Monday, June 28, 2010

Cape Cod Time

It seems that some things happen slowly on what we call "Cape Cod time".
Back in late April I started contacting fence companies to get prices on the railings, screen panels at the deck, and the split rail fence required by the Town's Conservation Commission.  A couple of the fence companies actually came out and provided quotes, but most never bothered.  The prices from two who quoted were very high and extremely high - with the high price being almost $25,000.  It turned out that the convenience of one stop shopping would be rather pricey.

I decided there has to be a less expensive way to go.  I figured I would handle the deck railings and screening and then have a fence company install the split rail fence.  A local fence company arranged and then missed several appointments and weren't very good at returning subsequent phone calls.  I contacted another fence company and they said they would get me a price but also never returned phone calls.  It seems that the recession hasn't hit fence companies on Cape Cod.

For the railings and deck screening I looked into the Certainteed fencing and railing systems and redesigned things based on their products.  They have CAD details online which helped - except that they're not to scale.  After modifying their CAD details and adjusting my plans to their product, I was ready to order.
In this area these Certainteed products are sold through Harvey Building Products.  Harvey doesn't sell to the general public, so I had to apply and receive permission to buy products from them.

Harvey tried to place the order for me and then discovered that Certainteed fencing is only sold to fence installers.  They recommended Kroy fencing instead.  The links on Kroy's website are broken, so I had to make decisions based on their small thumbnail images.  The panels should have arrived in three weeks, but they took almost five - and they only sent two out of the three panels.
They are good quality and fortunately are what I was looking for.  The last panel has been expedited and should be delivered tomorrow.

I've hired someone to install the split rail fence and place gravel to stabilize the ground at the hay bails/silt fence line.
The split rail components, gravel and deck screening panels should all be finally completed this week.

Monday, June 14, 2010

C of O

Today we received the Certificate of Occupancy.  It wasn't easy, though.  The final three panels to complete the deck and railing were to have come in last week but did not, so we installed one section of temporary railing to pass inspection.  Here's a building code related question.  What's wrong with the railings in this picture?
Here's a hint.  It involves the one section of temporary railing which has 2x4's top and bottom.  The portion of the deck facing the street, per the building code, actually doesn't need railings because it's less than 30" above grade.  However, the first thing the building inspector said was that the temporary railing needs to be pressure treated even though it may only be up for a week.  It seems rather wasteful and unnecessary to me, but we had to remove the railing you see, build another with pressure treated 2x4's top and bottom, and then in a week or so we'll toss that one too.

The final inspection was on the morning of June 9 and I was to fly to Miami that afternoon for the AIA Convention.  However, I had installed a furnace with 95% efficiency rather than the 96% efficient furnace I had anticipated in my REScheck energy calculations.  Even though the house more than met the energy code, I had to redo the calculations right away.  Fortunately I had my laptop computer with me.  If I didn't have my computer with the program and previous calculations with me, I would have really been stuck.  I recalculated things and drove down the street and found some wi-fi.

We are within a mile of the coast and, although the windows are impact rated and each pane of glass is properly stamped, I needed to provide certification.  Also, although the Board of Health had completed their inspections and approved things, they hadn't signed off on the building permit card.  Someone, though, had to phyically take the building permit card to the Board of Health office, but only between the 3:30 and 4:30 PM and I had a plane to catch.

I found someone who could take the permit to the BOH at the appointed time and then bring it back to the house.  The inspector went back to the house the next day, reinspected and signed the permit card.  I thought the inspector would take the permit back with him, but they don't do that.  Someone had to drive it back down to the building department.  It's surely not an efficient or user-friendly system.  This morning the Certificate of Occupancy was finally ready.

Here's the steel telescoping ladder from Calvert Stairs.  It's pretty neat how it works.
And this is the view from the roof.
 The wire you see is for the inverter for the photovoltaic solar panels, which will go on the roof just beyond the half-wall.  Those should have been in and producing electricity by now, but that's yet another story.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What a Difference a Week Makes

Last week the landscape was completed.
Our son Brian and his company, The Natural Landscape blitzed it in four days.  We were so tired of looking at sand and were amazed by the quick transformation.
Our Landscape Architect, Andrew Garulay from Down Cape Engineerng, created a design using mostly drought-tolerant native species.  This ties into the LEED recommendations and makes ecological sense.  The driveway is sea shells, which are light reflective and give a nice crunch sound when you pull in.

The walkway is Boston City Hall Pavers.  No, we didn't steal them from City Hall - they sell that style brick, which has a nice soft red color.  We still have the temporary door on front, but that's a long story.  The porch railings will go in next week and the house will look complete from the outside.  It's nearly complete inside, except that the kitchen cabinets are just barely started.
Even the business end of the house looks pretty good.  You can see the dryer vent, the gas meter, the furnace vent, electric meter and condenser, but they're not obtrusive.