February 17, Saturday: All windows, including the master bedroom are now installed. The outside insulation is all added. I met Phil Longstrom, CraigN’s number 2 guy. I was adding the Radio Wavez OCF Carolina Windom with Gilbert (we removed the Buckmaster OCF) and he wandered by to see what was going on. It was late in the morning and Gilbert and Trinidad had already left.
No word, other thank a quick email from Carolyn earlier in the week, that she is processing the change order for the backsplash. We’ll see what that cost is, it should be pretty close to a push of our original travertine.
The following fixes from the walk-thru are done:
- Master bedroom and sewing room TV power and cable outlets are moved per our request.
- The additional switch and light fixture over the garage workspace is completed.
- The access to the garage roof is still in work, according to Phil.
- The gas line is also in work, he said.
I talked to Phil and mentioned the phone jack in the kitchen, he though it would be no problem to move it to the east side. We’ll see.
February 11, Sunday: We walked thru the model again and decided to have granite backsplash to the cabinet height on the west side, by the stove. On the east side, by the refrigerator, we will go with the standard 6″ granite backsplash.
While we walked thru the model, we saw the kitchen phone jack on the side by the refrigerator.
In an email to CraigN and Carolyn, we asked that the granite be as above and if possible, to move the phone jack or delete it. The granite backsplash replaces the ‘travertine’ stone we had as a placeholder.
February 10, Saturday: Gilbert, the local guy recommended by Tim, helped install the skyloop in the rafters. We were able to install 251.5′ of wire. We also installed the Buckmaster OCF dipole. I have a Radio Wavez Carolina Windom that was ordered but it arrived on Friday, and we left Thursday afternoon.
February 9, Friday: The first walkthru is complete and we are proceeding! The walkthru was very smooth and we had CraigN, his customer service person, Rob, Carolyn and Sandy and I. Carolyn was originally not going to attend, per CraigN, but I requested her anyway.
The fallout was, with no additional cost:
- The solar tubes in the master and guest bath are not available and will not be installed. (This is not in the Frame Walk Release writeup, but probably should be).
- We are relocating the master bedroom and sewing room TV power and cable outlets to the upper right corner of the bedroom and the upper left of the sewing room.
- We are adding a an additional switch and light fixture over the garage workbench area.
- We are adding a roof access above the loop antenna wiring in the corner of the garage above the workbench. It is small, and narrow but will be fine for wire access.
- We are strapping all exhaust vent flexible piping to prevent vibration in the future.
- We are relocating gas BBQ stub around the corner, facing north rather than east in the patio corner.
- Shower floors will not be flush (or beach entry) but will drop in about and inch or so.
These are the official conditions of the “Frame Walk Release”. I am satisfied, I guess.
With a little more work, SolaTubes could have replaced the Velux. CraigN stated that the Velux tubes wouldn’t work because of our long (11.5′) extensions required to reach the roofline. NO way, no how, he stated. We would be issued a credit. This credit was traded for the items 2 thru 6 above. SolaTubes has a dealer in Havasu, the same dealer that the windows came from, Probuild #36 store. The SolaTubes come in 2′ extensions, we probably could have made it work, but the question would have been the loss of light, BUT, it could have been looked into and given to us to decide. This is NOT how Brookfield works, however.
There were mistakes in the building process so far. I pointed them out to make a point. But, we accepted these “oversights” during the walkthru:
- The master bedroom slider was specified as left-to-right, it was installed as a right-to-left
- The hose bib by the front door and the garage was missing. There are 4 hose bibs however, with one being on the east side of the garage. CraigN offered to relocate it, but we declined.
- The front door window side lights are clear glass. We thought they matched the 1/2 Lite Georgian door that was spec’d, but no … We are stuck with them because of the long-lead time of the windows. The builder does not keep stock of common doors and windows, I guess, and each build is a separate order process.
- The kitchen island and living room power outlets were not included in the subfloor but added after the fact, right before the walkthru. The cement was still wet during the walkthru, but at least they are in. Tim Koons said, worse case, the builder will trench the power into the slab. That’s what they did.
