Pre-Construction Meeting Q&A

I'll try to keep this somewhat organized, but no promises!
All of this in 2.5 hours...pretty good stuff, I think.  Our PM seems to be on top of things, detail oriented and approachable.  All qualities that one wants in their PM, for sure.
Here's a VERY detailed list of what we asked and the answers we received:

General Stuff
1. How do you prefer to communicate?  Email is preferred, typically a 24-hr turnaround
2. Schedule of updates?  Weekly via email
3. Text/phone is also option
4. If we see something out of whack, chances are he's already seen it
5. It's in his best interest to give us a quality product (the survey was mentioned by both PM & SR)
6. He'll let us know if/when inspections are completed
7. Rules for visiting site?  Be careful - no one likes paperwork.  After a certain time (i.e. locks) we will have to see our SR to get a key.  
8. They do NOT keep a spare key after close.  The locks can be easily re-keyed after close if it bothers us.
9. He does not plan to take any vacations during our construction

Electrical Stuff
1.  Is there an outlet in the laundry room?  Yes, the one for the dryer and a regular outlet  *this is also where we discovered the omission of the gas hookup*
2.  Is there an outlet in the master walk-in closet?  No (drat!)
3.  How many outlets are in the garage?  2 - 1 for the garage door opener and 1 additional
4.  Is the additional garage outlet 15 or 20 amps?  15 amp
5.  Can the switch for the garage/outside lights be located in the mudroom?  He's going to check
6.  Where is the fireplace switch located?  With the wall switch next to the fireplace
7.  How many recessed lights are on the front porch?  3
8.  Verified high outlet in the master (for mounting the tv)
9.  Where is the switch for the master walk-in?  Inside the closet door
10. Can he provide an electrical diagram or a list of what outlets/switches are located on each circuit?  The breaker box will be labeled but we can DIY before drywall goes up
11. Are there lights in the bedroom closets?  No but the wires are accessible if we dig through the insulation in the attic :)
12. Verified the placement of the pre-wired lights over the island
13. Where are the exterior lights?  1 on each side of the garage & 3 recessed on the porch.
14. many/where?  Must be within 6' of an opening and spaced 12' around the room

Structural Stuff
1.  Are you still using the winter concrete mix?  Yes, most likely
2.  What's the rating?  3000 ksi (hence where he knew we were engineers!)
3.  Are there any restrictions on the foundation pour?  28 F and above
4.  Is there any testing of the concrete?  Not on site
5. What's the rebar schedule for the walls?  3 #4 rebars horizontally on each 8' section, no vertical rebar.  There's a 10-yr footer waranty
6. Verified the egress window location and the location for our Plumbers' Box (future wet bar!)
7. Verified floorplan & options
8. Distance to grade from Morning Room door?  22" minimum
9. Are the window dimensions standard/can you provide prior to close?  Most are 35 1/2" x 61-1/2" for a 3 x 5'2" window.  Single hung (boooooooo on so many levels)
10. Do you screw the subfloor?  They use "scrawls" - come out of nail gun but have threads.  Glue too.  Flooring guy claims he's the Squeak Master of SW PA.
11. Joist dimensions?  2 x 4s spaced 24" OC.  No issues with weather/exposure of framing
12. Flooring in attic?  No - not meant for storage.  We shall see...J has some plywood that needs a purpose, even if it's a path when he's installing closet lights.  Good thing I married a structural engineer that can make these determinations for himself!
13.  Where is the attic access located?  In the laundry room
14.  Is there termite treatment during construction?  No

Efficiency Stuff
1. Insulation...specs?  R38 blown in attic, R15 exterior walls & R13 in the finished walls.  None between the laundry/bedrooms or the bonus room/bedrooms.  Hmmmmmm is all I'm gonna say about that.
2. What about the wall in the garage beneath the bonus?  (Bad memories of living in such a room) No insulation but the house is air-sealed.  Claims it's not an issue.  We shall see.
3.  House wrap?  2 layers - Tyvek & the foil-looking stuff
4. Garage door insulated?  Nope, but good news - we got the one with the carriage door hardware and the window lights!  Unexpected but apparently it's a community thing!  Garage Door is a Liftmaster w/ 2 remotes & a keypad.  Score!
5. Exterior garage walls drywalled?  Yes, but not sanded/finished
6. Pipe specs for the gas & water?  Gas is 1" HDPE & water is PEX (also a nonmetallic pipe - won't burst)
7. Location of gas meter?  Side of home
8. Location of HVAC?  Side of house NOT where egress window is located
9. Manufacturer of furnace & AC?  Goodman - 95% efficiency rating
10. Number of units?  1  Issues with load balancing?  No
11. Hot Water Heater Specs?  Bradford White 50 gal (still can't believe they wouldn't allow a tankless)
12. Gutters & drainage?  Gutters drain to common location to drain easement in backyard.
13. Location of breaker box?  Either basement or garage
14. Water shutoff location?  Basement
15. Waterproofing to grade?  Yes, our stone facade to 6" above grade, space is tarred.  Hidden by grass, mulch, etc.
16. Sloped floor in garage?  Yes, 3" back to front.
17. Is there a passive radon system?  Yes, up to us to install fan

