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Old 03-29-2014, 09:07 AM   #501
biggerboat
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Michael's response to my question

Quote:
1) Elevations and site plan need to reflect the porch addition - There is no addition. The old porch had to be removed to repair the foundation. It's going right where the old one was.

Response: The 2 elevations provided do not show finished ground area.

2) Need footing and footing attachment details - I noted footings on the drawing. I'm guessing there is some format that I'm unaware of. I will happily do this if I knew what it is you want

Response: I would need details on the foundation what I have so far on the plans are an overhead view of squares. How deep are the footings? What are their dimensions, what type of rebar is used, and what type of post connectors.

3) Height of rear deck/porch above grade - This one has me baffled. I'm replacing a front porch. I can certainly provide that, though.

Response: Rear was a typo, front height can be obtained with detailed elevations.

4) Post sizes - OK, I can do that

Response: I would not check any of these requirements if these plans were sealed by an engineer.

5) More comments may be generated as more information is provided.

Response: Without an engineer's seal I am required to gather the following information Joist Size, inches on center, beam size, post size, post connector, ledger board, type of wood used, post notching and bolting, lag bolt type used, and detailed footing / foundation information. After all that information is gathered I then verify every connection and span and generate comments. With an engineers sealed letter summarizing the materials and describing the footing I could release this plan without exhaustive review. Each rejection after this one will result in a $355.68 charge, cost of employ of an engineer for a project of this scope is generally less. The last suggestion is when plans are sealed the inspection process will be a much easier experience.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:51 AM   #502
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

After reading that several times it seems pretty obvious he'll only accept certified plans. So, I guess that's what I'll do. I did send him a reply, though.

Quote:
Michael,

I get the message.

I'm speaking to deaf ears but oh well.

I built my garage myself. I replaced my siding myself. I replaced my roof and repaired the decking myself. I completely gutted and remodeled my house myself. I will put my work up against any new construction in this city. When I build something it is meticulous and built to last.

There is a disconect at the city between what is right for the citizens and the city and the Kafkaesque department you work in. It is nonsensical, onerous, and antagonistic.

But you have power and power corrupts. So, I'll go hire an engineer since it is blatantly obvious you will never accept anything I provide to you.

Thanks,
Burch
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:51 AM   #503
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Ouch.

I wouldn't be surprised though if he's meaning he's required by law/legislation to gather this information without an engineers seal. And it sort of makes sense in that the engineer has a professional responsibility (with equivalent punishments for ****ing those up) while the 'average' person would/could probably screw a lot of this stuff up.

It just really sucks for people like you because there doesn't seem to be a way for you to prove that you're not a moron. Even after they've seen the other stuff you've built.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:36 AM   #504
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Originally Posted by jjshabado View Post
I wouldn't be surprised though if he's meaning he's required by law/legislation to gather this information without an engineers seal. And it sort of makes sense in that the engineer has a professional responsibility (with equivalent punishments for ****ing those up) while the 'average' person would/could probably screw a lot of this stuff up.
On one level I understand this. However, my interpretation of his responses is "I'll just keep telling you what is missing until you get it right, and it'll cost you $350 every time" I mean, the first response didn't mention anything about rebar, post connectors, etc. I would have missed that for sure.

It wouldn't have been that difficult for him to make some attempt to help me out. He could have taken 30 minutes out of his day to sit down with me and discuss this.

But this doesn't sit on an island. If this was the only issue I had encountered I think I could have dealt with it a lot better. But this is AFTER all the other bull**** I've had to deal with. It's just another example of someone down there yanking my chain just because they can.
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Old 03-29-2014, 03:07 PM   #505
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Definitely. I totally understand where you're coming from. And the level of incompetence/indifference that you've encountered is mind boggling.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:03 PM   #506
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Originally Posted by biggerboat View Post
After reading that several times it seems pretty obvious he'll only accept certified plans. So, I guess that's what I'll do. I did send him a reply, though.

.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:27 PM   #507
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

My goal today was to stain some lattice to finish up the deck. Much much more tedious than I thought it was going to be. I got 1 full piece and 1 side of a second piece (out of 8 I need to do) done in 5 hours. I would keep going but my back is acting up.

