Monday, February 2, 2009

34: Don't Let Anything Slide

At the end of a construction project, the homeowner and builder have to both agree that everything was completed as per the terms of the building contract and the final check is written. The homeowner gets the key to the house, and it's theirs to it is. I'm not encouraging anyone to assume that there will be things in dispute at this point, and I don't recommend withholding the final check unless things have gone seriously awry. I do recommend, though, that the new homeowner makes doubly, triply sure that everything is completed as expected and as specified. It's really easy at this point to be so happy that construction is finally complete that details can be overlooked...even ignored.

I should have learned my lesson. About 10 years ago, I renovated an apartment in New York City. The renovation experience didn't even begin to compare in scope and scale with my experience building a house, but when the renovation was complete, I was so happy and relieved to be back in my apartment I overlooked a few things that had been done incorrectly. Ten years later, I'm still living with mosaic tiles that weren't installed correctly in my bathroom, and—worse—a darker grout that was used on only one of four walls. The color is only slightly darker, but I notice it with a tinge of irritation every time I turn on the light in the bathroom.

Here at Twilight Field, there was one problem that wasn't readily apparent when work was finished and I took possession of the house. The in-wall sound system in the living room was installed, but I didn't yet have a TV to check it and discover that the subwoofer was missing behind it's grillwork...and over a year later I'm still trying to get the system connected and working correctly. My builder has come back and installed the missing subwoofer, but something more is wrong with the system. It's still not working.

Mistakes happen, and it's amazing that this is the only real problem that I've had during or after construction. But, don't let anything (in my case needing to purchase a TV in time) prevent you from checking out everything in the project before you agree that the job is done. I'm back in touch with my builder, and he's coming back to work out the problem. I'll share more about the sound system in another post.

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