Another unforeseen delay in construction has caused us to delay our SIPs Week event once again by a week. The new dates for those of you interested in participating or just stopping by will be November 4th – 7th. See the once again updated flyer here.
This dissapointing delay has prompted me to jot down some lessons learned to date in the construction process. To me, just as important as building these homes on budget and on time is learning from our mistakes so that we can improve the process the next time around. Construction delays are inevitable and these lessons are not meant to point blame, but rather document our learning process. Like everything else we do, our failures are public on this blog as well.
Lessons Learned from 100K Foundation Construction
- Fully document LEED pre-construction tasks and hold a pre-construction meeting with the construction team
- Fully document any out of the ordinary construction details and communicate them to the responsible subcontractors
- Deliver specs for any pre-fab components on time and review plans for approval in a timely manner
- Verify that the bank has all of the documentation they need up front to prevent delays in construction draws
- Develop a detailed draw schedule with the bank and GC that will eliminate delays with subs, material delivery or permits
- Review permits to be pulled by subs with GC to make sure they do not cause any delays
We were a little behind in documenting all of our pre-construction items on our LEED checklist. This did not really cause delays, but everyone was not on the same page with our LEED reqs in the first few weeks and we were a bit late on our site erosion control measures. We finally fully understand the huge LEED for Homes spreadsheet and this will go much more smoothly next time.
We did a great job with this on the SIPs but dropped the ball a bit on the foundation and slab. We did not have the insulation detail correct on our construction drawings and failed to realize that the slab edge insulation was unusual to implement in Philly. We should have had this nailed down and thoroughly reviewed with our GC and foundation subcontractor from the beginning. This is doubly important due to the efficient design of our radiant system which will now have only R-5 on the edges rather than the R-10 planned.
This caused us one week delay in the SIPs delivery (which is now irrelevant…). After we signed the contract with SURETIGHT and the bank cut them their initial deposit to begin work, it took us an entire week to deliver they updated construction drawings. They needed these to create panel layouts for their shop and for us to assemble correctly onsite. Once we recieved panel layouts from SURETIGHT we also did not review and approve them quickly enough. Lastly, a site survey from the beginning to ensure that actual dimensions of the lots equaled the cities records would have saved us another few days in this process. Reducing the SIP lead time is imperitive to our future plans for shortening the overall construction schedule and right now it looks like the improvements are all on our end and not the manufacturer’s.
There was some confusion with some of our insurance documentation with the project that required us to redo and resend our insurance docs to the bank. This happened as the person responsible for cutting the checks at the bank was reviewing our second draw to the GC. This ended up costing us four days as we couldn’t get the city their check to permit us to tear up the street and access the water and sewer hookups from the street. This is ultimately responsible for our second SIPs Week delay we are announcing here and could have been avoided by double checking all bank required paperwork up front.
We reviewed our draw schedule with the bank at the beginning and made some tweaks to get the first SIPs payment off right away. What we didn’t look at in detail wast the second SIPs payment which is due prior to final delivery. We could also have made sure the draws were more inline with certain payments we needed to make prior to services being started like the water department payment that caused a delay this week. Experience with these homes is really the only reliable way to determine what the best draw schedule for everyone will be for the next projects.
The delay in pulling our plumbing permit was partly a miscomunication on the team’s part as to who was handling this and partly due to not getting the draw in time to pay for it. Slightly improved communication and planning will easily solve this next time around.
Even though we’ve had some delays and mishaps, nothing major has gone wrong that will jeopardize the final project and we still have ample time to make up our schedule delays. I am very pleased with the team’s work overall and confident that we are learning valuable lessons from our mistakes that will translate into weeks of time shaved off our next projects. Time is money, so this should positively effect our future budgets as well which will be translated to the buyer.
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