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Old 03-30-2014, 05:32 PM   #508
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

It took me the better part of a day to stain 2 1/2 more pieces. Sometimes I think it's just as hard on your body to do something where you aren't really moving/lifting as it is if you are. Just standing over the lattice all day for 2 days is about as much as I can do.

I have enough done to finish the next part of the deck. I probably could have started today but I've done enough.

I did this in shorts and splattered stain all over my legs. Only it won't come off. I look like I have some sort of skin disease.

In other news, that incident with the city for some reason has put me back in a funk. It's weird how something like that is a trigger. I mean, **** like that is just part of life but for some reason it has really knocked me down. I dunno.
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:24 PM   #509
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

paint thinner will get that stain off your legs; put a little on a rag and wipe it off. just make sure you wash with soap and water afterwards.
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:13 PM   #510
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Bigger it is a temporary hurdle.
The reason it has knocked the stuffing out of you - is that you have done a great job and what they are saying is that it is not good enough for them. Which is how you are taking it and why you feel angry and deflated. You have done a great job - and they are just following procedures and only considering it from the perspective of the 'rules of the game' not whether or not you have actually done a good job.

So - just take a deep breath - think about the options you have in front of you. What do you want to happen? How to best achieve it?
Is it to do it as cheaply as possible? _ then look for the most cost efficient way of getting it done.
Is it to do it as quickly as possible? - then look for the sure fire way to get it approved that is not hugely expensive.


Find something else to distract yourself that does not require their approval that you can work on whilst you get the ball rolling on the approval process.

Chin up bro - you are doing great things - that I could never do!
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:08 PM   #511
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Thanks digger. This isn't really a house problem or a city problem. I just haven't been in a good place and my natural defense mechanisms aren't working properly. Seemingly minor stuff has been kicking my ass. I'll get past it I think.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:13 PM   #512
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I got this really long email from the guy I gave an earful too. I'm somewhat sympathetic really. However, I think this could have been handled a different way. His first response was basically "you did it wrong. I'm not gonna tell you what is right but every time you get it wrong it's gonna cost you."

If he had maybe allowed me to sit down with him and let him explain where he was coming from I think I probably would have come to the conclusion that I need an engineer.

I talked to an engineering firm today and I think they can do this. I need to send them some info. We'll see.

Quote:
I didn't require you to get an engineer if you could provide more details however I can or the inspections department can require you to do so with: (International Residential Code 2012) R106.1 Submittal documents.
Submittal documents consisting of construction documents, and other data shall be submitted in two or more sets with each application for a permit. The construction documents shall be prepared by a registered design professional where required by the statutes of the jurisdiction in which the project is to be constructed. Where special conditions exist, the building official is authorized to require additional construction documents to be prepared by a registered design professional.

Imagine that I am at a disadvantage in which I cannot go out and field verify your drawings. I have to conduct my plan review on the information or lack of information provided. If I do not have an attachment detail for footings I have to assume that your posts just sit on top of the concrete without attachment. Without footing details I have to assume that you footing could be as little as a half of inch of concrete on the dirt or it's made of a block of wood, or even cinderblocks. Without adequate detail I can only function under the assumption that it's done wrong and while that might see unfair and heavy handed I can only provide a quality review with through and complete information. I type this while looking at your plans that lack joist sizes, have the wrong height specified for stairs/steps, footers with only a width specified of 15" that also do not penetrate below the 12" frost line, no post information, no beam to post attachment details, no joist hanger details, no species and construction grade, and no inches on center specified for the joists so I can correctly span your project. With all that in mind this is what I am looking at and this is what I have to make the determination of construction by. Every other municipality I have worked with requires the employ of an architect and engineer on every project before it is allowed past the door, Austin does not. However, there is a level of completeness required so I can perform a basic safe review of your structure. I apologize if this feels heavy handed or unfair but our purpose is to verify that all structures here address the intend of our adopted building codes.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:38 PM   #513
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

12" frost line? wat? It's < 6" in TX, and it would take a biblically epic winter to get even close to that extreme.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:19 PM   #514
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

fark

Quote:
Hello,

Thanks for the phone call and email.

