Current Topic: Would you be happy with my new Modular Home? I don't think so; But I'll let you Judge!
Purchase and delivery...
Some time in June 2008 it was determined that the 'Modular Home' we originally purchased from Fleetwood was not going to get it's CSA approval in time to complete our project. So after exhausting research... Sometime in early July (I think) Shauna went to Washington to purchase a new home from, what we thought, was an organization that, in fact, built CSA approved homes. The CSA approval is required in order to bring a house across the border into Canada.
OK... A home was ordered with delivery scheduled to be sometime in late August or early September at the latest. It should only take about two weeks to build the units we were told. We worked incredibly hard to meet this schedule. We were only a three man team however we managed a thousand feet of driveway, site preparation, footings, foundation walls, backfill and framing. All permitted and inspected. And we were ready for the house when it was supposed to be delivered. This was not always an easy task. We we're running pretty much blind. Every time we asked the 'seller' for specific information about the house (window placements, utility drops, even final outside dimensions) we were put off. 'I'll have to get back to you on that' or 'The plans are in engineering' or 'Because of the CSA approval things may change and we don't want to give you any bad information' and my all time favorite 'I have an out of state call I have to take'. Like that's supposed to impress me. To compound this problem I have to show real plans with real dimensions to the building inspector in order to get approval for my permits. This is an uncomfortable position to be in. Ultimately I had to make adjustments to my plans allowing for corrections later (cost involved here) to align the top and bottom features.
What's the problem here. Well let's see. The main reason that we purchased 'THIS' home is that it was presumably CSA approved as the name of the company emphasized 'CSA Homes'. What was withheld from us was that the company had never delivered a home into British Columbia Canada before. If I had known that I would have vetoed the purchase and continued looking but by the time we determined this it was too late. Our form factor was literally 'Set In Concrete'. Which we poured ourselves. What's really disturbing is that later, after the house was delivered, a factory rep told me I that all the information I had requested was in fact fully available from the factory. At the time unfortunately we knew nothing of the factory. We were under the impression that the broker was the builder. There was never a distinction made by the broker. So now we were kind of hooped. The house is rounding two months behind delivery and we are starting to panic. The weather is going to turn any moment and we have not completed the basement center support (wall) because we are almost ready to cancel the order because it doesn't look like the other party are going to be able to honer the contract. So we might have to do something completely different. So now we have to divert our time looking at alternative ways of completing the project on our own. Another huge distraction.
Well... What I was promised, just days before the delivery, was a small team to help with the installation. What I got was a single representative. Seemingly inexperienced and with no authoritative control. Oh yeah. There was the crane operator and the truck drivers.
After most of a day we decided, based on what the crane was costing vs. how much progress we were making, to call it done for the day. The back half is set pretty good but the front half is still hanging over by about six inches. This is the closest we could get because the front was not level when the crane lifted it. That's where a little guidance (support) would have been handy. Had we had a little bit more experience, or a little better guidance, we would have known that the pieces should have been level when set. It seems obvious now but this was my first modular home and I had no idea that the morons running the show were... Well... Morons.
Lucky for us we have friends and family that are experienced in moving and placing big things. So we borrowed a dozen 20-ton jacks and some heavy duty come-along-s, and used some fir 6x6 fencepost scrap from the sawmill and a large cache of blocking, to jack the entire front half up and winch it into position. Now... I have to take blame for part of the difficulty adjusting the pieces. In Canada, it is acceptable to notch the top half of the double-plate while placing a modular house piece to allow relief and removal of the crane lifting-straps. I didn't want to do that. In the U.S. Mostly. They set the piece on blocking, on the plates, then jack the piece up, remove the blocks and lower the piece down. Without cutting the top plates. I just built these basement walls. I didn't want to cut into my brand-new plates if I didn't have to. So of course... We're on blocks.
As I remember... We had the rear-piece lowered (off the blocks) before the front-piece was ready to set. Unfortunately the front-piece was not so easy. Even with the help. The staging and the prep work and the yanking and the pulling. It took us another three or four days to set it as close as it was going to get. Unbelievably... The Winter weather has held back. Unfortunately... It's clear that there is only days left to get the house shell complete before the Winter makes it impossible until next spring.
Remember... The house delivery is greater than two months late. In Canada. That's the difference between Summer and Winter. Sigh!
To make matters worse, there is, all around the external perimeter of both pieces, a double layer (about 12-in. high) of 'OSB' (strand-board). On top of this the OSB layers descend, below the rim-joist (seating plane). First of all... The second layer of OSB, which had to be removed in order to finish the siding properly, was stapled to the rim on about 2-in. centers. That's about ten thousand staples. Not only did that have to be removed but the layer below had to be trimmed so it could sit on our plates.
