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  1. #951
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    ^^^^^
    This. The design is what you will be paying to build, regardless and affecting your family's daily lives. Short term 'pain' for long term gain.....and to avoid the woulda, coulda, shoulda's.
    Best regards, Terry
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  2. #952
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    The house is a mid 1960's 3/2, raised foundation. 2 of my neighbors have done renovations and had asbestos in the sheetrock, I'm assuming similar here. Current foundation cannot support the load of a second floor. Need to retrofit the current raised foundation to 18" deep and probably beef up a couple sections of the framing to get the load down. I drew up the full site plan with setbacks to start my floorplan drawings and that's when we realized we were shoehorned into our lot with practically nowhere to go but up. We cannot step outward with foundations, but the GC's I've talked to so far aren't scared of that. Tree drip line can be handled with $400 to the arborists.
    Fat fuck bubbas are not erosion.

  3. #953
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    Quote Originally Posted by acinpdx View Post
    How comfortable are you with nailing the "it looks like it was always there" part of the project?
    I get this, and I've been upfront with every GC I've talked to that my idea is a box on top of a box (classic engineer design) and I DO need help to make it prettier by setting back 2nd floor areas, eves, etc. What I don't get is after I've stared at this for months is spending 15-20k for someone to say I need to set the 2nd floor back from the garage door, change the bathroom door location, not draw any plans for permitting and leave. I'd spend that if they drew the plans in full, signed and stamped, but not just for strictly architectural services. This house and neighborhood isn't the high rent district you dentists live in. This is a college town and I live near a good number of student rentals.

    As an engineer, I also have a natural disposition to hate architects. It's in the blood.
    Fat fuck bubbas are not erosion.

  4. #954
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    Home Remodel: Do, Don'ts, Advice

    At what point of the remedial work you need to do would it be better to scrape it (or part) and start anew?

    And, what is the ‘cost’ of keeping the tree vs considering better or more options if it was not a limiting factor?




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    Best regards, Terry
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  5. #955
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJSapp View Post
    I get this, and I've been upfront with every GC I've talked to that my idea is a box on top of a box (classic engineer design) and I DO need help to make it prettier by setting back 2nd floor areas, eves, etc. What I don't get is after I've stared at this for months is spending 15-20k for someone to say I need to set the 2nd floor back from the garage door, change the bathroom door location, not draw any plans for permitting and leave. I'd spend that if they drew the plans in full, signed and stamped, but not just for strictly architectural services. This house and neighborhood isn't the high rent district you dentists live in. This is a college town and I live near a good number of student rentals.

    As an engineer, I also have a natural disposition to hate architects. It's in the blood.
    Yeah and unfortunately, Designers and Architects need engineers, too.

    There is also a consulting approach where you can get some design input and you do the drawings. Hell, I'd do the drawings for less than half that cost....and in 3D.

    Seriously, though, I've lost count on how many additions, remodels and new construction projects and mind boggling scenarios in which I've been involved. Not only from the design side but also the guy doing the work. Having another set of eyes looking over your shoulder and offering other 'what ifs', typically helps you get out of tunnel vision due to your being 'too close' to the project and not necessarily seeing longer view and other very good possibilities.
    Best regards, Terry
    (Direct Contact is best vs PMs)

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  6. #956
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
    At what point of the remedial work you need to do would it be better to scrape it (or part) and start anew?

    And, what is the ‘cost’ of keeping the tree vs considering better or more options if it was not a limiting factor?
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    For a total replacement, I'd need to find a guy that would demo and rebuild a 2,000sf house in Northern California for $140/sf. If I did find that guy, I wouldn't hire him. That's at least $60-150/sf under the going rate. And the good builders are all eyeing insurance work in Napa/Sonoma/Paradise that is on the horizon, so prices are going up. I'm prepared that my kitchen will likely need to be removed, salvaged and reinstalled in place to facilitate the foundation work, but that is unknown at this time. We like the layout, granite, appliances and sink. The cabinets aren't great but they serve their purpose. Flooring is currently fine.

