Post # 1
So, we are in the process of building a home, but we’ve hit a major, major snag. This is a brand new house plan, and the builder has never built one like it before. Our house is going up at the same time as the model. We were ok with this risk, because it gives us a house that looks different from the rest in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the crew recently discovered there is a major design flaw: the furnace does not fit in the attic as planned, and therefore does not fit anywhere in the house. The build has been stagnate for 2 weeks while they tried to find a solution.
Yesterday, I talked to the construction manager, and was informed that they were wrong – it did fit in the attic! But…wait…how is that possible if two weeks ago it didn’t fit?? I was confused, but he pacified me and told me that it would go in the attic that day and the electrician would be out the next day. Well, my dad lives near the new house, so he stopped by the check out the furnace in the attic. The furnace wasn’t in the attic, and the crew hanging around told him that actually it won’t fit in the attic. Wait…what? Did the manager lie to me when he assured me it fit now? So we decided to get the sales manager, the construction manager and their boss in a meeting on Wednesday to discuss what the heck is going on, because we are beyond uncomfortable with this situation.
Well, after multiple phone calls, we have our meeting and a new assurance that the furnace really does not fit in the attic and that we have to find an alternative. They gave us three options, but none of them are great. I don’t trust them at all anymore, so I am to a point of walking away from the house, or asking them to build the next floor plan in their list that they have way more experience building but only charge us the price we are paying for this not-so-great floor plan.
Any advice for me hive?
Post # 3
Ugh. That really sucks. I’m sorry! That seems odd that they can’t modify the plans to accomodate the furnace. I’m definitely not well versed in architechture or construction though. My only advice would be to try and not get too worried about between now and the meeting. Wait and see what they have to say and suggest for possible remedies. If none of those are satisfactory then I would start thinking about alternatives.
Post # 4
What would happen if you walked away? Are you going to be out the money? I would wait until the meeting to see what options they have. I think that they should help you out with this since it is their fault that they didn’t make sure that the furnace would fit in the home before approving the plans.
Post # 5
We just built our home this year so I sorta understand where you are coming from. First let me tell, construction managers lie alot to please you. My Darling Husband who is so easy going and never lets things bother him but after dealing with the CM a few times, he let me take the reigns and lets just say the construction crew, electricians, plumbers were happy to see our house done. We paid good money for it, it will be done right.
Ok, do you guys not have a basement at all? Honestly I’ve never heard of the furnance in the attic so I really can not help you there. If they are in the process of putting the furnace in it seems they are pretty far in the construction process meaning, dry wall is complete etc right? I hate to say it unless you have some random new construction loan or weird builder, you can not walk away. You signed a contract with not only them but you obviously have a loan in process correct? Even if its a construction to permanant type loan, this loan is in effect. Dont quite know your exact situation so only going from what we went through and what happens with construction in our area. Unfortunately with building a home does come with unforseen events that you must prepare yourself for. We only had one set back and it was minor so we were pretty blessed. I really find it hard to beleive that they would have had the floor plan and print approved by state and county codes and not be aware of this issue prior even if it is new. There are so many codes and regulations that have to be met by state and county laws with home contruction its ridiculous.
Post # 6
This actually happens pretty often in all types of construction. We are in sitework construction (and we also have a small General Construction group), and unfortunately, there are just a lot of crappy architects. We have had plenty of situations where we haven’t even started a job before we notice something is wrong with the plans and have to try and convince the architect that it needs to be fixed. During this time (which can take weeks), the new plans are having to be drawn, passed around between the city/county, general contractor, and the architect and signed off by all.
The reason it is taking so long to get the problem resolved, is that they are having to find a solution and then get it approved by quite a few people. Do they have their own architect in house? I would personally want to speak directly to him and find out what they have to say.
Most problems can be resolved with some work, but I would be keeping record of EVERYTHING at this point to be sure they are not trying to sneak the cost of fixing their problem into your bill.