That was very frustrating. This house was not built to set on my foundation even though I gave specific information about my footprint when requested by the broker. Which I proudly submitted.
For that matter this 'house' was not designed to sit on any reasonable foundation. Easily...
But that's not the end of it... It also turns out that the joist hangers, for the 'engineered' trusses, extended below the rim joists. That means that even when the house is lowered onto our foundation it will be sitting as much on the joists (and joist hangers) as it will the rim. That's going to push upward on the sub-floor which in turn is going to push up and outward on the upright walls.
Now that I put this all together... I realize that the request for basement specifications was just another scam to buy time (confusion tactic). I can see now that the request for this info came from, no doubt non-credible, contractors which the house broker contacted to try to sell me something I already had. There is no indication that the builder requested or even required this information.
Once again... I never received 'any' information about the actual house. No matter how hard I begged for it. No footprint or window/door dimensions. No utility drop locations. And even though I made it perfectly clear what my basement footprint looked like months before the house was delivered. I did not receive something compatible with where it was going.
Why Is That?
First of all... The roof was supposed to be completed to the top of the gable. The dormer was also supposed to be complete. LIKE THE ONE WE SAW INSTALLED 3 WEEKS PRIOR TO OUR DELIVERY. And. We were supposed to have a delivery support team. That's what we were promised when we purchased the house and again told, by the people who sold us the house, during the delivery of the 'first' house, which received all of these requirements. And again... We were promised. 'This is what you're going to get'. Those 'promises' ultimately determined how we were going to proceed.
Unfortunately... This is nothing close to what we received. We had no support team and the roof turned out to be a total disaster.
On the product we received, not only were the roof gable and dormer collapsed, they were clearly modified, by the factory, which the factory denied. Actually the factory said they did not believe our claim. Even though the evidence is clearly visible to someone interested in looking. Now the factory has taken upon itself the responsibility of modifying, externally designed, roof trusses after the product was assembled. And refusing to admit it. Honestly... The factory did such a sloppy job of this (my burden to clean up) that I no longer believe the roof will bear the required winter snow load. I know this because I helped put the trusses together. And the roof. And what I saw, which is still present, is completely unsatisfactory. If the factory had actually put some effort into this 'kludge' then it might have gone unnoticed.
OK... On top of that there was a 3-in. vent pipe with a 4-in. boot around it. There was, as well, clear evidence of moisture in the insulation under the vent. So basically the roof leaked even before it got here. Speaking of leaks... The shipping wrap, which was heavily stapled to the roof, was stapled through the top two rows of shingles as well. Had we not been there to unwrap the house and guide the roofer to remove these rows before completing the shingling the roof would have eventually leaked. In a very bad place.
Additionally none of the vents are tall enough either. I expect that it is the factories opinion that since they pass CSA approval that they are good. THAT IN ITSELF DOES NOT MAKE THEM FUNCTIONAL. And the factory knows that. As proof, and here's a little testament the factories 'engineering', the ceiling/roof insulation was so efficient that from the first snow fall in December to the last in February the roof never shed a drop. That means that the roof held the snow from December, which, by the way, covered 'all' the vents, until the start of the thaw in late February/early March. That's basically three months that the vents were completely covered under snow. And I'm in the most moderate climate in all the B.C. central interior. What does the code say about that.
In terms of craftsmanship... The roof shingles are not spaced properly so the vertical lines (perpendicular to the ridge, parallel to the gable) are sloppy. Any freshman roofer would have done a better job then this. Additionally the roof tile overhang of the drip edge is insufficient. The roofer pointed this out to me. He says he has had this disagreement with manufactured home builders who claim 'It's a matter of style'. Completely disregarding what actually works. In his defense... When the snow began to melt the first year, at the point where the dormer meets the gable, the water ran down the soffit fascia. Not over it. Hello... Drip edge... Even gutters wouldn't have solved this particular problem however a greater overhang would have (perhaps maybe just an inch of overhang). This wouldn't be a huge problem except that the fascia is basically cardboard therefore it will dissolve away quickly without 'constant' maintenance, or replacement, or the roof gets replaced with something more satisfactory.
What really disturbs me is that because of the delivery latency it was now too late in the season for me and my crew to complete the roof safely by ourselves. It was not only completely different from what we were promised It was far to complicated now, and, nothing fit to my satisfaction and with the weather moving in fast it was much to dangerous for a bunch of near fifty-year-old men to do this task safely. In September/October we would have been happy to do this. And that still would have been a late delivery. NOT WHEN THE ROOF IS TO SLIPPERY TO STAND ON. As a result we had to hire (an expense we shouldn't have needed to incur) contractors to complete the dormer, gable and soffiting. BTW: These were the contractors recommended as the 'Local Support Team' from the 'broker'. Sad thing is that they did less of a job then we would have done. Making me even more uncomfortable about the roofs ability to carry it's load. The roofer on the other hand. Who I would have hired anyway, did an excellent job with what he had to work with. I think even the factory would agree with this.