    The tree can be trimmed back for $500, and is probably due this winter for a visit from the arborist anyway for some thinning. The trunk is ~25' from the front of house with a couple major branches pointed toward the house, but nothing overhanging. Not a city tree so I can 86 it if necessary. I don't see how the tree would be limiting too much other than bringing in a truck crane to set some prebuilt trusses. It's right behind the sidewalk within the setback zone so I can't build there if I wanted to. I'm not going to maul a 60 year old tree so the framer can be done 3 days faster.
    Fat fuck bubbas are not erosion.

  7. #957
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    Quote Originally Posted by knopfler View Post
    I have an electrical question. My 1905 house is partially updated, but still has some knob and tube, including some in the attic that has insulation blown over it (thanks for the tip, home inspector). From what I can see, this line only feeds three ceiling light fixtures- no fans or anything big and it's the end of the run. There is a some romex that comes up from an exterior conduit pipe into the attic and feeds the bathroom and exhaust fan. In my mind, this should not be a huge job to replace the knob and tube by either splicing off the existing romex or drop a new line down the conduit to the breaker box which has empty slots. I do worry why this was not done in the first place, but there's a lot of half ass stuff with the electric update (uncovered junction boxes etc, thanks again inspector). Considering this is Seattle and it's boom times for fleecing the rich, what is a reasonable cost for this kind of thing?

    I almost feel like I could do it myself- not the breaker panel option of course. The last time I hired electricians they ripped me off hard and I'm still pissed.
    We have a 30's house with knob and tube and blown in insulation. The insulation is not asbestos, so don't assume yours is. (There's also some insulation consisting of old newspapers, 1933.) We do have asbestos on the ducts and the old gravity furnace which we have left in place. The next owner can worry about that. When we added a second story the electrician advised leaving the knob and tube for the lighting fixtures; he felt just as safe as replacing with Romex. We did add grounded outlets on the ground floor.

  8. #958
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJSapp View Post
    What I don't get is after I've stared at this for months is spending 15-20k for someone to say I need to set the 2nd floor back from the garage door, change the bathroom door location, not draw any plans for permitting and leave.
    You've now spent months on it. And you're not dead clear on how everything relates?

    Your GC just wants to know what to do. While they're happy to offer opinions, they aren't necessarily trained for giving architectural ones. And you know how burdensome it is changing direction during construction.

    You're going to spend six figures building this -- that's a vast expenditure, one you're not likely to make again...
    don't you think it's worth getting it dialed before you build?

    I know it's fun to dis architects, but they do more than provide a stamp or pretty pictures on "blueprints".

    i don't know if it's the right number or not, but I'd expect a lot of work for $15-20k...

  9. #959
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    For a college town CA ranch, in a neighborhood with no other custom homes, an architect is overkill IMO.

    However, they will make it look nicer than any GC winging it will, so pay the money if that is important to you. Sounds like you are going to have to spend something to get past permitting anyways so it might not be that much more expensive.
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  10. #960
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    AC, I've been up front that I need some design help to make it look a bit better, especially the exterior. I also know what these folks cost per hour and giving them 8-12% of the cost should buy me a dude full time for 150 hours of work.

    There is not 150 hours of architectural design work here. Say what you will about engineers, but I've seen enough floorplans to get 80% of the way there on an interior.

    This is the exterior look that we're trying to match:


    This is my house, right there dead center of the picture and it looks like this 9 months of the year. Even more leaves during the summer as the branches sag down to the point they clip the top of the van.

    This is my concept



    A box over the kitchen and garage, because that's where it works. Going over the back bedrooms will shade the pool full time and I don't want that. Staying on the ground and pushing the house forward makes a strange bastard lot piece between me and my neighbor. I need that backyard space on the right for the dogs.

    Engineering design, yes, we will absolutely need that for a second floor addition in CA. Interior design, probably a bit of that so our finishes don't clash horribly. If you're calling that architecture, then sure, I need that. Beyond that, I need someone to review my floorplan and someone to come up with an exterior appearance that looks decent enough for January-March when the tree drops its leaves. The long and short is this isn't the Taj Mahal. I probably do need to get a consulting architect to get this across the finish line, but this isn't rocket science.
    Fat fuck bubbas are not erosion.

  11. #961
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJSapp View Post
    etc., etrc., etc.

