Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Three Trades and a Key

The rough-in phase for the three systems trades - plumbing, mechanical, and electrical - is now complete, and will be inspected by the County tomorrow. If they pass, I'll feel like I'm on the home stretch, because the rest of the work is mostly finishes - wallboard, flooring, ceiling panels, lights, toilets, sinks. Each of the three trades will return to do what they call "trim-out," which includes all their respective finish items: sinks from the plumber, vents from the heating and air guys, light fixtures from the electrician.

The plumbing rough-in has been done for a while now, but the rough-in for mechanical and electrical systems was recently finished. So here are some pictures of the final few days of that work.

Looks like the Silver Surfer used my Great Room as a toilet, no? This is the flexible duct for the attic space around the skylight well, shown installed below, with vent openings at the center of each side of the room.

This is where the exposed spiral duct bends up to go through the opening in the brick wall to the Great Room, where it transitions to the concealed flex-duct.

At the opposite end of the house the 12-inch spiral duct branches out to serve each room. Here is the smallest of the branches - a 4-inch pipe just for the bathroom.

Then the electrician came out and started drilling holes through all my wood, and the place became a mess of wires.

In some places he actually had to drill straight up through the 4 x 12 beams. Which made me a little nervous at first, since these beams are the primary structural members for the house. But when he said the holes would only be 5/8 inch in diameter I relaxed; that doesn't take much away from a 3 1/2-inch-thick beam.

The following series of pictures of the electrical panel is a good summary of how the week of electrical rough-in proceeded. First there's just the box...

Then wires started accumulating around it:

And then, unimaginably, even more wires:

Then everything was tidy again:

But even at this point, with all this piping and ductwork and wiring, the house is still not habitable. This has been an interesting realization for me. There's a whole buncha architecture out there, and has been for a quite some time. I can now physically walk through the space, form, and light that I've seen only in my head for years. And yet, I can't even spend the night in it because there's no toilet or shower or air conditioning. So, as far as habitability is concerned, what I have here is essentially a two-hundred-thousand-dollar umbrella: no toilets, no power, no A/C; but hey, it'll keep the rain off of you!

And now I have keys to this overpriced umbrella:

Okay, so it's a temporary key (and a spare) for a temporary door. Unfortunately the same company that took three extra months to provide my glass is also providing two of my exterior doors. So one of the openings is boarded up with plywood and the other has a temporary aluminum door in it, operable with this key. But somehow this is still very exciting.

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