Communicating With a Contractor Is Part of Construction Supervision
Sorry, I haven’t been posting. Was teaching my DIY Like an Architect workshop at Art Center last two weekends. Besides, this project in NY is keeping me very busy. Performing construction supervision remotely — discussing every little detail with the contractor over the phone in addition to emailing a lot of drawings and instructions. Most of the design details I am generating right now were not required for the submission to the Building Department. Plan Examiners are concerned with public safety, not aesthetics.
Construction supervision gives me a chance to focus on nitty-gritty. Of course, I don’t mind. To me this is very enjoyable — making sure all the pieces come together with elegant ease.
Construction supervision might even involve fighting with the contractor. Just kidding. We’re on the same team!
Wall & floor tile.
Let’s see. First, I laid out the 23” x 23” porcelain tiles from Porcelanosa as they will be installed on the floor of the kitchenette and the bathroom. Based on that, I worked out all of the bathroom wall elevations. The arrangement can’t be left to chance; determining where to start with a full tile is critical.
Then, I revisited the closet-staircase to simplify it for the fabricator. While at it, I drew up the missing link (pun intended), the loft railing. It had to be designed to act as a visual continuation of the staircase — same proportions and modules. So far, we are getting very high estimates. Calling and emailing fabricators in Los Angeles to compare bids.
I revised the location and orientation of the sliding door at the bathroom opening. Thought of it in the middle of the night and sent the instructions to the contractor first thing in the morning. He pointed out that we could use the opened-up wall for the medicine cabinet. Great idea.
I had selected bathroom fixtures, a wood flooring material, tile, even backsplash when Porcelanosa was having its annual sale in November. No medicine cabinet, though. The contractor asked me to provide dimensions for it, so I quickly found a medicine cabinet online. It will work just fine.
Speaking of construction supervision and sliding door hardware. Take a look at the cover image. My idea of re-installing the old garage door as an exterior window treatment has been implemented. Even without the fascia board installed, it looks really nice.
So glad I insisted and finally managed to convince the contractor to do it.
Reflected ceiling plan.
Next, was the electrical/reflected ceiling plan. It’s a small space, but with a lot of anticipated functions. Of course, every design move has to be justified. That way, it can be defended or substantiated when talking to the contractor.
We were on the subject of 1” thick plywood for the stair treads the other day. Strangely, the contractor had never heard of Baltic Birch, a hardwood panel product. I am pushing for this brand (alternatively Apple Ply) because it is made from uniform laminations of solid grade 1/16” Birch, which makes for a naturally attractive edge.
Also, we are in need for an extremely narrow kitchenette sink. Thankfully, there’s one available from IKEA. Its bowl depth is 5 3/4 ” and width is 6 3/4 “! The volume is 2 gallons — really tiny.
And so it goes. Virtual construction supervision. Today we were on the subject of the ridge beam, creating in-wall towel storage, and an extra shower valve. Lots to think about. I am grateful that the contractor is very mindful. We make a good team.