Journey of a Novice Building a House
Start date May 30, 2016
I was a Novice building a 2700 ft. house on the Niagara Parkway.
Why did I think I could do this? My Husband and I had been involved in retail requiring beautiful store interiors.
Number two I am retired and need challenges.
I asked my Husband if he would be okay with me taking on the roll of builder.
He said yes. No he was not crazy because after years of operating a business together he knows me as organized, capable and a hard worker. We built our business together as equal workers.
This had to be a special house. It was replacing paradise, an 1850 house and barn, both restored by my Husband. Then of course there was years of gardening. We had created a park with strolling gardens and rolling hills running into a valley with a wedding cake folly.
How could we afford something near as beautiful using a builder? We would save money by building ourselves!
For foundation and flatwork we chose the best Cotton Construction. They provide seamless timing. I did not want the pressure of co ordinating the different steps. I was willing to pay the extra for the service and care. Representative Richard Lawrence, a bear of a man, was very professional, helpful and kind. A company man yes, but he said he would help us through the process and if we had questions about building we could ask him anything. Richard made me feel Cotton wanted to take care of us properly, taking pride in their work.
With years in retail I understood the win win premise. Success lies in yourself winning but your client also wins. This is how you stay in business.
Though the price was higher than piece -mealing the work we were willing to pay for the expertise. We signed a well outlined contract.
Asking Richard how long the job would take I was told 3 weeks. Looking back the additional question should have been if it was continuous. Would they be doing other jobs at the same time? The job could have taken a little less time.
I did speak to Richard about this but he said they would not be late and they would get the job done in 3 weeks.
There were issues with the crew forgetting to install some rebar, forgetting to cut some back and as well one wall was higher. Again looking back building was booming and things may have been more chaotic with so many jobs on the go. In a couple of days these issues were solved.
The house was to be wheelchair friendly. Somehow this did not happen. The architect saying it was clearly outlined on the plan and Cotton saying it was not. Cotton being who they are stepped up to the plate and said they would have our carpenter build us an access from the garage into the house. Not what was originally hoped for but we appreciated they stepped up to the plate.
This will happen in the coming summer.
A final issue will be the delivery of topsoil for our back patio. During excavation our soil was removed without discussing that we would need it for backfill, grading and gardens. The question is was it Cotton’s responsibility to discuss this or was it my responsibility to ask? When I did ask Richard about it he said not to worry he would find us some good soil. This is who Cotton is. Their client is important and they have not forgotten about the the win win theory. Richard Lawrence and Jim Durisch wanted us to be happy and did their best. We would use Cotton again. At the moment we are waiting for a culvert quotation from Cotton. Other reviews to come.