So there are new…

So there are new regulations going into effect in June 2010 on how you renovate a house with lead paint. Basically, the government forbids living in affected areas, and if your contractor doesn't comply, they can be fined $37,500 / day + another $37,500 if they knowingly violated the rules + possibly losing their license. That's pretty serious, and I can certainly understand why Pam is really hesitant to have us move back in before the job is completed.

But if I understand everything correctly from this morning's seminar (run by a certified lead expert), once the sanding / scraping part of the job is done, we are legally allowed to live in the affected areas again. Pam would have to have her guys clean everything thoroughly before we moved back in, which is some extra work for them, of course, and I'm guessing would cost us something. But not living there will cost us something too. An extra move is at least a thousand dollars, and then there's a couple of months' rent in a two-bedroom in the area. I think we'd save at least $5000 by moving into the house in mid-August, instead of waiting 'til mid-October or mid-November. Possibly closer to $10K.

According to our timeline, between May 15 - August 15, Pam's folks should do the following: demolition, backfill and excavation, more than one pour (concrete), subfloor and framing and windows, paint exterior, rough plumbing / electrical / roofing, HVAC, insulation, (flooring, drywall, duroc) tub & shower surrounds.

From Aug 15 onwards, there's tiling / paint interior (we're allowed to do painting after move-in, according to lead paint guy, as long as the sanding/scraping/cleaning part is completed first), doors, trims, setting in kitchen, cabinetry in baths, staining and varnishing, finish floors, other finishes (granite, glass, etc.).

We need to decide what we're doing pretty much this week. If we're moving into the house in mid-August, then we'll move most of our stuff into the house's basement, then take a few suitcases and go live with Daniel and Anne from June 19 - Aug 15, taking over their attic. If the timetable slips by a week or two, it won't be a big deal -- we can stay there a little longer. But if we're definitely not going to be in the house for six months, then we'll try hard to find a six-month rental. I'm not sure why two months of living with Daniel and Anne seems reasonable, but six months feels insane -- I don't really have a logical reason to back that up. Maybe just that we lived with them for two months last summer? I don't know, but there it is. I find myself deeply unwilling to move into their attic for a planned six months -- the idea makes me crazy. But doing another whole move into a six month rental also makes me kind of crazy. Argh.

So those of you who have been through renovations, what do you think? I'll ask Pam, of course, but does it seem reasonable to you that they'd be done with the sanding / scraping part by Aug 15, given the task lists above? The idea is that they'd clean and then block off the third floor for our use when we moved in, essentially finishing that part of the project. Then they'd contain it with plastic shielding, and we'd stay up there when we were home. There'd be two bedrooms, a large playroom, and a full bath on the third floor. That's mostly going to be new construction, so much less concern about lead paint dust up there, and the bath that's there, we're not changing much at all, so no new shower / tub / etc. stuff to worry about in there.

I feel like we should be on one of those reality TV shows on HGTV, about home purchases / renovations that just go wacky and strange. But maybe that's true of all of them?

11 thoughts on “So there are new…”

  1. No renovation in the history of the human race has ever been completed on schedule. Take that as your starting point. Contractors who do both interior and exterior work will habitually do the exterior work whenever the weather is good, because they can’t count on more good-weather days later. And one unexpected contingency — wiring issues or plumbing issues that were previously undiscovered, unavailability of a subcontractor on a particular date — can throw off the whole project schedule.

    My gut reaction is that 3 months + 2 weeks isn’t much longer than 3 months, in case of any one of these possibilities.

    If your basic point is, “If we’re out for a short time, we do X, but if we’re out for an unexpectedly long time, we do Y,” then do Y.

  2. Well, but we’re already months and months behind schedule. Maybe we’ve used up most of our overload already? It’s not as if the schedule is infinitely long, right? Right???

    I’m sure there will be a few issues, here and there, and it’s possible they’ll add up to longer than 2 weeks. But a six-month renovation has already stretched to twelve months.