Wow... This is a big one. I expected that the house would be easy to power up. Boy was I wrong.
Well... When we finally received power. Somewhere in late January. A fault on my part. We completed the electrical crossover connections. This in itself was a daunting task. There was no documentation except for a 'note' that declared that two-wire crossovers (120v) connected and three wire crossovers (240v) connected respectively.
Hmmm! That's easy enough. Wouldn't you think.
Let's see... How did the factory do on this issue.
Oh I almost forgot to mention... On the front side of the house there were very nice High Current Molex Insulation Displacement Connectors (IDC). Unlabeled of course. But on the other side of the house there were five junction boxes (ambiguously labeled) with unstripped wire and wire nuts. The factory representative that was here witnessed this anomaly. I know because I pointed it out.
I Do Not Believe These Two Halves Are From The Same Build...
Anyway... We mapped the entire house electrical (breaker destinations). This was necessary to determine which breakers belonged to what circuits in order to isolate the front half of the house from the back. Again... Necessary because the nomenclature on the main electrical panel and the crossover points was so ambiguous. Appliance, lighting, etc... As an example... The master bedroom (labeled lighting) had to be on the 'Arc-Fault' breaker to conform to code, other was on 'lighting' circuits correspondingly (by factory standards) 'receptacles' (plug-in's) were labeled 'appliance'. Not to mention the external GFI plugs. So... We finally thought we were ready to connect the two halves.
Again... Why did we have to do this. Because we were provided with NO documentation AND our contacts with the seller and the builder never resulted in solutions. So eventually we gave up asking. Even though both the builder and the broker knew we were dissatisfied neither one 'ever' made 'any' attempt toward helping us FIX THEIR MISTAKES...
Unfortunately we took the electrical-panel (our only information) too literally. Question? Why were their two breakers labeled 'EXTERNAL RECEPTACLE' when both 'external receptacles' (front and rear) were on the same breaker? Ouch! I hate that. GET IT?
Well... At least we were able to reuse the second (labeled but uncommitted) breaker for our basement's 'external receptacles' (GFI of course). That saved us at least two cents of relabeling material (time not accounted for).
We also found that the receptacle in the 'guest' bathroom is not a GFI however it is slaved to the GFI receptacle in the 'master' bathroom (inheriting the GFI). If two people, plug in separate hair dryers, in separate bathrooms, simultaneously, THEN THE BREAKER WOULD TRIP. Are you kidding me on this one! Why would you slave the receptacles (over 40 feet of extra wire) when the bathroom circuit burden was only two lights? When the wiring was already there.
Now I have lost complete faith in the 'builder's' assertion that the electrical system is under-rated (over-built).
There was also, in the stairwell opening, a light. In a very wrong place. Why because everything and everybody that passes it bumps into it (not well engineered). It also had a three-way switch crossover for the light (no documentation... again... and not part of the main crossover bundle) which, required not only deciphering the wiring, however did require removing and rewiring the light to set the three-wire circuit to work correctly. Now we have a switch at the top, and the bottom, of the stairs. Kind of a thank you. Except for the fact that you didn't need to cross-wire the lamp to have made it work (could have made it better cheaper).
By the way... I am fully confident that any electrician I could have hired to do this would have made this work, but at the same time, wouldn't have done it correctly. And... Most people wouldn't have known any different. And yes... I do know every electrician in town.
In my defense... The only electrician in town I was able to get... A quite qualified outfit... In the end... Made a very bad mistake. Not with the electrical. That meets code. However the electrical code does not work in harmony with the building code. So... Even though we spent countless hours explaining the job the final electrician (personal change due to random circumstance) didn't get the memo. So he spread studs and destroyed a floor truss in order to run his conduits 'neatly'. And I only left him alone long enough to have lunch.
The junction box for this was screwed to the rim joist. The rim joist extends only 2 2-by widths (3.5+in.) over a 2x8 (7.5+in.) plate (basement footprint 'well' disclosed). Inaccessible. Not a big deal. Just time. It needed to be unnecessarily moved and was difficult to get to to release. This could have been put in a much more accessible place had any 'thought' (engineering) went in to it.
On delivery, the preinstalled furnace was miswired and incomplete. First... The return plenum and main unit were unconnected in the heater closet (requiring the closet to close the loop). WRONG! Also the filter was placed on top of the squirrel fan inside the heating unit. Again... WRONG! Then... The heater control circuit was miswired. So... When we fired up the heater for the first time (threw the breaker), in the dead of winter, mostly to keep our water line from freezing, things seemed hopeful. The display lit up. We set the temp. We turned it to heat and in about 5 seconds the control went dead.
