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What if spec sheet differs from blueprints? Which one rules?

posted by: lithnights on 06.09.2013 at 01:39 pm in Building a Home Forum

We are in the midst of our home being built and are realizing there are difference between the contract/specs, and the actual blueprints (permit set) drawings.

When we signed the contract, the included spec sheet was a generic listing that the builder said they often use. At that time, they had presented us with various elevations but we hadn't finalized one. There was not one as part of the signed contract, nor was there a listing of upgrades/options. Once the contract was signed, the architect drew up blueprints, which we then initialed. We assumed, unless something was listed as an option, that we were getting the design and features listed on the blueprints.

So, I am wondering when there is an inconsistency between the spec sheet (included with contract), and the actual blueprints drawn up afterwards, which one rules.

e.g. the spec sheet states "premium steel insulated 9 lite single door" but every elevation we were shown before we signed, and the blueprints themselves, show a 6 panel solid door with 2 sidelites and a top transom. So which one rules?

e.g. the spec sheet states "6 foot insulated vinyl sliding", but every elevation and the blueprints show it with a top transom.

e.g. the spec sheet doesn't mention stone at all but every elevation we were shown beforehand shows more stone than what is drawn on the blueprint elevation.

e.g. The heating section states only, "Gas heat with central air. Performance 85% single stage by York". But we were verbally told that anytime they do a house over 3K sq ft (ours is 3250), that they do 2 units. Yesterday, when I met with the HVAC guy for the first time, we were told they were doing a single 5 ton unit, and if we wanted anything more it would be about $3500 for a zoned system, or about $6000 for a 2 unit system. I know I should have tried to clarify1 or 2 unit in the contract but they told me the HVAC manufacturer would later figure it out (Manual J) and thus they couldn't tell us for sure until then.

e.g. The spec sheet states 50 gallon hot water heater, but the blueprints show 75 gallon.

There are many areas on the blueprints that state "optional" for certain things like garage utility tub, extra fireplace, and I would expect to pay extra for those. But the above examples I mention are not listed as options on the blueprint.

So does the contract/spec sheet trump the blueprints, or does the blueprint trump the spec sheet?

I plan to talk to a real estate lawyer about this, but I wanted to know if anyone is familiar or has gone through this.

Thanks in advance!

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clipped on: 06.30.2013 at 06:00 pm    last updated on: 06.30.2013 at 06:01 pm

Please help with builder's proposed HVAC setup?

posted by: lithnights on 06.09.2013 at 06:22 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

I am building a 3250 sq ft house in SE PA. There is no gas line. There is a propane tank. I told the builder months ago, I wanted a heat pump with electric backup, rather than the propane furnace he suggested. Propane around here is insanely expensive. I'm trying to make the house as tight as possible..2x6 framing, Andersen 200 windows, R50 in attic etc. I am also thinking of doing 2" of spray foam but still waiting on a price from the builder.

I am installing an efficient woodburning fireplace (and a dedicated duct to push it to the other side of the 1st floor), and hope to use this for most of my heating needs. I know someone who has the same unit and similar sized house and has had success.

Last month, I asked the builder for a Manual J so I could start analyzing and thinking about what kind of HVAC setup I wanted. He never provided it.

Last week, I met with the HVAC guy and builder for the 1st time, and was told they were doing a single 5 ton 13 SEER, 95% unit. I expressed concern about why not a 2 unit (builder had originally said they do 2 units for anything over 3K sq ft), but they said 1 unit would be fine. I'm thinking they're taking the cheap way out. They suggested I do a programmable zoning ($3600 my cost) and strongly suggested AGAINST doing 2 units (quoted me around $6000). I again asked for the manual J and was sent a single page of info. I am attaching.
1. Can someone help me understand what the attached information means as far as what I need for my HVAC?

2. Since the manual J was not based on me doing 2" of sprayfoam, wouldn't that change my HVAC needs? Should it be recalculated?

3. Is a single 5 ton unit my best bet? I'm afraid it will be too much, since I'm likely doing the 2" of sprayfoam.

4. I definitely don't want my upstairs at 80 degrees while my 1st floor is at 75 degrees so am I better off doing a 2 zone setup, or doing 2 units (maybe 2 tons each?).

I feel like I'm being pressured to make a quick decision on this, and have no idea on the best option.

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance!

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clipped on: 06.30.2013 at 05:59 pm    last updated on: 06.30.2013 at 05:59 pm

Spray foam worth it in my situation?

posted by: lithnights on 06.12.2013 at 02:08 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

I'd like to do spray foam on my 3250 sq ft new construction. I had assumed around $6K based on what the builder had guessed a couple times. We're almost ready to insulate, and he just now got me an official quote for $8500. I have 2 days to decide.