Exterior - Misc. Stuff
1. Width/material of driveway?  17' asphalt; 4" sub base, 2" asphalt & 1" wearing course, likely to go on next spring
2. How is property line marked, i.e. survey pins?  We have a plot plan and will get a final copy at close for fences, etc.
3. French drainage system?  yes
4. Sidewalks built by Ryan or developer?  Ryan handles as part of the plan
5. Landscaping - "standard upgrade" includes 2 trees in front, 1 flowering.  Seeded lawn, no sod (booooooo)
6. Can we add a pvc pipe under driveway?  No straight answer on this but I'd love the option to add an electric fence for a pup in the future!

Interior - Misc. Stuff
1. Are the ceilings flat or textured?  Textured but very subtle
2. Thermostat located near edge of wall?  Yes on main level & also in master
3. Verified Guardian selections
4. Verified bricklay pattern for bathroom tile
5. Window door to basement?  Nope, standard
6. Ballustrades - how many steps in foyer?  4 treads Basement? 3 treads
7. Will you leave paint?  Yes, a quart of trim, a quart of the wall & a coupon for Sherwin-Williams (the generosity doesn't stop!)
8. What color are switches/outlets?  White
9. Wonky drywall - need this to not be an issue for future crown molding.  He assured me it'll be a good job

1.  Verified options
2. Is there a microwave over the range?  Yes
3. Verified crown molding on cabinets
4. Install flooring before cabinets?  No, not his decision.  THANKS A LOT FOR BEING CHEAPSKATES, RYAN.  Seriously - this completely screws over anyone who wants to change out a vanity or cabinets in the future bc it's NEVER the same size as the hole.  I may be a little hostile about this one.
5. Verified gas hookup for stove
6. Is there an overhang on morning room ledge & island?  Yes (I forgot to write the dimensions down)
7. Verified extra outlet on the opposite side of the island
8. Back splash run to counter or to ledge of granite?  When they handle the back splash, they don't add the ledge on the granite.
9. Pre-drill holes for my hardware?  They supply knobs - I was ok with that
10. Transition between flooring & sill pan for back door?  Quarter-round
11. Back door style?  Looks like french doors but only one moves.  YES!!! This is what I wanted to hear!
12. Size of opening for fridge?  39"
13. Shelving for pantry (and closets) included - we will change out to our shelving system in the future.

1. How are the mirrors hung?  With clips (good...they're not going to be up long, lol!
2. Access panel location for tub? In the front, it's trimmed out by tile guys
3. Again, no flooring before vanities
4. Verified shower floor/tile since it's non-standard
5. Towel bars; # & location?  1, by the sink.  Yeah, because it makes PERFECT sense to locate the towel bar completely across the room.
6. Model/manufacturer?  He'll send that to us.  Depending on what it looks like I may just order one more of those for the tub wall (at least that makes some sense to have a towel bar there) or get others.  We shall see.
7. Verified bricklay pattern.

1. Closet door or bi-fold doors?  Door
2. Power located next to closet door?  Nope, find it in the attic
3. Verified locations for outlets in the master.

Like I said, we're both Engineers & apparently have lots of questions!


  1. Can you expand on this please:

    6. ...and the location for our Plumbers' Box (future wet bar!)

    Was this a non-standard? What is included? And how much were you charged?

    We have asked about rough ins for a wet bar and the SR was not sure...

  2. Sorry this took so long!
    Yes, it was a non-standard. We had them install a hot water line, a cold water line & a drain. They capped all 3 and they just stick out from the wall. I think the total charge was $700 but it's saved us in the long run.