week 14: MEPing around...

Not much changed on the outside of the house, but there were some subtle changes...

For one, the bride (finally!) has her powder room window:

And the roof lines at the end of the carport have (finally) been fixed:

Much better.

We also now have doors on the garage, although we're hoping that this garage door is here for sizing rather than the final door since we spec'd a fancy-schmancy aluminum and glass door (something we just had a discussion with the builder about).

Most of the work that happened on the house the past week happened on the inside with the MEP: what the cools kids call mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. Actually, nothing on the electrical yet, but the HVAC and plumbing work have started with most of the duct work, vents, and the ERV installed for the HVAC and most of the drain and ventilation pipes installed for the plumbing:

An unintended consequence of having an in-wall drain is the apparent requirement of having a clean-out which, in our case, will protrude out the front wall of the house. :-(  Taller bushes? And lemme tell you, those plumbers aren't delicate when when they work. I bet the stucco guy is going to be irritated when he sees this:

I was hoping that we would be able to avoid the dreaded Medusa's Head of Ductwork, but with all of the solid structural beams criss-crossing the house, it wasn't meant to be... In fact, the difficulties in running the ductwork have led to a $950 change order, a change order that didn't come from something we changed but an unexpected change in the framing required to run the ductwork. Contingency, contingency...

The window (or framing?) guy laid down the base plate for the big honkin' window for the living room. Might there be a big honkin' window in our future this week? We hope so!

We spent a couple hours picking up litter, sweeping the house, picking up nails, trimming the trees, and talking to neighbors. It felt good to do a little "housework". I reckon we'll do some more next week!


  1. In this post and more in others you’ve discussed problems installing the HVAC: losing space in a closet for ductwork; losing hallway ceiling height for ductwork; air handler installed where you had wanted an electrical box in the kitchen to hang a pendant; bathroom vents installed off-center.

    I have not built a house before, but it seems odd to me that the details of where the air handler and ductwork and vents would go—or indeed any details of the essential infrastructure of the house—would not have been completely specified during design, before construction. That would seem to me to be the whole point of having a design phase. Am I wrong?

    1. Based on what I've read about building a house, typically there's not a lot of consideration given to where the ductwork goes. We asked for that to be considered, and it was in the design. According to the plans, it would have been beautiful: short and straight (therefore efficient) trunks to the various bits of the house.

      Things went "awry" when the engineer specified the trusses and whatnot for the house. Unbeknownst to me (I gawked at the engineer's specs, but didn't really understand them [hence my pleasant surprise at the cantilevered wall out front]), the engineer spec'd several solid beams across the intended path of the main trunk line to the back of the house. To be honest, I don't know if there was another option (stronger trusses with openings big enough for ductwork?). If there was no other option, we'd still be stuck with what we've got now (unless we were willing to go back into redesign, highly unlikely at this point of the build). Perhaps the architects should have known better? I don't know. It's also possible that the framer was using the leftover material and didn't consider the ductwork (although I doubt that since all the trusses were factory built and delivered).