Latest Blogs

Still Slow Going – April 17, 2024

Well it’s been a difficult few months. The contractor has NOT picked up the pace, at all! So I’ve been reluctant to sit here and write about nothing happening. If I know then, what I know now, I’d choose differently, that’s for sure. In the interim I’ve been ordering things for the house, such as who will I sub out work to. I’m doing it because the contractor is so slow and is not to be moved! Too much other…
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Well, Some Things Are Happening, But Slowly – Nov 12, 2023

Before the insulation for the walls is installed the room studs must be installed. The choice was wood or steel. Surprisingly to me, the cost is the same. I went with steel, as it is resistant to mold and termite proof. The door frames are encased in wood 2 x4″ lumber to decrease the chances of the steel, at the doors, from twisting out of plumb. The second floor ceiling is insulated with SealTite PRO Open Cell insulation. The R…
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So far… from being finished! – August 22, 2023

Working is so rare around here, that when it happens, they put up a sign!       After the stud lines have been placed on the concrete floors, the rough plumbing was installed. Due to the inefficient design, the second bedroom shares common walls with two bathrooms. I am hoping to add insulation or a double layer of sheetrock to deaden the bathroom sounds.   I also delivered the 3 bathroom fans and kitchen fan to be fitted as…
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Roof and Floor Update – May 3, 2023

After a long wait (in my mind) the roof is mostly complete. This week the final (I hope) concrete pour was completed. The wood trusses are installed, the plywood over the trusses are installed and the waterproof membrane is on! The exception for the roof is the final metal installation.         The concrete pour was to finalize the truss supports. The contractor decided to set the trusses and then pour the concrete around the set trusses. Why?…
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The Long Wait – March 17, 2023

Finally! The concrete pour for the second floor is completed. What every idea I had for a completion date is a sad joke. First, I guess I’ll go through the second-floor concrete pour. I send the week before the pour trying to add electrical outlets to the balcony area before the concrete was poured. I asked the general contractor for the name of the electrician so I can coordinate with him. Nope! No answer. It seems the contractor wanted to…
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The Second and Last Floor Update – Feb 10, 2023

The first floor (not the ground floor!) has the walls built. Those block layers completed the first floor in ONE DAY! They get paid by the block. The more they do the more they get paid.     The contractor placed all the rebar to get ready for the second floor concrete pour. I realized that the plan called for two floor electrical boxes and an electrical connection for the kitchen island. After not getting any response as to who…
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Second Floor Construction – Jan 18, 2023

This week the contractor and his crew are framing the second floor for the next concrete pour. This one is a little different as it will have the second floor balcony/loggia. The balcony will be a few inches lower to keep water from moving back towards the interior living area. The contractor has his crew creating the rebar “cages”. Those will be used for the horizontal concrete beams and the vertical concrete columns.     I need to talk to…
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The Second Floor Structure – Jan 5, 2023

Now that the first floor is up, and the concrete has cured enough, the contractor is putting up the temporary supports for the second floor. I am unsure when the second floor will be poured, but it will be soon (I hope!) The method to support the forms for the second floor are wood 4″x4″s, two are attached to a metal connector. The metal connector is used to lock the 4″x4″s together. The workers can place one on the floor…
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Moving on up (to the first floor)! – Dec 21, 2022

Since the last posting the contractor has formed up the first (raised) floor and built the concrete block walls that enclose the first floor. This floor will contain the bedrooms and utility room. It seem to take a long time to form the floor and the support beams of poured concrete. Due to lots of building activity I had to wait an additional week to get this concrete pour completed. The workers used five 10 yard truckloads. It was hard…
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Concrete Walls and Columns – October 18, 2022

The next step was the perimeter walls and the free standing columns. As we were preparing for the construction of the perimeter walls, I had ideas for making some changes in the field. Due to the City of Marathon’s illegal granting of building rights to the biggest developer in Marathon the state of Florida has stepped in to “review and comment” on all construction permits and changes to existing permits. All of the drawings were done months ago but trying…
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Walls, Finally! – October 12, 2022

Well, everyone is probably bored about foundations! The next step was the perimeter walls and the free standing columns. As we were preparing for the construction of the perimeter walls, I had ideas for making some changes in the field. Due to the City of Marathon’s illegal granting of building rights to the biggest developer in Marathon the state of Florida has stepped in to “review and comment” on all construction permits and changes to existing permits. All of the…
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Concrete Foundations, part 3 – October 1, 2022

Well, everyone is probably bored about foundations! But one more post on the topic! The contractor did frame and add the rebar to the foundations. There were specifications on how it was to be done. But, it’s the Keys and it seems written specs don’t count, even to the designer! I was out on the site and realized that the contractor was using gravel too big for the specifications. The rebar was resting on the soil. The rebar was also…
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Foundations, the other method – August 4, 2022

Considering that we made the decision early on to have a concrete house we have to take into account the extra weight of the whole structure. The “soil” (sandy marine clay and rock fragment) we are building on is probably fill the developer threw on top of a marsh to create “dry” land and from the surrounding canals. The method used on our site was to the drill the hole, fill with concrete and drop in a rebar cage to…
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Trouble in Paradise? – August 4, 2022

What happens when the construction installation is not per the drawings? What happens when the construction installation is not per the drawings and no one seems to care? What happens when the construction installation is not per the drawings and no one seems to care except the owner? This week has been stressful. There are requirements in the drawings for: Imported base rock to be compacted to 2,000 LBS per square foot. Rebar to be supported with rebar chairs so…
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Foundation Work Continues – July 20, 2022

Yesterday there were 6 laborers working on the project! An all time high! Men were working on stripping forms, readying them for more concrete work. Other workers were readying the foundation rebar for the future horizontal foundation connectors. Debris was removed from the site. A Bobcat was used to spread baserock around the vertical rebar foundation. Next is to ready the site to receive the concrete forms for the concrete foundation pour. That concrete will enclose the foundation of the…
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Foundation Work Continues – July 13, 2022

Construction work in the Florida Keys is a stop and go proposition these days. Sometimes work gets done and sometimes nothing gets done for weeks at a time. Currently there seems to be more stop than go for my project. After a full day of getting the foundation rebar placed as per the designer’s plans, the work stopped. As a surprise, during this visit to the job site there as actual signs that progress was about to start up again!…
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Foundation Work Update – June 15, 2022

The first physical part of the work is now done! Hurrah! After 18 years after purchasing the lot, and 4 years after starting the design build process, we have something real in the ground! The first step is to have a surveyor determine the exact location where the house is to be located on the lot, as approved by the City of Marathon. The surveyor marked the property lines, the setback of the house on the lot,  and pier locations.…
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Now…. where were we? – Update June 1, 2022

A few years ago I started to comment on my efforts to build a retirement home in the Florida Keys. After four years of: an architect who died, another that stole money and more importantly time, design cost over-runs, a new designer, new contractor bids, delays due to Covid, cost inflation, the loan process, etc, we have finally started construction! I am here in Marathon for the duration to review construction, solve problems in real time and make sure I…
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