed to talk to the owner about the situation if such a conversation becomes necessary in the coming few weeks. The contractor noted that he could probably match the price and product the owner's friend is providing and complete the work faster. This outcome would be agreeable for me, especially from a quality-control standpoint, but I will let the situation play out before raising any concerns with the owner.

No more issues were brought up with the day care project this week. I did, on Friday evening, receive an email in regards to the renovation of a building in downtown Fayetteville. Details in the email were sparse, but it could be a very interesting project. Hopefully more details will be forthcoming after a discussion with the client next week.

As far as lessons go, from the beginning of this post it is key to take away the the importance of good note-taking and distribution of meeting minutes throughout a project. As I mentioned, the wall issue was covered in the pre-construction meeting, but I failed to take and send out minutes from that meeting. I could have saved myself, the contractor, and the owner the initial headache that accompanied dealing with the situation described if I had taken and sent out minutes as I should have.

Week of March 11 - March 15, 2013

I conducted a site visit of the project on Tuesday of this week. With the sprinkler contractor out of the building, things seem to be moving along quickly for the general contractor's crew in the day care facility renovation. Moving through the building, I saw no issues with the construction to this point. Only two minor questions arose during the meeting. First, the general contractor was wondering if it was necessary to box the riser for the sprinkler system as it rose through an unfinished portion of the apartment on the second level of the building. I informed him that the riser needed to carry one-hour protection, even and especially through the unfinished space, and therefore it did need to be boxed, with two layers of sheetrock. The second question was brought up by the owner. In order to make the existing restrooms in this facility handicapped accessible (all are the same layout), we pulled the toilets each forward two feet to clear the sink beside them and allow for access from the side. In boxing behind the toilets after moving them forward, the owner pointed out, we had created dead space that was inaccessible. With the plumbing located in the ground, his suggestion was to cut off the box-out at 4'0" in height, accomplishing the same handicapped accessible layout while creating a large shelf area to be used for the storage of toilet paper and paper towels. I discussed this idea with the general contractor and saw no reason why not to do it, so we elected to take the suggestion and cut the box-out at 4' in height.

Construction is on track to finish before scheduled, and owner and contractor seem to be coexisting happily in the facility. No further issues were brought up with this project this week.

Week of March 04 - March 08, 2013

This week was Spring Break at NCSU, and I was out of town and unavailable for most of the week. Shortly before leaving town, however, I was contacted by the GC's superintendent with a question from the owner and the sprinkler contractor's underground subcontractor. They were wondering if there was any reason to run the pipe from the main at the street to the front of the building as we had shown instead of bringing it directly into the riser room on the side of the building, thus eliminating the need for a box-out for the pipe in a front office of the facility. I reminded the owner that we chose to run the pipe where it was shown to avoid associated complications in the event that he ever chose to add on to the facility, as the side where the pipe would be underground would be the only direction in which to add to the building. We discussed this for a few minutes, and ended up deciding to run it to the side after all. Adding onto the side of the building will still be possible, the pipe would just need to be protected when digging and pouring the footings. With this possibility being a ways off and not being a great concern anyway, I thought that avoiding a box-out in the office by bringing the pipe along the side of the building and into the closet where the riser is was a perfectly acceptable solution.

Upon returning from my trip, there were no new messages for me in regards to this project. I called the GC and the owner and both parties reported that everything was going smoothly.