Well... Back to the portable propane heater for the night.
Next evening. We checked the electrical (wiring) and discovered that the neutrals for both the heater and the stove were not connected to the electrical panel neutral bus. They were there in the panel but they were capped off.
Well... That made the stove work anyway.
Yup... Portable propane heater again.
The following day (I'd had enough of this and it's now worth a whole day to troubleshoot)... We pulled the panel off the heater unit and found a 3-amp fuse (European car style) that had blown so we replaced that. Hey! The controller came back. For about 5 seconds. This time though we noticed the fuse blow when the heater tried to kick in (fan relay engaged). Last fuse. Got to think quick. We traced the wires from the controller to the heater and discovered that the fan and ground circuits were reversed. That explains it. As soon as the fan kicks in the control electronics INCLUDING THE RELAY DRIVERS lose their current sink (ground). Under that circumstance any respectable electronic device would blow it's fuse. Where were we... Oh yeah... We corrected the control wiring, replaced the fuse (with our last one) and flipped the breaker. Wow... A thing of beauty... After about 5 seconds she fired right up. No more burning propane heaters to keep warm.
When the 'factory representative' was here, on a friendly recon mission, he mentioned that there were supposed to be additional heating components which I did not receive. Hmmm...
In retrospect... Had I received the rest of the heating crossover parts or if it was prepared properly so that the minor ducting I did receive I could of used (without major sheet-metal work) it would have saved several hundred dollars in energy costs What's confusing about this is that the main heater duct (plenum) on the same side of the house as the heater unit wasn't even connected. This shouldn't have required any additional work to complete. It does not transcend the boundary of the 'Marriage Line' so why does it become my responsibility. Furthermore the documentation for the heater unit clearly shows a top cover. A cover for a filter. My unit does not have that cover and instead has the filter inside the unit requiring removing the front panel (electrical access) to change. That's not right! Where's the rest of my parts? I'm sure I was charged a hefty price for them! And now I'll probably get penalized again and have to buy new hardware to correct this.
Shouldn't an engineered home require only completing objects between the two halves. So why is it again that I have to complete pieces within an isolated half. That's not my definition of engineered. And yes Sam... You will not find a more experienced person in Engineering, Project Management or even 'Product Manufacturing'.
On the bright side (not many here) The heater blows into the basement and up the staircase to the returns. And I must say, and of course my basement plays a major part in this, the house is quite thermally efficient. Even on the coldest days the heater cycles at a reasonable frequency and on a warm day (it's almost spring) the heater only cycles two or three times in a 24 hour period.
Now on another note... There still remains one unconnected crossover point. Why... Because we can't figure out what it's for. It's a three-wire circuit where both runs end up in a lighting box under the stair entry. Everything in the house works, as expected, except for one point. The guest bathroom fan. The fan switch is inoperable. Not broken. It's wired. But it does nothing. Instead, the fan in the bathroom, is controlled from a humidity control in the hallway leading to the bathroom. The best we can determine. The rouge crossover is also on that circuit (breaker). Can you tell me what is going on here? Probably not. So I guess I'm going to have to figure out how to make this problem useful instead of annoying.
We also noticed, the electrician didn't catch this, that there is a faulty breaker. On that breaker the displacement (flexure) connection to the main power bus is faulty so it doesn't seat correctly.
It also appears that the connection to the heater is no better than 8 gauge wire on a '70 amp circuit'. That's doesn't meet code. Not even close...
So. Once again... It's up to us to pick up the slack (damage recovery). Ugh!
Finally the clothes dryer that was delivered was of a 'GAS' type... We specifically ordered 'ALL' appliances to be electric BECAUSE WE DO NOT HAVE GAS (or propane) so a gas dryer is useless to us which was 'well disclosed'. And... After we 're-purchased' a new 'electric' dryer (another additional expense) and went to rewire the dryer... We found that the entry to the electrical panel was unnecessarily difficult to get to even though we were only going two-feet. And... It took us almost an entire day to pull the wire (move this, remove that, replace that, what about the...). And... If that's not enough... When we cut into the wall, to replace the 120v 'appliance' (factory term) with a 240v appliance (the receptacle the factory should have installed initially), we discovered that the wallboard, surrounding the original receptacle, which we had to enlarge to accommodate the new 'approved' receptacle box, had been damaged in manufacturing, It was repaired (kludged, not replaced) using a piece of wood, behind the sheet-rock, as a brace overlapping the compromise (break) and screwed, on either side of the overlap (break), with, oddly, the only evidence we've seen of sheet-rock screws. How much more of this poor manufacturing is yet to be discovered. Now when we removed the original (incorrect) receptacle (plug) it had no markings on it. Not a current rating or agency approval (UL, CSA, etc...). I think that is a code violation also! So now I have to replace (or at least check) every switch and receptacle in the house to make sure it's satisfactory.