    I'm going the GC route because I have a day job building bigger things. My current top candidate says he generally doesn't use architects because he has been doing this for 25 years and generally knows how to make a house look. He has a decent portfolio that looks good, but I need to investigate further. I'm still waiting to interview a couple others.
    .
    .
    .
    Any other wisdom from the collective that hasn't already been beaten to death?
    Big red flag there IMO. Builders and GCs are not architects. And architects are not builders either. Sometimes you find one who is both, architect by education and certification, and builder by experience.

    Find an architect who's been 'doing this' for 25 or 30 years and compare the design work of the two, the architect's designs will come out on top all the time. Either that or you have a really bad architect, or a very rare exception of a builder.
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  12. #962
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    DJ, imgs not showing in your post on the web?
    (edit) see some on the app..."exterior look" image not showing in either one

  13. #963
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    Perhaps the biggest thing an architect can do is draw up specs on architectural details, materials and fixtures to be used, etc. and the contractor can bid the contract based on those specs That way you don't find out that the fixtures and materials the contractor uses are the cheapest, shoddiest available. That said, of the 4 remodeling jobs we've done (not including the one where we were the GC) not one of them had a contract that met all the requirements for a binding contract in CA.

    With the last couple of jobs the contractor bid foundation, framing, closing in, and drywall, and left things like fixtures and cabinets up to us to provide, and the finish carpentry up to me to do. It's a nice way to do it--the contract is a lot less complicated and it allows you to make decisions on the finish work on the fly, and the finish work is fun for me. These were relatively small projects, though, so we were able to have a good idea what the stuff we were to provide would cost. I wouldn't want to do it for a whole house. (I wouldn't want to contract a whole house, period.)

    I'm shocked by how bad the contractors I've worked with are at drawing up contracts that protect them. They seem to put an awful lot of trust in clients when they write contracts that they could legally get stiffed on.

  14. #964
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJSapp View Post
    AC, I've been up front that I need some design help to make it look a bit better, especially the exterior. I also know what these folks cost per hour and giving them 8-12% of the cost should buy me a dude full time for 150 hours of work.

    There is not 150 hours of architectural design work here. Say what you will about engineers, but I've seen enough floorplans to get 80% of the way there on an interior.

    This is the exterior look that we're trying to match:


    This is my house, right there dead center of the picture and it looks like this 9 months of the year. Even more leaves during the summer as the branches sag down to the point they clip the top of the van.

    This is my concept



    A box over the kitchen and garage, because that's where it works. Going over the back bedrooms will shade the pool full time and I don't want that. Staying on the ground and pushing the house forward makes a strange bastard lot piece between me and my neighbor. I need that backyard space on the right for the dogs.

    Engineering design, yes, we will absolutely need that for a second floor addition in CA. Interior design, probably a bit of that so our finishes don't clash horribly. If you're calling that architecture, then sure, I need that. Beyond that, I need someone to review my floorplan and someone to come up with an exterior appearance that looks decent enough for January-March when the tree drops its leaves. The long and short is this isn't the Taj Mahal. I probably do need to get a consulting architect to get this across the finish line, but this isn't rocket science.
    LMK if you want to chat about it offline or end up with questions not otherwise addressed...or not, NBD.
    Not trying to put you in a gotcha situation. I don't know anything about you or your project. I am licensed in cali if that matters (but not looking to do your project [you should get someone local, if desired/needed]).

  15. #965
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    I bet there is damn near enough design work to fill 150 hours, many of which will be offset during a build guided by a comprehensive set of plans.

  16. #966
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    Home Remodel: Do, Don'ts, Advice

    FYI, in Cali, 2 story + basement wood construction house is an “exempt” structure and is not reqd to have a design professional stamp. Most states have similar laws, mostly to protect the ability of home owners to self build on their property.

    That said, any CA design professional, architect or PE, has a professional responsibility to stamp any design documents produced.

  17. #967
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    AC, I'll hit you up tomorrow. Root, if the architect puts out the full set of plans, I don't have a beef spending that cash. If they're just coming up with a couple pretty pictures, that's not worth it. In my line of work there is a big difference between a design engineer and architect. In the residential world, those lines are blurred.
    Fat fuck bubbas are not erosion.

