The last update was exactly 2 weeks ago, but it certainly doesn’t feel that long. When the your elbow deep in scheduling and coordinating work among 4 or 5 trades at the same time, the days and weeks can go by pretty fast. But being busy means much progress has been made. We’ve now passed our mechanical (HVAC) and plumbing inspections and the electrical inspection is scheduled for tomorrow. Also, the post-tension foundation cables have been stressed and are now waiting for the engineer inspection. Some more details on some of those items below:
1. Plumbing Rough-in
2. Electrical Rough-in
Getting power to the house involves physically finding a way to get a cable from the electrical pole all the way to the meter can installed on the side of the house. Since installing the meter right at the front would be real ugly and a big turn off for any buyers, we are putting it towards the back, behind the front door. That requires digging a trench from the electric pole all the way to the meter location and laying conduit.
3. Post-Tension Cable Stressing
No, not the insect. Nor am I referring to the sport enjoyed by the English, Indians, and Caribbean nations with rules I will never understand. These are small pop-up peaks created on a surface to direct water where you want it to go. In this case, we have 2 balconies with what are called “scuppers,” a fancy word for a hole in a wall for water to shoot out of. The hole and all corners where wall meets floor will be lined in metal flashing to water proof the joints and a water proofing fluid sprayed over everything. This area was like a bath tub during a recent heavy rain event. Boy, was I glad to see these get put in!
Another important milestone today – the mechanical and electrical systems are starting to be installed. This includes the plumbing and HVAC (air conditioning) as well as the outlets, light switches, recessed lights, and other light fixtures. The security system, phone lines, TV lines, and internet wiring is considered low voltage and will be installed by yet another vendor.
At this stage, the builder’s role as coordinator between different sub-contractors is more important than ever. You have several trades coming together to “utilize” a limited amount of space (inside the walls and ceilings) to layout their pipes, conduits, wiring, boxes, etc. There’s a lot going on and the challenge is to manage the competing interests of each sub-contractor while making sure that the decisions they are making on a micro level makes sense. Each vendor would like to complete the job as soon as possible and therefore the default approach is to always take the path of least resistance. It’s human nature. But that doesn’t always make sense. Just a small example is the plumber who installs his drain line below the ceiling to get around an obstruction, creating more work for the framers to build a fur down later, just because he didn’t want to put in a few extra elbow joints.
We have made much progress since the previous update. The City of Houston has approved our proposed replat and granted permits for the design. Construction is now well underway and we have finished the foundation, framing, and completed the cornice stage through “dry-in,” which is the critical milestone in a new build where the building begins to assert control over the elements and is able to resist most weather related events, principally rain here in Houston.
The above is an illustration of our new project, which we’re really excited about. Located on a quiet street where midtown and the museum district meet, the homes are also within easy access to both downtown and the Medical Center. Public green space such as Hermann Park and the entertainment and nightlife offered by midtown is just a short drive away on local streets. There is much new residential and retail construction completed or under way in the immediate surrounding area that will serve as both benchmarks for our own project as well as add great value and amenities to the location. One block to the North, owners of the restaurant retail project known as “Almeda Yards” have begun work to convert the former corner gas station art space into the new Retrospect Coffee House as well as constructing new structures for an outdoor dining plaza.