Today, we had a request from Brookfield for draw #4. We gave the go-ahead after the morning walkthru. We have committed 70% of our funds.
The cabinet maker has been changed to Aristrocraft, we have chosen the ‘Saybrooke’ style (level3) in color ‘Cafe’. This came up after the walkthru!
February 8, Thursday: We are coming out today for the walkthru tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if anyone gives us a reminder phone call. UPDATE – no reminder call. I called Carolyn Friday morning to verify the meeting. She asked us to stop by after the walkthru, I assumed she was going to be there. CraigN requested, twice, that she not attend. By the beginning of the walkthru, this story had changed. He asked her not to attend because it was her day off, she said Friday after the walkthru.
February 2, Friday: Draw #3 occurred today, 20% = $74,830.80. Audrey at Brookfield called me after sending just ONE picture and Janice at Pioneer Escrow verified the draw as well via email. I was tempted to send a link to Audrey about my photos.
January 31, Wednesday: Except for the master bedroom 4’x2′ window and the wall of glass in the living room, all windows are now in. Looks like all the electrical is in as well.
The half lights accents for the entrance door are clear as are all others. The accents are supposed to be in the “1/2 Lite Georgian” style. An email has been sent to Carolyn and CraigN. Click here for windows photos, I tried to get the labels for all, just for reference. Mistake #8.
January 30, Tuesday: Dropped off the letter in support of Tim Koons to the Brookfield Corporate office in Phoenix as well as the Harvard Investments Group in Scottsdale. We’ll see what happens.
Talked with Themis about the granite vs. composite. We can make a change to the Level 5 material AS LONG AS Craig Neubaur approves the change. I think Brookfield is trying to control its suppliers. Themis is more than willing to work with us, as long as Brookfield approves. He want to keep TK Flooring and Home Improvements in business too.
Electrical work is progressing and almost done. I think we need a light fixture in the garage over the workbench area and another outlet by the gable vents for a whole-house fan option.
January 29, Monday: Came out and had 3pm meeting with Carolyn. We are off to a good start. We signed the $2500 credit. She called Craig Neubaur’s office to find out about our first walkthru. Our first walkthru is scheduled for Friday, February 9 at 11am. The landscaper, Muñoz will also be there.
The Alphonsos, The Royal’s and the Esquer’s were re-assigned by Candice to Carolyn. Carolyn had an interesting story to tell about how Candice sandbagged her. The Alphonsos husband is the high-powered Federal Patent Attorney.
Windows have begun, most of the wiring is complete. The windows are called MI and manufactured in AZ. Click here for the photos.
January 28, Sunday: Received a call from Carolyn Barker, the broker at Brookfield. She is now our point-of-contact. I mentioned that I was coming out tomorrow, Monday, to sign the $2500 backyard credit. I will talk to her, instead of Candice, I guess.
January 26, Friday: I talked with Janice of Pioneer Escrow to hold all future draws from our build. She confirmed that it is our right to do so, given the turmoil that has just occurred.
I confirmed that the 3rd draw is walls and roof sheeting. That is done and I’m not sure why it hasn’t happened yet. Draw 4 is electrical, plumbing, ready for wall closure.
Draws 3 and 4 amount to 70% of money spent, an additional 15%, I think.
The first walkthrough should be real soon now.
January 25, Thursday: Tim Koons was fired today by Craig Peterson. We were notified by Candice Brown that Tim no longer works there. For our pain and suffering, Brookfield is adding $2500 to the backyard landscaping. She, Candice, is our new point of contact.
Tim is not happy, and we are not happy. Mistake #7.
We will write a letter in support of Tim asking for re-instatement. He was pushed out by a hostile work environment instigated by the office manager.
January 20, Sunday: We stopped by on our way to Quartzfest to check out the build. Click here for the photos.
The master bedroom window has been added to the house. No explanation as to why.
