Posted to Carriage-House by Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO
I received the soils report from the engineering company that did the testing and called them to discuss the results. I needed them to make a correction, too. The correction wasn't a big deal. In the report it says I will be building a wood-frame structure, and specifies the foundation load in kips per lineal foot and column load, but I am not building a wood-frame structure. They never asked what I would be building and just assumed wood frame because that is what most people build. So in order to alleviate future concern by the structural engineer who will need to stamp my plan, I explained that I will be building a structure with a heavy rock face on one side and and rigid foam insulation on the other side with 4-5" steel reinforced concrete in the middle. The soil engineer said it would be no problem to change the write-up and will be resending the corrected pages.
The report is 16 pages long and has a lengthy description on the soils and perc test, as well as a depth chart with soil characteristics down to where they hit bedrock at 15 feet and had to stop. Also, a site sketch of the area showing the future house site and carriage house garage and where they drilled and took samples. The decomposed gravel gets more dense as it goes down, but he said the future basement should be able to be excavated with normal excavation equipment. Normally anything they can drill through can be excavated with a backhoe. This also tells me I am going to have to drill through some rock to get my well in, and my well budget has been adjusted to the high end of the range now.
The site sketch done by the guy who did the drilling threw up a big red flag and told me I am not on the same page as my designer. My designer met them at the site in order to show them where to drill. He got the future house site close enough to the right area but the carriage house was on the WRONG side of the future house. I don't understand how he could have this confusion after all the sketches and layout diagrams I provided to him. All I can figure is that he didn't look at them before going up to meet with the soil engineer. That also means he didn't look at them before going up and doing the site survey last Thursday. How is this possible?
I have a loss of confidence in the designer I have hired, but will continue to work with him and see if I can't get him straightened out, because I have already paid him for the site survey, site map, and meeting with the soils engineer. I am not going to give him any money for the construction documents until I have reviewed and approved every last one of them. Needless to say, so far I'm not too impressed. I called him and told him it wasn't looking like we were on the same page with the layout and I needed to see his survey sketches as soon as possible and that he needed to LOOK at my layout sketches and get it straightened out. Now it is going to cost me more money as I will probably need to have the soil engineer come back and assess the right location of the carriage house. The soil engineer said this wouldn't be a problem and they would probably not have to re-drill the sample as the correct location of the carriage house is within about 50 feet of the drilled location of the future house and the soil looks consistent in the building area, but they will need to come up and look at the soil once the carriage house site has been excavated.
Working on this project with my designer long distance is certainly a challenge. In hindsight, I should have either provided my sketches to the soil engineers and saved the cost of having my designer meet them at the site, or I should have rescheduled the soil test until after I had reviewed the site survey and draft site map from the designer. The original scheduling plan was to have the site survey and site map done well before the soil test, as there certainly was enough time and I had coordinated the soil test date with my designer to ensure he would be ready. But for one reason or another, he just did not get the survey or the site map done. Then I assumed he could understand the approximate position and layout based on the sketches I had provided, which were clearly labeled and quite detailed. In fact I thought my drawings would make the survey and site map quite easy for him to complete.
Anyway, I'm not feeling very good about my project management skills right now, which I thought was a strong point. I think the key to a smooth project will be to recognize problems early on and adjust my management technique as needed to move on intelligently.