This would be closed cell for 2", just for exterior walls. The quote says it would give it an R value of 14. With unfaced R11 over it, I would have R25. Without the upgrade, I'd have R19, so we're looking at about 33% increase in R value.

I added up the walls and it comes to about 2900 sq ft of wall (based on 9 ft ceilings).

I know spray foam isn't cheap but isn't this a bit pricey?

Also a concern is that I don't even know who the sub is that is doing it, nor references etc. I've been asking for this info for months from the builder. I could be his first job for all I know.

I'm in SE PA, and I plan to use a high output fireplace to heat most of my house, with a heat pump (propane backup) as needed. Heat pump for A/C. Electric around $.16 khw. 2x6 framing, upgraded to Andersen 200 windows. R50 blown in attic.

If I knew how much I'd save in utility bills, I could do a breakeven/ROI analysis, but I have no idea if my energy savings would be 10%, 20%, 50% etc.

Is there anything else I need to think of before making this decision?

Thanks!

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clipped on: 06.30.2013 at 05:56 pm    last updated on: 06.30.2013 at 05:57 pm

2 zone system in new construction..do it now or can do it later?

posted by: lithnights on 06.28.2013 at 01:25 am in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

I am having a 2 story colonial 3200 square foot house built in PA. The builder is putting in one 5 ton heatpump, with propane backup. My obvious fear is uneven temps between upstairs and downstairs, and after lots of great feedback from some of my other threads, I would like to do a zoned system.

They have already run ductwork for the 1st and 2nd floors (but have not installed the main plenum or return in basement). They are drywalling next week so I need to make a decision ASAP.

My problem is, the builder is quoting me an additional $3600 premium for a 2 zone system (Honeywell I think). We don't really have that kind of money but could do it next year or so. Furthermore, longterm I would love to have a 3 maybe 4 zone system, which would likely be even more. We'll hopefully be here 20+ years.

So..
1. I understand zoning involves the cost of 2 dampers, the extra and more complicated thermostats, some extra wiring, running 2 smaller plenums instead of 1 larger plenum etc., but an extra $3600? Is this really a realistic cost for this for a new install? Keep in mind the basement is entirely open, and the house is not drywalled, so we're not talking major work to run through walls like it would be as a retrofit. And the plenum nor return ductwork is installed yet. So is there really that much extra labor here to justify that price? Am I better off waiting until next year, when I can bring in a few reputable companies and at least try to get a couple different bids and ideas? Or could it possibly cost more to have someone come in next year to do it?

2. Assuming I could do it cheaper next year (by getting some competitive bids), I am leaning towards just having them run the wiring for future thermostats and anything else that can be done now, to get ready for a future install. Is there anything else they could/would run now that would make a future install easier/cheaper?

3. Based on my floorplan (attached) do you have any advice on zones? If I could afford 4, I'd love to do one for the left side of 1st floor, one for right side of 1st floor, one for master bedroom, and one for the left side of the 2nd floor for the other bedrooms. Thoughts? Should I expect to pay a much larger premium to get 3 or 4 zones? i.e. how much would it cost to go from 2 to 3 to 4 etc.?

I would appreciate any guidance on this major decision.

Thanks in advance!

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.30.2013 at 05:48 pm    last updated on: 06.30.2013 at 05:57 pm

Is spray foam a good idea for my new build?

posted by: lithnights on 06.12.2013 at 02:10 pm in Building a Home Forum

I posted this in the HVAC area but wanted to post it here too since I didn't know where was most appropriate. Sorry if that is bad forum etiquette.

I'd like to do spray foam on my 3250 sq ft new construction. I had assumed around $6K based on what the builder had guessed a couple times. We're almost ready to insulate, and he just now got me an official quote for $8500. I have 2 days to decide.

This would be closed cell for 2", just for exterior walls. The quote says it would give it an R value of 14. With unfaced R11 over it, I would have R25. Without the upgrade, I'd have R19, so we're looking at about 33% increase in R value.

I added up the walls and it comes to about 2900 sq ft of wall (based on 9 ft ceilings).

I know spray foam isn't cheap but isn't this a bit pricey?

Also a concern is that I don't even know who the sub is that is doing it, nor references etc. I've been asking for this info for months from the builder. I could be his first job for all I know.

I'm in SE PA, and I plan to use a high output fireplace to heat most of my house, with a heat pump (propane backup) as needed. Heat pump for A/C. Electric around $.16 khw. 2x6 framing, upgraded to Andersen 200 windows. R50 blown in attic.

If I knew how much I'd save in utility bills, I could do a breakeven/ROI analysis, but I have no idea if my energy savings would be 10%, 20%, 50% etc.

Is there anything else I need to think of before making this decision?

Thanks!

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 06.30.2013 at 05:56 pm    last updated on: 06.30.2013 at 05:57 pm