Here's one that really gets the point across. The microwave oven comes with, and is the only source of, a vent (exhaust). For the entire kitchen. However... Even though there is a vertical (through the roof to the outside world) vent... The Microwave venting (as delivered) was set to 'recirculating' NOT vent up through the duct. One of many side effects of this is that the poorly placed smoke detectors go off every time we bake... Additionally the vent plumbing (sheet metal ducting) was not only poorly installed, the installation included attaching the ducting by drilling holes into the chassis of a high-powered electrical appliance thus voiding any warranty.
If that isn't bad enough... The plug for the microwave is behind the vent duct. Not only making it difficult to access but it also was incorrectly installed... By the way it wiggles, it is obvious that there is only one screw (top) attaching the receptacle to the junction box.
Again... This doesn't satisfy code.
Finally... The ducting itself is designed more to catch and fester the greasy slime of cooking rather then to vent it. This in turn attracts insect infestation from the 'outside' portion of the vent. Properly installed there would be no place for the updraft to creep into and no place for insects to take hold.
The smoke detector placement, also, has turned out to be completely inadequate for this house layout. Why...
Well... Maybe the fact that any baking in the house results in them firing (going off). That means NO toast and minimal oven use. Perhaps if the 'Microwave' vent hood worked correctly this would be less of a 'disaster'. They also seem to be inter-connected. When one goes off. They all go off. Well almost all. The master bedroom does not seem connected to the chain. Oh well... Another oversight I guess.
When the 'factory representative' was here, I specifically pointed out that I did not believe the electrical met code (for what I could see then... It's worse now!). I was concerned that there were wire bundles wrapped in insulation and without derating the wire gauge it doesn't meet code (U.S. or Canada). In fact the entire house wiring bundle descends from the electrical panel and is foam sealed and packed in insulation. Sam said, and I know this from the code book, that the electrical was over-built, The 'rep' said... I took his word on that. Over-built (rated) means you increase the wire gauge for the corresponding breaker current when you rob it of convection cooling (wrap it in insulation). Although... The builder used almost exclusively 12-ga. wire (or better), many of the circuits these wires are attached to are 20-amp breakers. Code says this scenario is under-rated (Unacceptable). Insulated 12-ga. is only good for 15-amps. That's called 'derating' and NONE of the higher power circuits (heater, stove, water heater) followed the duration guidelines.
On a side note... Not really an electrical issue but... We hooked up the phone the other day (had to first pull the wire through 600-ft. of underground conduit) and noticed. All the other utility hookups are centralized except for phone and cable. Both phone and cable are stubbed on the farthest wall from the rest of the utilities. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT EFFORT IT TAKES TO CORRECT THESE DISCONTINUITIES. Wouldn't you think that most foundations would benefit by better 'centralization'. Now that's really a minor issue except for the fact that for every thing stupid done before delivery there is a cost involved which, undoubtedly, the customer pays for. ME... That's what engineering is all about. Maybe the factory might like to try that sometime.
Let me start this with the fact that...
To this day I can not get the house to hold water pressure over night. On my schedule this is about fourteen hours. However the label on the master closet wall says that this house was tested to 100-kpa for two whole hours. Wow. Well... it seems that this test in only partially conclusive. At best.
During 'our' testing it was noticed that the back external faucet leaked and, instead of being fixed/replaced was filled with 'silicone' to correct (hide) it. How do I know this. Well I requested no outside faucets. I don't need them on the second story deck. So when we went to cap them off. One leaked. Why. For the same reason it leaked in manufacturing and was kludged by using silicone to PATCH it. This kind of manufacturing shenanigan defers a factory defect to the customers future maintenance burden. The sad thing is that fixing the problem was trivial. It took us almost no time to fix it Except for the time it took to ROUND UP THE TOOLS AND MATERIALS which would have been handy in the factory where this house was built. What would have taken the factory minutes to replace TOOK US AN ENTIRE DAY. Another unnecessary expense.
Wow... Lot's of things wrong here. In the order of discovery... First of all...
The toilet leaked between the tank and the bowl because of an incorrectly installed seal (gasket). Funny thing is that the factory might say that this 'plumbing aspect' wasn't part of their 'pressure' testing (shut-off valve closed maybe) and went unnoticed however when we removed the toilets (which were siliconed to the sub-floor, Ugh!) in order to install the bathroom floors both toilets had residual water in their traps suggesting that they were part of the 'water' test that should have 'failed'. Someone noticed this at the factory and didn't fix it. I would also like to say that neither toilet evacuates thoroughly when flushed. There are these two beautiful, good capacity, toilets with plumbing in them only suitable for extreme drought conditions. Well... I've got news for you... My water flows through my property whether I use it or not so in that sense I have an unlimited (reasonably speaking) supply.
