Posts Tagged ‘house’
Since primary construction finished last Sept, I have made several fixes to the house. I m listing them here, for the simple reason that I wont forget them:
-Make street signs (on 2 separate occasions) to advertise the bookstore.
-Run electricial wires on the outside, to light the street signs.
-Put a charger on the 1st story’s ceiling, so I could open the garage door in case there is a blackout.
-Install an addtional electricial outlet on the 1st floor and in the bathroom.
-Replace the transformers of the dimmer lights on 2 separate occasions. Electrical surges are the norm here. I m thinking of buying a stabilizer. We’ll see.
-Water proof the house, twice using professionals and twice by myself (via simple caulking)
-Move the AC units from the patio to the roof for aesthetics reason.
-Tile the patio to prevent leaking.
-Install a water pressurizer.
-Install a noise insulation box for the water pressurizer.
-Clean the inside of the kitchen faucet to improve flow.
-Install 2 turbine roof vents to ventilate the house.
All these problems could have been easily avoided, had the primary construction was of high-quality.
Lessons to be learnt:
-When they mix cement on the sidewalk outside your house, make sure they clean it immediately afterward. Otherwise it will dry out and becomes almost impossible to remove.
-When they move their bikes up the house, warn them to be careful and not chip the tiles.
-When they lay the tiles, make sure a. they border the wall w/ the tiles, b. they use the lever, c. there is no gap between tiles or between tiles and the wall d. the tiles in the bathroom are slanted so water flows to the drain
-When they lay the water pipes, make sure they a. use big pipes and b.position them properly. Otherwise you will spend unnecessary money on a water pressurizer, which then makes exceedingly annoying humming noise, causing you to spend more unnecessary money on an insulation box.
-When they lay the stucco ceilings or run the pipes/wires throughout the house, make sure the ceilings are as high as possible and the pipes/wires take the min amount of space.
-When they build the stairways, make sure a. the wood they use wont contract or expand when wet, b. the paint wont come off under normal wear/tear, c. they build borders and paint all sides of the steps, d. cut the steps so there is no visible gap between steps and the wall e. leave space between the steps and the glass wall. Otherwise when the door is being closed, the impact will knock the glass wall against the steps.
-Make sure the cabinets don’t have a rough surface.
-Caulking of all necessary places is very important. Saigon is a rainy place. If they dont caulk well, you will spend your own time and money doing the caulking yourself.
-When they build the outside patio, make sure they know what they are doing. Without proper water-proofing, water will leak from the top down. This means more money and time trying to find the problem and solve it.
-Any floor outdoor needs to be slanted towards the drain. If not water will stagnate, resulting in rotten ceilings.
-Get a real painter to paint your house. Dont let the contractor hire some random guy from the village. If you do, chances that random guy wont mix the paint properly, resulting in rusted balcony.
-Speaking of the balcony (which is made of temper glass screwed to metal frames), make sure they measure the glass well. Otherwise there will be misalignment when the glasses are attached to the frames.
It has been half a year now and overall I think it turned out OK. The style is pretty unique and has gotten me lots of compliments. However there are several missing features:
-No cable outlet (except for the master bed).
-Lack of power outlet (none in the bathroom or hallway, only 1 in the loft)
-No internet outlet (except for the master bed).
-The electricty is not grounded. I did tell the constructor but he said it was not a big deal. In retrospect I shouldnt have bulged on this.
-Lack of ventilation. Since I built the house pretty airtight, it gets quite stifling if the AC isn’t on. But of course that gets expensive. Recently I installed 2 wind-powered turbines on the roof, which take the hot air in the attic out and make the inside of the house a bit cooler. One of these days I will install ventilators in each room, together w/ the AC.
-Low water pressure. Water supply here sucks. Every house, including mine, has a reservoir up on the roof, which supplies water throughout the house. My reservoir, however is on the 3rd floor. My kitchen is on the 2nd. Since the distance traveled by the water is too short, there is virtually no pressure in the kitchen’s faucet. I paid 1.5 mil for a water pressurizer but that didn’t help.
-Low ceiling. Since I hid all the pipes and wires through the ceilings (instead of inside the wall, like most new houses in Sg), they had to be lowered. In retrospect I wished I had kept a better eye on the lowering of these ceilings because in several instances, I caught them lowering the ceilings more than necessary.
-No hot water. Except for the shower head, there is no hot water. This is my fault. I shouldn’t have listened to the constructor, who successfully convinced me there was no need for hot water in such climate.
This is just a general list about the whole house. In the upcoming posts I ll detail the things I m unhappy about, floor by floor.
This morning I dropped by the house to give Tu, the architect, some money. He wasnt there. Dia said he was just having coffee up the street and would be back soon. So I sat outside and waited.
5 minutes later, Tu walked in. From afar I could sense something was wrong. He seemed lost and in dishevel. First words out of his mouth “My iphone is stolen”.
Turned out he was standing by the sidewalk when a motorcyclist swooped in and snatched the phone, which, btw, was my present to him for drawing up the house’s new design last Xmas. We tried to text and call the phone but no luck.
His day was pretty much ruined. Besides all the valuable info in it, he actually liked the phone a lot. He also mentioned how my cousin’s expensive bike got stolen a while ago. That and all the misfortunes that fell upon those involved in my house’s construction kinda gave him the creeps. I tried to comfort him by saying we did the whole worship thing already.
He didnt seem to cheer up much. I may have to give him my used iphone…Well…depends on whether there will be any more delay or additional cost.
So we are almost 3 weeks behind schedule with no finish date in sight. Of course since the last post, more misfortunes have befallen to those involved in its construction. Here are 2 of them:
-A construction worker climbed on my next door neighbor’s roof to take a leak, slipped and fell hard. I saw him the next day. His right eye was shut black. The upper right forehead was cracked and required 3 stitches. Total medical expense was over a mil. With no worker’s comp or personal insurance, I had to help pay half of it.
-My architect hired a small villager named Địa to watch the house. It s well known he is not so bright so we set him to clean stuff and run small errands. Last Thursday around 8pm, Địa was lounging around when a guy came and struck a conversation. According to him, he was shown a fancy phone with multiple cool functionalities, which impressed him so much he decided to trade his own phone (which was bought by the architect so he could call him), plus a 100K, for the fancy phone. Once the guy was gone, Địa, to his dismay, discovered it was all but a scam. The fancy phone was, through a sleight of hand, switched for a plastic piece of toy. Poor Địa! After multiple brushes with Saigon’s thieves and con artists, he now cant wait to go back home and continue his bovine life as a duck herder.
Since it started last week, the followings have happened:
1. The A/C guy had a motorcycle accident and had to be replaced.
2. A construction worker got his bike stolen. My old gate was sold as junk for 1.2mil. The money was given to him as my contribution in the fund raising effort to buy him a new bike.
3. My desire to have a wider window on my top floor was destroyed. The reason: neighborly dispute. This dude who lived behind my house climbed up his roof and vowed to built a wall blocking the window if it was to be built. Wtf? I cant even build a window in my own house!!!
4. Same thing happened w/ the neighbor who lived next to my house!!!
5. The people’s committee came by. They were bribed.
6. Same thing happened w/ the zoning committee. Even worse, we had to go to their office, suffered half of day of lengthy paperwork, was told to come back in 2 days for…you guessed it…more bribery and lengthy paperwork.
7. Crappy design+implementation+higher material/labor cost: topic for another post.