Archive for January, 2015

02 Jan 2015

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

Well, that’s just Grand.

One of the most difficult things to come to terms with when purchasing a new house is the sense of disappointment that comes with realizing that you’ve spent All That Money™ on a place built by clowns.

The house in Chestermere suffered from this problem. When we went to develop the unfinished basement we had to deal with the reality that the builder had intentionally made decisions to place every single item in the basement (furnace, hot water tank, electrical panel, sump, bathroom rough-in – even the teleposts) in the poorest location possible. Not simply in awkward or inconvenient locations, but the worst possible locations. The cost and effort to work around the stupidity was considerable.

Fast forward to this year – we’ve moved into the city into another new house. The aesthetic standards have changed a lot over the last 15 years. Cabinetry is better, granite counter tops are virtually standard fare, bathrooms are like spas and many of the houses that we looked at had features that were inconceivable just 10 years ago. And yet… the standard of workmanship is appallingly poor – particularly for anything that is ‘behind the scenes’.

You wouldn’t believe the length of the list of things that we’ve discovered in this new house that are poorly designed then carelessly built. I won’t torment you with the list as much of it will likely show up as Mr Fixit posts down the road. However, this week I found one that just made me shake my head.

I was all set to wash Chloe in the laundry room sink and discovered that the “pull-out” handle on the faucet would only pull out by about 3 inches. I figured that the hose was tangled around something that we had stored under the sink. So, I took a look. Turned out that the hose was tangled around the plumber’s miniscule IQ – and the drain pipe.

Fortunately, the hose had just enough give to pull past the stub of the drain once I removed the p-trap. It could have been nasty otherwise since the hose would have been virtually impossible to remove from either side of the tap fixture. At least it turned out to be a pretty easy fix for a situation closer to “annoyance” than to “crisis”. It does show clearly the absence of quality workmanship in the building of the house.

Grand Homes Ltd of Calgary was the home builder. You can see by their website the degree of commitment that they have to stand behind their work. They are, for all intents and purposes, a fly-by-night outfit that no longer exists as an operating business. Making claims against them for unfinished work during the warranty period was basically pointless, they were exceedingly difficult to contact and when it came right down to it the key question became whether they even had the capability to fix anything properly. Or if we even wanted them to.

I was showing a friend around the house and, as guys do, we were in the furnace room discussing this very issue. I mentioned my frustration with workmanship that looked like it had been done by chimpanzees. My friend’s response? “Chimpanzees? There’s no way. Chimps are great apes; this is clearly the work of monkeys!”

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