The sink drain leaks. Why... Because there was no putty between the drain flange (metal) and the sink (ceramic). Now I have to remove every drain in the house to insure that it's installed correctly (at who's expense do you think).
Finally the fancy shower system does not drain properly when shut off. Not a big problem. UNLESS YOU WANT TO SHOWER AND GO TO SLEEP! Drip... Drip... Drip... For about two hours after the shower is used. Know now that I did not want and do not need and did not ask for a fancy shower system. The factory rep should remember when we talked on the phone in mid March 2009 (we still hadn't moved into the house yet) I suggested that the shower door was sub standard (amongst many other complaints). I believe that a shower door should have at least enough integrity (strength) to prevent people from falling through it. A shower after all is a slippery area and elderly people are not always to sure on their feet. The factories opinion was that it did 'not' matter how good the door was it's only purpose is that it doesn't leak. Well... When I took my very first long shower (I hadn't had that luxury in a very long time) the shower door leaked. The shower door is not only sub-standard but it leaks also. So... Now... By even the factory standards the door is not adequate. If that's not enough grief... The 'hot' and 'cold' water supply to the shower is reversed. When you turn the 'knob' to cold (blue) it gets hotter and vise-versa... It would appear that the factory 'testing' (QED), for such an expensive product, doesn't include much. So what I got was an expensive shower with an unsafe door when what I wanted was a plain shower with a strong safe door. What you see is not what you get.
For the mater of the waste-lines. My goodness people. NONE of the waste-lines have what I would call an adequate slope. On top of that there were two places (really not necessary) where we had to connect the lines to our main drain. I was under the impression (from the scarce documentation that I received) that there was only one drain for the house. Oh well... Disturbingly... The one drain from the kitchen/guest-bathroom was stubbed so that it required notching a truss in order to get a coupler to it so it could continue it's path to our sewage system. The other required removing the heater duct feeding the master bathroom in order to connect it to out sewer connection. Additional work (monies) I incurred which shouldn't have been necessary if the house was truly 'engineered' properly.
When using the kitchen sink; If you wash you hands with sudsy soap (i.e. dish washing liquid) which I commonly do. The suds will come up the opposite side of the sink half being used. THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN WHEN THE DRAINS ARE SLOPED CORRECTLY. I've used many 'UN-vented' kitchen sinks that behave better then this one.
The way that the plumbing and wiring is mostly determines which sides the washer and dryer go on. Left side washer, right side washer, etc... In this case the natural way the machines want to be place means, for the machines provided, that the doors open on the wrong sides so that it is inconvenient to transfer the wash. OK... You could say that it is trivial to reverse them. However because of the dryer vent requirement that would mean that the machines would stick out from the wall some 8-10 inches in order to route the dryer vent hose. That is not an acceptable solution. So now I'm stuck with an inconvenience that would not exist if things were properly designed.
From the time we purchased the house, up until it's delivery, for every question we had about the house, we were told 'We can't give you that information. It's in engineering'. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF ANY ENGINEERING IN THIS HOUSE. What do I mean. Well... I am an Engineer. I have engineered many products and systems. Far more complex than a 'modular home'. I KNOW HOW TO ENGINEER. And believe me there is none of it in this abomination.
Framing And Dry Wall...
First of all some observations. The walls in this house are not very straight (true). Furthermore they all seem to taper out a bit at the bottom. This makes it very difficult to do a good job on baseboard and casement molding's. I know everyone is going to say that framing and dry-wall is not a perfect science and there will always be unevenness. OK fair enough but I surely expected a factory do do a better job then I could with the lumber scraps available in a rural village. Ugh! These walls suck and are aggravated by a finish I did not want. I see however why you support this finish so much. It tends to hide (but not eliminate) a poorly done job. Yes poorly done. There are many places where lighting shadows enhance the dry-wall seams that were not properly mudded and sanded. Additionally there were nearly 100 cracks at the seams. Including every corner of every window and door header on the front half. Sad thing is that almost every crack was present 'before' the halves were placed. Maybe we have an additional claim against the shipper also. That's only minor damage however. What's really disappointing is that every dry-wall contractor, yes everyone in town, said the same thing. 'If the builder had used 'paper tape' at the seams instead of 'flexible plastic mesh' then 'most' of these repairs wouldn't be necessary.
In terms of standard construction... I was assured by the factory rep that this house was built to industry standards. This is the only house I have seen decades that uses sheet-rock nails instead of screws. Why is that? More importantly, the interior walls are on two-foot centers not the 'standard' sixteen inch centers. Why is that? Does the factory not realize that all home wall-mount appliances, TV-mounts, in-wall safes, mirrors, etc... are dependent on 'conventional' studding. Now everything short of a picture that I attach to a wall needs additional work in order to meet manufacturers recommended installation guidelines (usually mounted directly to studding). Thanks!