  18. #968
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJSapp View Post
    AC, I'll hit you up tomorrow. Root, if the architect puts out the full set of plans, I don't have a beef spending that cash. If they're just coming up with a couple pretty pictures, that's not worth it. In my line of work there is a big difference between a design engineer and architect. In the residential world, those lines are blurred.
    I'd set aside the anti architect feelings and start talking to some. Seems your general complaint is too much money and you don't know what you will get or if it's worth it. Negotiate. Determine what you want for a service and agree on a price. Sometimes I just do basic model with a couple of renderings and the builder takes it from there, other times it's a full blown set of bid documents. Just remember they have the same legal and ethical obligations that you have when you stamp a document and there is a value to that.

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  19. #969
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post

    I'm shocked by how bad the contractors I've worked with are at drawing up contracts that protect them. They seem to put an awful lot of trust in clients when they write contracts that they could legally get stiffed on.
    20-30 pages usually covers everything don't know what goof balls you have had working for you I even spell out if I am renting a toilet or shitting in their house people suck so you can't leave anything out and if they decide to be a pain in the ass you just refer them to section whatever my favorite is non payment and liens pretty amazed at how lucky I am at weeding out all the nut job customers my test is to show up at the initial meeting blazed to the bone I don't listen to word they say but just watch their body language and see how pushy they are and then throw a really really high number there way depending on how much air they gasp when they hear the number depends if I show back up for a second meeting where I might listen to them

  20. #970
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    I laughed.

  21. #971
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    I always hate when I'm meeting with a woman who has huge tits it's becomes all about the eye contact and not looking at her tits it's even worse when she has a cross between the two of them I feel like I'm burning in hell for being a pervert and taking her money

  22. #972
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    FF--don't know how serious you are but the longest contract I signed was 2 pages. That one had a price down to the cents, but the excavator and the concrete guy wanted more money and we had to pay to keep the job going. That was the contractor's fault IMO not keeping his subs in line. In the the end the excavator wanted even more money, we refused and we also refused to make the final payment to the contractor. Contractor and excavator both sent us to collections; a brief letter from an attorney friend took care of that. We could have sued the contractor but I'm sure he was broke, and he's not in business any more.

    I'm also surprised that subs and suppliers don't file 20 day preliminary notices.

    I have an architect friend who no longer has his GC license but does small jobs on a T and M basis, illegal in CA.

    It seems the laws in CA are largely ignored and the business depends on contractors, subs, suppliers, and clients who trust each other and are fair to each other. The fact that it seems to work most of the time surprises me. Maybe people are better than I give them credit for. Our contractor in Truckee--Ron Adams--is a jewel.

  23. #973
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    FF--don't know how serious you are but the longest contract I signed was 2 pages. That one had a price down to the cents, but the excavator and the concrete guy wanted more money and we had to pay to keep the job going. .
    always serious
    2 pages is silly, maybe back in 1988 that was ok
    my subcontractor contract is 9 pages long

    you gotta spell out scope of work, completion dates, and a payment plan or else they keep coming back for more money

    this is 2019, if you are a business owner and have never been sued than your doing something wrong

    I've already missed two meetings today, think I'm doing something wrong, should just give up and go skiing

  24. #974
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    A question for Landscape or Electrical Contractor types.

    Landscape lighting for a multi unit condo property, which is a better arrangement to control when the outdoor lighting, mostly landscape lights, turn on and off, a timer that knows sunrise and sunset time in the local area for each day (intermatic), or a less costly timer with on/off set to the shortest daylight times of the year with a photo-eye wired into the circuit?
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  25. #975
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody Famous View Post
    A question for Landscape or Electrical Contractor types.

    Landscape lighting for a multi unit condo property, which is a better arrangement to control when the outdoor lighting, mostly landscape lights, turn on and off, a timer that knows sunrise and sunset time in the local area for each day (intermatic), or a less costly timer with on/off set to the shortest daylight times of the year with a photo-eye wired into the circuit?
    landscape architect friend only recommends/specifies timers
    the nice ones are reachable by your phone so you can deal with it anywhere with a signal

    simplest might be photocell with a switched override
    it rolls auto most of the time & you can turn on/off when it's needed

    am not a landscape or elec contractor, nor did i stay at a holiday inn express

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