Post # 7
My first question would be… how do you feel about this home plan generally? Do you just like it because it is different or are there features about the floor plan that you really like? I would not be happy just moving into any other style house in our community, I love the plan that WE chose because it really fits our needs and lifestyle. If you like this plan, I’d say stay with it.
Second question… you get a home warranty right? it is pretty standard that you get a 1 year total home warranty on new builds. Honestly, At the 11 month mark I could get a home inspector to come out. Generally you don’t really hire inspectors for new builds, but I think that hiring someone to come out soon to when the warranty will expire may expose any latent problems and give you time to report them and get them fixed before your warranty expires.
Post # 8
@piccateer…I will chime in and say…it’s just a part of the building process. When I had my home built, I picked out a particular floorplan only to find out that the fireplace couldn’t fit on the wall specified in the floorplan b/c the chimney wouldn’t fit. So…my fireplace is in a different spot than all of the other homes built with that floorplan in our neighborhood. I parlayed that mistake into full appliances for my home right down to the washer and dryer =) If you love the plan, stick with it and maybe get some extras out of it.
Post # 9
I am an intern (unlicensed) architect. This problem is very common and not necessarily a sign of a bad architect. Sometimes they will design the home to fit a specific brand and model, and by the time they build it, that model is no longer available. So they are probably having to use a furnace that is a different size than the one they had planned for. In a typical project that is using a real architect (not all homes are required to be designed by a licensed architect) the contractor is required to either suggest a furnace that will fit or suggest an alternate location for the furnace. The architect would either accept the builder’s suggestion or ask them to resubmit another idea that conforms to the general intent of the contract. So you should be able to select one of the choices offered to you. Why are the choices they offered you so bad? There should be a reasonable solution; this is within the range of things that come up during construction.
As for the time delay, it probably has nothing to do with the furnace. The builder probably has another job somewhere else that either pays more or is on a tighter deadline and he has moved his crew there temporarily. That’s totally ok, as long as they finish on time. The contractor is allowed to flex his crew as needed.
You really don’t have a lot of recourse here, as long as they build you a house with a furnace and it is done by the date in the contract. They would never agree to build you a different house now but they might agree to throw in something like the appliances another poster mentioned, just to make you happy.
I would approach them with a plan. Tell them calmly which option you have chosen, and explain that you are disappointed that the plan no longer works as well as you thought it would. For example: If it means a bedroom is now smaller, say that due to the smaller bedroom you would like them to install a free closet organizer so you can use the space better. Or if the kitchen no longer fits a table and chairs, ask them to add a free breakfast bar. When you explain it rationally and ask for a reasonable (and related to the problem) comp, they are likely to agree.
Post # 10
Thanks for all of the input guys. We go for the meeting this afternoon to discuss our options. We can still back out – we would loose our $500 good faith money, but in this case I may fight for a refund. We live in Texas, so no basement for us. The thing that bugs me the most is how they’ve handled the situation. 2 weeks ago they figured out it couldn’t fit. They then waited on a new plan, then tried three different possibilities, none of which worked. The building manager then lied to me on Monday to pacify me by saying that the furnace now fit in the attic as originally planned. The next morning after I said, no it won’t fit according to your crew, he modified his story again. I’m just tired of the run around. Plus, my dad has major concerns over how they are cutting into support beams to make room for the new ductwork plan. He is worried that we will have parts of our second story sagging within a year. We are already getting all of our appliances and blinds in our package (it was an incentive), so I’m not sure what else I can ask for. Besides, I’m not sure any free add-ons will really make me feel better about their mistakes.
Post # 11
So the structural beams are the big issue, right? One thing is that it may not actually be a real problem. You can cut through the center of a beam and it can still work as well as if the center were there (most of the work of a beam is at the top and bottom and there is zero force at the center) so it is possible that it is ok. But without hiring a structural engineer it would be hard to tell. You should ask for:
1) Add additional reinforcment and/or additional structureal members to brace the affected area AND
2) A warranty against sagging in that area. You want the warranty to limit deflection to L/240.