Upon seeing the build, the 2 niches/alcoves are probably not do-able. The walls are too thin, only 2×4 construction.
We went to the model homes at Canyon Trails to see their niches, they were built in specially for that particular model.
There has been no feedback from Craig Neubaur regarding our request, par for the course.
The HVAC, ducting and rough plumbing are complete. Interesting that most of the water lines are plastic with stubs of copper for the hose bibs.
January 17, Wednesday: Talked with Craig Neubaur, called him, he answered. We emailed him on Saturday, January 13 about incorporating the 2 niches/alcoves that we saw in the models at Canyon Trails (mistake #6). We requested the additional niches through Tim, who suggested that we send the formal request to Craig Neubaur. This morning, Tim suggested that we send another email to Craig but cc his boss, Craig Peterson.
I did the 2nd email, then called Craig Neubaur. The framing is complete and he will go look, talk to the framers and see what can be done. We will wait to hear.
I think today should be the 3rd draw, once framing and sheeting is complete. 55% moneys drawn (20, 15 and 20%).
January 12, Friday: Wanted to meet the framers, so I came early and dropped off some coffee and donuts. Don, the framing crew chief, to his credit, could not have his crew drop everything and entertain the buyer. There were 8 guys on his crew that day, 5 white guys and 3 hispanics. I talked to one of the hispanics and he exchanged pleasantries. He asked me if this was my house and I replied, yes. Click here for the photos.
As Don and I talked after a bit (he on the rear patio roof), he asked if they could do anything to fix any problems that I had seen. Since he asked, I brought up the master bedroom window (mistake #4) that was missing. I told him it was in the mode, but not in my build. We looked at the full size plans in his truck and no window is shown. Last night, I verified that it was not an option in the pricing sheets as well. It is not shown in the tiny 8.5×11 copy they gave me too. After discussion, he said that he would fix anything as long as Craig Neubaur gave the go-ahead. He, Don suggested though that the east facing window would be a pain in the summer and that his personal opinion was that it was best not added. Furthermore, he mentioned that his team had raised the master bath window just a bit. As spec’d, the shower head would hit the window and with the hard water there, best to avoid that issue entirely. He asked that we keep that change between us.
Don asked me if the kitchen counter was to be 2-tiered or all one level. As built so far, it was 2-tiered for bar stool seating. I told him that we spec’d it out as Sandy wanted one level. Don said that they would fix that today! (mistake #5)
After calling Sandy, we both agreed that we would leave the missing windows as is. I called Tim, mentioned the missing window. He mentioned that there are some things in the models that are not priced out in the house building option sheet, this was one of those items. I asked if there was anything else that we would not be getting as-built in the model home. We explored that some more and he suggested that we walk the house to ensure that everything we ordered/requested/paid for was to be included. We walked the model about and our build about 10:30 am, and everything we spec’d is included to my satisfaction.
The sheeting process is going fast. I stopped by in the afternoon about 3:15 expecting the framing crew to be gone. The 3 hispanics were still there, no white guys around. The 3 guys were working on the transition from the garage roofline to the house roofline. They do good work.
The house should be fully framed by Tuesday-Wednesday ready for the HVAC, plumbing and electrical guys late next week. Brookfield will be asking us at that time to come and walk the build before drywall begins to cover up the walls.
January 11, Thursday: The framing process is going fast. I stopped by in the afternoon and took some pictures. Tim had me sign an addendum that we had signed before in September. Some one lost it I guess, but we had a copy. I signed it again.
There is no east-facing window in the master bedroom, I noticed (oh, oh, mistake #4). Click here for the photos.
I asked Tim when the crews work, he mentioned their hours are 7am to 3pm.
As I was leaving, I stopped by Lot 5 and introduced myself to George and Sherry Royal. Their home is about 2 weeks ahead of our build. We compared notes and ‘issues’ with Craig Neubaur. They have had a more rough time with him than we have so far. Probably, because we haven’t had any changes or mistakes … yet.