I understand your frustration, it's not easy to deal with government. I understand the city told you that we could just summarize the materials in a letter but to satisfy the state of Texas requirements, it would be prudent to generate plans.

We can do foundation plans (footings), email them to you (PDF) so you can print the and take them to the city, unless the city allows you to just email it to them in view of your continual communication with them. The fee for those plans would be $450. Then, before you pour concrete, we'll go out there once to look at them and we'll give you the letter for you to give to the city saying that we looked at it, it matches our plans, and everything is OK (the fee is $275 per trip, which includes the letter).

Have you answered the other comments? Joists sizes, post sizes, spacing, connections to concrete, etc? We can do that framing plan too. Elevation and Site plans seems like you're almost done with them so I would suggest you finish those plans yourself. The fee for the framing plans would be $500. Usually the City does the framing inspection.

So, we can do all of the structural plans (foundation and framing) for $950 and then do site inspections at $275 per trip.

Let me know what you think.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:50 PM   #515
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Farking ouch - get a second quote.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:22 PM   #516
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

The shock is starting to wear off a bit so I decided to go with that engineering firm. I could probably shave a little money off of that but not much. I feel comfortable with this firm so I'm going with them.

In other news, the sheetrock guy is finally ready to start - Saturday.
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Old 04-05-2014, 06:37 PM   #517
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I put up my lattice wall today. It went pretty smoothly. Getting everything level was hard though. That's really a 2 man job but I got it. I'm really happy with how it turned out.





Sheetrock guys are here. What a mess. Everything is covered - oven, refrigerator, sink. Kinda hard to do anything. But, that was expected.



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Old 04-06-2014, 10:08 AM   #518
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

OK, I got a contract from the engineer. Only it had this stuff in it. I have no idea if they want more money for this or what. I sent them an email to clarify.

All this for a frickin' 6 x 12 front porch. geez.

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Old 04-06-2014, 10:27 AM   #519
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Yes, it is unclear whether they expect you to do that or that they are telling you that they need to get this on your behalf in order for them to do their job.

All you can do is ask and seek clarification from them.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:55 AM   #520
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

That just looks like CYA boilerplate to me.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:10 PM   #521
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Originally Posted by zikzak View Post
That just looks like CYA boilerplate to me.
So, it doesn't really need to be done?

They are just saying that so if the city rejects it for one of those reasons they are covered?
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:57 PM   #522
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I think it's more like if your deck sinks into the aquifer one day they get to say, "Hey, we strongly recommended a geoengineering study. Not our fault. We only did the footings and framing plan." As far as the city is concerned, a PE's license trumps their authority on pretty much anything outside of zoning ordinances.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:41 PM   #523
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

My plan was to finish staining the lattice but it was drizzly all day and I'm sorta sick so not much got done by me. Did a little finishing up on a small table I built but not much else.

Jose worked all day. He finished up the sheetrock patching and textured everything. Tomorrow he will paint.

I really like this guy. He sort of does everything but unlike Lance he's really detailed and meticulous. I'll probably use him for other work. The only problem is he has more work than he can get to. But he's very reasonable. Actually, I think he sort of cheats himself. I'll probably toss a little more money in than he asked for.

He told me he had two customers that didn't pay him this year. One for a very large job ($23,000). That's a big hit for a one man show. He's such a nice guy that he he won't play hardball with the people that owe him. He's just taking the hit. He's got three kids so something like that really hit him hard.

Anyways, here's what he did. It's really hard to tell what is what, though.

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Old 04-07-2014, 07:38 PM   #524
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I want my living room/kitchen back. That is all.
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:19 PM   #525
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Jose finished the painting (yesterday). A++ job. I paid him more than the bid. the work was flawless. I took a couple of pics but nothing really captures the job well so I'll just post one.

Actually, it's really hard to get a good feel for anything with the interior pics. You just can't get a good idea of how it looks from the camera. Anyways.

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