I'm also disappointed with the floor joists. Engineered joists made of bottom-grade 2x4's on 2-ft centers. This is not a sturdy floor. The cloths dryer causes a 3.0 earthquake (I'm from California originally) and even the cat jumping off the couch is disturbingly noticeable. I made it perfectly clear, repeatedly, that I would be placing tile in portions of the house and I know that even with proper sub-floor treatment that this will not be possible without extensive structural enhancement to the floor.
On top of that... broken
Kitchen and Appliances...
As was already discussed... Neither the stove nor the heater were wired correctly. Additionally the clothes-dryer delivered was a gas type. We stated over and over and over again that THERE IS NOT AND NEVER GOING TO BE GAS AT THE HOUSE AND EVERYTHING MUST BE ELECTRIC. Electric vs. gas was the reason that the water heater was not included. The broker clearly stated that a CSA approved electric water heater was unobtainable. How come, when it was clearly discussed numerous times, that the stove (incorrectly wired or not) and the water heater (not delivered but stubbed correctly) were of the right type but the clothes-dryer was not. It is completely unusable to us. Furthermore... The door on the dishwasher (the only appliance remaining untested) is damaged. It doesn't appear to seal correctly and I do not have high hopes that it will hold water. Additionally when we removed it to install the floor underneath it the wiring, which was incredibly difficult to get at, was poorly connected. By this I mean that the wires were not twisted and the wire-nuts were loosely connected.
Also... The vent hood is installed incorrectly. There is a very nice vent above it presumably leading to the roof however the hood vents out the front. Not the top through the ascending exhaust. Therefore all the steam from the microwave, and the stove below it, rise up around the cabinets which will only spoil the glue joints eventually. Now I would have been really pissed about this however I just recently installed a vent hood on another project so I know that all I have to do is to remove it to adjust where it vents to. Again... I WOULD NOT HAVE TO BE DOING THESE THINGS IF YOUR MANUFACTURING PERSONAL KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING.
On a side note (I have not had time to fix the vent hood yet) A lot of times when we cook (usually oven, toaster related) the smoke alarms go off. Very annoying. I hope repairing the vent hood will solve this nuisance. Oh Yea! What happens in the winter when the snow covers this vent?
Finally. The three wire circuit for the kitchen lights is not installed correctly. In a three wire circuit with both switches in the down (off) positions the circuit should be off. To help enforce this the switches are clearly labeled 'TOP' so this can be done without guessing. Unless, of course it is miswired. How come, on the only prewired 3-wire circuit, the factory couldn't get this right?
Clearly... The builder and the CSA and all of the respective inspectors who participated, do not have any idea how insulation works or they would not have passed this house. Well... I guess if the proper paperwork has been filed... Ugh!
Or... Does the factory really have no idea what crap the production line is putting out.
Fiberglass insulation is designed to be evenly distributed through a cavity of proper depth for it's designated size. The insulation in this house may look good on the outside but it's effectiveness has been greatly diminished by it's poor application. When a 12-in insulation is stuffed (forced) over wires and plumbing leaving an 8-in dead-air cavity it's insulation properties are marginal at best. A proper installation would have been to split the 'batts' in half and tuck half under and the other half over the obstruction. Another major disappointment. And again another shortcut around 'industry standards'.
My main complaint here is that none of the internal door hinges are mortised on the jam side. The door strikes aren't mortised either. And... Why does the factory feel it is necessary to spend extra money and time using three hinges on 5 pound (plastic) doors but it's ok to cheap out and flush mount the hinges and strikes. First of all this hyper-extends the hinge. Hinges are designed to be mortised on both halves. Furthermore this leaves excessive gaps on either side of the door. Also the door stops are not aligned correctly to the door geometry. This makes the doors impossible to close with just a light push. In fact slamming the door shut hardly even works. All these things combined makes the doors operate unsatisfactory. Oddly enough the exterior doors, which are only installed temporarily for shipping, operate correctly and really don't need any adjustment other then completing fastening them to the structure.
OK... What's going on here. We ordered smooth-finish walls. Not textured. I HATE textured walls. They have the feeling of staying in a cheap Vegas motel. Not to mention that every crevice in a textured wall collects dust which is an abundant resource on a horse farm. I wouldn't have a log home (as much as I love them) for the same reason.
Also the siding was supposed to be 'Hardy-Board' not vinyl. I HATE vinyl. There is also the matter of the material supplied to complete the siding. We had also requested that enough siding (which we still believed at that point to be 'Hardy-Board') be supplied to side the basement to match the house. This request was verified in person when the broker came here to deliver another house. Not only was there no additional siding, as promised, there was not even enough incorrect (vinal) siding to complete the house itself.