January 6, Saturday: Pictures arrived from Tim, we have walls beginning. The Smugmug photos have walls beginning, this with 2 days work and a crew of about 6 folks. Progress continues! I was hoping to come out to see the first 2×4, 2×6 being laid, but oh well. I’ll take the quick progress.
I hope to come out on Thursday to see for my self! Click here for the photos.
December 28, Thursday: Took pictures of the final pouring complete. Now the foundation cures for 2 weeks or so, lumber will be delivered soon and the walls begin to take shape!
We compared the house foundation to that of the mode homes, including the Yosemite model. We are coming up with some landscaping ideas and a small list of our “change order” as the build is progressing. We measured the master bath/shower and it is as requested, we were worried that this would be mistake #3, but all is well! Click here for the photos.
December 27, Wednesday: The 2nd foundation pour was completed today. I received an email and a photo of the garage portion of the foundation completed and a request from the builder for draw #2 from Audrey Sangerman . I also had a receipt of the 2nd from the escrow company, a Lauren Diaz. The 2nd draw is for $56123.10.
December 26, Tuesday: Sandy and I came out to see that the first foundation pour was complete, The next pour is to complete the garage, entry way, and front and back patio.
Again, the 3rd car garage and pullthrough had been modified, see the SmugMug pictures, to NOT have the foundation footing, but to make an opening for the two pathways. Some one made a mistake (mistake #3) and has NOT acknowledged it.
This is mistake #2, #1 was the 5′ property line adjustment. Do I have to keep watching these guys all the way through this process? Click here for the photos.
December 21, Thursday: The electrical box is now in, see the pictures on SmugMug. I noticed that the 2 car driveway and the 3rd car driveway and pullthrough did not have the same foundation layout. The 2 car garage did not have a foundation wall pouring (with bolts for the walls) but the 3rd car and pullthrough did. Accidentally, Tim and his wife pulled up as I was taking pictures in the afternoon. I spoke to him about my concern and he was also confused. He took an action to ask the construction office via email. Click here for the photos.
December 18, Monday: Road trip to see the progress! Plumbing is added in place. I arrived in the afternoon and the workers had already finished. The pictures are now being published on SmugMug so that progress can be shown to family and friends.
Interesting thing to note is that the extension of the property has the northwest rebar marker on the downslope of the northern boundary. The northeast corner is on the edge of the slope with lot 28 to the east.
I stayed until the 21st, Thursday.
Lunch with Tim Koons revealed that it was the foundation builder that noticed that the property was 5′ short in width. As he tried to layout the foundation, it wasn’t measuring up correctly per the layout on the property map. He then went back to the construction office and then the error was noticed and has finally been corrected. Click here for the photos.
December 15, Friday: Tim sent us a picture that ground-breaking and trenching are underway! Click here for the photos.
December 13, Wednesday: Talked with Craig P in Phoenix expressing my our concerns about the re-grading and an updated status. He relayed the same story that Tim provided, we are short 5′ of property line. I think Craig P mentioned that we might be trenching real soon and pouring concrete next week (December 18-22). We’ll see.
December 12, Tuesday: Text from Tim “Dave, Today I see tractors working on lot 30 next to your lot. They are doing something between your two lots but I can’t figure what. Regards.” It turned out that lot 29 was too small and lot 30 was too big by 5′ width-wise. The contractor was re-compacting the soil between the 2 lots. This is mistake #2.
December 8, Friday: Message from Tim. “Dave and Sandy, Weekly update on lot 28 Ridge. Nothing happened this week on the lot. Sorry!” Called Craig Neuebaur after that to find out the status. Craig stated that the wind was too much (40-50mph) to prevent begin any foundation work and that slab pouring would take place at the beginning of the new year. The week of December 12-15 might be a time for foundation layout.
December 2, Saturday: Tim asked for an update after his return from vacation, we said we had things under control.