    I don’t think there are going to be undiscovered wiring or plumbing issues, given that we’re already planning on gutting the whole house and redoing it all with new.

    I think Pam is planning on having the exterior painting happen *while* the interior work is being done, since it’s being done by different sets of subcontractors, if I’m understanding her correctly. I may be confused, though.

    We’re in our current place for one more month (’til June 19th). So the choice is between two months with Daniel and Anne, then move-in (+/- a few weeks), vs. six months in a rental.

    This is assuming we can find a six month rental, that is. So far, even with Ron and Liz taking our dog, we’re having a very hard time finding one of the right size in the Oak Park area — and we don’t want to go too far away, since I’m planning to be on the job site daily. It’s just a bad season to be looking for short-term rentals, I think. No one wants to be stuck with an empty rental property in November.

  3. Hello it is the infamous Pam…Mary Anne, there’s no way we are starting any work on the 15th of May because we don’t have a permit…sigh. I did interview two painting contractors this past week and saw your colors, some of which I like very much. We will see what kind of cost the subs have compared to using my own crew, but it would be great if they are cost effective because they could start on the outside even while we are doing concrete work. But, Ken is a wise man, renovations always take longer than expected, even if it is only a few weeks or a month on a big project like this.

  4. I agree with Ken. Construction always does take longer, especially with such a major renovation like this one. You may feel like you are months behind schedule, but you haven’t even been able to really get started due to the permit issues. It would be prudent to get a 1-year lease.

  5. Okay, I know y’all are being totally reasonable, but a one year lease is so very much not an option, I can’t tell you. Because the very thought makes me want to throw up. Or stab someone.

    I would rather live in a cloud of dust for a year in my own damn house.

    Yes, I am at the point of being completely irrational on this subject. I know. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked for advice if I’m too crazy to take it. Argh.

  6. No stabbing or vomiting.

    I think you should move into a rental house. Sorry. It sounds like they’re hoping to have the heavy building done in 3 months, but the interior work will be loud too. Loud = no naps = grumpy kids = no time to do things = crazy parents. You can ask Pam about this, but my current experience is telling me even with respectful guys, it’s just not that quiet. And people are always coming and going coming and going coming and going. And suddenly half your outlets don’t work for a week and the ducts are wide open so you don’t get any heat unexpectedly for a day or so and so on. I know you don’t want to, but I think you’ll be more sane with the rental. You can always move in before your rental expires if you decide it will be ok and try to sublet (or just lose 2 month’s rent or whatever).

  7. One factor in all of this is that we’re hoping to have both kids in an all-day daycare starting this summer/fall (the one Daniel and Anne’s kids go to). If that works out, they’ll be gone all day, so hopefully not much affected by construction work?

  8. I’m not clear on who gets up at what time around your place these days, but one thing worth looking at if you haven’t already done so is what time the construction work will be starting each day, and whether any of the residents will want to be sleeping at that time.

  9. I so, so agree with everyone who has suggested renting. It could potentially be quite dangerous to have little kids onsite, let alone the convenience…open paint cans, stray nails, drying drywall mud, saws, open electrical outlets…it’s just NOT POSSIBLE to childproof a construction site.

    Not to mention, your family’s presence in the house & the concessions needed for very young kids (which, again, I think might not even be possible) might actually slow down the work, making it take significantly longer.

  10. This is probably a stupid idea, but could you buy a trailer and park it on your back yard and live there until construction is done? That way you can move in when the paint stuff is done, still be on site, only do one “real” move, and maybe sell the trailer when you’re done.

  11. Thanks to those of you who have lived thru this–it is simply not safe to live on a job site. Yes, we have had customers who were doing a back addition and we sealed up the rest of the house and they lived thru it, but not happily. In this case we are working in every single room. I’m not sure Oak Park zoning would allow a trailer in the back yard plus the yard will be full of materials, vehicles, etc…

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