Late: Making a Huge difference because of our 'Far-North' climate.
What Structural: Marginal at best. Just barely meets code. Some doesn't; In my opinion. No comfort whatsoever. It doesn't meet industry standards which makes it difficult to interface to other 'standard' industry devices. And. The roof is a hazard. It was modified from it's original design and the resultant patch does not meet harsh winter requirements.
Electrical: Doesn't meet code. Many things miswired. Assembly instructions absent. Clearly not properly tested by the factory. Still doesn't work completely.
Plumbing: Doesn't meet code. Several leaks. Additional assembly required. Provisioning for additional assembly was 'not' provided.
Heating: Here's the funny thing about this one. I know that in the province that these homes were originally approved for would not allow a furnace configuration like the one I received. That tells me that the factory is skimping here (BC) to make up for harder earned profits where this kind of shenanigan would not be tolerated. BC takes the Canadian 'kick in the ass again'.
Oven/Stove: Didn't work. Incorrectly wired.
Microwave: Installed incorrectly. Vent-hood in wrong orientation. Installation not only voided warrenty but ultimately led to unit failure.
Dishwasher: No comment.
Washer/Dryer: Incorrect options. Wrong unit delivered. Not provisioned for proper unit. Not ergonomicly correct.
Water Heater Not delivered. Not plumbed properly, or wired properly; Useless.
Interior: Wrong finish.
Exterior: Wrong material.
Roof: Right finish. Poor installation job. Unsatisfactory.
Seating Plane: Incorrect. Did not work for me.
Does not meet building industry standards. If these house plans were submitted to the regional building inspector they would be rejected as 'unsatisfactory'.
I didn't request much, or expect much, here so I had low expectations. I was still slightly disappointed.
Is it possible that I can do better with 300 dollars worth of tools then a whole factory can.
Maybe they should have been watching The Learning Channel more. Ha. Ha...
And How Come We're The One's Left Responsible For This Mess.
When we bought this house we were clearly told that it would cost an additional amount to complete. With my building and engineering expertise I knew that this cost could be avoided by doing all the contracting work myself (and friends). I was not incorrect. And I was not in a hurry. The only place I failed was directly due to the late delivery of the house. Three months late. In Winter. In Canada. Other then that we did an exceptional job. Better then the factory. What the factory didn't expect however, was that their poor workmanship would be directly visible to, and scrutinized by, the customer. Me.
The sad thing here. For the factory of course. Is that the 'assembly' cost, built in, and using local contractors, isolates them from the actual assembly process. The mistakes the factory makes are, for the most part, caught and corrected by the contractors who complete the project and are billed to the customer (as extra hours) not the factory. Therefore... The factory is costing 'each' customer an additional 'hidden' cost to correct for the factories sloppiness.
Us included... Ugh!
The broker... A true crook. Consistently refused to provide any requested information, vital information. Failed on every option. Constantly lied about delivery problems. Even when the broker called us up on the phone and asked us, specifically, what our preferences were our replies were ignored. I guess the broker knew better then we do.
The CSA shares an equal burden as well. They are the regulating authority for this product. I find it hard to believe that they would have knowingly approved such an inferior product. I'm going to assume then that they really don't care as much about the actual product as they do the paperwork that supports it. There is no real evidence here that either the CSA or the builder made any real effort to verify that the house was built correctly.
Huge shame either way. There are so many good products in the market but because of the 'CSA Approval' requirement most are disqualified from competing. I'll venture to say that the best one's are not eligible. Why... Simply because they are not desperate to expand their market. Who is. Apparently... Scammers and second rate organizations. You know. The one's that have the time to fill out all the paperwork. BECAUSE THEY CAN'T SELL THEIR JUNK PRODUCTS TO ANYONE ELSE.
This is what happens when governments decide that the people they represent are too stupid to make rational decisions without intervention. In the long run... Regulating a market does not serve the market or it's customers or even it's tax collectors. Not good... I suppose that if people voted for this (yeah right) then they are too stupid to be on their own in the big bad world and the government, as a whole, is smarter then average citizen. Kind of a 'Make Stupid' uh 'Feel Smart' scenario.
Maybe the lesson here is that the paperwork should not be only about the product and should be as much about the people that are delivering it. After all... The product does come directly from people.
Ultimately... I do feel kind of stupid... The government was right I guess. Shame on the government that didn't protect me from itself.
This page is full.
Note To The Factory: If the damages aren't clear enough by now then perhaps your legal department is as inadequate as your engineering and manufacturing departments.
Profit: 1 ; Quality: -1 ; Customer Satisfaction... Less Than 0.