November 28, Tuesday: Held phone call with Craig Peterson, Craig Neubaur and Audrey Singerman. Craig P and Audrey are at 602 265-4400. Craig Neubaur at (cell) 928 704-0550 and Michelle, the receptionist at the construction office is 928 715-7863. Craig should have provided feedback and all of this could have been avoided, this is mistake #1.
Audrey promised to give us photos as each of the draws will be requested as per our plan below:
- 20% First draw – plans submitted for building permit
- 15% 2nd draw – foundation completion
- 20% 3rd draw – framing/roof sheeting completion
- 15% 4th draw – rough mechanicals completion
- 20% 5th draw – drywall hung and taped completion
- 10% 6th and final draw – close of escrow completion
November 24, Friday: Drafted an email to Craig Peterson, inquiring about the progress of our build. Sent it and he returned our email, promising to check on things and get back to us. He called, left a message and promised to address our issues.
November 23, Thursday: We visually verfied that as of yesterday, November 22, there is no progress on Lot 29. Communication is key to a succesful partnership and so far our communication has been very poor and pretty much one-way from the buyer.
November 16, Thursday: We texted both Tim Koons and Craig Neubaur about progress on Lot 29. Tim responded quickly with a “nothing happened” message. With no communication from Craig, we called Janice Burkey at Pioneer and found out that the first draw had been released on November 7. We had signed the CASH BUY addendum with the DRAW SCHEDULE, but misplaced our copy. I asked Janice if she had a copy and she stated she could not find it in our escrow package, but would, post haste, go find it. She did find it and emailed it to us as well shortly after. We asked if it was normal to disburse funds without a draw schedule and she really didn’t have a good answer, other than … the builder asked for it.
November 7,Tuesday: After prodding from our salesman, Craig finally returned our call. He had agreed to the changes that we proposed (with no feedback to us). He stated that he had submitted our plans to the city on the previous Friday, November 3. He mentioned that it was taking about 3-5 days for the permits to be granted by the City and that he, Craig, would distribute the plans to his subcontractors to begin the building process after approval. This conversation led us to believe that by Monday, November 13, at the latest, we should see dirt starting to move on Lot 29. Craig promised to keep us in-the-loop.
Unbeknownst to us, Pioneer Title released the first 20% draw to Brookfield on November 7. We were not notified by anyone. Supposedly the first draw follows, “First Draw to be released … upon completion of plans drawn in order to prepare … for building permit”.
November 6, Sunday: We called Craig Neubaur to get a verbal update. We received his voicemail and left a message.
November 5, Sunday: We emailed Craig Neubaur… “We are Dave and Sandy Esquer purchasing Brookfield Lot 29 at the Ridge with the Yosemite floorpan. We are working with Tim Koons and wired 1/2 of the house dollars (approximately $170,000) to Pioneer Escrow on October 20th. This is an all-cash purchase.
We understood that our signatures on the draftsman drawings (birds-eye and front elevation) were the go-ahead to Brookfield to begin the permit procurring process. That was about 2 weeks ago. We modified (submitted on the front-elevation and birds-eye views), the garage street-facing windows (increasing to 3 or 4) and the elimination of the garage-to-house wall niche cutout.
- Can we make these 2 changes work?
- As soon as we have feedback that the permit is a “go”, we are ready to wire the remaining dollars. When might that be?”
We received no answer …
October 20, Friday: With an all cash build, we wired $170,000 on October 19 to Pioneer Escrow. On October 20, we called Tim Koons to help us finalize the drafting and elevation views. We made 2 final tweaks. These final, agreed-to drawings were, we assumed, the green light to begin the building permit submittal process. We thought we were ready to go.
We had confirmation that approximately $170,000 was wired to Pioneer Title Escrow in Bullhead City. 928-758-4848, c/o Janice Burkey. We assumed that the plans were being submitted to plan check and in 3-4 days we would be ready to push dirt around.
October 18, Wednesday: The Hiki-Ku house closed this Wednesday. Here is the lot we settled on, it is Lot 29 and it looks northward from the back of the house. It is pretty much located aligned with a compass rose at N, S, E and W.